Harley-Davidson fans came to Ardmore from 25 different states for the Central H.O.G. Rally, but nobody traveled farther than Russell and Jan Hacon from Perth, Australia.
The couple said they’ve taken eight road trips around North America and try to attend a HOG Rally as part of their trip each time.
“We initially brought our motorcycle over for the first trip, and then we bought one here and we store it in Las Vegas,” Russ said. “So we come over to Vegas, hop on and off we go.”
This time around they traveled about 10,000 miles, taking the Lincoln Highway across the country, then the Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina before taking Highway 60 to Oklahoma.
“We ride the scenic byways, parkways, and a little bit of the Interstate where’s it’s needed,” Russ said. “We rode across Australia twice this year as well, and that’s the same distance as L.A. to New York.”
They said they’ve been making these trips since 2009 and have traveled nearly 130,000 miles riding in the US and Canada, including Alaska.
“We’ve met so many fantastic people and they’ve been so nice to us, everyone here has been showing us so much hospitality,” Jan said. “We’ve had meals bought for us, just through talking to people in a diner. We try to go to the Mom and Dad type diners, not big chain restaurants, and we just love coming here.”
Jan said between their bike and their accents, they always find a way to strike up a conversation.
“When we order things, talk in restaurants or shops, we get ‘you’re not from here’ and it’s an immediate conversation with someone that you’ve never met before,” Jan said. “They say what they’ve done, we say what we’re doing and that’s how you meet new folks.”
A mutual love of bikes is what brought the couple together ten years ago. Russ has been riding dirt bikes his whole life and bought his first Harley in 1997 after his son bought one.
They met when they both became members of the Ulysses Club, an Australian motorcycle group for people who are 40 and older. They belonged to different chapters in western Australia, but were usually at the same events and got to know each other through mutual friends.
“Motorcycles are a common denominator worldwide,” Russ said. “It doesn’t matter where it is. Within the motorcycle community, even though you’ve never met somebody, you can meet them and 30 seconds later you feel like you know them. It’s a funny thing.”