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Aug 11, 2009

Ian Wallace’s Epic Journey

In the News, Random Notes

Ian Wallace – a Royal Enfield owner, MPVA member and vintage Military Vehicle enthusiast – recently undertook an epic journey with his Royal Enfield Bullet Military. He joined the 2009 MVPA Convoy for it’s historic trek across America, recreating the 1919 transcontinenal convoy of the US Army’s Military Transportation Corps.

2009 MVPA Convoy Map

2009 MVPA Convoy Map

Ian and his Bullet Military started in Washington, D.C. and traveled with the convoy through 8 states to Wyoming.

However, about an hour outside the convoy’s stop in Rawlins, Wyoming when the worst happened: Ian was struck by a car while riding his Military. Fortunately, Ian lived to tell the tale but unfortunately, he was badly injured and unable to continue his journey. We checked in with Ian recently who, despite still being in for treatment at the time, was good enough to send us a personal account of his trip:

I am still in a care facility but hope to get out the end of this week. The leg was pretty well banged up, and required a lot of surgery. I still have one more procedure to go in a few weeks.

The convoy trip was something I will always remember. It was like one long parade through towns and villages in the eight states I rode through. At times we had as many as 60 vehicles of various ages and sizes. There was one other motorcycle rider that was with me until my accident, an 84 year old ex Los Angeles Police motorcycle officer, Bill Kreider. We both did escort and traffic control duty when we didn’t have the state police or local officers to assist. I learned that I had to disconnect the kickstand ignition shutoff circuit so I could stop in the middle of an intersection and still have the engine running. The Military ran just fine all the way. I checked the tappet clearances once (pictured) and one valve was very, very slightly loose. I also adjusted the secondary chain once. The plan was to do more maintenance in Fallon, NV but of course I did not get that far!

As for the actual convoy. The Lincoln Highway Association had made sure that the towns we would pass through we advised when we would be there. As a result there were always people along the route, waving big and little flags, and the local veterans groups standing in formation with their flags and banners. This was in town after town.

The one image that I will always remember came one overcast afternoon. The convoy was, as usual, behind schedule and we were approaching a small town. Still there were people in their yards along the road, flags in hand, children saluting. Then I looked to my right and saw him.

Up on a gentle grade from the roadway towards a typical middle America farmhouse stood a veteran. He was wearing the best combination of shirt and trousers that would approximate a uniform. On his shirt was a modest line of service bars and a medal. His walker was behind him, and he had set a pole with an American flag to one side. He stood straight and tall in the light rain that had begun to fall. His back was ramrod straight, and he was rendering a perfect hand salute, right index finger at the eyebrow. He wore his veteran’s group cap squarely on his gray head. His face was fixed in a determined expression that could be taken for nothing other than his display of patriotism. His eyes were wide and saw each of us as we rolled past his “post” there in the rain on his lawn. This man alone made the trip worthwhile.

As for the route, we took many detours off of US30 to be able to drive on the original Lincoln Highway roadway. Sometimes this took us up narrow streets through villages or long, straight dirt roads between fields of corn.

Thanks for remembering me! The Military will be heading to L & L Classic Cycle in Hubbard (OH) soon for repair. It will be fixed long before I will :(

Below, we’ve provided some of Ian’s pictures from his incredible trip (and one from the ordeal that ended it). We want to thank Ian for sharing this amazing story with us and wish him the very best as he continues to recover from the accident!

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