Jan 27-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: January: Jan 27-03
Icy race at Ashland    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Charlie Hopper
Near the power plant    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Charlie Hopper

Charlie at Pasty Central on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 01:07 pm:

On our way back from Duluth yesterday, we could hardly believe that so many vehicles were on the ice at Ashland. It's right near the open water around the power plant, and we thought it was a pretty crazy idea. In the second picture you can barely make out the line of racers way out toward the pier.

The peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior just west of this scene is very much like the Keweenaw. In comparison, Ashland lays on the bay much the same as L'Anse is located on the Keweenaw Bay. In this map (thanks, Toivo) it's like the Keweenaw just sort of drifted apart.

Ashland area

JohnP MI on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 01:44 pm:

I can imagine making a turn and skidding into open water. Such a way to lose an automobile. Charlie, did you say there was open water near the power plant? Would hope the race was a long way away from open water.

By dave mi. on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 01:58 pm:

people pay 20 30,000 for a vehicle, drive on the ice, ins. does not cover if you go through so you have to pay to pull it out and it has to go into the garage to get refurbished. I just don't understand. I would like someone to enlighten me.

By eddie c on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 02:24 pm:

In 1980 when my son was home for break from Ferris State Univ. he took me out onto Lake Erie near the Monroe, Mich. power plant. We saw at least twice as many cars and Winnebagos (they were corralled to break the wind) as in this picture and could barley see the homes along the shoreline as we were so far out.We spent about 3 hours catching perch and hearing the ice creaking and this has been the extent of my career with ice fishing. Question???in the Ashland picture background is that the old now defunct Iron Ore dock??

By smf, virginia on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 03:18 pm:

its kinda like going to a 4wd truck pull down here..guys spend thousands of dollars to have a nice truck then go out and pull and tear up the front end and rear just to win $25 first prize..
go figure, eh!!!

By Lowell Mo on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 04:43 pm:

snowmobiles aren't cheap and look how many they have lost already this year thru the Ice. Plus the lives along with them.

By Scott, Wisconsin on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 06:59 pm:

Yes I agree, sort of a goofy thing driving
alot of cars on the ice. I'd never do it.
But entertaining to see, this is my favorite
area by the way. The Bay area is really nice.

By K.C. Wis. on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 07:56 pm:

The ice conditions are throughly checked for safety. These events are not held for the reason for people to be in harms way. It's alot further away from the power plant than what it looks like too.

By Scott, Wisconsin on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 07:58 pm:

I agree, folks aren't going out there to

I just added a link to Pasty cam from
my website: www.Bayfieldwis.com

By Miriam UP on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 08:03 pm:

We go by these races every year on our way to MN to shop and back to the UP. This is the least amt of vehicles and people we have seen racing and enjoying the ice. Not my cup of tea and wouldn't go out there for the world.

By Ned, Kingsford. on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 08:29 pm:

Eddie. There were several ore docks in Ashland at one time and because most of them were built out of big wood timbers, they have been torn town and the timbers salvaged. The one remaining dock is all concrete and thus has never been torn down. I don't know whether it was owned by the Chicago and Northwestern or the Soo Line railroad. The shipping of ore through Ashland ended when the last of the iron ore mines closed on the Gogebic range in the mid 60's.

By Snowman on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 08:38 pm:

The people out there on the ice are probably a lot safer than they would be out on the highway with all of the irresponsible drivers there out there.

By J Scott on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 09:47 pm:

To prove that ice conditions are not always checked out before events like this are held, look at the mess on Detroit lake MN at the guest shots from gallery 4 third pic down. Did you know that the Coast Guard considers ice fishing an extreme sport because of the danger? NO ICE IS SAFE ICE!!!

