by KTNA Staff ~ August 16th, 2012
by Phillip Manning
Over the next few days, the Parks highway will play host to an unique gathering of travelers. Along with the rented RVs, tour buses, and general northbound traffic that Valley residents are accustomed to will be a convoy of historic military vehicles headed toward Denali National Park. These vehicles did not become lost in time, but are instead members of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. Participants have made their way up from Dawson Creek, British Columbia and will end their journey northward in Delta Junction, Alaska on August 21 before heading back to the starting point. On the way, the convoy will be stopping in Willow on the evening of August 17th, and near Denali National Park on the 18th. This side-trip will culminate in the historical convoy visiting the Alaska Veterans Memorial, also on the 18th.
The convoy includes over eighty historic vehicles, including more than thirty World War II era trucks. Convoy Commander Terry Shelswell stated in the Association’s press release for the event, “The military vehicles are privately-owned and restored by individuals who have an interest in preserving these vehicles and the important roles they have played throughout our military history.” The 4,100 mile trek is not simply to celebrate the highway’s anniversary, however. According to convoy spokesperson Wendy Rowsam, “We will also take every opportunity to thank veterans and their families, past and present, for their service. We encourage everyone to watch for the convoy as it travels and to drop by any of our stopping points to see our vehicles. Our participants love to talk about their trucks.”
As of the Thursday news deadline, KTNA has been unable to reach the convoy for a confirmation of their stopover point in Willow, but if you want to head down and see the trucks, they’re probably hard to miss.