Her name is Harley and she rides a motorcycle. You might think that’s a typical name for a biker but you would be wrong as Harley is anything but typical. You see she is a one and a half year old mix breed female dog rescued from a heartless roadside abandonment and her favorite ride is on a Honda Gold Wing. Her best friend Wade, whom she rides with, has been a motorcycle enthusiast for over forty years and has owned around thirty different bikes in his time. Most recently, he and Harley ride a Honda Gold Wing as well as a Harley Davidson Road King.
According to Kimberly, Wade’s wife, “he wasn’t much of an animal lover when they were first married but that changed over time” through their experiences with a dog that she loved for over eighteen years. Kimberly rides with Wade on occasion and has even ridden a bike of her own at one time, but now she gives up her passenger seat to Harley or Gold Wing. Wait a minute; shouldn’t that be on a Gold Wing? No, actually Gold Wing is a four-year-old mix breed female that too was rescued from eminent death by roadside abandonment. “Gold Wing”, Kimberly said, “took to riding immediately” but unlike her adopted sister Harley, “prefers riding on the tank” and usually on the Road King.
|Gold Wing and Wade|
When asked if they did any long distance touring on their bikes, Wade said, “my current job in sales and industrial design doesn’t allow for much extended travels via motorcycle right now.” He went on to say that they have trailered their bikes on vacations and ridden them then but nothing long distance. But Harley probably holds the record in their family of pets for the longest duration of time spent in the saddle, two and a half hours according to Wade. Like any hard-core biker, both Harley and Gold Wing dress the part usually donning goggles and a helmets that are topped with a bright safety orange mohawk hair piece. Wade secures both Harley and Gold Wing with a special harness and seat-belt like straps that prevent them from accidentally falling from the bike as they ride.
Now I have photographed Wade on several occasions as he rode to the summit of Mt. Cheaha but on this particular Saturday, I was fortunate to catch him with Harley in the passenger’s seat. “Mt. Cheaha is close to where I live” said Wade, “so on nice days we make a loop, riding up one side of the mountain and down the other.” On that day it was a nice day to ride and Harley certainly appeared to be enjoying it. What impressed me were her manners as she and Wade cruised by. Not once did she bark or appear anxious as many dogs would, when she saw me, a stranger, standing there on the side of the road. “She never barks” said Wade, “nor does Gold Wing when they ride”. Instead it appeared as though she knew why I was there, knew what I was doing and she knew she had to pose for that perfect picture, which she did. No, as I said before, Harley is anything but typical.