By J Scott on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 10:05 pm:

Sorry the link is www.johndee.com for the gallery.:)

By Toivo from Toivola on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 10:31 pm:


Photos by Joseph Peltier
See more at JohnDee.com

Tater, Ypsilanti, MI on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 10:33 pm:

When you see semi-trucks carrying massive loads of equipment traveling along a road created across a frozen lake, then you won't think much of a few pickups huddled together on the ice. I've seen dump trucks full of gravel drive out onto the ice. And tractors pulling wagon loads of firewood. It's not always just for fun.

Of course, I did take my Firebird out onto an ice road one time. Thought I'd have a little fun. Didn't realize my ice radials would grab so well. No slipping and sliding. I did get up to the speed limit though...that was different. You can bet that I went out first with the ATV to check out the ice.

I've never had a fear of the ice, only respect.

By ILMHitCC on Monday, January 27, 2003 - 11:21 pm:

A power plant is the last place you'd want to be near out on the ice. The water coming out of the plant is normally substantially warmer. The outfall is usually placed some distance (even a mile or more) from the plant itself, and from the intake location.
I'd rather visit here in the summer, anyway, as that's when the Big Top Chitaqua is open.

By Jim Mich Copper Country on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 12:04 am:

re CHEQUAMEGON BAY Ashland, Wisc pix....YES, that's the old Ashland ore dock in the bkgrd. The dock was built in two segments; upon completion, it was the Lakes' (and maybe the Hemisphere's and Planet's) longest ore dock. I think it was last actively used in the late 1960s or early 1970s. By the way, the Ashland HS athletic teams were known as the "Oredockers"...maybe one more knowledgable about sports can advise whether they still are.
AND, re vehicles driving on the ice, anybody interested should traverse the "ice hwy" bridge between Bayfield and Madeline Island...quite an experience, especially with illusionary watery pits pockmarking the roadway on milder days!

By Sandy, downstate, MI on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 12:19 am:

I have lived near the shores of Lake Erie in the area of the Monrow Power Plant all my life. (let's just leave the number as several decades--ok?) Every year, countless fisherman, ATV riders, and snowmobilers get stranded on ice floes that have broken away or go through the ice only to lose their machines and/or sadly, their lives. It's not fun to watch, and even worse to hear the calls of those in peril and the dead silence of those who can't make it to the surface. Coast Guard rescue for the lucky ones is very costly and not guaranteed. I haven't counted how many we've lost already this year, but it's enough to say that as much as I love outdoor sports, I will NEVER venture out on the ice again. Our power plant outlet, dubbed "the hot spot", is so far removed from the plant itself and currents move so irradically, it's impossible to predict where ice depth weakens. It's far more important to me to continue to be a part of my family's lives than it is to look for adventure in such risky conditions. I don't condemn those who do, only ask they please consider the hearts they'll break if the ice should happen to open, and they loose something more precious than that elusive fish, thrilling race, or rush of danger -- their lives. Thanks for listening. Be safe. :)

By Scott, Wisconsin on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 01:27 am:

I agree, the summer is much better.

The Big Top Chautauqua (bigtop.org)
is simply a wonderful time.

I've never ventured across on the Madeline
Island ice road ever! That takes GUTS!
I would think the ice boat with the plane
engine mounted on the back would be exciting
as well.

I believe there were four ore docks at one time.
One burned in a fantastic fire. I would think
that would be something to see. Those timbers
were huge.
I recall when really young seeing three.

If your in the U.P or in Northern Wisconsin
it's all rich with history.

I think it's the Wisconsin Central Ore Dock?
Not positive however.

By Martha K., Pinckney, MI on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 01:46 am:

Back in the days of Prohibition lots of people would stake out safe (relatively) routes across the frozen Detroit River to the Hiram Walker factory in Windsor, and then wait until dark to cross when they thought they'd be safe from the cops. 'Course, they didn't know that the cops would move the stakes when they found them. Lots of rusted-out Model Ts at the bottom of the river.

My father once stowed away in the rumble seat of his uncle's car when he was making a trip across the ice. His uncle was furious, not because it was so dangerous, but because he was taking up space where the booze was supposed to go!

