Dennis and Edie Fisk made the eight-hour ride to Spokane Valley from Pacific City, Ore., to join more than 1,500 Harley-Davidson riders at a four-day rally this weekend.
The two retirees rode through rain for two hours and encountered wind in the Columbia River Gorge to take part in the first Pacific Northwest HOG Rally. Lone Wolf Harley-Davidson, 19011 E. Cataldo Ave., is hosting the event.
“I got my first bike when I was 18,” Dennis Fiske said. After years of riding Hondas, he bought his first Harley in 2008 and hasn’t looked back.
Hondas are OK, he said, but Harleys spark something inside of you.
Part of it is the sound. Fisk has a customized exhaust that gives off a deep motorcycle roar, not that cracking sound associated with choppers.
“You want to hear it,” but not so much that it hurts the ears, said John Clark, one of Fisk’s riding friends from Portland.
Harleys are an iconic American brand, and most of these riders consider themselves patriots. Fisk and Clark fly American and POW flags off their rear seats when they ride.
They said they value the quality of the workmanship, even if it might cost more. A good Harley with custom options runs $25,000 to $32,000, they said.
For the rally, Lone Wolf, the Spokane area’s only Harley dealership, converted its sprawling 11-acre property into the event center for the weekend. Harleys are lined up in front while the evening dinner and musical entertainment are out back.
Thursday afternoon’s main event was a mass ride under law-enforcement escort to Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene, where the bikers were given a closed-off street to display their bikes for several hours.
Riders can choose among several day rides in all directions from Spokane during the rally.
J.R. Montgomery, of Spokane, is leading a 180-mile ride south on state Highway 27 to Palouse, where it will turn west toward St. John before returning to the rally. He expects as many as 150 riders to join him.
He said he prefers two-lane roads. “We are a different breed. We look for windy roads,” he said.
Montgomery is part of the Lone Wolf Harley Owners Group (HOG), which put two years into the planning.
“You don’t just throw it together,” he said.
While the crowd was showing a lot of gray hair, there was no lack of enthusiasm. Riders said they came to the event for the camaraderie and a chance to see some new riding country.
There won’t be any wet T-shirt contests. These folks are a far cry from outlaw bikers.
“These are just all working people,” Montgomery said.
Former Spokane Valley Mayor Mike DeVleming, one of the riders, described the crowd as “cranky old lawyers and grocery store managers.”