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The 2CV Alaska Challenge

Bulletin No.23

Bulletin No.23 TO SUM IT ALL UP.

The arrival in Prudhoe Bay had a kind of symmetry to it. The 2CV Alaska Challenge had begun 2 months previously in Rotterdam, when the cars were loaded on to the MV Christiane (see Bulletins 1 & 2). The Christiane was a working ship, heavy industry on the waves, and making a profit dictated her life. She was strictly functional, no frills, and was staffed by a crew of lonely men working in a harsh environment, the ocean. Prudhoe Bay, too, existed only for profit, was strictly functional and was staffed by lonely men in a harsh environment, the Arctic.

Yup, Prudhoe Bay was a bit of a dump (to put it mildly). The wind came straight off the Arctic Ocean and cut you to the bone. The buildings were an assembly of ugly portacabins plonked down on the flat tundra. The detritus of heavy industry lay everywhere. It was the sort of place where you could build a holiday camp for manic depressives, and make a profit. As far as The 2CV Alaska Challenge went, Prudhoe Bay was purely symbolic: it was journey's end.

But not quite the end for the car, that incredible little 2CV which had travelled nearly 8000 miles to get to Prudhoe Bay (and without a single flat tyre): on Monday 30th August I set out again, south for Fairbanks. The return journey was less tense and a more leisurely affair, for the arctic wilderness was now familiar territory and no longer held any fears. The journey up from Fairbanks had been a case of confronting fear, doubt and uncertainty, of confronting ones self. The journey back was pure fun and I'm sure I could now hold my own in any 2CV rally event.

The 2CV Alaska Challenge was now well and truelly finished. The thing that's stuck in my mind the most over the last two months is the reaction to the car: wherever we'd go people would stop and stare; they'd come over and talk to us; they'd take photos and video. Almost without exception that car spread a little bit of happiness everywhere it went. In a world that can sometimes be pretty awful, a world where everyone has their share of problems, we made people pause for a moment, we made them SMILE. Ok, I know it sounds corny, but that made us feel real good. It's what The 2CV Alaska Challenge was all about.

And as for the car, on the journey south from Fairbanks it had its first puncture, near Haines, Alaska, 8923 road miles from Savannah. As I write this bulletin the car's now done 10,000 road miles in the last 39 days, without any mechanical problems (apart from a slow running screw falling out). That amazing, incredible, stupendous Citroen 2CV... God, I love that car and I want it to bare my children...

Erhum... and as for me, I plan to spend the winter in Canada, to write a book about The 2CV Alaska Challenge. But who knows what will happen? Life's funny like that...

Rob Godfrey.
Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Tuesday 7th September 1999.

(Note: one final bulletin follows this one)


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