The Yukon Territories, that is. It was a border crossing that almost didn't happen. A crossing that some would say was meant to almost not happen. So it goes.
I pulled up to the border crossing at Poker Creek on the Top of the World Highway in my usual fashion. Sunnies on, shirt completely unbuttoned, neon yellow socks proclaiming my "epicness", and ripping skidzzz for dayzzz. The American border agents all erupted in cheers, tossing their hats in the air, celebrating this crude, rude, dude, with an attitude rolling up like he owned the place (I did and do). As they hoisted me on their shoulders, carrying me off like Rudy, I noticed some folks giving me the side eye on the Canadian side, quietly sipping maple syrup directly from the tree. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but perhaps I should have.
The first snafu was my antlers. I'm pretty sure they were just haters or jealous that I now have antlers on my bike.
"Where did you get those?" the agents questioned me.
"They were a gift from Eva. She called her husband at work and asked if they had any antlers to give to the random guy that came into their store asking for free antlers. Turns out they did. What's it to ya?" came my reply.
"Well, you have to fill out paperwork." he said. I'm sure in his head he was thinking, "Damn, that is soooo cool. I wish I had antlers for my bike. And that I could skid like that. And had an awesome beard. This guy is so sick, I'm going to hassle him because I'm not him".
Once the paperwork was finished, out walked the Canadian border agent, wearing denim top to bottom, politeness oozing out of his every pore.
"How ya' doing, eh?", he asked
"Fine" I responded. I was standing in the rain, getting a little cold with my shirt completely wide open, so I wasn't in the mood for much chit chat.
"Where do ya' live?", he asked. Ugh. I guess this guy wanted to small talk me to literal death by hypothermia. I responded in my typical fashion.
"Nowhere, maan. I'm just, like, a free spirit out to reconnect with my Earth mother.", or something like that. At least, I know I answered with a "nowhere" in there at some point.
"What do ya' do for work."
"Uhh, I don't. I'm living on my bike full time." I responded, wondering why this guy was asking me so many questions.
The border agent leaned back against a wooden beam. Slowly, methodically soaking in my aura.
"How much money do you have?", he asked, laconically.
"Why?", I retorted, puzzled at the suddenly personal nature of his questioning.
"Why?", he responded. His eyes narrowed and shone with a fire; a hatred; a previously unseen passion for international border patrol. This, THIS was the action he had so craved when he signed up to be a customs agent. If only it weren't for that old bastard Martin in customs school that had such a hard on for punishing him, he would have been where the real action was. Not up here at Poker Creek. dealing with those stupid Americans in their RVs. No, he was meant for something more. He had the drive to really be someone, and here was his chance to show it.
He dove forward off the post, closing the distance between us with alarming speed and agility. Damn, this guy was good.
"Why?", he repeated. "You are about to enter a foreign country, you have NO RIGHT to to be in. You have NO RIGHT to question me when I ask you a question!", he screamed in my face, his breath stinking of stale Labatt. His face turned a bright red from anger, spittle flying from the upturned corners of his mouth.
"Whoa, chief, calm down.", I replied. "I don't want to be in Canada any more than you want me in Canada. I just want to pass on through right quick."
"I'm not your chief, pal.", he sneered, the final word dripping with hatred.
It was at this point I realized that I was actually being questioned on why I was entering Canada. I looked at myself, realizing I looked like a bum, just told the customs agent I was homeless and not working. Perfect. Well, it was too late to back down at this point.
"I'm not your pal, ace. And Scrooge McDuck's money vault was based on my life. I've got serious coin, boss.", I replied, respectfully.
"Pfft", he hissed. "Harumph", I grunted in response.
He stormed inside with my passport, stomping his boots and slamming the door behind him. After a few minutes, he came back out.
"Did you look at the Canadian entry requirements before coming here?" he asked, much calmer. I think he had seen my BAMF card attached to my passport and decided to back down a little.
"Well, there are things in your past that may make you ineligible to enter the country."
Excellent. I had been so incredibly rad in my past that I was too rad for this country. Just what I wanted to hear after riding a month towards this stupid border.
"You can wait inside", he said, motioning towards what looked like a principal's office. All of a sudden, I was in detention. Mike was with me at this point, pulled into the whole mess because of my excellency.
A few tense minutes passed, when the agent stood up. "Mr. Green, you're free to go. I'd like a word with you.", he snarled at me, the anger and disdain dripping from every word.
As soon as the door closed, he let loose with the lecture he'd waited his whole career to give. He wove a veritable tapestry of anger driven drivel towards me. It was all about respect, listening to agents, the functions of his job. I don't really remember it all, I dozed off about halfway through. After what seemed like an eternity, he gave me back my passport and waved me through.
I was in! I was allowed to cross, begrudgingly, and only with a mighty lecture, but here I was! My first act was to ride down the road to pull over and water some flowers. Take that Canada!
Other stuff happened, but nothing as important as the epic border crossing. I bicycled, it rained, it shined. Mike and I slept in a church, which Mike was convinced was a cover for burying bodies, and saw nonsensical Canadian road signs.
Seriously, what do those mean? Anyway, some photos below. On to Whitehorse next, then time to boogie down to Banff!
Thanks for reading.