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The 2CV Alaska Challenge
Bulletin No.14: A CLOSE SHAVE
Salmon Arm, British Columbia.
Thursday 19th August 1999.
We decided to change our route to Alaska. The original plan was to head due north from Calgary to Edmonton, and then north west to Dawson Creek, the start of the Alaska Highway. But hey, the No.1 car had dodgy brakes, so we thought we'd head straight for the Rocky Mountains, and to stay in the mountains all the way up to Dawson Creek on BC Highway 97.
It was not the most brilliant idea: 3 hours into the Rockies, and after a lot of heavy braking, we stopped for fuel at a Husky petrol station. I went to the restaurant to get some coffee and Jose parked the car. Jose's Dutch and the Dutch tend to drive like maniacs, which you can sort of get away with if your brakes work, but... Jose zoomed into a parking space, hit the brake pedal and nothing happened. Meanwhile the car mounted a 6 inch curb, ploughed across a lawn, caused a small poodle to run for its life and came to a halt within inches of a picnic table where, of course, a family were picnicking. The family carried on as if nothing had happened. Were they British?
We were very, very lucky, because no one had been in the way of the careering car. It could have been a pretty nasty incident, but on this particular afternoon the Gods were smiling. We shuddered when we thought of the mountain roads and hairpin bends we had negotiated just minutes before.
The car took a pounding during this incident, mostly because of that 6 inch high curb. The quarter inch plate fuel tank shield was now a different shape, but the fuel tank was still intact, and miraculously none of the tyres (or tires, if you're Canadian) blew out with the impact. We carefully drove the car to a nearby garage, where two taciturn mechanics hoisted it up and bleed the brakes.. As green liquid spurted out from the bleeder screws one of the mechanics informed us that someone had put antifreeze in instead of brake fluid. We were still too shaken up to explain the peculiarites of a 2CV's braking system.