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Palm Pilot – April 14, 2019

Trust God’s plan.  That was the moral of the story for Sunday, April 14th, when we thought we were going to be riding to Council Grove for our annual Tutu Day after the bike blessing at Douglas Avenue Assembly of God church.  However, God blew some unseasonably cold weather our direction two days before our ride and while He warmed it up enough for a comfortable afternoon ride, He said “You won’t be going anywhere in the morning.”  So, Lori Gibbs, Kathryn Langrehr and I feverishly texted back and forth and came up with a Plan B, which was to give God some time to do His thing with the weather; go to the bike blessing AFTER church services and then ride the short distance to Stearman Field in Benton for lunch. 

I guess my use of All Caps when I typed “We are leaving at 12:15 SHARP” in my Facebook post scared the bejeebers out of everyone because when I arrived at 11:40 for the 11:45 arrival time, there were already about a dozen beautiful bikes and snazzy tutued bikers in the parking lot.  As more Kitties joined us, Gary Friedman, our personal Krome Kitty photographer, snapped picture after picture of the greetings and frivolity.  I’m going to make a detour in reporting on the day with a story that occurred the next day.  Gary and I were on the phone talking about the link that he had created with all the pictures.  During that conversation, he asked, “When you looked at all the pictures, what was the first thing that popped into your head?”  “That we all love each other?” was my response, to which he replied, “That’s exactly right.  Everyone is hugging one another and laughing with one another and anyone observing the interactions can see there is a great amount of love you all have for each other.”  Amen to that!

As 12:15 SHARP approached, I did a quick check of my slip of paper that required using both sides to record the names because we had a WHOPPING 26 KITTIES signed up and confirmed that everyone was present and accounted for and properly tutued up.  I held a brief meeting to give the instructions for how it was going to go down at the church and we mounted up.  At 12:15 SHARP, we exited the QuikTrip parking lot with Photographer Gary Friedman doubling as Traffic Stopper Gary Friedman and Greg Friedman providing assistance.

While my son, Pastor Clayton, had left instructions for the congregation to not park on the very farthest west row of parking spaces so we could use it, that didn’t happen.  But once again, God knew best because we all crowded into the very south row and it actually was better because we weren’t so spread out.  Here’s where I have to take another detour in the story.  Clayton later told me that he was in his closing prayer for services when they all heard the bikes come roaring into the parking lot.  Everyone started shouting, “They’re here!  They’re here!”  He told me that he finished his prayer, but I have a feeling he pretty much lost his audience at that moment. 

No sooner had we all gotten parked and started taking off helmets, people came pouring out of the church.  Hugs were plentiful as the members of the church greeted us and welcomed us to Douglas Avenue Church.  After gathering together, Pastor Clayton greeted us with a message and announced that he would be blessing not only the bikes, but our helmets and brake hands.  He also said that since it was Palm Sunday, each of us would be given a palm.  Gifts?  We weren’t expecting gifts, but Kitties love gifts!  Never underestimate the power of prayer (not for gifts!) as Pastor Clayton pointed out Larry, a member of the church, had prayed that God would intervene and allow him to be a part of this event.  You see, Larry loves motorcycles, but he teaches Sunday School before services and had we’d been there earlier in the day, he would have completely missed the whole bike blessing event.   

Pastor Clayton then gave a touching prayer by asking God to keep our bikes steadfast and upright; to keep us off the sand; and to allow us to see the beautiful country He created with a shield of protection around us.  Following the blessing, Pastor Clayton and Pastor Brandon, went to each individual Kitty to say a prayer over us and anoint our helmets, heads, bikes and hands with blessed oil.   In God’s infinite wisdom he thought there was one special Kitty who needed a double blessing.  That special Kitty was Kim Jones and God brought both Pastors together at the same time to pray over her. 

Following the blessings, several of the children from the church passed out the palms and we gathered under the church sign and the cross on the church for group pictures.  We’ve had a lot of group pictures taken over the years, but hands down, the ones with these palms were the absolute best!  The sun was shining brilliantly upon us and all the green against our black leather and what all that green symbolized made for some pretty spectacular pictures.  Speaking of pictures, Photographer Gary Friedman and Novice Photographer Greg Friedman (yep, they’re brothers, although I see zero resemblance) captured each individual blessing and lots of candid shots of the event.  While I had complete faith in Gary, I was a very worried about Greg.  You see when I labeled him “Novice Photographer”, that’s exactly what I mean.  If it ain’t a truck part, Greg ain’t taking a picture of it so to trust him with this important responsibility was a leap of faith.  Thank you, God, for not letting him let me down…this time. 

After stowing our palms in our saddle bags, we bid our farewells to our new church friends and prepared to leave; feeling a whole lot more blessed and grateful for everything Pastor Clayton, Pastor Brandon and all of Douglas Avenue Church did to make this day so special for us.  Truth be told, they were as excited about us coming as we were about us going…eventually.  Clayton told me a story of when he first announced to his church family that a big ole gang of lady bikers were coming on April 14th to be blessed that there were a couple of elderly women who were not in favor of having us.  In their defense, they are from the era when bikers were a symbol of roughhousing, hooligans and ne’er-do-wells.  Clayton’s response to them was, “After these ladies leave the church, they are going on an hour-long ride (this was when we thought we were going to Council Grove.)  If we can play one small part in them thinking about God for that hour, then it’s our duty and our honor to do that for God.”   The ladies’ response…”Amen Pastor!”  And guess what?  Those ladies were right there praying with us and for us on that Sunday morning!  They probably took one look at our tutus and thought, these ain’t no Alley Kats; these are just a bunch of Pretty Kitties!  (No offense Alikat!)

So, we fired up our bikes, revved the engines and honked our horns (which caught the attention of more than one neighbor!) and filed past the receiving line of well-wishers and palm-wavers, who were trying their darndest to out-hoot and out-holler the roar of our bikes.   As I was leading the first string of Kitties to Benton, Pastor Clayton’s words to the elderly ladies replayed in my head.  He was right, I DID think about God and all of my many blessings, so mission accomplished Douglas Avenue Church!

Without one missed turn or one gravel road (you’re welcome!), I led the king-sized group right to the closed gate that Stearman Field had promised me that morning would be open so we could park on the tarmac.  As I sat there wondering how did this happen, Maureen Stout took matters into her own hands and squeeeezzzzed past the gate and one by one, we followed her lead.  I briefly thought about saying something in my stern voice to the staff about that little fib they told me, but being so full of blessings made me think better of it.  Hey, we all make mistakes, am I right?  Yeah, remember that the next time I lead you down a gravel road!

What Stearman Field did get right was they had plenty of tables reserved for the Tutued Throng of Kitties that descended upon them.  We all claimed our seats and starting de-layering as the day had warmed quite nicely.  Orders were placed and the booming noise that has become synonymous with Lunchtime with the Kitties commenced. 

I had given the job of selling 50/50 tickets at the QuikTrip to Bobbie Cole and she reported we had a staggering $62.00 up for grabs.  Again, after having just left such a spiritual event, I resisted the urge to pray to God that He would let me win this ginormous pot, but I sure had my Kitty paws crossed!  After I pimped all my wares that I had brought for eager Kitties to buy, we gave the honors of pulling the ticket to our kind waitress.  It’s remarkable how quiet the Kitties can be when they’re waiting to hear a number called and there’s $62.00 at stake.  After the waitress called out the number, all you heard was the rustle of tickets being looked at, until out of the blue, we heard, “That’s me!”  “That’s me” turned out to be none other than Dawn Morse!  Congratulations Dawn and not to be tooting our own horn, but did you all see that she just bought ANOTHER Valkyrie motorcycle?  Let’s all say it together…You’re Welcome!

After settling up our tabs and taking some fun pictures by the bikes; with each other and at least 100 selfies (seriously, I do believe Suz Tiede got a selfie with every single Kitty!), it was time to start herding Kitties for the group lunch shot.  Lori Gibbs happens to know the owners of the luxury hangar next door to Stearman Field so she real quick texted them to see if we could use their patio for our group picture.  Of course, as soon as they heard, Kitties, tutus, and bikers, they couldn’t throw enough thumbs up her way!  So, we’re all gathered, but wait…we need a photographer!  Where the heck is Photographer Gary when you need him?!  Lori ran back to Stearman Field and commandeered a lady to take the picture and as luck would have it, she was a professional photographer!  That means two things:  1) she knows what the heck she’s doing; and 2) she brought her own professional camera!  She snapped a few pictures with my non-professional camera phone and took some with her fancy schmancy camera.  After checking to make sure we got a good one, I released the Kitties, who started scattering like crackheads at a drug raid.  Not that we’re crackheads; although, I’ve been known to be a knucklehead on more than one occasion.  I know what you’re all thinking…143rd St.  Turn the page people!

Several of the Kitties announced they were going to Twister City, while the rest of us said we were pointing our noses home, in all kinds of directions.  While we tried to have a plan for Twister City people to gather in one spot and everyone else in another, it didn’t quite work out that way.  And because we went in different directions, we didn’t have a clear idea of who was going where and that caused one Kitty, Justine Busher, to be left behind…stranded…with a bike that refused to go.  But with palms in her saddle bags and a blessing still fresh from this morning, God sent her three saviors of Bobbie Cole, Denise Johnson and Krista Cotterill, who were in a car.  They were the last of the Kitties to leave Stearman Field and saw Justine on the side of the road.  Justine was eventually able to get her bike started and the three saviors followed her home to make sure she was safe and sound.  Thank you Krista, Bobbie and Denise! 

And that’s not the only example of God intervening that day.  This was reported to me the following Monday and it literally gave me goosebumps.  Kim Jones, being one of the Twister City Kitties, was on her way home when a guy in a car who must have been on his phone, reading a book, trimming his nose hair, or doing anything other than paying attention, merged right into Kim’s lane without one iota of an idea that she was there.  Her words to me were “I felt no fear or panic and had the wherewithal to speed up instead of slow down or he would have hit me.  He never saw me.  It didn’t even shake me up.  Oh, and I also didn’t give him the finger!”  Well, the mystery as to why Kim got that double blessing has been solved!  God knew she was going to need it that day.  With a strong shield of protection around her and a palm as her pilot, Kim avoided a serious tragedy.  And let’s not overlook the “I also didn’t give him the finger!”  If that’s not a sign of God working through Kim, I don’t know what is!  When I told Pastor Clayton this story, he was overjoyed that a) Kim was OK; b) his prayer for our protection worked so quickly; c) the palm, which is a symbol of peace, allowed her to remain calm; and d) he had a new topic for a sermon.  And what happened when Pastor Clayton told Pastor Brandon, the most enthusiastic man in all the land, about this?  As you might expect, he shouted out with joy and praise to God!

Well, there you have it!  I don’t know if it was the tutus or the bike blessing or everyone itching to get out on their bikes for the first official Kitty ride or a combination thereof, but it was the largest attended Kitty ride in our 15-year history!  As a matter of fact, I did the math and 76% of the Club came out to play that day.  I don’t know how that day could have been any better; well, maybe if I had won the 50/50 pot.  That would have made it better.

Those on board for the Palm Pilot Road Trip were Janice Friedman (Queenie), Justine Busher, Lori Gibbs, Kristi Evans, Kathryn Langrehr (Lady), Stefany White (Curly), Alice Friedman (AliKat), Shelley Seidl, Bobbie Cole (Tink), Stephanie Rodriguez (BadA$$), Lily Nordyke (Sugar), Chris Emond (River), Sonja McCall, Kim Jones (Lil Pibble), Susan Riley, Tresny Janzen, Maureen Stout (Moonshine), Annette South (Howdy), Denise Johnson (Squirrel), Krista Cotterill, Suz Tiede (Sycho Suz), Nellie Taylor (BatKat), Linda Moreland (Ice), Deborah Barker (Shorty), Jan Brock, and Dawn Morse (da Vinci).  We’s gots to get some Road Names assigned!

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Four Wheeling to Winfield – October 14, 2018

Nailed it!  That’s right my Feline Friends, although you never really quite know if the decision you make several days prior to a Kitty ride is the right one, we nailed this one! 

When the October 14th Road Trip was in the early planning stages, it called for seasonably warm temperatures and clear skies.  With each passing day, the seasonably warm temperatures became unseasonably cold temperatures and Mother Nature also decided to throw in a strong chance of rain.  Several days before, I reached out to Kathryn Langrehr and Suz Tiede and said we gotta pull the trigger.  Either we cancel altogether or we caravan by car.  Both Kathryn and Suz agreed a little bit of cold and a whole lotta rain shouldn’t stop us from still getting together.  OK, let’s end this season the same way we started it – caravan it is!  Then I spent the next several days waffling between hoping the weather would improve so we could ride and hoping it wouldn’t so we wouldn’t have to change the plans at the last minute – and I could say we were right.  Bragging rights are very important.

Well, I bragged all over myself when I woke up that Saturday morning and it was raining and it didn’t look like the kind of rain that was leaving anytime soon.  That was the first time I said, “Man, we sure got that right.”  There were many other times I said that as it never stopped raining the entire time we were gone.  Not once.  And as a matter of fact, it got colder and it rained harder as we travelled back home that day.  Did I mention that we sure got that right?!

Alice Friedman picked me up and when we arrived at the QT meetin’ spot, Kitties were hunkered down in their assigned cars taking shelter from the rain.  Soon after, Susan Heller arrived and after checking with my soaking wet, nearly falling to pieces, roll call sheet, that meant everyone was present and accounted for.  While we were leaving earlier than expected (because ain’t nobody going to stand around and chat in those conditions), we hit the road for Winfield USA.   

Upon arriving in Winfield, we hooked up with Bobbie Cole and Dawn Morse who rode directly to Winfield, and there was Dawn taking pictures of some sculptures outside the restaurant…in the rain.  Trust Dawn to flip her nose at the weather and not care one wit about how wet she was getting to get the perfect pictures.  The rest of us…well, we beelined it for the door and yelled “Hi Dawn” as we ran by. 

Once inside, we welcomed and introduced ourselves to Kathryn Langrehr’s guest, Cindy Barker.  When Kathryn told me days prior that she was bringing a guest, I assumed this was a long-time friend of hers.  Well, you know what happens when you “assume” something – it makes an ass out of you and me….but this time, just me.  Turns out Kathryn had just met Cindy….at Home Depot….yep, total stranger….who Kathryn’s tag-along friend introduced her to….at Home Depot.  Talk about risky business!  Cindy could have been an ax murderer or a Kitty snatcher!  However, turns out Cindy was just a sweet gal out buying padlocks….at Home Depot….to prevent her no-good, cheatin’ husband from getting his stuff out of the shed, garage and house.  After hearing the story about Cindy’s husband and what he did to sweet Cindy, he shouldn’t just be locked out, he should be locked up!  Some men just gotta be scoundrels!  Kathryn’s good vibes about Cindy were spot on and she fit right in like she had been a part of our gang for years.  Rumor has it that she ”just might have to” join the Kitties! 

The restaurant, Shindigs, sat our group of 11 upstairs where there wasn’t another soul in sight.  Silly Shindigs!  That’s just begging us to be loud and boisterous!  Well, you asked for it and we’re going to give it to you…and then some! We talked, we laughed, we shared, we emphasized and we made a cold, wet day that could have been spent closed up in our homes, a beautiful day making memories with friends.  And we did it loudly! 

For one lucky Kitty, it was a day for making money!  After counting out the cold, hard cash in the flamed bag, it looked like we had $25.00 up for grabs….well, up for grabs if you got the winning ticket!  And that fortunate Kitty was none other than Kathryn Langrehr!  My guess is Kathryn will be spending that money on a rock, or a bush, or a toilet or some other necessity for the home she’s building…with her own two hands.  I’m not kidding.  The woman is like Wonder Woman with all that she can do on her own.  When I die, I wanna come back as Kathryn. 

After grabbing one of the wait staff to snap a group photo, it was time to make one last potty stop and reconvene into our assigned cars for the trip back to Wichita.  By the way, this has to go on record of the fewest pictures ever taken on a Kitty Road Trip.  I’m sure Dawn Morse is happy about not having to find space for my customary 156 pictures in the newsletter.  You’re welcome! 

That’s a wrap and drop the mic!  We had a great season of rides and comradery; we added eight, yes I said EIGHT, new Kitties (Kim Jones, Lily Nordyke and Lori Gibbs [returning Kitties which confirms that Once a Kitty Always a Kitty!], Krista Cotterill, Deborah Barker, Stephanie Rodriguez, Tresny Janzen and Susan Heller); we demonstrated our talents and proved Kitties Rock by painting rocks; we boo’d and hissed at the Mosley Street Melodrama; we filled Easter buckets for the children residing at the WFCC; we patched ourselves up with Road Names; we got buttoned up with International Female Ride Day buttons; we posed like Supermodels in photo shoots [thank you again Gary and Alice Friedman!]; we traveled around the world on our Meow Mixers; we showed our patriotic spirt and rode in the Shortest Parade in Wichita; we collected badly needed items for the WFCC and treated the residents to fun, games and ice cream; we caravanned our way through rain to Buhler, KS in April; we tu-tued our way to Abilene, KS in May [and wished we had caravanned – it was cold and wet!]; we visited the underground in Ellinwood in June; we nearly melted going to Bartlesville, OK and Tahlequah, OK for our Annual Overnighter in July; we got free bandanas [we love free anything!] in Wynona, OK in August; we Tom-Katted our way to Ponca City, OK in September; and we made the best of a bad weather situation by driving to Winfield, KS in October.  A great big HUGE thank you to each and every one of the Kitties for making our 14th riding season one to remember.  A MASSIVE thank you to Suz Tiede and Kathryn Langrehr for finding us fun and interesting places to go to this season and to Dawn Morse and Alice Friedman for taking us around the world with international cuisine Meow Mixers, organizing the charity events and planning fun Winter Events!  The Kitties rock in so many ways, but the friendships we’ve made and strengthened has to be at the top of that list.  Winter activities will be announced soon so make time to stay connected and until we ride again in April 2019, keep the shiny side up!

Those on board for the “Four Wheeling to Winfield” Road Trip were Queenie, Tink, Lady, BatKat, da Vinci; Glitter, Ice, AliKat, BadA$$, Susan Heller and Guest Cindy Barker.

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South of the Border – September 16, 2018

“P” may be for Ponca City, but for the September 16th Tom Kat ride, “P” was also for Perfect as we couldn’t have ordered up a more spectacular day for riding.  Clear skies, bright sunshine and not a breath of wind.  I would even go so far as to say that might have been the warmest Tom Kat ride we’ve ever had.  While most of us rode to the QuikTrip in Derby with jackets, they were quickly shed and we never saw them again.  Some of us packed our jackets in our saddle bags prior to leaving for the ride.  Not so with Nellie Taylor!  She took off her jacket and stowed it in between her bike and windshield…while riding to Ponca City!  That’s some skill right there!  That would have been a lost jacket if it were me.

When my Tom Kat, Greg, and I arrived at the QT at 8:30 on the dot, Kim Jones and Kathryn Langrehr were already there.  “How come you guys are here so early?” I asked.  Kim responded, “We had to stake out our No Tom Kat Zone.  Here’s the line (which she designated with her foot) and don’t you even think about crossing it if you got a man with you!” Duly noted Kim and Kathryn

Within minutes, beautiful bike after beautiful bike came pouring into the parking lot and just like Kim, we had our parking zone clearly designated…that is until a big ole rig pulled right smack dap in the middle of it.  Obviously, the driver doesn’t adhere to rules like the Kitties and Tom Kats do!  Fortunately, he didn’t stay long and we filled it up to guarantee that wouldn’t happen again. 

After making our greetings, getting beverages, breakfast burritos and donuts, I pulled out the flamed bag and starting pimping 50/50 tickets.  After witnessing my juggling struggle of tea, the bag, my phone, the tickets and money, Kathryn Langrehr said, “You are bound to drop something, so why don’t you let me sell the tickets?”  I was happy to turn that over to Kathryn, who quickly enlisted the help of Annette South, and I proceeded to snap picture after picture.  As I watched the time and took roll call, I noticed that a potential new member/guest rider and her Tom Kat, who I didn’t know and no one knew, weren’t there.  I checked every method for her to contact me and nope, not a word.  At this point, if she wasn’t on her way (in which case she wouldn’t see any messages from me), she wouldn’t make it on time.  I held a brief meeting to divide up the groups and announced that since the MIA rider was the reason we were stopping in Ark City for gas, we would no longer need to do that.  As we biked up to leave with Nellie Taylor’s Tom Kat, JT (who was caging it), in the lead of the first group and my Tom Kat, Greg, and I in the lead of the second group, I crossed my fingers that we weren’t leaving Mr. and Mrs. MIA behind. 

Greg and I quickly lost sight of the first group and we all settled in for a gorgeous ride in the Kansas countryside while George Michael, Neil Diamond, Air Supply and Whitney Houston pumped music into my ears.  Hey, don’t judge!  It’s my playlist and I make no apologies for my music taste, or lack thereof!   As we got closer and closer to the Oklahoma state line, I was watching my handlebar-mounted clock and I could see that by skipping the gas stop in Ark City, we were gong to be WAY early for our 11:30 reservation at the El Patio Mexican Grill and Cantina.  In fact, they might not even be open yet! That was an epic fail on the trip planner’s timeline which was, of course, developed by yours truly.  Had I thought of that sooner, we could have had a second beverage, a second breakfast burrito and several more donuts at the QuikTrip.  At my first opportunity, I told Greg the situation and he suggested we go ahead and get gas for the return trip.  Sounds like a plan to me!  Of course, I then stressed over the fact that the first group would be wondering and worried over what happened to us.  Now I’m stressed over Mr. and Mrs. MIA and what the other group might be thinking at the same time.  Fortunately, Freddy Mercury helped eased my anxiety.  Hey, I said no judging!

After a quick gas stop, we pulled into the El Patio parking lot where the first group was lounging on a bench and curbs and chatting with one another.  Not one person seemed to be worried about what happened to us.  Clearly, I way overthink things.  No sooner had we pulled in the parking lot, along came Sherri Carver and her friend, Cheryl Volk.  Is it confusing to have a friend with almost the exact same name?  Sherri and Cheryl had ridden in from Oklahoma City and although they were in the same state, they actually rode further than we did!  And this is why we call Sherri “Hard Core!”

I then went inside the restaurant and said, “I know we’re super early, but I wanted you to know that the Krome Kitties are here so when you’re ready, we’re ready.”  I gotta give mad props to the wait staff as they directed us to the el patio for al fresco dining (yes, I’m fully aware that I mixed two countries in the same sentence, but that’s how multi-cultural I am) and scrambled to get tables arranged in the shade for 23 people and menus in all of our hands.  And the scrambling didn’t end there.  They scurried about to keep chip baskets, salsa dishes and drinks full.  And amazingly, all 23 delicious meals came out at the same time!   This was even more remarkable when some of us went inside to use the restroom and saw the entire restaurant was packed!  This definitely deserves a five-star rating on Kelp, which is the Krome Kitty restaurant rating system.  That I just invented.  That we should start using.  Because it’s better than Yelp.

After digging out all the cash from the flamed bag, I turned it over to Bobbie Cole to count and there was 110 smackeroos in there!  That meant that some lucky Kitty or Tom Kat was going home with 55 of them!  I gave David Carruthers the honors of drawing the ticket.  Why David, you ask?  Well, even though his Kitty, Tricia, couldn’t attend the ride, David said he still wanted to go and he brought his friend Joe, too!  I figured any Tom Kat who attended the Tom Kat ride without being forced….uh, I mean, accompanied by a Kitty deserves some special recognition.  And apparently, he deserves being paid, too, because he drew his very own ticket!  David made me promise to not tell Tricia he won so I’m hoping by the time this is published, he has long spent the money and Tricia can’t confiscate it from him.  If not, well…my bad David!

