By Sgt. 1st Class Mark F. OunanJuly 1, 2009
The following was written by Sgt. 1st Class Mark F. Ounan, an Active/ Guard infantry Soldier currently assigned to the 324th Military Police Btn., Chambersburg, Pa. Ounan is also the only current Soldier and Military Vehicle Preservation Association member taking place in the 2009 MVPA Convoy. Here's an exert from the journal he's keeping as he travels cross-country.
On our way to Cheyenne, we made stops in two little Nebraska towns, Chappell and Kimball.
We stopped at the fire station in Chappell and again, in just a matter of minutes, tons of townspeople came out to greet us, look over our vehicles, and share their memories. We then paraded through the town escorted by their biggest fire engine, lights and sirens blazing! We also had an opportunity to drive down an original bricked portion of the Lincoln Highway.
Driving on to Kimball, Neb., we parked in the Kimball Coop Food Store parking lot and were treated to a hot lunch. As at so many stops before, crowds of people, including many veterans dressed in their best military uniforms, came out to greet us despite the heat.
One lady thanked us not only for participating in the convoy, but also for stopping in their town. As she put it, "who could have imagined that would ever have happened in the little town of Kimball, Nebraska!"
As we left western Nebraska and entered Wyoming, the mountains got higher and higher and the air got thinner and thinner. The hills are hard on the little Dodge, but the air is cooler so we have less problems with the gas. Some of the guys in the other trucks gripe about me holding up the convoy, but by the end of the day, we all get to the same place.
The last few days have been cooler in Wyoming and the car has run great. Everyone is amazed that the car keeps going and going. They all say how tough the car is and are impressed how Harry and I keep the car going.
Many of the convoy leaders have expressed concern about Harry's health and they have the convoy doctor speak to him every day, but Harry seems to be taking this better than anyone. He sits up in the car and talks to people. He seems to really love the heat and he's made it his personal mission to get every train to blow its horn at us.
At the stop in Cheyenne, Wyo., I met a World War II veteran named Carlos Klinger who lived in Chambersburg, Penn., for 50 years and worked at Letterkenny Army Depot. He currently lives in Laramie, Wyo. He said his son sent him the article about Harry and the Dodge from the Chambersburg newspaper and he drove 2 hours, specifically to see the Dodge.
Between Cheyenne and Rawlins, we stopped for lunch at Medicine Bow, Wyo. It's a real Old West town with a hotel called "The Virginian" that looks like it came right out of a John Wayne movie. Then we had a much-needed rest day in Rawlins, Wyo.
We spent the day in Rawlins working on the car. I greased all the fittings, tightened all the bolts underneath, and did general maintenance.