The Braga family of Brazil just happened to have a stopover at Castlegar’s Fireside Inn on the night of August 28.
The road-ready Ford Excursion with the Brazilian licence plates, roof-mounted spare and, detailed map of a massive inter-continental journey on its sides, made it a hard vehicle to miss.
They family was most eager to describe their adventure when asked about it.
Parents Roberto and Marcia left the translating duties to sons, Caio and Renato, as the vehicle was made ready for the coming day’s trip to Vancouver.
As it happens the journey is being undertaken to commemorate a truly historical achievement from yesteryear – the surveying of a route for the famous Pan American highway.
By the time the family had arrived in Castlegar it had already made it, pretty much without incident, from their home in Sao Paulo state to Prudhoe Bay at the northern edge of Alaska and a lot of the way back. They’ve been having a good time, but said there have been no particular places or situations that have stood out.
“It’s all been good,” said the family patriarch through his son Caio. To this point in the trip there had been no breakdowns worth mentioning, either.
These folks realize they’re on the trip of a lifetime so they’re making the most of it.
From Vancouver they were planning to hug the coast down to Los Angeles, then follow the historic Route 66 to Chicago before making stops in Eastern Canada and down to South Florida where they’ll hop a ship back to Brazil.
For in depth information on the fascinating subject of the Braga family’s odyssey, you can check the web at www.carreterapanamericana.com.br and www.familiabraga.com.br
What follows is a brief excerpt from the first of the two mentioned websites.
“On April 16, 1928, the Brazilian Pan-American Highway Expedition left Rio de Janeiro. The then Army lieutenant Leônidas Borges de Oliveira headed it. Under his command were Francisco Lopes da Cruz, as observer, and Mário Fava, as a mechanic.
“In two Ford Model Ts, these Brazilians had as their mission to discover, open and project the route where, in the future, a highway interconnecting the three Americas would be built in ideal conditions.
“The extremely daring enterprise was fully successful, becoming a feat rarely seen in the automobile history of the world. In a period of ten years, the Expedition traveled 28,000 Km. of roads, tracks, ways, woods and forests in fifteen countries.”