And then it was time to reunite the pint-sized Tom Kats and I gotta say the Friedman Tom Kat is a little worse for wear compared to all the other still shiny, still got all their faces on, and still talking Tom Kats.  Thank you to Dorrin Allsman, Jim Moreland, and Al Brumbaugh for taking such good care of your Toms!  JT Taylor, shame on you!  When I asked where his Tom Kat was, he said, “I don’t know.  The last time I saw him, he was in a storage compartment in the Slingshot.”  I asked, “You have no idea where he could be?”  To which JT replied, “Probably still in the Slingshot…which has been sold…to a stranger.”  Oh, the horror!  We did a photo shoot with the little guys and they said their good-byes for another year.  I hope the Friedman Tom Kat still has a face by then.

And speaking of photo shoot, several of us couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be an ass on an ass!  I’m not sure if El Patio intended for the donkey in the courtyard to be sat upon, but you put something like that in front of a bunch of Krome Kitties (and a Tom Kat) and you’re just begging for us to climb on it.  Just ask Lindsborg about their Dala horses! 

After cleaning our plates, or to-going what we couldn’t eat, we settled up the tabs, hit the restroom one last time and made our way to the bikes where they were sitting in the much hotter sun than it was when we arrived.  We herded the Kitties and Tom Kats for a group picture and then reassembled into our groups again for the return trip home.

When I got on my bike and turned the ignition switch, all I got was a whole lot of nothing.  I did it again…and again…and again with the same result.  The assumption was I had a dead battery, but no worries – I’ve got tools and jumper cables and plenty of bikes to get me jumped.  I told everyone to go ahead and leave and Greg and I would ride back with David Carruthers and his friend, Joe, who were in the meantime, helping Greg get my bike seat off and getting tools out.  As I was telling Christine Allsman what happened, she said, “You know it’s the strangest thing, when I went to turn my ignition switch, it had been flipped to the accessory setting, which I would never do.  Someone must have messed with it.”  Who would be brave enough to mess with a bike when it’s accompanied by two dozen other bikes and they don’t know that we’re not the Sons of Anarchy?  That’s just crazy!

Well, they were doubly crazy, because after Greg and Joe got everything disassembled from my bike, we realized the exact same thing had happened to my bike and I was using muscle memory to flip the ignition, which resulted in it being turned off rather than being turn on.  I take full responsibility for being a dunce, but who would do that?  Must have been a PO’d cager for us taking up most of the parking spots!  Anywhoo, by the time we got my bike put back together again, there was just the four of us remaining and we made our way back to Wichita and thankfully, I don’t have to buy a new battery!  But I am an idiot, so there is that.

So, there you have it!  Another fun, gorgeous day on the bikes with our husbands, boyfriends, friends and family on the annual Tom Kat ride.  Thank you to all those who made the day so memorable and enjoyable!   And thank you to the ride leaders, Greg and JT, and to the ride sweeps, Nellie Taylor, Al and Dorrin for getting us there safely and without one missed turn.

Oh, and what happened to Mr. and Mrs. MIA? Well, I reached out to her after we returned from the ride and she said she didn’t know where to go or what time. “Really? I emailed you with all the details and you even responded.” I said.  Pause. Pause. Pause.  “Oh yeah, I totally forgot you emailed me.  I went back to look and sure enough, there’s two emails from you.  I guess it had it all along.  I must have had a blonde moment.”  Well, congratulations on trumping my bike ignition blunder!

Those on board for the South of the Border Tom Kat ride were Janice and Greg Friedman, Nellie and JT Taylor, Tresny and John Janzen, Christine and Dorrin Allsman with Zach Herman, Linda and Jim Moreland, Kari and Daryl Miller, Bobbie Cole and Al Brumbaugh, Sherri Carver and Cheryl Volk, Kathryn Langrehr, Kim Jones, Chris Emond, Annette South, David Carruthers and Joe Erdman.

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Oklahoma Sooner…or Later – July 20-22, 2018

It took us a couple of stabs at it, but after shifting this and altering that, we were able to finally make the Annual Kitty Overnighter a reality the weekend of July 20-22. That’s the good news. The bad news is the rescheduled date caused lots’o Kitties to have to miss the ride. While we had a whopping 17 Kitties signed up in June for the Overnighter, the number dwindled to 7.5 in July. The .5 is because I was only able to go for one night and missed all the fun and frivolity the last part of Saturday and the ride home on Sunday, which by the way was about 30 degrees cooler than the day we left. But hey, it didn’t rain so maybe my Rain Goddess spell has been broken!

Let’s talk about the weather a bit, shall we? It felt like a sweltering summer in the Sahara on that Friday afternoon as we all gathered in the QuikTrip parking lot. It sort of made us question that mid-afternoon start time as we all guzzled down as much water as we could and sprayed about a gallon and a half of sunscreen on our exposed skin. Surely, it’ll feel cooler when we start moving, right? Wrong. Riding at 65 mph just made it feel like we were riding into an industrial-sized blast furnace! Kathryn Langrehr led the group via the scenic route and I tried to remember all the roads we took as I knew I had to get myself back home by myself on Saturday afternoon. After about the sixth turn, I gave up and convinced myself there was probably a more straightforward route home and just settled in for the hot, yet beautiful ride in the Kansas countryside.

Kathryn, who’s Road Name should be Google Maps, seems to know every road in the state of Kansas AND Oklahoma as she led us through the green rolling countryside, into small towns that caused us to reminisce about time spent there on previous rides, and right into the gas station in Sedan where we collapsed into a collective puddle of sweat. After we filled our gas tanks with fuel, we commandeered a table in the station where we guzzled more water and ate snacks to energize us for the remainder of the trip. To say we were a sweaty mess is an understatement! As I looked around the table, I seemed to look the worst….Lori Gibbs looked the best…damn her! I feel I need to remind everyone that me and wet hair or wet anything do not look good together. The socks I had on that day says exactly why!

All too soon we had to reluctantly say good-bye to our air-conditioned table and head back out to the searing sun and heat. The Weather Gods must have seen my socks because remarkably, the ride from Sedan to Bartlesville did seem cooler. Not like beautiful spring day cooler, but not sweltering summer in the Sahara hot! Kathryn led us right to the door of the Days Inn and we started the process of getting checked in, unloading our bikes and finding our rooms. We agreed that we would prefer an Uber or Lyft or taxi-cab or rickshaw or just about anything other than getting back on our bikes to go to dinner. After several attempts, turns out Bartlesville doesn’t have any of the above so it’s back on the bikes we go!

Kathryn had suggested we eat at the Painted Horse Restaurant and wow, was that ever a good call! Dawn Morse had called in reservations, so they had our table all ready for us when we arrived. As we were perusing the menu, Maureen Stout asked, “Does anyone what to share a steak with me?” Lori Gibbs and I looked at each other and busted out laughing. Who shares a steak? Who can’t eat a whole steak by herself? Why don’t you just order off the children’s menu, you “I ate three peas and I’m full” Kitty? In between our jabs and laughter, Melaina Phares raised her hand and said, “I will share a steak with you Maureen.” Are you kidding me? You actually got someone to go along with that insane idea? Oh well, don’t come complaining to us when you’re hungry later because you didn’t get enough to eat!

While we were waiting for our seven FULL orders and two HALF orders to arrive, I decided this would be a good time to pimp the 50/50 tickets. We broke from tradition and didn’t sell them at the QuikTrip earlier that day because it was just too hot to dig them out of my saddle bag. Eight Kitties x $5.00 = $40.00 divided by two is $20.00. It wasn’t a huge winning, but it was better than nothing which is exactly what I expected to get.

