USA

UPDATE DEC 2016:

After a three days visit to Mexico I was back in the USA, this time visiting my brother in Murrieta and taking my flight home from Los Angeles. Even coming back from Mexico by walking was not a problem. My stamp was valid until February 2017, I think it was by this reason and also it is so very usual to cross the border in Tijuana.

 

UPDATE NOV 2016:

This became my third visit in the USA. I have only been back in Canada for a few days – for selling the car. I flew in to Las Vegas and continued by bus crossing California. In Las Vegas I needed a new stamp in my passport. It was also the reason, why I flew to Las Vegas, even it was not cheap at all. I expected, that it should be easier to get the second stamp here and it was very easy, when I well met the border officer.

 

UPDATE OCT 2016:

My second visit started 2nd Oct and was until 6th Nov. I changed my plans a lot, but my final goal was this: Grand Canyon National Park. My route became this:

From Vancouver to Seattle (you can read about the border control below)

Seattle – Olympic Peninsula – Yakima – Columbia River (hwy 82 and 97) (Washington)

Columbia River (hwy 84) – Pacific City – Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway – Crescent Lake – Klamath Falls (Oregon)

Dorris – Susanville – Carson City – Virginia City – Bridgeport – Yosemite National Park – Visalia (California)

Las Vegas – Boulder City – Mead Lake National Recreation Area (Nevada)

Kingman – Route 66 – Grand Canyon National Park – Flagstaff  (Arizona)

The border control at Peace Arch, Blaine, was not so smooth like my first border crossing at “Wild Horse”, even my visa waiver was already processed. I had to queue. I think we queued for 5 km. Finally at the control point, the first sentence of the officer was :”You can’t sell that car in the US.” I told him, that I, of course, will drive it back to Canada, where I also have to cancel my car insurance in person. He continued, that I have to leave the States (USA) almost on 8th November. I promised and added, that the stamp from Canada is on page 19, but also told him (as an answer on another question), that my flight ticket home to Sweden is for 14th December from Los Angeles. “No way”, he told me (even he checked the stamp), though I explained, that I have not been in the US since end of August and I will try to get permission to stay until mid of December, otherwise I have to change my flight. At this point, he asked me, what I have with me into the States and I answered “my camping gear”. That was OK for him, but he tried a last time to find a reason to deny me entrance into the country. Therefore he asked me for how long time I have been in Canada. When I replied: “4 1/2 month”, he thought, he had got me, but I added: “I have got 6 month.” He did not welcome me, but told me: “Go your way.”

There was also a second control. I think, it was to check if visitors have drugs or other prohibited items with them. I was not stopped at this point.

 

UPDATE AUG 2016:

My first visit of the USA was from 11th August 2016 for a few days coming from the East of the Canadian province of Alberta, because it is much closer to the following, but from Vancouver:

Mount Rushmore National Memorial – Black Hills (South Dakota),

Crazy Horse Memorial – Black Hills (South Dakota) and the

Yellowstone National Park – Rocky Mountains (Wyoming and Montana).

 

Here you can read about the procedure entering the States:

I arrived at the USA border 11th August 2016 at “Wild Horse”, using the Canadian highway 41 during the afternoon. This is at the border between the province of Alberta, Canada and the state Montana, USA. There were no many cars, but one in front of me. The procedure for it was done very quickly. The driver seemed to be Canadian. Now it was my turn. I showed my Swedish passport and the officer told me, to switch off my engine. So I did. He asked me, if it was my first time in the USA and why I want to come into the USA. I told him, that I would like to see the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Crazy Horse Memorial and drive back throughout the Yellowstone National park. In addition to that I told him, that I only will be in the USA for a week this time. I understand, that it would be too short time for the Yellowstone National park, but that I have an appointment in Calgary, though I will go back to the Yellowstone National park another time. I also told him, that I asked for the Visa Waiver on the Internet and that I was welcomed.

The officer asked me one more time, if it is my first time to the USA and where I am living. I answered his questions with: Yes, in Sweden – I am only visiting Canada. He told me, that I have to park around the corner and to enter the building by the door with the “Entrance” sign. I followed his advice and was let in by an automatic door opener, the officer used inside. I had to enter another door by the same way. Inside I faced the officer by a safe counter with a glass wall and a tiny opening for the passport. The officer looked up my Visa Waiver and found it finally by putting my e-passport in a reading machine. He asked me to step to the right, where a little camera and a fingerprint scanner was situated. He first asked me for the finger prints: The four fingers on my right hand, the thumb on my right hand, the four fingers on my left hand and the thumb on my left hand. When that was done he took the photograph of me.

I have got a Visa Waiver for three month, but was asking for a week only. I showed my surprise for the three month, because it was ending 8th of November, but my flight home from Los Angeles will be 14th December. He told me, that I have to talk with the Canadian border control on my way back if I for example will fly out from the USA. The Canadian officer will take the note about the visa waiver out of my passport.

I was not asked if I have something to declare after I have got the Visa Waiver. I was directly allowed to enter the States. The process was really smooth and a happy me continued throughout Montana and Wyoming to South Dakota and my first destination – see links above.

_________________________________________________________________________________

I like to see more of the USA, of course and because I am so close, when I leave Canada, I will travel the West Coast of the country and try to visit my brother and his wife, who moved to California a couple of years ago.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

In General:

For the USA I also need a kind of visa, but as an European citizen it is possible to get one by the Visa Waiver program. Even I will have the visa I cannot be sure, they will let me in. Anyway I hope so. Unfortunately a visa only lasts for three months and I think to see all of the USA I would need almost two years. I hope I will have the possibility to get back there from time to time. – I found almost 17 helpx-hosts, I am interested in to be with and I am sure I will get enough for changing host once a week. Though there will be no need for simple couchsurfing. I am happy, I can give back something for staying with the hosts.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

My Route:

Coming from Vancouver in Canada, I will start with

Everett (Washington – WA) and the Yosemite NP

Seattle
Looking for a host or a bed in a hostel in Seattle, you should be aware, that the state of Washington is not Washington, DC, because this one is in the western USA and the other one in the eastern part of the USA. The town itself has a very interesting history and great nature in the surroundings. It is too much for writing about it on this site, therefore I put in this link instead. Enjoy reading.

Paradise
If it really looks like it is written on the Internet, I have to see it as well as the Rainier National Park with its glaciers, waterfalls and thermal springs.

Further stops could be:

Olympia

Portland  (Oregon – OR)

Rockaway Beach

Newport

Myrtle Point

Eureka (Nevada – NV)

Las Vegas

Grand Canyon NP (Arizona – AZ)

Midvale / Salt Lake City (Utah – UT)

Santa Rosa – Sacramento – San Francisco  (California – CA)

Visalia / Oxnard

Lake Elsinore / Oceanside

San Diego

Los Angeles