The Driving to Mazatlan Adventure

Before the convoy departs all cargo must be sorted and loaded.
The 2017 convoy departed from the Streatside Restaurant on Thursday, October 12, after the celebration breakfast. They headed for the US border, where there were bonding issues. After some discussion, five vehicles were cleared. Two hours later, the sixth vehicle was cleared. By 1:30pm, the seventh vehicle was re-bonded which allowed it to proceed.
Outside Brady Montana, the Coaldale handibus blew its radiator. One ambulance stayed while the others proceeded to Great Falls. Henry van Hierden took out the defective radiator, took it in to Brady and ordered a replacement from Great Falls. That replacement did not fit so the supplier produced an alternative and drove out halfway to make an exchange. Henry installed the second radiator. Thank you, Henry!
Then the same handibus blew a head gasket, but was able to limp into a garage in Great Falls. The cost of repair would be ~$10,000, so to honour our bonding obligation, it was towed back to Lethbridge for disposal.
Five vehicles arrived at Idaho Fall’s hotel at ~5:30 pm; the ambulance that stayed behind arrived at ~11.30 pm. On Friday all six vehicles drove to Fillmore Utah without incident, and on Saturday drove to Kingman Arizona. During the required evening vehicle check, it was noticed that one tire on a vehicle was blown, but that was quickly replaced, without hassle, by a very cooperative local tire shop.
That evening, the Kingman Route 66 Rotary Club hosted the entire convoy at their customary excellent BBQ at a member’s residence. This provided an opportunity for the donations Kingman had obtained to be loaded into the vehicles. On Sunday Jo Ann Oysen from the Kingman Club joined the convoy. Eleven kilometres out of Kingman Arizona, another handibus blew its transmission. Jo Ann arranged for a Rotary member (past president of Kingman club) to assist us with the towing. This vehicle eventually made it to Mazatlan, thanks to Larry Schow who returned to Tucson and drove it down.
Chris McLean (RCLE) supervises loading the Handibus for removal.
Larry Schow and Michael Henderson stayed behind with the handibus, which apparently could not be repaired in Kingman. A friendly tow truck fellow towed the handibus all the way to Tucson for free, where it was left behind to be repaired. He then drove Larry and Michael to the US/MX border, again for free. That involved two days of tow truck driving for free – very generous and many thanks.
The remaining five vehicles drove to Tucson without incident.
On Monday ‘Catcho’ and ‘Meno’ from Mazatlan’s Rotary Clubs joined the convoy to assist at the border.
The remaining vehicles headed to the US/MX border with a stop at Green Valley AZ, to buy lunch, since there are no suitable facilities at the border. All the vehicles were X-rayed then backed up to the loading dock and unloaded. All the cargo was checked and processed by Mexican officials, who were polite, but which also required a lot of walking between various offices. Eventually all five vehicles were all cleared at 8:30 pm and the drivers collapsed into the Fiesta Hotel in Nogales Mexico.
On Tuesday the five vehicles headed south to kilometre-21 where visas were purchased, and then on to Navojoa’s Best Western Hotel and its welcoming pool.
On Wednesday the convoy completed the drive by arriving at the Mazatlan park at around 6 pm. The ambassador’s who had flown down joined the drivers at the park.
On Thursday, October 19th, one week after departing Lethbridge, the vehicles were formally handed over to the recipient towns at a formal brunch type ceremony.