Have You Ever Driven Across the Lake Superior Ice Road?
Remember the History Channel show Ice Road Truckers and dreamed about travelling the ice roads in the polar Canadian and Alaska wilderness? You can take your own car on an ice road much closer to home on Lake Superior in Wisconsin.
The Lake Superior Ice Road is a crossing from the mainland to Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands. When the lake is not frozen a ferry travels between Bayfield and Madeline Island. However for several glorious weeks in winter, you're allowed to drive across Lake Superior.
Once the ice thickens enough to support conventional vehicles the Madeline Island Ice Road is officially opened to cars, trucks, and buses. The company operating the Windsled then switches to a large passenger van running on the same service schedule. With both the bus service and private vehicles able to cross the lake, the pace of activity on the island picks up a bit.
The road is 2-and-a-quarter miles, part of Bayfield County Route H, long and is checked every day by Arnie Nelson, the keeper of the road,
for new cracks, soft dips or any other signs of weakening. He parked at a potentially thin spot and watched as his son dipped a roaring chain saw straight into the ice for a measurement: still 23 inches thick, plenty sturdy to hold cars and light trucks.
If you travel up to northern Wisconsin, here's the map of the ice road: