Border crossing during a global pandemic? A very different experience.
We decided to cross the border into Canada via Detroit. This was our first time crossing the Ambassador bridge in our coach. This particular border crossing is very poorly designed and challenging to navigate with a large motorhome.
When exiting from I-75 to take the Ambassador Bridge to Canada, you end up at a variety of crossroads with no signage telling you how to proceed.
Which way to the bridge? We had no idea. We made a guess and we followed some unmarked lanes with the bridge visible in the distance. The lanes do become marked with “AUTO” and an arrow painted on the road. Not all that easy to see in the dark.
If you stay in the correct lane, which is accomplished by following the left side of the off-ramp and not making any hard turns away from the road, you will eventually reach the top of the ramp. There you will find a series of very narrow lanes for collecting the bridge toll. Most of the lanes provide an unattended payment system. Designed for cars, not for motorcoaches.
Fortunately, we found a toll booth that had an attendant.
The fee to cross was $10 USD.
No choice but to take it slow. We were crossing at around 5 in the morning. Traffic was very light. I would hate to drive here in heavy traffic.
The bridge over the Detroit River was the longest suspended central span in the world when it was completed in 1929 at roughly 1,850 feet (560 m). The bridge’s total length is 7,500 feet (2,286 m). It is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade volume, carrying more than 25% of all merchandise trade between the United States and Canada. The four-lane bridge carries more than 10,000 commercial vehicles on a typical weekday.
But not the morning we went across. Traffic was almost nonexistent.
Enter the customs area and you might miss the tiny sign that points autos in one direction and trucks in another. No signs for RVs or buses.
We missed our entry lane and we managed to squeeze through some pylons to get to the customs booth.
The entrance into the customs lane is ridiculously narrow.
I had perhaps two inches of clearance on either side.
The customs officer told us the terms of entry: mandatory isolation for 14 days with the threat of a million dollar fine and three years of imprisonment.
Welcome to Canada.
I will try to avoid this border crossing in the future. Much easier to cross at Port Huron or Niagara Falls.
Here is a video of our entry into Canada. When I make reference at the end of the video to a 28-hour drive that includes the time it took for us to reach our site in Barrie. Barrie was roughly another 5 hours or so from the Ambassador Bridge border.