The Military Vehicle Preservation Association plans an elaborate Route 66 convoy in September and October 2017 that will feature about 80 vintage military vehicles.
According to an MVPA newsletter, the convoy will begin in Chicago on Sept. 16, 2017, and end in Santa Monica, California, on Oct. 14, 2017. The convoy’s maximum speed will be 35 mph, with rest days planned after three to four days of driving. MVPA affiliates and participants are encouraged to create displays at stops for rest, lunch and overnight.
A Route 66 News reader said an advance planning team for the convoy was in Seligman, Arizona, on Saturday.
This video from 2009 of a convoy stop in California should give a taste of what it will be like:
The Route 66 convoy, according to the newsletter, will follow the 1926 path of the highway, which includes Santa Fe, New Mexico. Putting it into historical context:
“World War II caused a marked decline in civilian and tourist traffic, but it stimulated new business along U.S. 66, when it acted as a military transport corridor moving troops and supplies from one military reservation to another. Motels saw an increase in occupancy, as families of servicemen stationed at military bases stayed for long stretches. But more significantly, Route 66 facilitated perhaps the single greatest wartime mobilization, as thousands of jobseekers headed to California, Oregon and Washington to work in defense plants.”
In addition to the 80 vintage vehicles for the full tour, there will be an extra 20 regional-section teams bringing their vehicles as well.
The MVPA’s other convoys in recent years retraced the 1919 Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy from Washington to San Francisco; commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Delta Junction, Alaska; and the Bankhead Highway from Washington to San Diego.
The convoy should give a nice economic boost for towns where it will stop. The full schedule is here, although it’s not fully complete. And because of the relative rarity of the vehicles and the fact the MVPA doesn’t organize convoys but every few years, this event is a pretty big deal.
(Hat tip to Frank Kocevar; image of the MVPA’s 2009 convoy going from Washington to San Francisco by the U.S. Army via Flickr)