Welcome to Canada

They told me I shouldn’t do it. They told me I couldn’t do it. And, at times, I didn’t think I would be able to do it.

Mission accomplished.

I drove our coach for 28 hours. 2,485 kilometres. 1,544 miles. From 7am on Wednesday, March 25th until 11am on Thursday, March 26th. We made three fuel stops and two washroom breaks. We did not enter any public places during our journey home. I used latex gloves to pump fuel and we used cards to process payments. I drank protein shakes and I ate energy bars to keep me going. We practiced social isolation for two weeks before returning to Canada. No symptoms. And we will be quarantined for two weeks at our current site. Hopefully no symptoms after that activity has been completed.

I maintained careful focus on operating our motorcoach during that big drive. If, at any time, I thought I would compromise our personal safety, or the safety of others on the road, I was more than prepared to pull off the road and find a spot to get some sleep.

It is a funny thing this human motivation. It can drive you from Florida to Canada.

I have several videos to share including a surreal encounter with a rest area and our crossing at the Ambassador Bridge. Whoever designed that border crossing should be fired but you will find out more once you see the video. I need a bit of time today and tomorrow to cut them and I will drop them once they are finished.

We are safe and sound in our site at the Hitch House, a large motorcoach dealership just north of Toronto. We are providing on-site security for the owners while their business is closed. In return, they are providing us a private area to park our coach and connect to services. We will be moving to our summer site once it opens in a few weeks.

I’ll share our border experience in case some of you might be wondering what it was like after the Government of Canada passed the Quarantine Act.

Most of the border interaction was what we have come to expect. A few questions about when we left, items to declare, money on hand, etc.

Then the officer read from a printed document.

“You are required by the Quarantine Act to complete a mandatory self-isolation for 14 days. Compliance with this order is subject to monitoring, verification and enforcement. If you violate this order, you will be convicted of a criminal offence, subject to a fine of up to $1 million and imprisonment up to three years. Welcome to Canada.”

With that, he provided us a printed overview of the mandatory self-isolation guidelines and sent us on our way.

Suspension of civil liberties. Government intervention at an unprecedented scale.

He did not take any specific information from us at the border. I suspect our government may already be tracking citizen movements by gathering data from our telecomm providers. While in Florida, both Lorraine and I received text messages from the Government of Canada urging us to register as travellers. They knew we were travelling and they knew that the best way to reach us was through our smartphones.

I expect to receive further texts from our government while we are in self-isolation. And probably a visit by some other officials if my smartphone dares to travel too far from our current stay-in-place location. From the CBC a couple of days back:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t ruled out using smartphone data to track whether people are complying with public health officials’ pleas for them to stay inside to curb the COVID-19 pandemic — a notion that raises some thorny ethical dilemmas regarding public health and privacy rights.

Tracking where the coronavirus will strike next, and convincing people to self-isolate and avoid gatherings, have proven challenging for public health officials around the world. That’s prompted some governments to lean on mobile data to keep tabs on infections — even to predict where the virus is heading.

“I think we recognize that in an emergency situation we need to take certain steps that wouldn’t be taken in non-emergency situations, but as far as I know that is not a situation we’re looking at right now,” he [Trudeau] said.

If you are having trouble sleeping, take a gander at the Quarantine Act. Imagine the effort it took to craft this document. Here it is: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/q-1.1/page-1.html

We are now entering day 2 of our mandatory 14-day isolation period. So far so good. Our church is helping us with any groceries or other items we might need. My cellular network is performing flawlessly. Anywhere between 75 and 100 Mbps.

Mandatory self-isolation is a social introvert’s dream come true. I will be fine.

Lorraine and Tabby might need some help. Fortunate to have the Internet to connect us with our family and our friends.

2 replies
  1. John Madill
    John Madill says:

    Welcome home. Quite the drive. You may seen some negative publicity around returning RVer’s in the Brockville area.

    Who is your cell provider/ISP providing those speeds?

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      It was an interesting experience. Glad to be back in Canada for whatever might happen next. I have seen a surprising amount of negative coverage by the media on returning snowbirds ignoring social isolation protocols. My guess is that with the deluge of people returning from their winter homes the government wanted to make sure a strong message about self-isolation was carried out loud and clear through a bill like the Quarantine Act. Publishing stories like the Brockville incident does encourage social shaming which can help to reduce unwanted behaviours. We made sure that we went directly to our isolation site without delay… even if it took a 28 hour drive. We are doing our part to slow down the transmission. But I don’t need to be threatened by the government with million dollar fines and lengthy jail terms. Looks like some might need a stronger stick to do their part 🙂

      We have a commercial international account with AT&T that we had acquired in the United States. Very expensive and grandfathered (not available). We do enjoy unlimited high-speed and until some alternatives come to market (e.g., high-speed LEO satellite) we won’t surrender our contract. On the congested towers, we typically get between 15-30 Mbps during peak use but otherwise we generally see 50 Mbps+ — assuming a good signal from the tower. Many factors influence the higher rates of speed including tower proximity and congestion. For now, I am thrilled to be well north of 50 Mbps even above 100 Mbps during off peak. More than enough to stream Netflix 🙂


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