If You Had the Chance, Would You Drive Your Car Across a Frozen Lake Michigan?
Portions of the Great Lakes freeze over each winter. If you had the opportunity, would you drive the full 90 miles across Lake Michigan between Muskegon and Milwaukee?
An event posted on Facebook recently says they plan to do just that.
To be clear, this appears to be a tongue-in-cheek event posting, there is no known agency such as the Coast Guard or State Police that has sanctioned or has involvement in any such event. Driving across a frozen lake is exceptionally dangerous and could lead to your death by drowning. So, don't try this at home - or anywhere else.
That out of the way, here's what's been posted to Facebook:
The event is called "Bike or Drive Across Lake Michigan?" and is slated for February 10, 2017. Event organizers say,
At some undetermined date in the near future, Lake Michigan MAY freeze enough to bike or drive from Milwaukee to Muskegon, MI. Are you in? Bikes, and four wheel drive cars for sure. Snowmobiles, motorcycles, or even a plane to help scout a route would be good. 90ish miles, one way. I'm just saying, if it freezes, and you miss this chance, when will it happen again?
So has Lake Michigan every frozen completely over? Yes but not often. Newspaper reports tell of a completely frozen Lake Michigan in 1963 and 1936.
The joy of the Facebook event posting is the interplay between those who get the joke and those who think this might be a real event. One commenter asks, "Will my insurance cover my vehicle if I fall in?" Better check your policy when it comes to ice crossings.
The Real Great Lake Ice Bridge
There is one completely legitimate ice crossing on the Great Lakes and that's the ice bridge on Lake Huron to Mackinac Island. When the straits freeze over, snowmobiles do make the crossing from the mainland at St Ignace to Mackinac Island with old Christmas trees used to guide the trail. However Mackinac Island Insider Tips website warns,
The Coast Guard cautions people that the ice bridge is extremely dangerous. It usually is open for a short period due to the fluctuating winter temperatures and having strong winds blowing the ice out of the area in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, people have died crossing the Ice Bridge especially at night. Whether from intoxication or just getting lost on this "huge ice floe" people have started across and never have gotten to the other side.
Northern Michigan Ice Lake Racing
There is a chance to do some ice racing. It happens each winter on lakes across Northern Michigan and in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
AutoWeek visited one such race on Chippewa Lake in northern Michigan in 2013.