In this thread I'll talk a bit about my past adventures and developments on my mountain land in the Rocky Mountains.
The story starts in the summer of 2012...
Going through all the ‘Gatekeeper’ areas of airports on both sides of the Atlantic was a bit of an ordeal. But nothing to worry anyone who has traveled about a bit and doesn’t get intimidated easily.
I had the paperwork for temporarily exporting my trusty Benelli shotgun.
The customs folk at the British Airport were most intrigued!
I had all the necessary paperwork, yet a few questions were asked.
On arriving at the first airport I had to pass through the auspices of the DHS!
They didn’t like my passport as it was quite rough and tumble in appearance.
After asking me a barrage of questions I made my answers back. I’d wrongly assumed that as other country’s were ok with my passport’s condition that the USA would too. How wrong I was
I was sent into ‘secondary inspections’ with a red flagged folder!
Was I now in Team America’s bad books?
The secondary inspections area had a sign outside it that assured being treated with respect and courtesy etc. That looked good, although the somewhat shabby waiting room, manned by another 3 DHS guys, had an edge of oppression, even fear to it.
Sat down were a few roguish characters, Black, Mexican and of course TD who now was in their midst…
I walked right to the front.
Nobody said anything to me, not even the DHS dudes who were wordlessly tapping away at computer screens. They were almost in another world the concentration they had.
As I looked around for some ticket machine like some banks have I saw nothing.
Then a fourth DHS guy came in through a side door and, without a word, snatched the red folder containing my passport and other papers from my hands.
He walked around the counter, threw it in an ‘in-tray’ then told me to take a seat.
I asked him was it ok to go get my bags from the baggage area.
“Nope, wait here until you’re called forward. Don’t worry about your bags, they’ll be kicked off to the side when it’s done moving.’
Rough and tumble indeed!
After watching a Mexican sounding lady get the third degree it was my turn to be assayed before the gatekeepers of the USA.
He asked me similar questions to what I’d been asked earlier. I answered again, honestly, in my chirpy, happy go lucky manner. Or at least as best I could given the long flight over the Atlantic!
‘Ok go get your bags.’ He said neutrally after the barrage was over.
I did so, noting the sniffer dogs being brought out nearby.
The DHS certainly isn’t for show that’s for sure!
As I walked back in the door with my Bergen on my back and jumbo-bag trundling in the young DHS dude’s eye’s were astounded at my set-up.
The guy wondered, after marveling at 120 liter capacity Bergen, short haircut and style if I was going to join a militia! LOL.
I told him I was ex-military doing some adventure travel around the US, which is the truth of course. This seemed to set him at ease.
Is there some kind of a hidden-license having a military background with government / federal types I wonder??
Just prior to starting on my bags I told him the jumbo one had my shotgun inside with all the trimmings, tags etc.
Before he had chance to grill me I showed him my approval paperwork from the ATF gatekeepers.
<The ATF they did a rapid 1 week processing of this when I‘d applied for my shotgun to be temporarily exported. They also do this for free too!>
He looked at it briefly and seemed ok with it but asked some of his companions for a second opinion.
They were talking about getting the ATF to come and look at it, but in the end he did his own check, comparing the serial numbers on the paperwork to that of the Beneli.
One of his companion’s amusingly said they’d seized 2 firearms yesterday.
If I hadn’t of gotten the approval papers from the ATF I’m sure mine would of made a third!
After the first few items of specialist equipment bags being searched I reminded him of my ex-military background, otherwise he really would of reckoned me to be a rebel militia dude. He chilled out a bit then and one of the DHS was an ex-marine chirped up a few friendly comments (as I was Army not Marines).
After pulling all my stuff from my Bergen and jumbo-bag I had to put it back in. He did apologize for having to search my stuff and as I put my stuff back in the bags he went back to the computer counter and began tapping away at the keys.
I was told to sit down again, after a few more minutes he called me forward again.
‘You’re good, have a nice trip.’ He said, slamming a stamp into my battered passport giving it the mark of approval for a few months of travel.