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Old 06-15-2010, 07:39 PM   #1
Mad*Max
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Default Sarnia vs. Detroit Border Crossing

I've never crossed at Sarnia but was wondering if the people who cross in that area know which one is recommended (i.e. less busy) if I am going to cross on a Saturday afternoon. I would hate to be sitting for an hour or more if I could have avoided it, thanks.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:51 PM   #2
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I always go through Sarnia. Much quicker from my experience.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:55 PM   #3
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I have always crossed at the Windsor/Detroit Ambassador Bridge.

I heard Sarnia is faster though.

But (I heard) you might prefer crossing at Windsor/Detroit if you are a minority ethnic group.


Does anyone remember author, Peter Watts & US Customs & Border guard ?

From another forum...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jung
War of words ends in author's arrest at border

I guess US Customs & Border Guards care about who/what leaves the US too ?

They seized the rental car, & left him to the Canadian Customs in Sarnia, ON with no winter jacket (it was in the rental car) & shirtless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by Peter Watts
"Along some other timeline, I did not get out of the car to ask what was going on.
I did not repeat that question when refused an answer and told to get back into the vehicle.
In that other timeline I was not punched in the face, pepper-sprayed, ****-kicked, handcuffed, thrown wet and half-naked into a holding cell for three ****ing hours, thrown into an even colder jail cell overnight, arraigned, and charged with assaulting a federal officer, all without access to legal representation (although they did try to get me to waive my Miranda rights. Twice.).
Nor was I finally dumped across the border in shirtsleeves: computer seized, flash drive confiscated, even my ****ing paper notepad withheld until they could find someone among their number literate enough to distinguish between handwritten notes on story ideas and, I suppose, nefarious terrorist plots.
I was not left without my jacket in the face of Ontario's first winter storm, after all buses and intercity shuttles had shut down for the night.

"In some other universe I am warm and content and not looking at spending two years in jail for the crime of having been punched in the face."
PS: & for the cheapest gasoline when you come back.
Stop by the Ammex Detroit Duty-Free Shop before crossing the Ambassador Bridge.
TAX FREE GASOLINE !!!
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Last edited by Mike Jung; 06-15-2010 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:05 PM   #4
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Iam a minority and always go thru Sarnia never a problem, but i never cross windsor border, as always warned that they have construction going on, i would prefer sarnia. Last time i went few months ago literally it was less than 2 minutes. They welcoming now enhanced driver license or passport. Thats the place kill your jokes or sense humor and be specific in answering questions, if you taking vette turn off the engine, and answer only what he/she asked thats it.

Dang always a problem entering my own country too many questions mainly what you bought there, where these tax money going?

Last edited by sami85L98; 06-15-2010 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:07 PM   #5
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I travel routinely to Michigan and TN and always cross via Sarnia (Bluewater Bridge).

The odd time I've travelled thru Ambassador but stopped for a three reasons:

1. construction nighmare - although the roads have been 99% finished, the bridge is a nightmare and there was a detour just inside of Canada when coming home.

2. I have found Sarnia faster and in a much nicer part of town (woman traveling alone and typically when on the way home, its the wee hours of the morning).

3. The duty-free bites on the way home. Rinky-dink little store. Girlie needs her Lancome and Bulgari....

As for the border guards, I have a NEXUS card, so already pre-approved to enter the US - validated by the FBI. Makes cross-border travel so much easier.

Line-ups all depend on the time crossing. Avoid rush hour traffic during the week and on weekends, plan to be there by about 7-8am to avoid long line ups.


lauri
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad*Max View Post
I've never crossed at Sarnia but was wondering if the people who cross in that area know which one is recommended (i.e. less busy) if I am going to cross on a Saturday afternoon. I would hate to be sitting for an hour or more if I could have avoided it, thanks.
There was a link to a website yesterday on Sympatico that listed border crossings & wait times for all of Canada,but I didn't save it. A google search of Canadian Border crossings should find it though.Try this one,I believe it was it.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/sto...er-100614.html

Last edited by Airwilf; 06-15-2010 at 08:11 PM. Reason: add info
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airwilf View Post
There was a link to a website yesterday on Sympatico that listed border crossings & wait times for all of Canada,but I didn't save it. A google search of Canadian Border crossings should find it though.Try this one,I believe it was it.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/sto...er-100614.html
http://apps.cbp.gov/bwt/
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:46 PM   #8
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I had no problems crossing at Sarnia on my way to the Chevy Vette Fest in Chicago a few years ago.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:08 PM   #9
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Thanks all for posting, looks like Sarnia is the more recommended crossing point. I believe it is also closer from Toronto than Detroit.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jung View Post
Thanks for the link.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sami85L98 View Post
Thats the place kill your jokes or sense humor and be specific in answering questions
Very good advice, unfortunately, I had to find out the hard way...
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WYCKD 1 View Post
I have found Sarnia faster and in a much nicer part of town (woman traveling alone and typically when on the way home, its the wee hours of the morning).
This is also applicable when travelling with family (as in my case).
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:37 PM   #11
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When you're travelling into Sarnia on the 402 watch for the reduced speed limit as you get closer to the bridge. It changes about half way into the city. It's a great spot for the OPP to catch speeders and you can be 50 over the limit very quickly. Having lived in Sarnia, it is the fastest way to cross to Michigan.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WYCKD 1 View Post
I travel routinely to Michigan and TN and always cross via Sarnia (Bluewater Bridge).

