Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rider Updates

There are always challenges on a multi-day rally - which is why we do it.  Our riders are the kind of people who like a challenge - like figuring out the logistics of getting a broken down motorcycle out of an Indian Reservation and back to Atlanta... more on that in a moment.

On Sunday morning, just hours from the start, the drive shaft on John Coons' 94 R1100RS gave up.  Those who know John also know that his father, Charlie, has spent many, many rallies keeping the old 94 in running condition.  After working on the bike for most of Sunday in Sioux City, John made the difficult decision to withdraw from the rally.

Meanwhile, up in Wyoming, Andy Regnier had a minor accident - he was able to ride his bike to the emergency room.  He, his wife & the bike (on a trailer) are in route back home to Minnesota.

Also on Monday, George Barker was involved in an accident in Taos, NM.  The Goldwing was totaled. George was not totaled, and is a walking testimony to All The Gear, All The Time.  George was taken to Santa Fe.  A phone call to IBA Communications Officer, Ira Agins was made.  In short order, George was in Ira's capable hands.  He's been well cared for and will be flying home to Appleton, WI tomorrow.

After a heroic ride on Jungo Road to the IBA memorial site, Mark Crane experienced "ignition component failure" en route to Amboy Crater.  John Bailey had tire issues that just kept causing him heartburn.  Both made  the decision to withdraw.

And then there is our crazy Aussie friend, Ian McPhee.  I doubt anyone prepared more for this rally than Ian.  After claiming the Spider Rock bonus in Navajo country near Chinle, AZ, Ian found himself on a bad road.  This is not an issue for Ian as he is quite experienced riding his 1995 MT 350 Harley along the roads near his home in Lumwana, Zambia.  He's used to bad roads.  Regardless, a large rock managed to destroy both rims and lever the center stand into the bottom of the engine of his R1100RT.  A nice hole in the sump was the result and Ian was stranded.  He walked into Window Rock & began a new adventure.

Ian's phone didn't work on the Indian Reservation, so he borrowed one to call the rally van.  Logistics began - Randy Gabrick worked from Minnesota to figure out how to get Ian from Window Rock to Gallup to Albuquerque to Minneapolis.  This involved a Navajo commuter bus and a train.   Meanwhile, Bob Wooldridge of BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta (Ian's "home" dealer) started working on transport of the bike back to Atlanta.  Ian's disappointment is palpable but he is already working on his planning for the European Iron Butt Rally in September.

Scott Thornton found himself at the same gas station as the rally staff upon leaving the Bowling Museum in Arlington.  Apparently, the harassment from two women speaking in tongues and a cranky rallymaster shaking his cane at him was too much for his fragile state - so last night he called to withdraw.  Ok... just kidding.. he was not that traumatized by us but he did decide some other issues were making it difficult to continue. 

I am struck, not for the first time, by the amazing compassion and willingness to assist that is a hallmark of the long distance riding community.  With a simple phone call, text, email or discussion board post, details get handled, stress is relieved and problems are solved.  Strangers one day are friends the next.  Drawn together by this unusual sport that seems to draw people who not only love adventure but also love making the adventure continue.

All riders are accounted for.  And this fretful southern woman is not fretting.  That speaks volumes.

From somewhere in Missouri...


  1. Thank you for the ride reports Lisa. We are a long way from the action here and they are great to read.
    Shane Cudlin
    IBA # 430

  2. Thanks for the report and glad that no one has been seriously injured. I'm enjoying following along on spot and the reports here. Good luck to the remaining riders and I'm sure those out of it will be raring to go again soon. Looking forward to to a Rally Master report for the podcast after the finish and everyone has some time to get some rest. Keep the reports coming, us armchair, wish we there riders, are enjoying them.