Thom has been banned in his homeland of unsecurity - true, blue Oregon. So the the next step was obvious. Blame Canada! ... i mean, go to Canada. Which is easier than it sounds. First of all, you can't get there from here... i mean here from there... i mean, i got here, but it wasn't easy.
First of all, the train doesn't go all the way any more. Imagine (and this will make sense only to folks who have been a while in Germany). Imagine you lived in Stuttgart (the capital of Baden-Württemberg - a city much like Portland in many ways), and you only had the following train connections out of town:
4 x daily: to Hamburg (with bus connections to Copenhagen)
3 x daily: to Tübingen (with one train daily continuing to Italy)
1 x daily: to Warsaw
Granted, Germany has several times the population density than Oregon, but is it any wonder that the average Pacific Norwester doesn't "go by train"? Twice, our passenger train pulled over to let another train pass. In all of Europe, i only remember this happening in one other country... Portugal. Then as we were waiting to catch our connecting bus out of Seattle, the bus driver informed us that the trip had been overbooked and passengers would be allowed to board on a first come first served basis. There were a dozen senior citizens, samt luggage, on their way to Vancouver to catch a cruise to Alaska. I was almost killed in the stampede.
And then came... the border. Here's the timeline:
3pm joined border car cue
3:15 parked at immigration office
3:45 luggage unloaded (for no good reason)
4:00 immigration control (42 passengers - actually efficient!)
4:20 waiting on one bus passenger who "had some issues"
5pm into Canada... finally, eh.
I once took a Turkish guest worker bus from Istanbul to Munich through the former East Block. The security checks at the Bulgarian and Bavarian borders were a cake walk compared to getting into Canada. Score one more victory for Osama bin Forgotten