Then our food arrived. When the waitress asked if we needed anything else, I said, “Yes, please. I would like some A1 Sauce to put on the CROW I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO EAT!” Holy Brisket Balls!!! This wasn’t a steak; this was a side of beef on our plates! This wasn’t a few fingerling potatoes; this was an entire bag of them! This was a petite-sized portion of roasted brussel sprouts; this was a bushel full of them! This wasn’t a bowl of mac and cheese; this was a vat of it! I looked at Lori and sheepishly asked, “Wanna share a steak with me?”

After we did our best to eat what we could, which in the end, looked like we hadn’t eaten anything at all (except for Maureen and Melaina’s plates which were clean as a whistle), it was time to draw the winning 50/50 ticket. I gave our waitress the honors of digging in the flamed bag and had my camera poised to take the picture of the winner. And then my Feline Friends….after more years and rides than I can count; after countless newsletter articles lamenting over the fact that I never win; after giving up all hope of ever winning; after begrudgingly handing over money that I believed should have rightfully been mine….I WON THE FREAKING POT!!!! I was so absolutely flabbergasted that I won that I instinctually slammed my hand on the table, which not only got the attention of the Kitties at my table but all the guests at the surrounding tables. I couldn’t even get any words out and I think I might have teared up a little. Yes, it was a milestone day for me and I’ll always fondly remember Bartlesville as the place that broke that Pot Winning curse for me! Hey, that’s two curses I’m not under anymore!

After having a very insightful discussion as to who wears honest to goodness pajamas to bed, who wears shorts and a tank top to bed and who wears absolutely NOTHING to bed (all parties will remain anonymous because what happens in Bartlesville stays in Bartlesville), we settled up our tab and waddled out to our bikes to make our way back to the hotel. After locking them up we said our good-nights. I think Moonshine was disappointed that we weren’t going to have any moonshine and party into the wee hours of the morning. The day’s heat and sun had zapped us all…well, except for Maureen Stout who said, “Don’t you all know alcohol is a stimulant?? You’ll feel fine after a couple of swigs from my moonshine bottle!” To which we replied, nighty-night Maureen. (Note from Author: I reserve the right to make up what I believe a Kitty is thinking.)

We agreed to meet for the free breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and I think Kathryn Langrehr must be living in a different time zone because she was up and at ‘em at 6:15 and walked next door to the IHOP for a “real” breakfast. It still baffles me that someone would choose to be anywhere at 6:15 in the morning. Was it even light yet?? After one sip of the free coffee, Lori Gibbs decided to walk next door to the IHOP for “real” coffee. You know the old saying…you can have free, fast or good, but you can’t have all three! After Maureen Stout asked if anyone wanted to share a piece of toast with her, we wrapped up our breakfast and proceeded to load up our belongings on our bikes. Next stop…the Frank Phillips home!

Kathryn Langrehr, as part of her travel agent duties, suggested we tour the home of Frank Phillips, the founder of the Phillips Petroleum Company aka Phillips 66, and while we arrived pretty much on time, the 10:00 tour had already started. Rhonda, the kind lady in the gift shop, said the next tour would start at 11:30. In unison, we all said, “Yyyeahhhh, that’s not gonna work.” Not wanting to see $7.50 x 8 walk out the door, she said if we could wait about 20 minutes to give the first tour time to get a little further in the house so we wouldn’t be on top of each other, she would take us on our own tour. You betcha we’ll wait! In the meantime, we wandered through the gift shop and bought pins and little flags and walked through the museum that was attached to the gift shop where photo ops were plentiful. Twenty minutes flew by and we were off to see how the other half lived in the early 1900’s. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the house, but it was absolutely beautiful and the family’s story was incredibly interesting. Kathryn, you nailed that suggestion! We took a couple of pictures outside and then it was time to bike up and go find gas and get on the road.

After gassing up and getting water, seven of the Kitties headed east to Tahlequah and I headed north to Wichita. I will now turn the reporting reins over to Alice Friedman to find out what happened the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday, but before I do I want to say THANK YOU to Kathryn Langrehr for an outstanding weekend! She led us to where we needed to go without a hitch and her suggestions for dinner and Saturday morning entertainment were perfect! We’re very lucky to have Google Maps as a member of KKMC! We missed all the Kitties who weren’t able to attend the Overnighter but we also understand that springing an overnight trip on people with only a few weeks’ notice makes it difficult.

Now for the rest of the story by Alice Friedman

On Saturday, July 21st, after we toured the Frank Phillips home, seven of us headed east out of town and Janice Friedman kept going straight to return to Wichita. She had a preplanned date with her granddaughter, Charlotte, to go see Paw Patrol in Topeka on Sunday. The rest of us, the Magnificent Seven, rode towards Grove, OK where we had lunch at the Parrot Steakhouse and Grill.

The ride to Grove, OK, was beautiful, and thankfully not quite as hot as Friday. It was still plenty hot, but any relief was appreciated. Shortly after we got underway, Lori Gibbs came speeding up to catch Kathryn Langrehr, our road captain, and asked her to stop. Maureen Stout’s saddlebag had come undone, and at least her hat had flown out and we didn’t know what else might have followed the hat. Luckily, Maureen was able to quickly turn around, retrieve her hat and sat on it until the next stop. Nothing else (that we know of) fell out of the saddlebag.

Kathryn Langrehr is very familiar with the geography and back roads of Oklahoma. She used to go fishing with her grandfather in these ‘neck of the woods’. She led us through some beautiful country roads where we got to see just how pretty Oklahoma is with all of the trees and colorful wildflowers. We crossed large bridges and saw Monkey Island.

We pulled into Grove, OK, looking forward to our lunch at the Parrot Steakhouse. As you know, Kitties enjoy their food! There was a beautiful lake, and the Parrot Steakhouse was located next to the marina. It was a peaceful sight. We went inside and quickly discovered why the restaurant had ‘parrot’ in its name. However, we soon thought we’d have to change Maureen Stout’s road name from Moonshine to Parrot Killer. Jake, the parrot was very squawky, especially when Jake wanted attention, or food, or both! It was a little unsettling for us all to be eating and all of the sudden Jake would let loose. We had excellent food at the Squawking Parrot Steakhouse. It was a nice oasis for us out of the heat. And we even saved a seat in honor of Janice Friedman.

After lunch we proceeded down the road to Tahlequah, OK. We went on a green spotted road, meaning it was a scenic route. And that was the absolute truth! The road was definitely scenic. We had sweeping curves with trees on both sides of the road. It was like driving down a tunnel of trees. And of course, the shade was a welcome relief from the sun. As we got closer to Tahlequah, the road began to run parallel to the river. We saw rafts lazily floating down the river. It looked divine and so much fun. Many of us thought of pulling over and jumping onto a raft, but with motorcycle boots, that wasn’t an option (as if that was the only thing stopping us). As we approached Tahlequah, it seemed like it took a while to get to our motel due to the heat and being stopped at almost every red light. Once we arrived at the motel, we noticed there was a swimming pool, so several of the Kitties took advantage of cooling off in the pool after checking into the rooms. Fortunately, the room air conditioners worked well, so we were able to be in a cool room. After we arrived, we were definitely done riding for the day. Since it was almost 7:00 pm, we were hungry again. Christine Allsman discovered a Chili’s that was .3 miles from the motel. Sounded good to everyone.

We proceeded to walk over to Chile’s. There wasn’t a good path to get there, but that never stops the Kitties. We took advantage of getting our picture taken in front of the Tahlequah sign that indicated that Tahlequah was the Cherokee Nation’s capital.

