LOCK HAVEN - After riding 1,700 miles in three days, eight local motorcyclists are in HOG Heaven.
They're spending this week at The Sturgis Rally in Sturgis, S.D., with thousands of other motorcyclists from all over the world.
This group, most of whom are at or nearing retirement age, left Mill Hall last Friday. They reached their destination Sunday afternoon. They are all HOGs, members of the Harley Owners Group, and also ride with members of the local Moose.
They were all smiles early Friday morning as they gathered in front of the Sheetz Inc., donning their Harley gear and anxious to hit the road.
It's the biggest motorcyle rally in the United States. There will be one million bikes out there, they explained as they posed for a group shot before taking off in pre-planned formation.
The oldest member of the group is 66-year-old Gary Brooks. The youngest is Mike Haffley, a mere 45 years old. In between are Bob "Meat" McCaslin, Lew Summers, Wayne Bottorf, John Reese and Steve Heverly and his wife, Deb.
No matter their age or station in life, all are in good shape and have one thing in common - a love of riding their Harleys and a joy in spending time with others who share that love.
For some, this isn't the first trip to Sturgis. But, is was no less exciting than the first time they made the lengthy trip across the countryside on the seat of a Harley.
Although Deb is the only woman riding behind her husband to Sturgis, several other wives - Sandy Summer and Gina Haffley - flew out to Sturgis on Sunday to join their husbands at the rally.
Asked what all they packed for the trip, they laughed. "Money for hotel rooms," Summers exclaimed with a broad smile.
No, these guys know their limit and had no intention of roughing it along the way.
They expected the 1,700 mile trip would take them two and a half days. And they were right.
They rode for 12 hours Friday, 14 hours Saturday and eight hours Sunday, reaching Sturgis in the afternoon.
They stopped in Ohio to pick up a couple more riders, including Summers' son, Lew III. Steve's sister Cindy and her husband, Chuck, also joined the pack in Ohio.
You'd think 1,700 miles out and 1,700 miles back would be enough excitement for these Harley enthusiasts.
Apparently not. They planned on taking numerous side trips while there, including visits to Mount Rushmore, Black Hills and Devil's Tower.
By the time they get home, they'll have logged about 5,000 miles, said Brooks' wife, Karen, who would have loved to accompany her husband.
"We'll do it in two years," she said with a smile, saying she plans to retire before then and they can make the trip together.
But for now, Karen's hoping her husband is having a great time.
She's undoubtedly anxious for him to return home safe and sound and looks forward to hearing all about the trip that some motorcyclists only dream about.