So, last Friday, I promised to tell more about the Ice Road (also known as the James Dalton Highway). Sit back and enjoy more about this spectacular road that is the northernmost road in North America. Of course, since the road is made out of pure ice, there are no trees. This means that if you are going to camp alongside the road, DON’T make a campfire! You will start to melt the ice, bringing you and anything else within 500 feet of you down to the depth’s of the ocean (at least you’ll meet Spongebob. . .)! The ice melt begins usually in late April-early May, but this year, the road service says it looks like it will be closer to June. Record snow levels are keeping the road open longer. That doesn’t mean you should travel in late May, as weather conditions might change, bringing you down into the frozen Mackenzie River. The Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk is only open in the dead of winter (from the time the ice is at least 3-4 inches thick) to mid to late spring. The road is perhaps best known for it’s being featured on the second season of Ice Road Truckers. The road conditions change depending on tides and weather. Many people who went on the Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk say that the best traction is on snow covered ice – right in the middle! Even if you drove a tank across the ice, you’d be able to tell the tale, as the ice can support up to around 2 million pounds per square foot. That doesn’t mean you should test the ice to the edge of it’s abilities, as who knows what might happen.
There are very few cars that are suited to driving 10 hours a day, at -40˚ fahrenheit. The cars that people who have driven the road recommend:
- 2005 (or newer) Jeep Wrangler with: 4WD, CB radio, plenty of spare tires, and a working heater and highly visible paint.
- 2011 Ford F150 SVT Raptor with: CB radio, plenty of spare tires, a camper shell and highly visible paint.
- 1988 Audi Quattro with: working heater, CB radio, and plenty of spare tires and parts, plus, highly visible paint is always helpful.
- 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser with: working heater, CB radio, plenty of spare tires and good luck. Highly visible paint is a must-have on any car you drive on the Ice Road.
- 2003 (or newer) GMC Sierra or Chevy Silverado HD pickup truck with: 4WD, CB radio, diesel engine (a must-have because of extra torque), camper shell, plenty of spare tires and a full tank of diesel fuel. Highly visible paint is always nice, too.
- 2010 Honda Pilot with: AWD, CB radio, plenty of spare tires and highly visible paint.
These are the cars NEVER to drive on the Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk:
Anything with 2WD! It’s already hard enough for a semi driver with only two driving wheels, so they go very slowly. Otherwise, when they brake, it takes hours to get back up to speed. But, when Motor Trend did an epic road trip from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk, they took two SMART ForTwo’s, they said it was pretty scary in something so small that you can die just by tipping over. . .
Cars without heaters (a really, really bad choice).
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about my BIG (HUGE, GARGANTUAN, GINORMOUS) surprise on Friday! So tune in for a special give-away! Tell you friends, family and everybody you can think of. And make sure to do some donuts on the way down the Unmuffled Auto News! It’s ZOOM for the buck time!!