When we initially started planning our travels, we really wanted to go to Canada. We knew we would be headed back to Portland in late September to celebrate and attend our friend’s wedding, so were trying to making a big loop, starting at Glacier National Park, going up through Canada, back down around the Cascades in WA and eventually back to OR.
When we heard that Canada was finally opening their borders, we were elated and started making plans, booking camp sites and trying to figure out our journey. Their entry requirements seemed simple enough for us to meet: show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test result. OK, no problem!
It turns out that the COVID test has created a huge wrinkle for many people. Canada requires a molecular test, and they want that result within 72 hours of your border crossing date. Again, this didn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but we soon found out that there are two tests we could obtain, only one of which would guarantee the turn around time to meet Canada’s entry requirements.
The first is a PCR molecular test that is sent off to a lab. Everywhere I called said they would NOT guarantee the 72 hour turnaround time needed, which meant we could only get the Rapid Diagnostic Test (ID Now) to meet the 72 hour requirement. Well, here in Montana you cannot get that test. The closest appointment I found for this test is over 440 miles away in Washington! The second closest is over 520 miles away in Idaho! When I looked up testing near Portland or Seattle, I ran into the same issue…no testing available. Most places that offer the test are not releasing testing times more than 48 hours in advance, so trying to schedule out isn’t an option either. 😡
So, say you are one of the people that managed to get the test. It turns out that you may have to pay for your COVID testing and it could cost you upwards of $200 per person. Still itching to go to Canada? Not only do you need to present a negative COVID test to enter Canada, but you need to get re-tested to re-enter the United States. And again, there is no telling how much it would cost for a COVID test in Canada given you are not a Canadian citizen.
After looking at these and other restrictions we may run into crossing the border, we decided it wasn’t worth it to try and go at this time until the US and Canada and get on the same page and make it easier and more affordable to meet the qualifications to travel to and from their respective countries. We tried, Canada. Maybe next year…
So what does this mean for us? Well, we extended our stay here at West Glacier for a few more days while we formulated a plan. The biggest challenge has been finding a place to go where we can enjoy an extended stay, do a little backpacking, and not run into any major air quality or fire danger issues that are a concern up and down the west coast. We landed on heading to Wyoming and enjoying the Grand Tetons and surrounding area. Most of the RV parks nearby Grand Tetons are booked up for the season, but we found a place near Dubois, WY. Funnily enough, our RV park neighbors also stayed there, which solidified our decision to book it and head south. We had an opportunity back in 2017 to visit Grand Tetons, but it was just an overnight trip, so we have been itching to go back. Stay tuned as we head out and explore this area. 🏔