I Almost Got Arrested At The Canadian Border While Mileage Running


I arrived in Detroit this afternoon in the middle of a multi-city mileage run to Monterrey, Mexico. I was flying on Delta and invoked their Same Day Confirmed policy so I could spend a night in Detroit.

While on my flight earlier this morning, I planned to explore Detroit and visit Windsor, ON in Canada which is only 5 minutes away from downtown Detroit. I was stoked since I have never stepped foot outside DTW airport and have never been to Canada. There’s always a first time for everything.

I rented a car for 2,600 AA miles on Dollar and drove downtown to have lunch at Redsmoke BBQ in Greektown.

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Nothing was happening in Greektown on a Monday afternoon, so I headed towards the Canadian Border to visit Caesar’s Casino in Windsor, Ontario.


I took the Detroit-Windsor tunnel and paid the $4.50 toll which can be paid by credit card. After a few minutes, I was on Canadian soil. The border wait wasn’t too bad and it almost felt like lining up for gas at Costco.

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I rolled up with my rental car to the Canadian customs booth and handed over my US Passport Card. The agent straight off bat told me “You just violated a stop sign. You can’t pull up here like a drive through window.” I quickly apologized (I wasn’t fully paying attention, which was my fault)

The agent asked me “What was the purpose of the trip?” I responded that I just wanted to visit the Caesar’s Casino in Windsor. Then, she asked me “Where are you from?” and “What are you doing in Detroit?” I told her that I was on a multi-city trip with a stop in Detroit and continuing onto Mexico tomorrow. Apparently, my answer raised concerns and she placed a yellow form on my dashboard. The agent then told me to proceed to secondary screening and wait under the canopy.

With full of anxiety, I parked in the first empty spot and the customs officer read the notes from the previous agent. The officer said that I ran a stop sign and asked me if I was handicap? I said I apologized and didn’t see the stop sign and no, I am not handicapped. Then, he said “Well, you’re parked in a handicap spot” I apologized and said I didn’t see that and he told me, “Please pull over to the other side so I can deal with you.”

At this point, my anxiety level raised through the roof and I was kind of shaking. I couldn’t believe that I committed two traffic violations within a 10 minute span in Canadian soil. I was worried that I was going to get fined and arrested. The officer told me to shut the ignition, get out of the car, and leave all my personal belongings in the car. He proceeded to ask me questions like “What are you doing in Canada, Detroit, and Mexico?” I explained to the officer that I was on a multi-city mileage run on Delta, earning ~8,000 miles on a cheap $189 fare. He then proceeded to fully search my rental car and told me to proceed to Customs and Immigration office.

I went into the office, and another customs officer asked me the same questions. He believed me and told me to have fun at the casino. With a total sigh of relief, I was off scot-free and headed to the Caesar’s Casino in Windsor.

Coming back to the US was a breeze as the US Customs officer asked me “What were you doing in Canada?” I just said I was at  Caesar’s Casino in Windsor and he waived me through.


I learned a huge lesson today. I need to be fully aware of my surroundings and pay attention when crossing the border, even if it’s our friendly Canadian neighbors.


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9 Comments on "I Almost Got Arrested At The Canadian Border While Mileage Running"

  1. Damn dude, I’m suddenly glad we didn’t drive anywhere in SA. It sounds like we would have ended up shot or something. Hope the rest of your trip goes safely.

  2. I had a similar experience with the US customs officials on my return from my first visit to Canada. Got bored on a Saturday morning in CT so decided to go for a drive. Wound up in Montreal, turned around and started driving home. Customs asked how long I had been in Canada, and for some reason, I told the truth that I had only been there around 2 hours. Had to pull aside and spend more time having my car inspected for drugs than I actually spent in the country!

  3. Miles, Points, and Mai Tais | May 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Reply

    Canadian border crossings are always fun 😉

  4. Your problem was that you volunteered too much information. They don’t need to know about mileage runs. They just need the minimum information, the more you give them the more they dig your hole.

  5. You gotta admit, the concept of a Mileage Run sounds pretty bizarre to the uninitiated. I’m sure that didn’t help the fact that you committed two traffic violations!

    I do agree though that you probably gave them more information than was necessary.

  6. Wow! That is a big border adventure. That has to be a record for traffic violations in Canada at the border!

    That trip must have been stressful.

  7. Canada border crossing has been much more stressful for me than anywhere else in the world.

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