Onto Chili’s we went because we could see the sign in the distance. We had to cross some freeway entrance/exits ramps, so we were playing the old game ‘Frogger’ as we crossed. Frogger is an old video game where the frog is trying to cross a highway without being hit by cars. When we arrived, there was a little wait to get a table. It was Saturday night in Tahlequah, after all. We proceeded to the bar and learned about these amazing cold drinks called Firecrackers. Most of us had to try one or three. The drinks and cold water were tasty to say the least. After we got the first round of Firecrackers, Lori Gibbs came up with a cheer: Firecracker, Firecracker, Boom, Boom, Boom! Of course, we all joined in; we can’t have a Kitty doing a cheer all by herself! After a bit, we got a table where we got to be cozy close. We discussed that Lori’s road name could be Firecracker. Lori is considering it and seeing if is a fit for her. Maybe another option is “Boom Boom”! We ordered our food and continued to enjoy our drinks. After dinner, we got to have a little exercise and crossed freeway ramps, triple checking for cars (just like on bikes), and ran across the ramps, onto the grass and then to our motel.

We decided to get an early start at 0700 for the next day so that we wouldn’t ride in the afternoon heat of the day. And it would give us time to stop in Dexter, KS at the Henry’s Candy store. Candy, whaaaaatttttt????? We’re in! The evening before, the early start sounded better than it did when the alarm went off early the next morning. Dawn Morse cleaned all of the Kitties’ windshields so we wouldn’t have to start out our day by looking through bug guts. We always appreciate Dawn’s thoughtfulness. All the Kitties were loaded and ready to roll at 0700. Candy it turns out is a huge motivator for road weary Kitties! To everyone’s surprise, it was KSU right at 7:00. Dawn volunteered to be our road captain taking us back to Wichita and avoiding toll roads.

On Sunday, July 22nd, as we departed, the weather was much more accommodating and was cooler that morning than it had been the whole trip. Some of the Kitties even put on jackets. We embraced the cool. We stopped in Muskogee, OK for a quick (QT) breakfast. Christine Allsman and Melaina Phares gave me JIT (Just In Time) information about navigating curves, and boy did that timing work out well!

At Tulsa, the Magnificent Seven were down to six because Kathryn Langrehr was stopping in Tulsa to see a grade school friend. The Samurai Six were: Dawn Morse, Christine Allsman, Lori Gibbs, Maureen Stout, Melaina Phares, and myself. We traveled through Tulsa and rode the freeway with the fast, sweeping curves and construction. I was sweating bullets by the time we got through Tulsa and was very happy when Christine Allsman pulled up to Dawn Morse and suggested we stop at a QuikTrip outside of Bartlesville. Don’t know if the bullets were a result of the road or the heat. Let’s go with heat! This trip represented quite a few “firsts” for me, including crossing state lines on a bike; going that far in one day; and riding lots of curves. As typical, the Kitty Sisters were wonderful and supportive in helping me become a better rider.

Dawn Morse navigated us successfully to Dexter and the Henry’s Candy Store. It seems like this candy store is a milestone that each Kitty gets the privilege to achieve. Melaina Phares and I had never been there before, so we were even more excited…until they saw the GRAVEL parking lot. We got our bikes parked and everyone proceeded into the store, but not before a picture was taken to capture the memory. Candy for everyone, even chocolate! It seemed cool enough that it might not melt. So, we then then saddled up and thought carefully about navigating our way up to the road through the gravel. Luckily, there was asphalt at the top of the incline before getting on the road. Turns out, we are better on gravel then we gave ourselves credit for!

We were on our last leg of the journey with one more gas stop before getting to Wichita. We stopped in Douglass to get gas. But instead, we did some slow formation (think Shriners) riding in the school parking lot as we turned around in search of gas stations because they were all closed up with the pumps removed. We thought we did the formation riding pretty well, especially after a hot road trip. We pulled into a closed gas station to formulate our next plan, or as we like to refer to it as Plan B! At that time, we also found out that Maureen Stouts’ Hello Kitty cup holder broke in route, and she had to stick it into her coat until we stopped. We discovered there are no gas stations in Douglass and we needed to go to either Derby or Augusta to find gas. In Douglass, Maureen’s gas range was down to 10 miles, and it was 15 miles to a gas station in Derby or Augusta. She said she’d give it a shot, and if she ran out of gas, we’d handle that challenge if it arose. Thankfully, she and we made it to the gas station in Augusta. Maureen had said earlier in the trip that our hobby of riding motorcycles is not for sissies. Boy was she right!

In Augusta, we said our final goodbyes for a trip full of fun and memories and headed into the soon to be setting sun……

Trip Take Aways:

Maureen Stout had a trifecta – blown out hat, broken cup holder, low gas
 Everyone survived high heat and high humidity
 Motorcycle riding is not for sissies
 Firecracker drinks are tasty
 Keeping a sense of humor is key, even when hot, tired, and thirsty
 It is fun to have shared experiences and to be in it together
 There’s always room on a bike for candy.
 We’re looking forward to our next trip

Those on board for the “Oklahoma Sooner…or Later” Overnighter were Queenie, Moonshine, Lori Gibbs, AliKat, da Vinci, Wrench, Glitter, and Lady.

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Being Forced Underground-June 23, 2018

Two days. That’s how much time we had to throw together a Plan B when Suz Tiede, Kathryn Langrehr and I came to the painful conclusion that we were forced to abandon Plan A, which was our much-anticipated Overnighter to Oklahoma. The strong chances of weekend thunderstorms were not letting up in our neighboring state so we just gotta let that go and focus on dryer territory. Many years ago, my Tom Kat, Greg, and I, along with ironically, Stephanie Rodriguez and a mutual friend of ours, rode to Ellinwood and I remembered that it had some interesting underground areas that you could go through. I looked at the weather forecast for Ellinwood for Saturday, June 23rd, and it was clear skies. Check. I calculated the distance. One hundred and eight miles. Check. I looked for restaurants and found two that got good reviews. Check. I ran the idea by Kathryn and Suz who gave me the thumbs up. Check. With all the criteria met, it was settled – Ellinwood was replacing Bartlesville and Tahlequah for our June Road Trip.

As I was making the plans for the ride to Ellinwood, I thought it would be a good idea to make sure the underground tunnels were available to tour on Saturday. That’s when I learned from Chris, the owner of the Wolf Hotel and Chief Executive Officer of the underground, informed me that they already had a large group coming in on Saturday for a catered lunch and tour and hey, why don’t you join them? Yeah, why don’t we? Being tight on time, this would save me from having to communicate with a restaurant. With everything in place, I spread the word to the Kitties and crossed my fingers that a two-day notice for a ride would still result in a good turnout. Boy howdy, was it ever a good turnout! Seventeen Kitties and two guests said, what the heck! Let’s go see the underbelly of Ellinwood!

While it was pouring rain in Oklahoma (we nailed that decision!), it was all sunny and dry on Saturday morning here in Doo Dah. Beautiful bike after beautiful bike came pouring into the QuikTrip parking lot and we commandeered a large chunk of it for our meetin’ spot. I think Lori Gibbs is under the impression that every ride is a costume ride. It’s either that or she was confused and thought that this was a gathering for the Future Farmers of America as she showed up overalled from top to bottom and looking like Old McDonald had just stepped off the farm! Well, if she doesn’t like Gung Ho or Wackado for a Road Name, how about McKitty? Or Haymaker? Or Corn Cob? Or Crop Duster? Crop Duster could have a second meaning, if you catch my drift. Get it….catch my drift?? Damn, I make myself laugh!

After introducing ourselves to our two guest riders, Stephanie Rodriguez and Tresny Janzen, we had a brief meeting to go over the route and divided the group into two with Kathryn Langrehr in the lead of one group and Kari Miller and Bobbie Cole, who were convertible Mustanging it, in the lead of the other group. We all biked up and we were off right on time!

At the very tail end of the second group was Stephanie Rodriguez, with Suz Tiede behind her riding final sweep. Unbeknownst to all the Kitties in front of them, almost immediately after pulling out of the QuikTrip parking lot and getting on 135, Stephanie Rodriguez’s sunglasses went flying off her face. That’s No Bueno! Maybe Stephanie can just duck behind her windshield for the entire trip. What’s that you say? She doesn’t have a windshield on her bike?? That’s a BIG No Bueno! So how did Stephanie ride the 108 miles to Ellinwood with no sunglasses and no windshield? Like a BadAss, that’s how! I think we all know what Stephanie’s Road Name is going be, don’t we? BadFreakingAss!

