Saturday, October 31, 2009

Point Roberts, WA: Part One

(Point Roberts, WA border crossing)

Being consumers in Canada means paying higher prices for durables and electronics. I try to purchase locally where possible but sometimes distributors conspire to make that impossible. I don't blame the retailers as their costs are dictated by others in the supply chain, but when the selling price of an item is cheaper in the USA, than the wholesale cost is to your dealer, then something is wrong. Educated consumers, such as I, will scour the internet for pricing before making a purchase decision. I don't mind paying more but within reason. Other times things just aren't available here at all. That is when I will purchase on-line from a reputable source, or from eBAY with a seller with a lot of positive feedback.

(Scorpion LED Voltmeter on left, my electonic gizmo on Right)


Many years ago while purchasing lots of car parts, mostly not available in Canada, I set up a mailing address (PO box) in Point Roberts, WA to save on the exhorbitant charges levied by UPS. I ordered the Scorpion LED Volt Meter from the same place that Charlie6 (Redleg's Rides) (<-- link) obtained his, thanks to a link posted by Chris (Everyday Riding) (<-- link) . So thanks to Dom & Chris I was planning to pick it up today and also to take a few pictures for Mr Conchscooter (Photographer of Key West Diary) (<-- link) . He had asked me months ago and the closest I got was to Tsawwassen (<-- link to prev post) . You require your passport and Nexus to cross the US border, even though Point Roberts doesn't go anywhere and the road dead ends when it reaches the water and I don't normally carry it with me preferring to leave it safely tucked away at home. I haven't made a purposeful visit in a while.

This morning as I was heading out for breakfast with the "guys" at our local motorcycle cafe I decided to check my tires.

(Self contained Portable air compressor with digital pressure gauge)

It was a very good thing. With the lower temperatures and "seepage" my rear tire was only 26 psi, and the front was 28 psi. After a few minutes I had the rear at 32 psi and front at 35 psi. The steering feels more nimble now and I feel more secure as I head out on the road. I had a problem with my other bike due to negligence for not checking my tire pressures and it was only by luck that I escaped uninjured.

(border line-up, Nexus lane)

I don't like border line-ups which is the reason that we are Nexus registered. We are pre-screened by Homeland/Canadian Borders services. We have special transponders and ID cards and enter the USA through special lanes. I left home at 11am and arrived at the Letter Carrier 30 minutes later. Point Roberts is only 45 kms away (25 miles) so it is very convenient for me to collect my US purchases

(The Letter Carrier, Point Roberts, WA)

This is a very busy place for those of us who route our parcels here for pickup. As you can see, many others order their tires from the "states" and ship them here for huge savings. I was talking to another person when I arrived and he just purchased a set of tires which cost him $780. and he said they would be $1,500. in Canada.

The Letter Carrier is about 1 km from the border along the same road. When I turned around I noticed the line-up for those wanting to head north back into Canada

(View North 1 km south of the Canadian/US border: Point Roberts, WA)

I've never seen it this busy so I went over an spoke to one of the drivers. She told me that she came here to fill up her gas tank. It was .85c Cdn/Ltre down here and in Canada I noticed that the price was 1.099 / litre. This is a huge difference

(Cdn .85c / ltr in Point Roberts vs Cdn 1.099 / ltr in Canada)

Using the US gallon conversion of 3.8 ltrs/gal = Cdn$3.23 in Point Roberts as compared to Cdn$4.17 in Canada. This is a huge difference.

There is not much in Point Roberts. There is a post office, 3 gas stations, 2 banks, a food outlet, 2 restaurants and 1 cafe along with a few other businesses. Don't take this as an all inclusive listing, just what I noticed as I whizzed by

I head south and aim for the beach area which used to be so active back in the days when alcohol was not sold to persons under 25 in Canada.

(Main beach area ahead)

Before Expo '86. liquor was also not sold on Sundays in British Columbia

(The Breakers, Point Roberts)

The Breakers was "THE" place to be if you were under 25 or wanted a drink on Sunday. After 1986 things were different and people stopped coming here. It died a slow death into the late 1990's, and now it is just an abandoned building

Across from the Breakers, we have the Reef Tavern. Doesn't seem very busy but they are still here. During the summer I notice many bikes parked outside, usually of the cruiser variety with lots of chrome, leather and loud pipes

(The Reef)

I park my bike in the nearly deserted parking lot and take a break. It is nice to sit on a log, feel the sea breeze and just look out upon the water


