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Report from the 2021 Parker Arizona Military Event

• CATEGORIES: Event, Features

Joe-in-Mesa filed this report from last weekend’s Parker Military Vehicle Display and Swap Meet in Parker, Arizona.

The inaugural Parker event was a great time, and very relaxing. No signal to speak of at the display area and campsite along the river, so we actually just communicated with one another with no outside world interruptions. Signal was normal once you got out onto highway 95 and back at our hotel in Parker.  The highlight for me was a true “Bucket List” item: trail ride to The Desert Bar (Nellie E. Saloon) Saturday afternoon. I also enjoyed the Friday night dinner and presentation about the WWII desert training areas Patton established in that area, mostly Arizona and California.

Here is a rest stop pic of the convoy to Parker with us up front (first time towing BOTH my WWII jeeps – new truck and trailer) and my friend David Webster with his MB and trailer.

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Parker, Arizona, is located along the Colorado River on the western edge of Arizona.

Below are my wife Jan and David mugging during set up day one with my jeeps sporting the awesome covers I got from Ian Liljeblad (www.bigwillyjeep.com)

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Lots of vendors displayed parts and militaria.  Military Vehicles on display were mostly 1/4 ton to 3/4 ton (more than 2 dozen).

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Friends’ jeeps and a mule (far left) parked for the dinner and presentation on Friday night about the WWII Desert Training Area by a Yuma Proving Ground museum curator. 

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The weather was perfect. On Friday evening we enjoy this beautiful sunset over the Colorado River looking west from the La Paz County Campgrounds, Parker, Arizona.

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On Saturday we convoyed to Desert Bar, famous for it’s remotely located Nellie E. Saloon. a rustic watering hole built on the site of a former mining camp.

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The drive to Desert Bar in a remote part of Parker, Arizona.

The road to Desert Bar was rough; not technically challenging, but it was rocky, washboard and dusty: a perfect jeep road! Jan took these pics, including the truck that “ran when parked”.

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Both my jeeps made it to Desert Bar. My friend David drove the tan ’44 MB, displaying new custom hood numbers (my newest granddaughter was born in 2020 on 08/11):

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It wasn’t entirely event free, as my transmission gears jammed at the starting point. However, after that, the ’42 GPW did GREAT (though I did have to fix a broken exhaust hanger to get home 😊).

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The payoff was refreshments with friends in an amazing place in the middle of nowhere!

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Here’s Jan and I, just happy to be there.

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The rest of the event ended all too quickly. On Sunday, we headed back to Mesa, but not without a lesson in trailering. Feeling a bit tongue heavy on the way to Parker, I tried this disastrous loading for the trip home, with the rear jeep facing backward. You folks with trailering experience will recognize the flaw in my thought-process.

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No surprise to many, I didn’t get far, as the engine weight over the rear of the trailer CAUSED SEVERE SWAYING at 40 mph.Thankfully, I learned the lesson quickly and reloaded the the back so that it faced forward. Sometimes, we have to learn things the hard way!

If the trailer swaying doesn’t make sense to you, check out this YouTube explanation my friend Joel Burdsall sent me about trailer-weight distribution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mW_gzdh6to.

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The loading was far more stable, but I’m still not comfortable going over 68 mph, which may be a good thing.

All-in-all it was a great weekend. I can’t wait for next year’s event!










 

5 Comments on “Report from the 2021 Parker Arizona Military Event

  1. Mike W. in Gilbert AZ

    Man that looks awesome. I totally missed that this was happening somehow. I would have been there for sure. 2 Jeeps on that short of a trailer looks a bit sketchy for sure. Glad to see everyone made the trip safely. Maybe next year i will be in the loop.

  2. David Eilers Post author

    Mike, I did post it a couple times on eWillys. I’ll see about putting together a list of events in the next few days, as several of the larger events (The Bantam Festival, Spring Willys Reunion, Willys Rally) are scheduled to take place this year.

  3. Joe in Mesa

    Thanks for sharing this Dave and for posting the event flyer/info beforehand! However, I failed to give due credit to the amazing couple who made this event possible. With so many events COVID-blocked, AMVCC member and long-time vendor Mike Colgan and his wife Colleen came up with this idea after seeing the traditional weekly swap meets still being held near the Pirate’s Den there. The Colgans obtained the required approvals, took the risk of reserving the spaces and orchestrated excellent activities to complement the MV displays and Swap Meet. In the end we got a good mix of folks attending from throughout Arizona, California, Utah and even Colorado! Great job, Mike and Colleen :-).

  4. Mike Colgan

    Without sounding like a mutual admiration society post allot of credit goes to joe and Angus Smith for their networking.
    Thanks to all who attended for their enthusiasm and behavior 😃. The park administration and employees were nothing but smiles and are excited about the prospect of holding the event next year.
    As soon as we chase the ghosts out of our e mail my intention is to get input and determine if we want to hold another one next year.

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