Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

If you follow me on Facebook you probably already know the situation.  No, we didn’t cross over into Canada on Sunday.  It all started in the parking lot of a laundromat in Minot, ND.  Bored, waiting on clothes to finish drying, I decided to run a final check of all our border-related documentation.  That’s when I noticed the one, stupid thing that I neglected to check…. Yep, my passport was expired….  F_ _ _!!!   OK, it’s actually quite comical in retrospect.  I’ve been planning the trip for months.  I’ve worked out all the costs, all of the locations, down to the most trivial, petty minutiae.  I even scheduled an appointment for Boots to get a health certificate in Edmonton, AB so she would be legal crossing into Alaska.  How I missed this silly but glaringly obvious detail I’ll never know.

In repair-the-situation-quick mode, I immediately contacted a couple of passport expeditors, hoping to get everything done without leaving Minot.  After all, it’s a reasonably large town, at least by North Dakota standards.  No dice.  Everyone quoted case loads that were far too heavy to be able to help me in the time frame I needed.  Also, everyone I spoke to said I was much better off making an appointment at a regional passport office and pleading for a will-call emergency renewal.  While Minneapolis would have been closer, there were no appointments available until later in the week.  Appointments for the Denver office were available much sooner. Besides, I couldn’t bear the thought of going in reverse, anyway.

A long drive south, all the way to Denver

As soon as the clothes were folded, we started driving south.  Three days and over 800 miles later, we are now in Denver.  And we have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday, June 6) to plead with the people with the power.  I’ll wrap up today printing forms at a local Fed-Ex Center, obtaining passport photos, and generally documenting the most compelling case that I can for an emergency exception.  I’m thinking best case scenario is a 24 hour turnaround.  I’m afraid to think of worst case, but it’s probably an eight business day turnaround…. Painful, but manageable.  It’ll take a lot of heavy driving; but even with the longer wait I should still be able to make it to Anchorage in time to pick up Jen for our next rendezvous and our epic week in Denali in early July.  If the wait time is significant, I suppose I could arrange to pick up the passport in the Seattle office.  That would allow a few days of driving while I wait.  Not my scheduled route, but it would be a pleasant alternative.  In a nutshell, I have no idea what to expect.  I’m just becoming my most charming self, boot-strapping my documentation, and generally hoping for the best…

Wish me luck.  And maybe make a sacrifice to the travel gods on my behalf?  Well, at least a convincing prayer, anyway…