BAXTER SPRINGS - One of Cherokee County's most distinguishing features is the little strip of Route 66 that winds through the very southeast corner of Kansas. Running through Galena, Riverton, and finally Baxter Springs, the 'Mother Road' has long been an integral part of these communities.
This past Sunday, Route 66 brought yet another unique experience to local residents. The Military Vehicle Preservation Association organized a military convoy that is running the length of Route 66. The convoy of over 100 participants with the MVPA left Chicago last Saturday and are traveling Route 66 on their way to Santa Monica, California. The 2,400-mile trip will take about 29 days to complete and aims to retrace the original 1926 Route 66.
"This Convoy also re-creates the transporting of material and troops on U.S. Highway 66 during WWll and Korea," said Route 66 Chamber of Commerce Director Ron Hart. "Earning the Mother Road the moniker 'The Military Highway'!"
The convoy included over 50 military vehicles, including those from World Wars I and II, Korean and Vietnam Wars, as well as five ton cargo trucks. The convoy rests every three to four days of driving and is restricted to a 35 mph speed limit.
"It’s history in motion," said Dan McCluskey, convoy commander.
McCluskey said he is excited that the convoy will have the opportunity to visit several historical landmarks on its journey.
Established in 1976, the non-profit MVPA is dedicated to providing an international organization for military vehicle enthusiasts, historians, preservationists and collectors interested in the acquisition, restoration, preservation, safe operation and public education of historic military transport.