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The 2CV Alaska Challenge
Bulletin No.16 THE ROAD
At lunchtime on Saturday 21st August we reached Dawson Creek. Rob had done all the driving up from Williams Lake, across the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains. Hopalong Cassidy had pulled her hamstring and the $40 doctor had advised rest (see previous Bulletin). Hopalong was now on pain killers and dry white wine and was speaking Dutch more than English. Hadn't her Mother warned her about liquor and pills?
Dawson Creek is the start of the Alaska Highway, a 1500 mile (2438Km) stretch of road that was built in 1942 by the US Army Corps of Engineers in an astonishing 8 months and 12 days. In the half century since then other roads have been built to take travellers to Alaska, the Cassiar Highway, the Klondike Highway, but even using the alternate routes you still have to drive part of the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan, Alaska-Canada Highway. To this day the Alaska Highway remains as the only complete land route to Alaska. It is one of the world's great roads, and we were going to drive the length of it, in a Citroen 2CV. From Savannah, Georgia, we had driven 5546 miles (9012Km) to reach Dawson Creek and it had taken us 23 days.
Hopalong took the wheel for the drive out of Dawson Creek, and on Mile 2 of the Alaska Highway she almost put us in a ditch. There were strong cross winds and even our heavily laden 2CV was bouncing around all over the place. The landscape reminded Rob of England, what with its farm land and rolling hills. The weather, too, made Rob homesick: it was overcast and rainy and there was a definate nip in the air. Rob wearily put on his coat. He was beginning to feel the weight of the journey. He and Jose had set out from London on the 29th June on the long road to Alaska. They'd been travelling for nearly 8 weeks, but now they were nearing their goal. The first overnight stop on the Alaska Highway was Fort Nelson. It didn't get dark until very late in the evening and the air was chilled. The arctic wilderness was beckoning...