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   xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Sep 14 11:29 PM

September 15, 2008: Red School Bus

Not yellow, red... with one wheel, runners and two big fans like an airboat.

Quote:
LA POINTE, Wisconsin: From a distance, the large red aluminum contraption parked on the frozen shore of Lake Superior here looks like a small houseboat perched on skis. Up closer, as schoolchildren pile in with their backpacks and iPods, it becomes clear that the mystery vehicle, with two large fans on the back, is something else entirely.
For residents of this remote village on an ice-locked island off the tip of mainland Wisconsin, the gliding boatmobile, known here as a windsled, is a kind of school bus.


Quote:
That's right: in one of the more unorthodox modes of student travel anywhere in the country, the children of La Pointe, on Madeline Island (full-time population 250, triple that in the summer), actually windsled to class several weeks out of every year. It is the transportation a school district needs when students are separated from class by more than two miles of jigsaw ice blocks coming together to form something that approximates a floating road of shallow depth across a bay.

Everyone here knows the windsled as a homegrown solution to a tricky set of circumstances: Sometimes Lake Superior the largest, coldest and deepest of the Great Lakes is too chunky with ice for a ferry but not quite solid enough to make an ice bridge between La Pointe and the mainland town of Bayfield, the location of the upper school. During those times, the Bayfield School District turns to its windsled, locally designed, built and operated to glide over thin ice.
It looks to me like it would float if the ice gave way, and the wheel on the front would become a combo bumper/rudder to protect the hull from the ice, as well as allow it to remount more solid ice. Very clever.

link


SPUCK  Monday Sep 15 04:55 AM

Some kids have all the fun!



xoxoxoBruce  Monday Sep 15 10:32 AM

And they don't know it, because they don't like it much.
Noisy, uncomfortable, and uphill... both ways.



birdclaw  Monday Sep 15 01:35 PM

I wonder what sort of qualification the "bus" driver would need to have to drive that thing. Hopefully something more than Otto.



TheMercenary  Monday Sep 15 06:14 PM

Cool beans.



Gravdigr  Tuesday Sep 16 10:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by birdclaw View Post
I wonder what sort of qualification the "bus" driver would need to have to drive that thing. Hopefully something more than Otto.
I'd have to be drunk to drive or ride in that thing.


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