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Motorcycle Bob on the Iron Butt Rally

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Motorcycle Bob finishes the IBR his own way —

Long distance motorcycle traveler and long term Vagabond Journey reader and friend, Motorcycle Bob, finished in second place in the 2009 Iron Butt Rally.

Well, he finished second place out of the riders who did not finish.

Motorcycle Bob in Argentina

Motorcycle Bob in Argentina

Though he went out of the ralley in style:

He destroyed a deer, his motorcycle, and himself in a single go on a mountain road in Colorado.

“From the moment I hit the ground I was swearing at the dear and yelling OW, OW, OW, OW into my helmet.   The Aerostitch suit did it’s job.   I started sliding on my left side, but started getting a burning sensation on my arm due to the suit sliding and scraping the top layer of skin off.   I rolled to my back, but remembered I did not have much back protection.   I Then tried rolling onto my left side and did a few quick rolls before I was able to stop it and ride out the rest of the incredibly long slide on my right side. A great thing about a textile outfit like I have is that it does not have a lot of friction with the ground so it does not tend to make you roll.   The bad thing is you slide pretty much forever.   I remember asking no one in particular “when the hell am I gonna stop?” -Motorcycle Bob out of the Rally

After bike trouble, repairs, 7 days and nights of riding from the east coast of the USA to Connecticut, Martha’s Vineyard (with the help of a ferry) to Montana and down to Colorado, Motorcycle Bob preserved and ranked within the rally’s top 20 riders.

Then the deer ran into the road directly in front of him, and there was no place else to go other than right through it.

“She came out of a gully from my left at full speed.   I had no time to react in any constructive manner.   I hit her just in front of the rear hip and killed her pretty quick.   The situation was made much worse by the fact that the fender got smashed into the front wheel causing a lockup.   Can’t ride that out.”

So Bob wiggled his toes, pealed himself up off the ground, patted himself all over, and then flagged down a passing automobile. The ambulance and police then showed up. The sheriff asked him if he had enough to drink, to which Motorcycle Bob replied that he had plenty to drink while he was riding and that the EMTs had given him another bottle.

But the sheriff was not talking about water.

The stench of whiskey covered the accident site, but it was not being emitted from the man who had crashed, but, rather, by one of the EMTs that responded to the call.

At least Bob’s rescuers were feeling pretty good.

In all, Motorcycle Bob came out in one piece, and the Vagabond Journey family rejoices. We know that Bob will be back for the next Iron Butt Rally — even though he says that his IBR days are finished — and are sure that the challenges he went through on this ride will prove to be the lure of excitement that continues to draw him back.

Climbing to the top of a mountain is the only way to come back down.

We look forward to Motorcycle Bob’s next cross country motorcycle adventure. For now, he is searching for a new motorcycle to replace the one that the deer destroyed. -Motorcycle Bob searches for a new motorcycle part 1

I will send Motorcycle Bob a Vagabond Journey t-shirt as a consolation prize, as the way he finished this IBR is the perfect adventure in they eyes of the folks who publish this travelogue.

“Adventure only happens when things go wrong.”

Read more of Motorcycle Bob’s motorcycle travels at Motorcycle Bob’s Motorcycle page

Read more about Motorcycle Bob on the IBR

  • 2009 Ironbutt full story

Motorcycle Bob on Vagabond Journey

Motorcycle travel series

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Filed under: Friends, Motorcycle Travel

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3136 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Zhushan Village, Kinmen, TaiwanMap