2021 IBR – Day 3

All Quiet on the Eastern Front

It has been a noticeably quiet three days for the Iron Butt Rally. Lisa’s phone is normally ablaze with questions and problems that seem impossible to overcome, but that hasn’t happened this year, or at least not yet. We have had a VERY distinct level of calm here in Rally Central and we hope that keeps up for another 9 days.

Lisa did get a single call in from Peter Green and Dannette Sifford. They said they were beat up from the heat and winds they had been fighting and were going to get some extra sleep. They realized they were starting their break before the rest bonus (details in the next paragraph) but were tired and needed to get some rest. You should see the smile on my face right now; I call this making good decisions.

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Peter Green and Dannette Sifford at the start in Provo, Utah.

The rest bonus has become a critical part of the Iron Butt Rally as the organizers have created incentives to encourage riders to take this safety precaution. Like I said before, the best way to get riders to do something is award them points for doing it. This leg’s rest bonus starts at midnight the morning of Wednesday June 23rd. The requirements are to stop in one place, presumably to sleep and recharge for 4 or more hours, up to a maximum of 8 hours, and earn 6 points per minute. That is a big bunch of points while you are doing something beneficial to all.  If you start sometime on Wednesday, you can continue to earn points into Thursday as long as you remain stopped, but points stop accruing after 480 minutes. So, while you are looking at the public SPOT map and see riders who are not moving, keep this in mind they are probably resting, as they should.

Deluxe accommodations at an Iron Butt Motel.


Anybody who has spent any time on a motorcycle knows the dangers of large animals. Now think hard, what is the worst, the scourge of riders everywhere, what comes into your mental view? Of course, the little puffy-tailed Bambi, so cute in the movie but so deadly to motorcyclists. Commonly referred to as forest rats, the critters dart out of nowhere to jump right into the path of your motorcycle. Even if you spot them from a long distance, you have no idea what they will do as you approach. If you haven’t hit one or had one hit you, I’m sure even your most recent close call is an easily recallable mental image (mine is the first real-life test of my ABS system on Hwy 50 in Colorado).


David Uhl had an unfortunate encounter with one last night. David sent us a picture of the ex-deer (always a good sign when the rider is alert enough to document the incident), told us he is fine, and the bike is OK. Sometimes riding a Harley without all the plastic cowlings and having forks that are about 3 inches in diameter and some stout crash bars, pays off. Then again, “OK” to an Iron Butt Rally rider can mean “The wheels are still mostly round.” We’ll see when he checks in, but he sounded good and is moving along.

Al Greenwood called and has had a flat. He said he’s OK, but he is literally in the middle of Montana, 60 miles from civilization, in an area with no cell service. Al’s dilemma: it is 1,600 miles back to Carmel and as of now he has about 35 hours before penalty minutes start. Al is a truck driver and to meet that deadline after taking the time for a tire change/repair on his wing, he might have to break the 11 hour a day rule (Sing it with me kids: “East bound and down, Gold Wings wheels a rolling, we gonna do what they say can’t be done. We got a long way to go and a short time to get there”).  If I were Al, I would be sleeping while waiting for the tow … tic toc, tic toc.

Jim Burress had front brake problems and went looking for a shop to help him fix his Victory Cross Country. He found a Victory shop that didn’t have time to help him, but another shop an hour away told him to “Come on Down!” and they’ll fit him in. Cudos to Sport Rider in Altoona, Wisconsin for taking care of Jim and getting him on the road as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, one nameless rider is making tracks for the Florida Keys, which I guess should be expected. No matter how many times we put The Keys out there as a bonus, despite common knowledge that it’s a fool’s errand to go there, somebody goes for it. I just hope that this time is not like 2005 when Michael Smeyers rode from Denver directly to Key West for a single bonus and forgot to put his flag in the photo, meaning that his only bonus for the leg was denied. That is one way to get mentioned 16 years later, but probably not the best way.

You might be wondering to yourself, “How does this reporter come up with all this information”.  Well, here you go. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Dave McQueeney there is a wealth of Iron Butt tidbits available at:


Go down to the “Iron Butt Rally Facts and Finishers” page for a plethora of useful information:


Still, some things like Michael’s fruitless 4,600 mile ride are just unforgettable. He did make it back to Denver even though he didn’t get any points. For the record, he would have scored more points sitting in the swimming pool at the host hotel, since he would have had time to bag the sleep bonus.  Time is running out quickly on Leg 1 for our 2021 riders, especially with the rest bonus still open. The little dots on the SPOT page will soon start to turn and will converge on Carmel, Indiana tomorrow after noon.

This report is all about the low drama in this rally so far, and rally staff is incredibly happy about that! I think that might be about to change. The country has been in an unusual dry spell so far this week and the temps here in Indiana are simply perfect for riding. About the time the riders are released for Leg 2 on Friday morning, the whole Midwest should be drenched with rain, but it will be a warm rain (can you hear my sarcasm?).