The next morning the contingent prepared to continue on by crossing the nearby Gila River . Weeks before the Gila River bridge had washed out and this was an opportunity to test the trucks’ ability to negotiate rugged conditions. In fact, just weeks before Governor Hunt had to get his feet wet in the Gila when his car got stuck crossing the Gila and he had to wade across.
According to Arizona Blade Tribune account, the County Engineer Stafford conferred with Colonel Glenn and assured him that with a team of mules pulling the trucks, the crossing could be achieved successfully. The order to proceed was given.
The large expanse of soft sand leading to the river provided a good test for the pulling power of the trucks and tires. But hardly one was able to cross the sand without the aid of men pushing and pulling.
The first truck to enter the river on its own power was immediately stopped in its tracks when the carburetor became flooded. A span of mules proceeded to pull it out. The other heavily loaded trucks ground down deeper into the riverbed and it was clear that one team of mules would not be able to pull them out. The soldiers unloaded and a team of 200 men with a chain pulled the trucks across the river.
Each time they made it to the north bank the men crossed back over to pull the next truck across. The other soldiers and hundreds of local citizens on hand to see the site cheered as they made it across. Between two mule teams and the soldiers, all the trucks reached the north bank by noon. The newspaper photograph the next week reports instead that it was horse teams that helped in the crossing.