The ride to Ellinwood was absolutely perfect! It was cool, but not too cold. There wasn’t so much as a whisper of wind and there was abundant sunshine (which was NOT good for Stephanie!) Everyone rode in perfect formation and most importantly, our Lead Riders led us right to the Wolf Hotel without one dreaded U turn! Well done ladies!

After arriving at the Wolf Hotel, which is where all tours for the underground tunnels begins and ends, we made a potty stop and then joined the other tour group, who were a bunch of senior citizens from the Kansas City area who were very tolerant of this girl gang of rough and rowdy bikers, in the lobby. Our tour guide, Rick, provided us with some fascinating education about the hotel and the tunnels. I tried to embed as much as I could into my pea-sized brain so I could pass on some of the interesting facts, so let’s see how well I did, shall we?

• The town of Ellinwood was settled by German immigrants in the late 1800’s when they were encouraged by Kansas state leaders to come to the sunflower state (was it really the sunflower state in the 1800’s?) because it never gets too cold there, it never gets too hot, it has very little humidity, the air smells like perfume and you could literally grow anything in its lush and fertile soil. Where was Truth in Advertising in the 1800’s??

• Following the customs of Europeans, after the German settlers built the two square blocks of the business district (which still remains the same today), they built businesses below ground covering the same area with tunnels connecting all the businesses. At the time, they called this area the basement, or whatever the word for basement is in German. Someone please Google that for me.

• Once the town was established, it became an important stop on the Sante Fe Trail.

• Along with the cattle being moved on the Sante Fe Trail came dirty, stinky, hungry, thirsty, horny cowboys.

• The underground businesses became an important part of servicing the cowboys, as well as other men in Ellinwood. Women were never to go in the underground businesses as they were considered too delicate for what went on down there. Well, except for the women who were taking care of those horny cowboys! Soiled doves were more than welcome in the tunnels!

• With the popularity of the railroad, the Sante Fe Trail was used less and less which meant fewer cowboys coming through town. Soon the tunnels and underground businesses fell out of favor and were no longer used and they were locked up.

• In the 1970’s, a lady in town, Adrianna with a German last name I had no chance of remembering, rediscovered the tunnels when she inherited a building after her father’s death. She opened the tunnels back up for the public to see. After all, it had been eons since anyone had seen them so there was a whole new audience.

• Everything was going swell until in the 1980’s, the town of Ellinwood decided to replace the decaying sidewalks along the above ground business district and while doing so, to fill in the tunnels with sand because of liability issues. Seriously? You have something underneath you that is 100 years old and you’re going to destroy it? What were you thinking??

• Fortunately, Adrianna managed to convince the town leaders that they couldn’t fill in the tunnels under the building she rightfully owned so back off you no good politicians! These are mine! All mine!

• What remains today are the tunnels and businesses under Adrianna’s building. Adrianna is no longer living but current town leaders have been shown the money and understand this is an important part of the Ellinwood commerce, not to mention Kansas history.

• Interesting fact: Wichita also used to have underground tunnels and businesses back in the day. After all, there were plenty of dirty, stinky, hungry, thirsty, horny cowboys in Wichita too!

After our history lesson, we were anxious to see if Suz Tiede and Denise Johnson could overcome their claustrophobia as we all descended the very stairs those dirty, stinky, hungry, thirsty, horny cowboys once used. I’m happy to report that Suz and Denise overcame their fear and braved the tunnels like champions.

The first stop on our tour of the underground businesses was the harness shop owned by Tom Drake, who may have been the only resident of Ellinwood without a German name. The story goes that as the railroad replaced cowboys on horses, Tom had less and less business so he tried to sell his equipment. However, no one was stupid enough to buy harness making equipment with no horses to harness, so he just walked away from all his equipment and left it in the shop. The items we saw were the actual tools and equipment ole Tom used in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. How cool is that??

We also saw what Bobbie Cole refers to as pie cooling tables, but in fact, they were BODY cooling tables. This is where the deceased would be laid out to cool before embalming. Aren’t dead people already cool? Why do they have to be cool-ER? The deceased weren’t actually laid out in the tunnels; after all cowboys have a line and walking around dead people was crossing it, but the tables are being stored down there. I thought it would be a great photo op but I couldn’t get any takers for laying down on a table where dead people used to lay. Something about being too much like laying in a coffin. Sissies!

Suz Tiede and Denise Johnson got their picture taken behind the original teller cage that was saved from the Ellinwood Bank, which was closed down many, many years ago. The story goes that the President of the bank and a teller, who were brothers, were stealing from it. This eventually led the teller brother to commit suicide by shooting himself. I think this photo op was Suz and Denise’s way of proving to everyone that they did, in fact, go down in the tunnels and look how they are smiling! I think their claustrophobia has been cured! You’re welcome.

The next stop on our tour was the Jung (pronounced Young) Barber Shop. Apparently, Mr. Jung not only cut hair and gave you a shave, but he fancied himself as an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor, with special emphasis on the throat part. “Got a sore throat? No problem – just sit right down here and I’ll take my unsterilized, barbaric tool and yank those tonsils right out. Need anesthesia? Well, you should have visited the saloon before you came here because that’s as close to anesthesia as you’re going to get. Well I’ll be damned, looks like we got a good bleed going where one of your tonsils used to. Let me just heat up this here tool in the wood stove and cauterize that for you.” The story as told to us by Rick, our tour guide, was so painful to listen to that one of the seniors on the tour said to me, “Sometimes the good old days weren’t all that good.” True dat Mr. Grandpa!

Next it was time to see where the cowboys got their stink off when arriving from the trail. If you were flush with cash, you could pay 15 cents for a half tub of warm water, a piece of lye soap and a clean towel. If you were strapped for cash or wanted to save your money for more important things like a soiled dove, you could save yourself 10 cents and use water that was left over from the last stinky, dirty cowboy and dry off with a towel that had been used by Lord knows how many other men. Holy Stink Balls! I won’t even use the towel my husband has used let alone from a bunch of filthy strangers! I am so spoiled.

Now that we’ve heard the gruesome tails of throat surgery and dirty cowboys, who wants to eat? Rick led us back out of the tunnels into the bright and glorious sunshine and we walked across the street to the Wolf Hotel, which was built in the late 1800’s. The dining room in the hotel was once known as the most prestigious place to dine in the area. Most of us had a light lunch of delicious chicken salad sandwiches and a fruit salad while Kathryn Langrehr and Tricia Caruthers dined on a green salad because they are not chicken salad Kitties. We then topped it off with the most amazing brown a la mode!
We only had 30 minutes to eat as the second half of the tour was to follow our lunch. Therefore, the pulling of the winning 50/50 ticket had to happen quickly. I found out that it doesn’t matter if it happens slow or quick, I still ain’t winning. I gave one of our guests, Stephanie Rodriguez, the honor of drawing the number. While we skipped the tradition of new people winning in May (that sucked for you Lori Gibbs, Krista Cotterill and Deborah Barker), it resumed in full force in June with Stephanie picking her own number and walking away with 58 smackeroos! I guess she has us all to thank for paying her Kitty dues! You’re welcome.

After lunch, Chris, the owner of the Wolf Hotel, started the tour of the hotel in the dining room. I was preoccupied with gawd knows what so I didn’t catch the entire story, but there was something about a man who shot himself in that very dining room and you can still see the hole where the bullet went through his head and into the tin ceiling. Sure seems like people tend to want to shoot themselves in Ellinwood!

We then were introduced to Miss Sally who has been a fixture of the Wolf Hotel for several decades. The story goes that prior to Chris buying the hotel a few years ago, this was the home to an antique store for 30 years. Miss Sally, who is a mannequin, was essentially the “We’re Open” sign as she would be placed outside to let everyone know the store was open for business. When Chris purchased the hotel to bring it back to its former glory, Miss Sally came with the deal and she is present for all the events that are held at the hotel. After placing a Kitty bandana on her pretty little plaster head, we appointed her as an honorary Krome Kitty and all gathered around her to have our picture taken to commemorate the occasion.

