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Toronto to Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Jun. 24th, 2010

12:20 am - Toronto to Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh

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So this morning I packed up and left Toronto (after driving around looking for a gas station and finding one on the Danforth). Fortunately the Big G20 Freeway Shutdown hadn't started yet and I didn't have to deviate from my planned route.

I pulled off the road somewhere along the QEW to look for lunch, and found a sushi place. I was their first customer of the day! Mmm, sushi at 11:00 am. Sure beats fast food.

Then I headed down to Niagara Falls. I parked at the base of the Skylon, walked down a steep hill, crossed the street and started taking pictures of the gigantic sheets of falling water visible across the river. I'll put them up later, like next week someday.

Then I drove further along the QEW and crossed the bridge into Buffalo, NY. I sat there in the sloooooooow-moving line, wondering what fate would befall me at the hands of Mr. Customs Man (don't touch my bags, if you please). He asked me a few questions, looked at my driver's license and passport, then directed me to turn off the car and hand him my keys. He opened the trunk and started pawing through my stuff. He seemed interested only in printed matter. He flipped through a notebook with a purple cover that I haven't done much with yet. He flipped through The Book of Mutants. He opened my small suitcase and flipped through my Hidato puzzle book. Then, without asking permission, he flipped through my private little sketchbook of porn that I keep by my bedside and only show to trusted friends. Then he shoved it all back in and asked me what I do for a living (I told him "freelance cartoonist").

Then he gave me my keys, DL and passport back and said, "Have a nice day."

I drove on, relieved that he didn't make me get out of my car or pick apart my entire personal life like those assholes in Sarnia did. Still, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

I've decided I'm never leaving the country again. Babs, thank you for showing me around Toronto. I did have a fun time, and I wish I could visit again someday, but I'm sorry, I'm not willing to risk putting up with that sort of invasion of my privacy ever again.

Anyway, I drove on, through New York and into Pennsylvania. Looking for a place to eat dinner, I found a big blue service sign that mentioned a Burger King at the next exit. I pulled off the interstate and drove around, and saw the Burger King on the left... and a Red Lobster on the right. I decided to continue my streak of skipping fast food. Mmm, broiled tilapia.

Eventually I arrived in Pittsburgh and checked into the Westin, where I am now. There's a buncha furries here already! The con doesn't even actually start for another two days! Ahh, furries. I love you guys. :}

See you after the con!

Comments:

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From:orv
Date:June 24th, 2010 04:49 am (UTC)
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Interestingly, last time I went to Canada, the Canadian customs guy didn't look at anything, or even stand up; he just asked how long I'd be there, and said "welcome to Canada." The U.S. Customs people were a lot more thorough and asked a lot more questions.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 24th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
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You probably just look less like a terrorist/smuggler/pedophile/jackanape than I do.
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From:wbwolf
Date:June 24th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC)
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I suppose that you had nothing to do with the earthquake and tornado that his greater Toronto?

[And it does suck that you got hassled by the customs both going in and out.]
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 24th, 2010 05:11 am (UTC)
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I didn't do it! Nobody saw me do it! You can't prove anything!
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From:wolflahti
Date:June 24th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
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Having lived close to the Great White North both in Michigan and Washington state, I have to say I've never had an issue with Canadian customs in the many times I've crossed the border.

It's always been going back into the states that convinced me that US border guards are genetically bred to be obnoxious assholes for perpetually bad dispositions.
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From:tracerj
Date:June 24th, 2010 08:56 am (UTC)
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I have a story that echoes KT's, though, from just over a decade earlier. Canadian border being total jerks... except in the end, they wouldn't let us in. We had to add three more hours to our drive because of those thugs.
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From:varro
Date:June 24th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC)
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Ooooh, Pittsburgh!

My home town - try going to Pamela's in the Strip (yoo might see th' President!) or to one of the Primanti Brothers restaurants, where they put the cole slaw and fries inside the sandwich!
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From:shockwave77598
Date:June 24th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
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A solution is to mail the possibly questionable stuff to the con hotel ahead of time and let them know when you will arrive to pick it up. Or send the box to a friend who is going. Then you don't have goobers digging through naughty pics at the border either direction.

I'm not an artist, but I keep a collection of many folks on an encrypted thumbdrive. So overzealous officers need not see anything but random text.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 29th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC)
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I was asking around before my trip, is there anything I should be concerned about when crossing the border? And everyone kept saying no, no, you shouldn't have any problems, just show them your DL/passport. Nobody said anything about pornography or having to prove I have funds.

Although they eventually admitted me, so who knows.
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From:deckardcanine
Date:June 24th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
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Good thing you live in a country so big you'll never see it all. Would you still visit parts that are accessible only by plane?
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:June 29th, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)
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After this experience, I'll gladly fly again. I've complained about airport security in the past, but customs agents are much worse. I mean, at the airport I have to take off my shoes and take the laptop out of its bag, but at least they don't try to humiliate me with a bunch of nosy questions about where I'm going, who I'm seeing, and how much money I have, and try to make me feel like a bum or a pedophile.
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From:shockwave77598
Date:June 24th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
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It is for bs like you experienced earlier that I keep all my questionable or worse art on a thumbdrive that's encrypted with TrueCrypt. What's in this file? It WAS a story I'm writing. But it's all corrupted now! Aaugh! May I go please now officer? I have some serious drinking to do when I get to my destination...
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From:yakko
Date:June 24th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
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TrueCrypt is awesome. I've vowed to never take any data out of the USA without it either being disposable or encrypted, regardless of whether I have anything to hide. These days, it can all fit on one USB key (Ubuntu plus a TrueCrypt volume).

DropBox is pretty awesome, too.

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From:alfador_fox
Date:June 26th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
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Power doesn't corrupt. It just attracts corrupt people.
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