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The 2CV Alaska Challenge

Bulletin No.18

Bulletin No.18. THE YUKON.
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Tuesday 24th August 1999. MILE 4481 (7282Km) of the 2CV Alaska Challenge, from Quebec City.

The Alaska Highway can get kinda confusing, where distances are concerned. In Canada everything is in Kilometres. In the US of A everything is in Miles, and all along the Alaska Highway, in both Canada and the USA, there are 'historical mile posts'. These are the original distance markers of the Alaska Highway. Back in 1942 they took the easiest route across the swamps, rivers and mountains from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks, which often meant a meandering road. In the intervening years the Alaska Highway has been improved/straightened-out; which means that it is now a shorter road. Hence, if you come across a 'historical milepost' of, say, 496 miles, it is probably nearer 450 miles up from Dawson Creek... yeah, I know this is pretty boring, but if you drive the Alaska Highway it will sort of make sense. Oh, and the Alaska Highway is the only road in the world to have its own web site:- www.alcanhighway. Figure that one out...

I couldn't figure Jose out when we reached Whitehorse, the capital city of the Yukon Territory. She went into one of her 'moods': introspective, silent and vey Dutch. We both went our own ways for a while, Rob trying to find Internet connection, Jose wandering along the banks of the mighty Yukon River, which gave Whitehorse its name, because of the rapids and foaming white water, which yes, look like the flowing manes of white horses: brilliant!

Later, over dinner, Jose told me she was homesick. This wasn't surprising, here in such a remote and harsh place, thousands of miles from anywhere, and already in late August people were wearing jumpers and coats. We got the impression that in these parts winter took no prisoners. No doubt this was one reason why only 30,000 people live in the vast Yukon Territory (bigger than France, Germany and Italy put together) and 25,000 of them live in Whitehorse.

On the way up from Watson Lake to Whitehorse we began to realise just how vast and empty the Yukon is. You can drive for hours and see no sign of human habitation. Man, this was a lonely place, but it was also a very beautiful place with its towering mountains and endless forests and silent lakes. Even in Whitehorse the wilderness encrouched on the town. Splat bang at the end of Main Street there were rocky hills and fur trees, and of course the fast flowing Yukon river. The Yukon has a fast flowing and colourful history. If you want to find out more about it don't take a look at Gold!, Tall Tale No.10 on the Ten Tall Tales part of this web site.

The next morning, Tuesday, we were still trying to find Internet connection... ok, it's simple really, if you're driving a weird car with foreign number plates and company banners plastered all over it that adds up to news, so you go to the nearest newspaper office, which in Whitehorse happened to be the Yukon News, and theseadays newspapers always have Internet connection. We were able to send our latest Bulletin, and the Yukon News got a story, of sorts.


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These Bulletins originally appeared on The 2CV Alaska Challenge web site and remain the copyright of Rob Godfrey.