By Janie on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 05:42 am:

Scott, we have been across from Bayfield to Madeline, Island several times on snowmobile. Along with others doing the same by dog sled,mountain bike,the air boat, hikers,cross country skiers, and other snowmobiles. It was fun! We followed the Christmas tree marked route.

By Ima Yooper on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 08:20 am:

Thanks for the laugh, Toivo!

By Doug, Wixom MI on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 10:17 am:

Pasty.com got a good "plug" on Dick Purtan's radio show this morning as they were talking about where to get the best pasties! Watch the hit count go up today maybe?

By jan, troll on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 10:19 am:

I wouldn't care if the ice was six feet thick. I still wouldn't go out on it. And certainly not in a car!

I grew up in Bay City, where there were at least a few idiots every year, out on Saginaw Bay, who either fell through or had to be rescued off an ice floe, lest they float off to Canada.

Now I realize that it is colder in the UP, so presumably the ice is thicker and safer....

However, I guess I'm just a chicken!

By ILMHitCC on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 02:38 pm:

Thanks, Scott, for the spelling correction. I was up past my bedtime and was too lazy to go check my t-shirt.

Thanks, also, Sandy, for your advice. It's wise to avoid the power plant intakes as well. Unfortunately, they usually cannot be seen. There is no temperature difference, but the water currents are very strong and make the ice more unstable. The plant where I used to work has it's intakes about 1&1/2 miles away.

Since other lake front industries use lake water for cooling, also, it's best just to avoid those areas altogether.

By Mark,N.D. on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 04:30 pm:

These posts really have me curious as to what you do in the wintertime for enjoyment, other than rip on people who like this pecticular winter activity?

Mark, you may be be surprised

Roof Sledding

By Greta, Ca on Tuesday, January 28, 2003 - 06:53 pm:

I love Ashland, Wis. As we pass through on our way to the UP, we're always in such a hurry to get there, we don't stop though I'd like to. Except for one night when we spent the night in our RV, and the whole town was blanketed with mayflies. Our vehicles were covered with them, the ground and street lights were too. It was an amazing sight.

By Chris, KY on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 01:39 pm:

After attending many of these events in Ashland (lived there for 20+ years) I can safely say that the ice in that area is very thick and that the open water of the power plant is on the other side of the plant or about .5-1 mile away.

Ice racing gives race fans and drivers a chance to hone their skills for the next season.

God bless the UP and Northern WI

By Toby,Ala. on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 08:39 pm:

Watch out! Just like ice can, that roof could collapes! Everything in life can be hazardess.

By kyle,Ohio on Friday, January 9, 2004 - 01:20 pm:

Someone to e-mail on snowmobile pro

By ugly, wisconsin on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - 02:46 am:

lemme clear this up for you guys, I am one of them crazy people that icer race out there on the lake there :P in that particular area, at that beach, it is very shallow. if you have ever been there in the summer you should know you can walk out pretty far and still have sand under your feet. of course being to shallow it freezes thicker than most parts of the lake. the power plant is a ways away and the cooling outlet is on the other side of the plants earth platform. it is known as the "hot pond" and people fish there all of the time. there really isnt any danger there on that spot unless you go out there at the wrong time. and yes, they are still called the oredockers...

By Q - Bie , WI on Saturday, May 22, 2004 - 12:05 am:

Thank You to " ugly, wisconsin "...I'm a native
from the area although I've been away about 15 years. He/she...hopefully he, you know..." ugly "
is correct...the discharge from the power plant is on the opposite side of the plant from the picture's point of view. That area of the ice that they race on is safe but I agree there are people who venture onto the ice near the open water...they're nuts in my book. Check out the ice racing if you get the chance...you'll love it. Ashland doesn't get the respect it deserves..check it out for yourself.

By Flyin' chicken on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:18 pm:

jan, troll: "However, I guess I'm just a chicken!"

Better to be a live chicken than a dead turkey!

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