LAST LEG OF THE JOURNEY: ROUTE 66 MUSEUM HOSTS MVPA 2017 CONVOY

By: Simone Graham – Editor – HDG:  You had to get up early Friday morning to see the retired military vehicles on display for an hour at our local Route 66 Museum, but it was worth it. This is not an annual event; they will not be back next year. The Military Vehicle Preservation Association arranges different convoy routes every two or three years following military convoy routes from years past.  This year’s convoy retraced this significant WWII supply route along Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. The convoy of approximately 65 vehicles started out from Chicago on September 16th and ended their trip in Santa Monica on October 14th stopping in Victorville and Irwindale before the last stop at the beach and disbanding the convoy in Long Beach. The association is international and had a few men shipping their vehicles from other countries. One convoy participant, from New Zealand, shipped his vehicle to the U.S at a cost of $6,000. Of course, he also has to ship it back along with the added cost of the other U.S. military vehicle souvenir he picked up before going back home.

Convoy participant, Jerry Gardener from Tyler, Texas fielded questions from attendees stopping by to see inside the cab of his 1985 “M923” 5 ton Cargo Truck. Jerry drove from Texas to Pennsylvania to pick up the convoy. He explained that in the past the military has destroyed vehicles that were no longer needed for service, but lately has put up a few for sale.  This truck was purchased by the military for $79,000 and sold to him for $6,000. Although that is a ‘song’ sales price for such a piece of collectible equipment still in drive-able condition, one must consider the cost of running it.

“This truck gets 5 miles to the gallon”, explains Jerry. “Now that we are driving slower in the convoy it gets 8 miles to the gallon, but I don’t have to pay for hotels because I sleep in my truck. I figure gas for this trip comes to about $2,500”.

The cargo truck had been sold to him with electrical and communication equipment, but it was ideal for retrofitting into a full-size camper with cooking equipment, table, bed, and sanitary equipment. He even installed a small window near the back on the side. He outfitted it with a generator in case they camp in areas that do not have hook-ups. Yes, it takes a ladder to climb up the back end of his cargo truck and I really wanted to climb up there to see it. I think if I had gotten there earlier I might have convinced him to disengage the heavy metal ladder.

Next year’s trip will celebrate the 1919 centennial of the U.S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy Route from Washington D.C. to San Diego, California.

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