Restroom breaks and fuel stops sometimes resembled an invasion and parking lots would be f
Eighty Years Later
The 2009 Convoy was made up of restored military vehicles, some dating back to the days of the original Convoy. Its purpose was to celebrate the veterans of our country, living and dead, the original Convoy, the Lincoln Highway, and the positive impact it had on our nation.
The idea had popped up in MVPA ranks two years before. None of the people who brought this epic event to completion wanted anything more than shared glory, but most point to former Supply Line Editor John Varner for the idea. While the '09 Convoy didn't face the travails of overloaded vehicles on "roads" that would otherwise be known as goat paths, they faced a sea of red tape, a river of paperwork, and a tidal wave of local, state, and federal politics. The route had to be prerun and a convoy doctrine developed to make the trip safe. Fortunately, the MVPA has a brain trust of military motorheads with lifetimes of experience in such matters. A team of about 15 MVPA members worked long hours well in advance of the event, some without the "payoff" of being able to participate in the actual event.
By 81 years of age, most men have settled down to puttering around in the garden and sitti
Some 32 vehicles started in Washington on June 13, 2009 and those same 32 rolled into Lincoln Park in San Francisco on July 8. Along the way, another 125 Historic Military Vehicles (HMV) joined the Convoy, some for only hours, others for days. They ranged in size from motorcycles to a gigantic 221/2-ton Oshkosh M-911 8x6.
Of the 32 rigs that made the entire trip, the crown jewel was Sergeant First Class Mark Ounan's 1918 Dodge staff car; officially a car, passenger, medium, open (Dodge). Ounan is an active-duty soldier with 26 years of service. He bought and restored the Dodge with the express purpose of driving the convoy. Collector Don Chew's 1917 FWD Model B 4x4 was also along-though only for the ride on a trailer. (With a top speed of only 14 mph, it was too slow to drive under its own power.) Several other WWI-era vehicles showed up at display points in the journey, including more FWDs, Liberty Bs, Nash Quads and other WWI hardware.
In the 32 vehicle core group, there were two motorcycles, including a World War II Harley-Davidson WLA and British Royal Enfield, several WWII-era Willys Jeeps and Ford GPWs, post-WWII M-38, M-38A1 and M-151 Jeeps, a '41 1/2-ton Dodge Weapons Carrier, a couple of WWII Dodge Command Cars, a WWII International Harvester M-2-4, an '80s Chevy CUCV, a couple of M-35-series deuce-and-a-halves, two 5-ton 6x6s towing van trailers, M-37 Dodges, and a few other rigs.
Paul Vandervort of the Illinois Chapter of the MVPA, riding a '42 Harley WLA, is a lot fri
Keeping vehicles as old as 91 years going for 26 days and 3,300 miles was a challenge that the maintenance detachment, under the guidance of Dennis Boots, was prepared for. They had tools and spare parts loaded into two 30-foot military shop trailers towed by 5-ton 6x6s. Of the 32 vehicles slated to drive the entire route, reliability was good because the owners had prepared well. That wasn't true of some of the vehicles that joined later, when their owners discovered a 65-year-old parade truck that gets 50 miles per year isn't necessarily ready to drive hundreds or thousands of miles at a stretch. The maintenance detachment then had to take up the slack. Ethanol-blended gasoline was a constant problem with the old rigs. It broke loose gunk, clogged filters, and caused innumerable vapor-lock problems in hot weather.