Like in a movie
Berni and I are looking at each other. The Police patrol stopped us. We’re on Highway 1, the Trans Canada Highway. It crosses the continent from east to west. It leads more than 6000 km through some provinces of Canada. We are in Manitoba, the land of infinite vastness. Somewhere in nowhere. Did you drive too fast?, I ask him. Although I know the answer in advance. Berni always keeps to the prescribed speed. We don’t want any trouble while abroad.
Nothing’s happening. The police car stands with blue light behind us and seems to watch us. This is awkward. Shall we go to the police? I’ll ask him. Yes, maybe, Berni answers. As soon as we open the car door, he yells at us towards: Back into your car.. !!!. The policeman has taken up his position and is pointing his gun at us. Oh, my goodness! It’s like a movie. Only for real! Let’s get in the car and . . . wait and see.
The policeman actually looks quite nice. He’s got a full red beard and could be from Scotland. He demands to see Berni’s driver’s license and car papers. So far, everything seems fine. But where’s the permission for us to drive the vehicle? What’s that? Isn’t it enough that we’re the owners? No. We should have a stamp from the border police. American or Canadian – he doesn’t care. But we didn’t. He disappears into his car with our papers. In the meantime a second police car has arrived. My heart is beating. What if we can’t go any further?
There are now two of them. The police officer called in smiles. You’re all right. We may continue our journey. Astonished, we start our Postbus. And I suddenly think of something: The border official in Victoria on Vancouver Island asked for the car registration number. Unexpectedly he waved us through, because his „stupid” computer system couldn’t read the German number anyway. Probably the cop just received the same plausible answer. I hope this doesn’t happen to us more often.
Open up, the next scene
Berni and I are looking at each other. We’re still on Highway 1 in Manitoba. A black car with car sirens on stopped us. I don’t believe it! Again?
We won’t move this time. We won’t have to wait long. This cop is wearing a other uniform and I can’t spot a gun either. That’s comforting for a change. Had we seen the sign on the road? he asks us. What sign? About 200 m behind us we saw a sign with boats. I don’t know what that means. Berni points to the kayaks on the roof of the post bus: That are only kayaks. No motorized boats! It doesn’t matter, the officer explains, . . . and if we had a plastic inflatable child boat on the roof!
It is about the zebra mussels, also called hiking mussels. It is a very competitive species that destroys the biodiversity of water bodies. They pass through a larval stage, which also threatens the groundwater supply of the villages. The larvae attach themselves to everything that floats and are distributed over large areas. In short, all boats in the Winnipeg region must be inspected and cleaned at such stations otherwise, a fine of $612.00 is due.
I open my eyes: $612.00? Did I get that right? Yes! Where are we going? he’s asking us. After, Manitoba we are going to Ontario, in the neighboring province, the land of 1000 lakes . . . , I answer him kindly. Hm, he wants to show mercy before justice, as long as we don’t paddle in Manitoba. . . He’s giving us a (free) warning. Relieved we start our Postbus.
Berni and I are looking at each other. We’ll be on Hwy 1 for a long time to come. We’ve got over 3,000 miles to go. As I said, we don’t want any difficulties while abroad . . .