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  #91  
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I am anxious for the next installment of the Iron Butt!
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Thanks for the write up Chris, I know all about that road threw the Smokey Mountain Park, I led Crusty and BKB around there at last years meet and greet, at about 15 mph, behind a never ending trail of cars that stopped to look at every rock, tree, or chipmunk.
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Nice storyline Chris, really fills in a lot of the gaps of secrecy from the Rally itself. So many more considerations besides just riding. Andsome of that navigating has got to be tough with all the gear you carry. “Ironman” doesn’t do justice!
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I noticed the Sportster in the 2019 Iron Butt Rally was also mentioned on the XR1200 Owner's Group and even BobIsTheOilGuy.com.

https://www.xr1200ownersgroup.com/si...ron+Butt+Rally

https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forum...utt-rally-2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shanneba View Post
I noticed the Sportster in the 2019 Iron Butt Rally was also mentioned on the XR1200 Owner's Group and even BobIsTheOilGuy.com.

https://www.xr1200ownersgroup.com/si...ron+Butt+Rally

https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forum...utt-rally-2019
Thanks!!!
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Default Part II of my rally report

Here is Part II of my rally report

Note: A big thanks to Bstrdbike for allowing me the use of his garage and lift to swap our my rear wheel so I had fresh rubber for the rest of the rally

Day 1, Leg 2 Part I: Kennewick WA – Olympia WA
My alarm went off and I am sure I hit snooze once or twice, fortunately not enough to cause me to miss the 4am riders meeting. I went down and had breakfast and chatted with a few friends, and we then migrated to the hotel lobby for the riders meeting. The meeting began with a few announcements, and then the shocker. We were told that returning to Kennewick Sunday was optional provided met one of two requirements. One was to visit any bonus north of 60 degrees latitude, and the other was by claiming two bonuses, one being the photo bonus CAPED at Cape Disappointment on the Pacific Coast Highway and the other being ROSIE which was the Cap-de-Rosiers lighthouse near Gaspe in eastern Quebec. Note the look on the faces of several of the riders



Tobie Stevens Photo

Without having the locations identified on a map it was too early to determine if either of those were viable. We were informed we’d need to be back at Kennewick by 8pm, successfully claim it, and that no scoring would take place. Lastly we were told that weather or road closures were not an excuse for any bonus in Alaska, so if the road was closed no points. We were cautioned to check weather conditions before we headed to a bonus. The top 10 riders after leg one were announced, and then rally books for the next leg were handed out. One change to the rally book was announced, Mackenzie Pass was last reported closed so the points for that bonus were reduced to zero. We were also sent an email with the coordinates of the bonus locations, or rather the approximate coordinates. From there we all retired to our rooms to begin planning the leg.

I did my usual renaming of the bonus locations and imported into both of my GPS units as well as my mapping software. I quickly ruled out the conditions for skipping the checkpoint because I was not in the shape to make either of those rides and make it back to the finish. During my review of the rally book I noticed a number of combinations. I calculated the points for all of the required stops plus the combination points and then built a route with each them in my mapping software to figure out if I thought it was a viable ride for me and to see what other bonus locations would fit into the route. After 4 or 5 iterations I selected the Rio Grande combos, one consisting of two locations and the other of five. I was able to add a few other stops in and had what I thought was a good route for me. My plan was to ride the first part of it, return to Kennewick, and then go back to pick up where I left off. My mind did not see the significate planning error I had just made. I looked at the time and it was almost 9am. I made the decision that I’d do my wheel swap that morning rather than during my return visit to Kennewick (previously known as checkpoint 2) so I texted Bstrdbike to see if he was free and he was. I told him I’d confirm in an hour or so, and went back to my route to verify that any daylight or night time restrictions were not being violated and also figured out the actual locations for each bonus and added them to my route. I still thought I had a viable plan so I texted Bstrdbike that I’d be over in 30 minutes, I packed up my stuff, loaded my bike, and was out of the hotel promptly at 10:30 am. Not exactly an early departure but I was not the last to leave.

During my 15 minute ride to do my wheel swap a lightbulb in my brain started fizzling to life. When it finally lit I had an enlightening thought, why on earth would I ride part of a leg, return, and then retrace the same path. There had to be a better use of time and better bonus locations to claim. I would have smacked myself in the head but all I’d do is hurt my hand, so I muttered a few choice words and kept riding. I decided that after I did my wheel swap I’d check my mapping software to see if I could find a better plan.

