Danny and Linda Ellis practice togetherness on a motorcycle, so it's only fitting that they'll renew their wedding vows today along with nearly two dozen other couples at Thunder Creek Harley-Davidson.
"We ride together," said Mr. Ellis, 55, of Trenton, Ga. "I tried to get her to [have her own motorcycle and] go on her own, but she said she'd rather ride with me."
Both Thunder Creek in East Brainerd and Mountain Creek Harley-Davidson in Dalton, Ga., will hold vow-renewal ceremonies today at 2 p.m.
The couple, who have been married 25 years, first met at church.
"I was 30, and she was 29," Ellis said. "My mother kept on and my sister kept on about me going, and I met her there. It's been on ever since."
At the time, the vows didn't include "for better, for worse and for motorcycling."
Ellis said he had ridden since he was 14 but gave it up for about 20 years.
"We got back into it in '08," he said. "She had never been on a bike, but I got her to riding double. She enjoyed it, and she got to the point where if I were to run down to the store, she'd say, 'Let me get my helmet, and I'll go with you.' She got to where she just loved it."
Ellis said he and his wife still double in their community, but he said they also participate in the local HOG (Harley Owners Group) chapter's monthly rides and take other Harley-Davidson-sponsored trips.
Among those, he said, is the company's ABCs of Touring Contest. In that, participants earn points by submitting photographs of themselves and their Harleys in front of official signs while holding a copy of HOG Magazine or the HOG Touring Handbook.
The idea, according to the company's website, is to visit cities, villages, towns and counties beginning with as many different letters of the alphabet as possible.
The contest, which offers prizes for points earned, has taken them to Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Along the way, Ellis said they meet other Harley-Davidson riders like themselves.
"It's a good bunch of people," he said. "It's a fantastic group."
Ellis said he was happy to oblige his wife when she first suggested they renew their vows last year.
"She's still special to me," he said, "and from what I understand, I'm still special to her."
Ellis said he couldn't think of a special Valentine's gift he's given his wife over their quarter century together but says he buys her "flowers and this and that every year. I try to make it her day."
So when they're finished retaking their vows today in front of God and lots of leather-clad everybodies, they'll ride off together, a couple who remain united by love and by hundreds of pounds of tubular metal, colorful molded plastic and rubber.
Contact Clint Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6497.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...