Escarpment Tales and Custom Woes

Yesterday I briefly mentioned the Escarpment. I was referring to the Niagara Escarpment, which is basically a cliff, running East/West through the U.S. and Canada. It is the base of Niagara Falls among other things.

The Escarpment has several towns along its length including Milton, Ontario. Hubby, Bob, was living in Milton when we met.

Bob moved here in July 1999. A few years later we were called to Toronto on a family matter and on short notice we packed a bag and left on an 18 hour drive into the city, passing through Milton just shortly before arriving at our destination.

Bob pointed out the Escarpment several times after we crossed into Canada at Detroit. It really is beautiful. And at some point, he devised a plan. Okaaaaay.

Rattlesnake Point, near Milton
Rattlesnake Point, near Milton

Bob had been building gardens at home for quite some time. It was a passion in the beginning. He suddenly had five acres to play with after having lived in apartments all his adult life.  We invested heavily in cross ties and landscape timbers, soil, plants, bricks, and who knows what else. It was a game of hit or miss on the plants and trees, but we persevered.

He also discovered rocks and stones at a small lake near us. He became quite fond of using rock as sculpture in the garden.

Needless to say, there are great rocks on the Escarpment.

So, one day, while we were there, we took a trip into Milton and up onto the Escarpment so that Bob could go rock hunting.

Big rock hunting. Big rock, as in load-all-the-luggage-into-the-back-seat-so-we-can-get-a-few-hundred-pounds-of-stone-in-the-trunk-of-a-baby-Honda, big rock.

And we did.

Yes, that is correct. Bob was planning on leaving the country and crossing into the states, through customs, with a ton of rock in the trunk

We found some pretty interesting rock.

This one in particular.

A bit of Escarpment
A bit of Escarpment










And Bob was really confident as crossing through Canadian customs had been a breeze. Going into Canada was always easy.

Being rather laid back about most things (Hah!), I went along.

Everything was peachy on the way from Toronto to the border. The baby Honda didn’t seem to mind the load although the gas consumption appeared to be slightly higher. Yes, that 200 plus miles just flew right by us.

And we entered U.S. customs.

We presented our documents to the customs officer. At the time I just needed my driver’s license and birth certificated and he needed his passport and ‘green’ card.

The officer asked a couple of questions, examined our documents and looked at us closely.

Then he stepped out and asked us to pop the trunk.

Oh shit.

He told us where to pull over.

And when we stopped we were surrounded by 6 armed officers and told to exit the car.

My first reaction was ‘Really?’

Not a one of them cracked a smile.

The trunk was popped again.

The bags in the back seat were examined.

We were escorted inside and told to sit.

I was never going to see my kids again.

But then the wait started to get long.

And I started to get angry and frustrated.

We didn’t know why we had been detained. Was it really the rocks? I mean, yeah, we were guilty of stealing some terra forma I guess, but it wasn’t a plant or an endangered species or a mad cow or anything like that. I didn’t think rock could harbor deadly diseases or locusts. We did clean the damn things.

Finally an officer called us.

What have we done?  I asked.

No answer

More questions.

And then some more questions.

A couple more after that my hostility started showing. We still hadn’t been told specifically we were stopped for rock theft. We still hadn’t been cuffed and taken to jail or fined and released or told to go back across the border and return the rocks to the place from whence they came.

Bob quietly rebuked me and insisted I calm down. My smart mouth was just going to exacerbate the problem apparently.

Go figure. I’m never going to see my home or my kids or my dog and he wants me to calm down.

By golly, this asshole needs to tell me why I’m being detained!

Well, I pulled in a bit. Took the questioning and the stupid time-wasting like a trooper (oh yeah, right..) and tried not to behave in such a manner that guns would be drawn.







‘Green’ card had expired.

We dutifully promised to take care of it as soon as we got home.

And left with Bob’s rocks.

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