The odd time I've travelled thru Ambassador but stopped for a three reasons:

1. construction nighmare - although the roads have been 99% finished, the bridge is a nightmare and there was a detour just inside of Canada when coming home.

2. I have found Sarnia faster and in a much nicer part of town (woman traveling alone and typically when on the way home, its the wee hours of the morning).

3. The duty-free bites on the way home. Rinky-dink little store. Girlie needs her Lancome and Bulgari....

As for the border guards, I have a NEXUS card, so already pre-approved to enter the US - validated by the FBI. Makes cross-border travel so much easier.

Line-ups all depend on the time crossing. Avoid rush hour traffic during the week and on weekends, plan to be there by about 7-8am to avoid long line ups.


lauri
Sarnia is the way to go.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:16 AM   #13
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crossed both many times,in Windsor you have a choice,bridge or tunnel,bridge is easier,
Sarnia twinned their bridge 10 or so yrs ago,to keep pace with cross boarder traffic,which has died except for certain time frames.
The border guards are bored,have your ducks in a row,including where you plan to stop for the night(hotel name and contact info),even if it is bogus.If you travel with someone under 18,have a signed letter from their mother saying it is ok for them to travel with you,in the USA,include contact info for the mother,have it ready at the border.
Have an exact return date,even if it is bogus.Any hesitation may get you an invite to come inside,,,,
Remember,do not lie,these guys are bored and have access to a lot of your personal info,,,,

and hope you do not get that,"computer picked you for a random search",card,,,,
even then it is no big deal if you have your ducks in a row.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMB4ME View Post
When you're travelling into Sarnia on the 402 watch for the reduced speed limit as you get closer to the bridge. It changes about half way into the city. It's a great spot for the OPP to catch speeders and you can be 50 over the limit very quickly. Having lived in Sarnia, it is the fastest way to cross to Michigan.
and really, the entire 402 is a hotspot for the OPP. Lots of spots for them to hide...
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Old 06-16-2010, 01:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMB4ME View Post
When you're travelling into Sarnia on the 402 watch for the reduced speed limit as you get closer to the bridge. It changes about half way into the city. It's a great spot for the OPP to catch speeders and you can be 50 over the limit very quickly. Having lived in Sarnia, it is the fastest way to cross to Michigan.
having lived in Windsor it was the fastet way to cross into Michigan,,,,
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOCRISIS View Post
crossed both many times,in Windsor you have a choice,bridge or tunnel,bridge is easier,
Sarnia twinned their bridge 10 or so yrs ago,to keep pace with cross boarder traffic,which has died except for certain time frames.
The border guards are bored,have your ducks in a row,including where you plan to stop for the night(hotel name and contact info),even if it is bogus.If you travel with someone under 18,have a signed letter from their mother saying it is ok for them to travel with you,in the USA,include contact info for the mother,have it ready at the border.
Have an exact return date,even if it is bogus.Any hesitation may get you an invite to come inside,,,,
Remember,do not lie,these guys are bored and have access to a lot of your personal info,,,,

and hope you do not get that,"computer picked you for a random search",card,,,,
even then it is no big deal if you have your ducks in a row.
Sounds like these guys have got their thumb up their $#@! As honest as I look, I am always deeply interogated even when crossing with family. My worst experience was crossing back into Canada from Alaska last year, they wouldn't believe me that I was on holidays So Sarnia is starting to make me feel uncomfortable...
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:12 PM   #17
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Dont be afraid pankaj, look at myself iam single always travelling alone, my last trip to US is past sunday, i went to buffalo to buy stuff from harbor frieght i took the vette.

Officer: purpose of visit
me: buying some Automotive tools from harbor frieght
officer: where is that
me: 10-15 min's from here (buffalo)
officer: how long you will stay there
me: few hrs and back to canada same day sir
officer: any thing to declare
me: no sir
officer: how much cash
me: 500 USD
officer: just curious why you cross the border from sarnia (MI) and entered thru rainbow bridge (NY)
me: went to Atlanta directly from sarnia and on the way back met my cousin in NY and made my way thru buffalo which is closer than sarnia. (this trip i made last year christmas)
Officer: is this your car
me: yes sir
officer: what you do
me: work for so and so company

Officer: gave my PP and showes thumb and say go.

thats it, as nocrisis said do not think after he asked the question, your answer should be quick, spot on and brief and say it confidently and little louder. Turn off engine if driving vette. GL chief be confident.

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Old 06-16-2010, 10:15 PM   #18
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oh yea,remove sunglasses,everyone,and at night turn interior light on,,,,,,and do look them in the eyes,,,
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:11 PM   #19
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So we ended up crossing at Detroit both ways - got pretty cool officers both ways - they barely went through their standard questions. The good thing was that there was a steady flow of cars going through customs.

Pictures of the trip to follow...
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad*Max View Post
So we ended up crossing at Detroit both ways - got pretty cool officers both ways - they barely went through their standard questions. The good thing was that there was a steady flow of cars going through customs.

Pictures of the trip to follow...
good choice,bridge or tunnel?
cannot believe your trip is over,wow,must have been awesome,,,,,,
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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