I got to Bstrdbike's house and pulled in his garage. We put my bike on the lift and I did my wheel swap. As I was using an unfamiliar lift it took me longer than usual, however 45 minutes later the bike was on the ground with a fresh rear tire. I took a moment to check out his Model T Ford that had been in his family for many years, retrieved a care package I sent myself containing 6 pairs of clean socks, and was on my way at 11:45 am. I found the closest McDonalds because I knew they had an internet connection should I need it and headed there. I ordered lunch, fired up my laptop, and took a look at my route. I spied to 5,000 point bonus locations in British Columbia, and a few smaller ones to fill in the gaps. I read the requirements for each and one of the large bonus locations required a 4 Kilometer walk (2.5 miles) each way so I allotted myself 2 hours for that one. Another included a .7 mile walk in a cave to take a photo of a rock, which I allotted an hour to complete. I also checked where the day would be ending and manipulated my route so it was near a population center where I could find a hotel. I booked a Hilton near Olympia WA and a Holiday Inn Express in Courtenay British Columbia. And with that I was on my way to collect points at 2PM, or 10 hours after the distribution of rally books. An epic fail in my mind, however there was no time to worry about it and I needed to get moving.

My first stops of the day were actually south which in hindsight was rather dumb. I rode for almost 3 hours for my first stop, Bonneville Fish Hatchery where I had to take a photo of a display for a sturgeon fish.



With that done I was heading north again and had a 15 minute delay due to a toll to cross a bridge. From there I had a great ride in a national forest to get to the APE Cave for my underground .7 mile hike. I arrived in the parking lot around 6pm and found the trailhead for a short hike to the cave entrance, descended the stairs into the darkness and proceeded on my way stumbling over the uneven ground. After a considerable amount of time had passed I checked the rally book to ensure I knew what I was to take a photo of and continued my journey. The cave started narrowing and I had an epiphany as I was on my knees staring at a dead end, I passed it … I consulted the rally book again and took a closer look at the photo provided. I initially thought the rock was on the ground, however I could now see it was hanging from the ceiling and I did recall passing it. 15 minutes or so later I found it and proceeded to try to photograph my flag and the rock in a completely dark cave. After 3 or 4 tries I managed to have something passable and began my stumble out of the cave.



It took me roughly an hour after I had arrived at the parking lot. I made it to the exit, cleaned my boots as instructed, and made my way to my bike. As I arrived there was another rider there preparing to head to the cave and I alerted him that it took me two hours. We said our goodbyes and I was off on my way north. I elected to drop my next bonus, WINDY, which required the climbing of some stairs (no idea how many) to take a photo. My reason for dropping was it cost me two hours and I thought it would be better to head straight to my hotel as I had the feeling I was missing something rather important with regards to the rest of my route. I arrived at my hotel at 9:50 pm and went to check in. I was informed they had no reservation in my name so I quick pulled out my phone and I did not see one either, so I must not have made it. Fortunately they had a room so I got one, and then put in a quick order with the kitchen for dinner. I made my way to my room and pulled out the laptop and took a look at my route. Sure enough, I had missed something. Ferries!!! Three of them!!! I realized with three ferries it was unlikely I’d make it to the second large bonus and then make it back to the hotel by 8 pm Saturday so I decided to skip the second large bonus. This leg is getting worse every minute! I had a smaller bonus near Vancouver before I got to my large bonus so I elected to pass the smaller one and pick it up on the return trip. I also had a smaller bonus north of Olympia that I dropped because it added 2 hours to my trip and I’d rather skip it than the big 5,000 point bonus. Satisfied I had the best ride I could do at the moment I went to sleep.

Total distance ridden 360 for the day, 4,150 for the rally

Day 2, Leg 2 Part I: Olympia WA – Vancouver BC
My initial plan was to leave at 5am, but I was up until 1am going over my route so I gave myself another hour of sleep. When the alarm went off I hit snooze a few times and ended up leaving the hotel at 7am. I needed gas and I thought it would be good to claim this as my rest bonus. I found a gas station and filled up, took a look at the receipt and it said 6:30 am. Since the clock did not start on my rest bonus until midnight, this was only 6 ½ hours rather than the 7 ½ hours it should have been. I went inside to buy a bottle of water and that receipt was off an hour also. Not having time to hunt for receipts I got on my way.

I underestimated how far Olympia was from the Canadian Border and did not realize it was a 3 hour ride. Plus I was tired so I made a few extra stops. As a result I arrived at the border around 11:30 and was greeted with a 1 hour delay. I finally made my way through it without issue and continued on to my next nightmare, Vancouver. There was no highway to where I was going and I was fighting my way through town. Sure the road had a number assigned to it, but there were plenty of traffic lights. Plus bridge construction, plus road construction. I lost at least another hour there. Finally I was on an open road and made good time to the ferry crossing, arriving around 2:15. I was fortunate in that I arrived shortly before the ferry so I had a minimal wait. There was one other local rider there so we chatted a bit and sat together on the ferry. The crossing took 40 minutes to go 12 miles and I was on my way. The ride was great and so was the scenery. I got to the parking area around 3:30 and saw another IBR rider’s bike but was unsure who it was. I began my trek and at first the going was easy but the trail started climbing and descending, and there were rocks and roots in the trail making it tough going. I was again wearing my riding jacket since I had no place to secure it plus it. I had my GPS with me and at one point I fired it up to see how close I was. ½ mile, sigh … I kept going and finally found the sign I was looking for and the other IBR rider. We chatted for a bit as I needed a few minutes to recover from the hike, I took my photo, and said our goodbyes.



