20120720-220240.jpgOK, I made it to Canada but they made it a challenge for me. I now know that it is not possible for a cyclist or a pedestrian to get to Canada from Detroit. It is impossible. Kind of like you can check in but you can’t check out.

20120720-220510.jpgThe Ambassador Bridge is private property. They closed the sidewalk after 9-11. They have had two bomb scares in the last week. They hate pedestrians and cyclists. And bomb scares.

I wasn’t going to stop until they told me or I saw a sign prohibiting cyclists. I made it all the way to the busy toll booth. No, you can’t cross. No you can’t hitch a ride. No, you can’t stand here. Let us show you off the property. All the while pick-up truck after flatbed truck after van is going by, any of which I would have gladly paid their toll for a ride. No, Customs gets really mad and will arrest you if you do that.

So I am sitting on a concrete barrier, trying to get an AT&T signal (nearly impossible in Detroit), trying to call a cab while traffic is roaring by me. I can’t hear anything on my cell phone so I ask the Bridge Supervisor if I can sit in his pick-up truck while I make a call. He radios his dispatcher and they call me a cab: it will cost $49.75 to go to Canada. My next closest option is the ferry 40 miles north in Algonac (which only costs a dollar).

20120720-221603.jpgIt takes a while for my cab to get there because the driver needs to put his handgun in a lockbox before he picks me up (nearly all Detroit cabbies carry a gun and Customs gets really uptight if you bring a gun to Canada). He tells me the fare is $55. I guess you don’t need a gun to commit highway robbery. He made me pay the toll also.

My cab driver is Detroit born and raised. I tell him that I have heard that Flint is worse than Detroit. He seems to be bragging as he tells me of all the shootings and gives me details of one particular gruesome murder. Also, he is certain that we will be harassed and strip-searched by Customs. I never knew that cyclists were such prolific purveyors of terrorism. Come on, I’m wearing spandex. How much explosives can I have strapped to my body?

The Customs agent is professional and cute. I’m smiling my best innocent, tourist grin I can conjure up. We get all the usual questions; citizenship, ever been denied entry before, any cigarettes, liquor. The cab driver is turning around and going right back. I explain that it will take me about a week to get to Buffalo and back into a country where everyone is expected to own several assault weapons, a bullet-proof vest, and a gas mask (OK, I didn’t say that last part).

Then she asks me “How much money do you have?” I reply, “I don’t have any now, do you know how much this guy is charging me?” We get into a discussion about my credit and debit cards. Now she wants to know what my credit limit is and how much is available. I’m thinking that there is no way I want to tell her in font of the cab driver because then he is going to expect a bigger tip and I have no cash left. I am also thinking that these are weird questions. I explain to her that I have on-line access to my bank that has several thousand rapidly depreciating American dollars in it. She agrees to let me into Canada so that I can spend it all here. Actually, she says she was trying to determine if I had enough money to pay for medical bills in case I get hurt. Does she think this is Detroit?

Before too long, I am on my way, lost again, a nail in my back tire, a detour, no wireless signal, no cellphone signal, but my compass is still working. I am on Route 46, it is going east, so me and my buddy, Mr Headwind, go for it. I made it to Tilbury, Ontario after 60 miles with an extra 10 tacked on for general confusion. At some point tomorrow, I will be on Route 3, the Adventure Cycling route, along the northern shore of Lake Erie. There may be camping in my future the next couple of nights.

Bonus photos;

20120720-224710.jpgMexican Town section of Detroit.

20120720-225422.jpgI must be going n the right direction!

20120720-225743.jpgEila asked me if I had seen any wind turbines.