If you look out at the horizon you will notice Roberts Bank and the Tsawwassen Ferry terminal in the distance. Roberts Bank is a huge coal port for deep sea vessels. Both of the southern terminus' are in American waters accessed by long man-made causeways from Canada

There is a road which loops completely around the peninsula with many Conch style homes on the waterfront side


While I was riding about I was thinking that Point Roberts is very similar to Key West FL, not in temperature but in the way that it was originally a place for people to have summer homes by the sea. All these cottages are very small and were not designed for year round living. They were places to be used on weekends and during the summer. I noticed that this is changing with new development underway

(New construction in progress)

There is one state park where the public can roam around on the beach, have picnics/bbq's and perhaps camp.


There were a few signs in other areas which proclaimed that "their" beach was on private land and was to be avoided

(NO Trespassing)

On one side of the park you see a new home next to a mobile home. Point Roberts seems to be a place of contrasts, new and old mixed together, permanent homes vs summer cottages. It's hard to imagine that such pristine waterfront property is so sparsly populated as compared to Tsawwassen on the Canadian side where homes command such a premium price.

(Contrasts of new & old, everything goes in Point Roberts)

On the ring road, the houses/cottages on the right are on beach frontage, on the left not to be left out they have made an artificial lake so as to appear to be on the "water"


On the right, water side, most of the homes are smaller cottages, and there are a few empty lots just waiting for development


to be continued . . .


  1. Interesting stuff.I think I would get rock fever if I was stuck on a peninsula with one road out and a huge line to get out. Oh wait that was exactly what happened today on Highway One when someone got creamed and closed the road at Mile Marker 9...

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  3. point roberts reminds me of fortuna, eureka, and crescent city. we are trying desperately to protect the coastline and what is built on it. my uncle retired up there (well south from you, lol) and has become immersed in local govt trying to help.

  4. Great photos and travel tales, and nice to see another moto-blogger from Vancouver!

  5. It's a new day. Where's part two please?

  6. Dear Sir:

    This is like me going to Mexico to buy beans. I guess every paradise has its price. Point Roberts looks nice though. Good pictures.

    I refuse to support any stupid federal program that requires one to carry a Nexus card with a proximity-reading RFID chip in it, and which gives any government the right to continually investgate me just so I don't have to stand in line.

    There is no convenience in the world worth that much to me.

    I have been writing about RFID technology for six years. Whatever they told you is a lie. Most experts regard it as an extremely weak link in a paper-thin mirage of security.

    And somebody, in both governments, mde a bundle out of that contract, at your expense.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad

  7. great pics. Never ventured past the postal outlet. I usually don't head any farther south than that and make a bee line back to the border. In fact I'll be heading down in about a week or so as I just purchased some ebay stuff.

  8. Mr Conchscooter:

    You should get a cottage in Point Roberts. I can foresee much higher prices on the way judging from the development. If this was in Canada it would already be sold out.

    Ms M:

    The California coast has so much to explore. Perhaps one day . . . I will see you down there


    Thanks for stopping by. I like your pictures too, you are also quite the photographer and to think that we live very close together

    Mr Conch:

    Hold onto your horses ! I can't work as fast as you. Seems like the words fall out of your mouth faster than I can type. Look now, it has been done

    Jack "r":

    It's a no brainer. you choose; a 2 hour lineup, or a 5 min lineup. For people who cross the border all the time, like me, I have to have it


    You should explore a little. See what's around the next corner, over the next hill, be adventurous. What did you buy and are you giving me one too ?

  9. Dear Bob:

    Do you carry that pump on your bike? And if not, do you have an inflation device that you carry on the bike in the event you experience a slow leak or a fixable flat out on the road someplace?

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad

  10. Chris:

    There is always something magical about ocean and water views, especially when you are far from the ocean. Added to the smell of the ocean air and salt water it is very seductive.

    Jack "r":

    I just got tired of having to hook up my electric air compressor, run out the 14ga extention cord and the air hoses and having to put them all away again.
    So for home use, I purchased a modular portable air compressor where the batteries also fit my other power tools.
    I have some storage under the seat of my Wee where I keep tools, registration, screwcriver set, open end wrenches, antihistamine and Celebrex, along with a few of those square packages with those round doughnut things which you used to carry in your wallet as a teenager. And there is still room for a small 12V air compressor and a worm tire patch kit with rasp and inserter.
    My logic was that if I ever got a flat that I would bump into someone who knew how to use all this stuff, so I wanted to be prepared.