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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Champagne Safari

by Richard Vettese

In 1995, Canadian director George Ungar produced a television biography of Bedaux incorporating Crosby’s footage of the expedition, which is now available under the title “The Champagne Safari.” This seemingly comical expedition with ladies preparing their toilettes in the middle of the bush, Fern handing out cigarettes to the cowboys, and the camera crew filming everything in sight including the funny Citroen tractors bogged down in the mud, appeared ridiculous but were these activities of Bedaux really an elaborate cover story?

Bedaux announced the expedition was over on October 22, 1934 due to bad weather, failure of the Citroen tractors, and lack of feed for the horses, but he added that an international highway would eventually be built in the wake of the trail that he had blazed. No one understood what interest Bedaux could have in such a highway until years later when the German War Department records were released indicating that a plan was being devised in which Germany hoped to obtain control of both North America and Russia with the use of a highway that would connect the mainland of Canada with the Bering Strait. Could this have been the highway that Bedaux hoped would eventually be built? 

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