Madeline Island Residents Cheer "The Best Ice Road in Maybe a Decade"

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Real Estate Broker/Owner with Madeline Island Realty 50317-90

 

Madeline Island Residents Cheer "The Best Ice Road in Maybe a Decade"

 

Yesterday, I drove the "ice road" between Bayfield, Wisconsin and Madeline Island for the first time in just over a year.  And it was one of the smoothest, most pleasant ice road passages I've ever experienced.

We overheard a local resident in the Mission Hill Coffee House who proclaimed this year's ice road, "the best in maybe a decade".  I'd have to agree with him.

The ice is thick and smooth this year, without noticeable ruts or bumps.  We were told last week that there was a pressure crack close to the Bayfield approach, but there was no sign of it yesterday.

A cautionary sign on the Bayfield approach reads "travel at your own risk".  But once you drive onto the ice road in your car or light truck and begin your trip across the two-plus miles of Lake Superior separating the Island from the mainland, you might even consider that advisory message to be excessively cautious.

Drivers crossing the ice road to and from Madeline Island are advised to travel at a speed not to exceed fifteen miles per hour.  The folks who maintain the ice road tell Islanders that vehicle speeds of over 15 miles per hour may create wave motion beneath the ice sheet which can denigrate the ice.

Once the ice road is opened, we all become custodians of this valuable resource, in a way.  The ice road provides Islanders with the ability to come and go at all hours of the day and night (weather and ice conditions permitting, of course), without paying a ferry fee or buying a windsled ticket.

We also heard the good news that the ice caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are now accessible to the public by crossing the solidly frozen Lake Superior ice, for the first time in five years.  The caves, located eighteen miles west of Bayfield, Wisconsin are an extremely popular area attraction in winter, drawing as many as a thousand visitors per day on midwinter weekends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wisconsin Ashland County La Pointe
Groups:
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Posts to Localism
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Rainmaker
4,798,170
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Eric, not being a resident of the north, this idea of driving on an ice road is very scary to me.  

Jan 21, 2014 09:16 PM #1
Rainmaker
567,947
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Gabe,

I'm generally pretty cautious, but driving an ice road is really quite simple.  First, you drive with your window rolled halfway down and your seat belt off.  This is because you may need to get out of the vehicle quickly, in the unlikely event that you go through the ice.

We follow directions from the good folks who plow and maintain the ice road. They take core samples daily to determine the thickness of the ice.  If they tell us to stay off the ice road for a few days, we do that.  And it's essential that drivers stay on the plowed road, rather than experimenting with their own route across the ice.

Jan 21, 2014 10:27 PM #2
Rainmaker
4,432,583
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I can't imagine anyone cheering about an ice road. I am scared to drive on ice and snow.

Jan 21, 2014 11:31 PM #3
Rainmaker
567,947
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

Gita - Twelve inches of ice will (presumably) support at 7 to 8 ton truck.  I feel reasonably safe in my little Toyota Camry.

The Islanders get excited about the ice road, probably because it represents a period of freedom from having to structure their lives around the ferry schedule (or windsled schedule in winter months).  They can come and go as they please, and they are able to transport groceries and other purchases more easily.

Jan 21, 2014 11:37 PM #4
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Rainmaker
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Eric Kodner

CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -
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