Heading back to the bike was a bit slower due to my being tired and having to climb a few hills strewn with rocks and roots. Along the way I saw an old tree that had fallen many years ago, and there was a tree approximately two foot in diameter growing up from it. I could tell it was a separate tree and not a branch due to the root visible on the tree. Seeing that made me wonder, if a tree grows out of another tree, is it a cannibal? Yeah, I was that tired and a bit loopy …

Eventually I made it to my bike around 6:15 pm, and headed towards my next bonus where I had to take a photo of a bench after crossing a suspension bridge. It was in a park which closed at 9pm. My GPS showed I may make it, but then I realized it was on the other side of the ferry. I got to the ferry and had to wait 30 minute or so for it to pull in. It showed up and I boarded, time was 8:15 and the ferry ride was 40 minutes, not going to make it. I chose to get a room in Vancouver 10 minutes from the bonus rather than skip it since I could not make up the points. As a benefit of that decision I was able to get a full 8 hours sleep and then some since the bonus did not open until 7am. At 9:05 I left the ferry and made my way to a gas station to top off my fuel tanks and get a starting receipt for my rest bonus, then headed to my hotel 5 minutes away, checking in around 9:30pm. I did some route planning for the next day and saw that I was cutting it really close for the photo bonus which I had not realized earlier. I was able to add the WINDY bonus (the one with the unknown number of stairs) in its place to cover the points, and went to bed.

Total distance ridden 300 for the day, 650 for the leg, 4,450 for the rally

Day 3, Leg 2 Part I: Vancouver BC– Kennewick WA
The next morning I got up around 6 am, loaded the bike, and headed out to get a receipt to end my rest bonus. I rode about the area looking for an ATM and found it, got a receipt at 6:40, and then headed to my bonus. I missed the fact that I had not loaded the actual bonus location into my GPS so I had to pull over and add it, and was on my way. I got there at 7:10, parked, took a 200 yd or so walk to and across the bridge for my photo, and returned to my bike.



I had 5 minutes to spare to make it to the photo bonus which was on the Pacific Coast Highway. I still had the Vancouver traffic to deal with plus a border crossing, no way I’d make it. I dropped it from my GPS and headed out. The traffic gods were smiling on me as traffic was light at 8am on a Sunday and I made good time. The border took 10-15 minutes to cross and I was on my way south. I had a good distance to ride on I-5 and then on some US and Washington State routes, and then on some National Forrest roads. I started climbing and gaining altitude as I worked my way up a mountain. At one point I was looking at the other side of the road with no guardrail and a considerable drop off thinking how much I would enjoy the trip back. I found the parking lot and parked in the appropriate area and looked up, and up, and up … Climb the stairs the rally book said … They could have specified that they were part of the stairway to heaven as then seemed to go up forever!

Ok, there were only 368 stairs, but there seemed to be a lot more. I grabbed my flag, camera, and rallybook and started my ascent. Eventually I made it to the top and the view was incredible. I took my photo, made my descent, and got back on the road.



Here is the view of the steps from near the top



From there it was a 3 ½ to 4 hour ride back to Kennewick which went fairly fast with half of it on US 12.

I checked in around 7:15 pm, got some food, and went to my room to review the plan the second half of the leg and verify that I was arriving at times when the bonus was available, the end of the day came when I was near civilization so I could find a bed to sleep in, and to be sure it was rideable. I was up until 1am or so

Total distance ridden 525 for the day, 1,175 for the leg, 4,975 for the rally
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  #97  
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Wow, that sounds like a totally grueling schedule! Your thread has shown me there is much, much more to this effort than just riding! Impressive!
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Great write up. Thoroughly enjoying every step! (pun intended)
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That looks like quite a climb up them stairs! I find on my ride & hike trips , it's so nice to get off your feet after the hike & just twist your throttle & let the bikes motor do the work instead of your tired legs. Fantastic report Chris!
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Originally Posted by clif02 View Post
Wow, that sounds like a totally grueling schedule! Your thread has shown me there is much, much more to this effort than just riding! Impressive!
It is grueling if you are trying to do well. Much more involved than simply sitting on the seat and twisting the throttle.

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Originally Posted by ChinCactus View Post
Great write up. Thoroughly enjoying every step! (pun intended)
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcusorelius View Post
That looks like quite a climb up them stairs! I find on my ride & hike trips , it's so nice to get off your feet after the hike & just twist your throttle & let the bikes motor do the work instead of your tired legs. Fantastic report Chris!
Except on this trip the roads were rather twisty with no guardrail and rather steep drop offs so there wasn't much relaxing once back on the bike
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