Iron Butt Association Lighthouse Tour ChallengeThere are more than 13,300 known lighthouses in the world today. Not all of them are accessible by road, but many can be reached by motorcycle. The Iron Butt Association has developed a new series of rides that will complement the National Parks Tour (Master Traveler Awards) and allow more of our members around the world to participate in a stamp and photo collection qualification ride.
The conventional definition of a lighthouse is a tower or other structure containing a beacon light to warn or guide ships at sea. However, the Iron Butt Dictionary defines a lighthouse as: “A photographic or rubber stamping opportunity that lures a motorcyclist into taking the time to visit and experience new roads, often reaching the very end, and to visit, in the words of the United States Lighthouse Society, ‘the many proud coastal ladies of former years with their sweeping towers of brick and Victorian gingerbread.’”
North America is “middle-aged” in lighthouse years, while Iceland is a “nýju krakki á blokk,“ (new kid on the block). The Icelandic Lighthouse Society explains that Iceland had only five operating lighthouses at the turn of the 20th century and it was not until 1954 that the circle of 104 lighthouses around Iceland was finally completed.
How many of these Icelandic lighthouses can be visited by motorcycle? We don’t know because their website is in Icelandic. However, we do know that you can ride to the oldest working lighthouse in the world, which is in the city of La Coruña in northwestern Spain. This lighthouse is known as the Tower of Hercules and has been operating since the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan, who died in 117. That is not a typo, the Tower has been in operation since the year one hundred seventeen!
Like most Iron Butt challenges, the Lighthouse Tour came about by happenstance. In the summer of 2010, I was checking out bonus locations for the 2011 Iron Butt Rally and decided to ride part of the way home along a coastline. At lunchtime I saw a lighthouse and decided to stop, take a few photographs, and have lunch. As I wandered about the grounds, I entered a gift shop and learned the U.S. Lighthouse Society sponsors a Passport Program. I bought two, got one stamped, then went outside and called Mike Kneebone. I explained the program to Mike, who gave his signature laugh (it’s really not evil) and said, “It passes the sickness test. We have to use this program as a basis for a new IBA ride!”
The Iron Butt Association is going to use the levels of accomplishment that are outlined in the U.S. Lighthouse Society Passport Program as part of our ride requirements. Simply put, you will need 60 stamps, or other proof of visitation, during any continuous twelve-month period to qualify for an IBA certificate. Like the Master Traveler Award, we will be expanding the ride geographically to include higher mileage Silver and Gold levels. The Iron Butt Association will also be certifying rides outside of North America, on either a country basis (such as New Zealand, Chile, Australia) or geographical region basis (such as Europe or the United Kingdom) - contact us for award levels in your country/continent so we can work with you to develop an award level suitable to your country/area.
In developing this ride we have had the great pleasure to consult with two very knowledgeable individuals -- Anthony (Tony) Melosci (a friend of IBA member Wayne Edkin) and Richard Gales of the U.S. Lighthouse Society. Tony has visited by plane, boat, or automobile every lighthouse in the United States. Richard has been very generous in sharing information and supporting the IBA’s idea of modeling unique IBA rides that will include their Passport Program. The accompanying photos and passport stamps in this article are courtesy of Tony and Rich.
We are asking for your help in building a GPS database for these lighthouses. Where possible, we are asking you to send us GPS coordinates of lighthouses as you find them in order to help other riders in their quest to visit the lighthouses. Also, we’re asking you to send us photos, as well as directions or other unique information you think might assist both future riders and other lighthouse organizations.
As you find new lighthouses or have other information to share, please send a note to: [email protected]
The object of the Iron Butt Association's Lighthouse Tour Challenge is to take some time to visit the hundreds of historic lighthouses located around the world.
Primary documentation is by photo with gas receipt showing you were in the area at that time or with your IBA ride flag (available from www.ibaestore.com under Miscellaneous) OR an imprint of the unique rubber ink stamps maintained at many lighthouse visitor centers.
o Purchase a "U.S. Lighthouse Society Lighthouse Passports" book ($14.00) via mail from:
U.S. Lighthouse Society
or on-line from http://www.uslhs.org/store_merchandise.php or call (415) 362-7255 (The proceeds from this book and the stamping fees ($1 per stamp is the suggested donation) go to helping the United States Lighthouse Society).
NOTE: The rules the IBA uses are similar but not the same (they require to obtain the stamp and only where it is not available are you allowed to take a photo - the IBA version allows you to either take a photo or obtain the stamp) to those of the United States Lighthouse Society, you may want to simultaneously participate in their program also (their program requires stamps as the primary documentation). Details can be found at: http://www.uslhs.org/passports.php
REFERENCE SITE FOR lighthouses by map tools (and GPS): http://www.lighthousefriends.com/
There are time limits for different award levels (the US LHS has no time limits).
You have one year to complete any level of the ride:
NORTH AMERICA RIDES
FINISHER: Visit 60 lighthouses in 12 consecutive months.
BRONZE: Visit 60 lighthouses with at least two on different oceans in 12 consecutive months (for US, that is Pacific and Atlantic) for Europe an example would be the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
SILVER: Visit 120 lighthouses with at least two on different oceans in 24 consecutive months (for US, that is Pacific and Atlantic) for Europe an example would be the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
GOLD: Visit 180 lighthouses in 36 consecutive months. One lighthouse must be on the Golf of Mexico, the Great Lakes and in Canada (non-North American applicants, write for your specific requirements.
GOLD EXTREME: Visit 180 lighthouses in 12 consecutive months. One lighthouse must be on the Golf of Mexico, the Great Lakes and in Canada (non-North American applicants, write for your specific requirements.
What does a gold ride look like? Visit these two links from Chuck Berry, 76 years young:
LEG1: (east coast):
LEG2: (east coast and west coast trip)
PLATINUM: Visit 180 lighthouses with at least two on different CONTINENTS in 36 consecutive months.
You may start and finish any time you want.
o Once you have completed your ride, photocopy the pages and submit the copies, a check for (Finisher and Bronze $40 - Silver $50 and GOLD or PLATINUM $60) made payable to the Iron Butt Association and mail it to Iron Butt Association, P.O. Box 9450, Naperville, IL 60567-9450 USA
For your effort, you will receive a custom Iron Butt Association certificate of Accomplishment and have seen a great deal of some of the prettiest parts of the world
Checklist of documents needed for Iron Butt Association Lighthouse Tour Challenge
For more information on the Iron Butt Association e-mail [email protected]
© 2011, Iron Butt Association, Chicago, Illinois
Please respect our intellectual property rights. Do not distribute this document or portions therein, without the written permission of the Iron Butt Association.