We then proceeded with our tour of the hotel by seeing what would have been at one time the underground laundry room for the hotel and other businesses that were part of the underground tunnel system, to include the library and saloon. It was interesting to hear the story of how people like Maureen Stout, who just HAD to have a stiff drink every now and then, ignored the Prohibition laws by calling alcoholic drinks by a different name. You could have a shot of “coffee”, “lemonade’ or “giggle juice.” Just like Maureen, these people had no problem whatsoever with being “over served.”
We then proceeded to the top floor of the hotel to take a peek at the sleeping rooms which were all furnished with antique pieces from the era when the Wolf Hotel was a thriving hotel. Wouldn’t you know it? Right in the middle of our tour, I got a phone call from 1925 and had to take care of important 1925 business, like ordering my newest flapper outfit. In one of the rooms, there was a framed article and well, whaddya know? Right there in black and white, was a picture of Kathryn Langrehr’s kinfolk! Actually, it was her husband’s kinfolk, and the picture was of his great-grandparents. Kathryn had told me while we were planning this trip that her husband’s family spent a lot of time in Ellinwood and this right here proved it! Several of us counted the number of beds in the hotel and we concluded that yes, this would be perfect for a Kitty Overnighter! We could “giggle juice” ourselves silly in the saloon and then stumble up the stairs and fall into one of the antique beds. Brilliant!

Following the tour, we all settled up our tab and bid our farewell to Chris, Beth (his beloved volunteer) and Miss Sally. It was time to head back to Wichita. As we were leaving, Chris called out, “You all come back now, ya hear!” Oh, you can count on that! Motel 6 might leave the lights on for ya, but they ain’t got an underground saloon!

Those on board for the “Being Forced Underground” Road Trip were Queenie, Lady, Lori Gibbs (or is it Corn Cob?), AliKat, Tink, River, Moonshine, PonyGirl, Sycho Suz, BatKat, da Vinci, Half Pint, Squirrel, Star, Ice, Wrench, Winer and guests who became members, Stephanie Rodriquez and Tresny Janzen.

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Tutus and High Tea-May 20, 2018

A casino. That’s what my house sounded like the morning of May 20th with my phone going off like a slot machine. If it wasn’t ding, ding, dinging with text messages, it was ring, ring ringing with phone calls. If it wasn’t ding, ding dinging, or ring, ring, ringing, it was ping, ping, pinging with Facebook posts. What was causing all this commotion? The weather. If it wasn’t raining at my house, it was raining at another Kitty’s house. So, after consulting the weather app on my phone and talking to Suz Tiede, who consulted a weather app on her phone, we came up with Plan B, which was to move the meet time back one hour. We would then re-consult the weather apps and make a decision to either go for it or reinstate the Kitty Kar Club. As the new departure time neared, it still wasn’t looking good for going by motorcycle so Plan C was launched. Plan C meant calling the Tea Room to see if we could come an hour later (which they happily agreed to) and delay our departure by yet another hour and kitty paws crossed, the rain would be out of the area by then. Why were we working so hard to make this work, you ask? Because it was Tutu Day and tutus in a car just ain’t as fun and crazy as tutus on a motorcycle AND we could see that once the rain moved out of the area in the morning, it would be dry the rest of the day. So, after more cups of coffee and tea than anyone thought they would have time to consume, 16 Kitties were on their way to the Park City QuikTrip. Unfortunately, Kathryn Langrehr who was coming from Hutchinson, had to leave before Plan C was announced so she made the wet, cold ride way before everyone else and moseyed on over to a donut shop to wait for the rest of the wet, cold Kitties. Lori Gibbs, who was completely geared up, sitting in her living room, staring at the front door, and watching the minutes slowly tick by until she could leave, jumped at the chance to join Kathryn as soon she heard Kathryn was already in Park City. Maybe Lori’s Road Name should be Gung Ho!

While I ran into light rain on the way to the Park City QT, it wasn’t raining IN Park City. I patted myself on the back and said to myself, “We outsmarted that stupid rain and planned this so darn perfectly!” As I pulled alongside a gas pump to fill ‘er up, there was Lori Gibbs sitting on a stack of firewood. “What are you doing just sitting there?”, I asked. “Can’t you tell?”, she responded. “I’m a bump on a log!” OK, now I’m thinking Lori’s Road Name should be Wackado!

Right on time Kitty after Kitty came pouring into the parking lot, each adorned with their beautiful tutus! Do rain suits and/or chaps go with tutus? Who cares! We all were beautiful and strutted around like we absolutely knew it! Suz Tiede, who had made five, yes I said FIVE, tutus for other Kitties (and one for herself), delivered them in the most adorable Kitty bags. She was so excited to show everyone her other most adorable Kitty thing, but in a moment of panic, she thought she had left it at home. Fortunately, her brain kicked into gear and crisis averted – she found it! Kitty glasses! Obviously, she didn’t learn in grade school if you bring something for yourself, you have to bring enough for everyone. Because you were so busy making six tutus, we’ll forgive you Suz….this time! Not to be outdone, there were two other Kitties who upped their game with fun accessories. Dawn Morse sported fancy schmancy kitty ears and Bobbie Cole looked like a Fairy Godmother in her tiara and waving about her magic wand, granting wishes for a dry ride.

With everyone present and accounted for (and Krista Cotterill saying go on without me, I’ll catch up), we fluffed up our tutus and got ready to roll with Kathryn Langrehr in the lead and Linda Moreland riding sweep. I think we might have gone five miles when our perfectly designed plan fell apart. Sure, we had let the rain pass in Park City, but before we got to Newton, we ran right smack into it. Not only was it raining, it was COLD! Kari Miller and Bobbie Cole were caging it due to some back issues Kari was having and Bobbie’s commitment to No Kitty Left Behind, and I had visions of them all warm and toasty and most importantly, DRY. I was already a little envious over Bobbie’s tiara, but now I was downright GREEN with envy! Fortunately, the rain didn’t last the entire trip. Unfortunately, the cold did. By the time we arrived in Abilene, we were frozen Kitties and I sure hoped that tea in the Tea Room was good and hot. Perhaps we should have worn our fleece-lined tutus!

Kathryn led us right to the door of the First Lady Tea Room and after Suz Tiede and I stripped Lori Gibbs (of her rainsuit! Geez, get your minds out of the gutter you naughty Kitties!), we all filed in and bee-lined it to the rest room. All those cups of coffee and tea were screaming to get out! We browsed around the lovely antique store which was right outside the Tea Room and eventually made our way to our tables. I’ve never had the opportunity to go to a tea party, but this is exactly how I imagined it would look like. Everything was exquisitely displayed with the most charming dishes and serving pieces. This definitely was the prettiest, fanciest lunch the Kitties had ever had the pleasure of enjoying, which might explain why Linda Moreland didn’t know how to act all gentle and ladylike. Not realizing her dainty tea cup wasn’t like a hefty mug at Flo’s Diner, she snapped that pretty little handle right off. I sure hope that wasn’t some expensive antique or you’re gonna have a lot of dishes to wash to pay that off Linda! The gracious owner and our host, Sarah, happily replaced her tea cup with another one, but henceforth, Linda refused to touch the handle. Wise decision Linda.

Our five-course meal started with a fruit kabob, scone and some sort of dipping cream for the fruit that quite honestly, I could have dipped a dog biscuit in and would have loved it. The second course was a dollop of red potato salad served in champagne glasses. Who knew you could use liquor glasses for anything other than, well….liquor?? Then came the main course of finger sandwiches which were chicken salad, cucumber and cream cheese, and apricot jam with almond butter on raisin bread. I think Linda Moreland felt a little more comfortable with this course since she could eat with her fingers and didn’t have to touch any of the dishes. I know we all felt more comfortable that she didn’t have to touch any of the dishes! Then came our sorbet palate cleanser served in egg cups with teeny tiny spoons that all had some sort of decoration on the top. Some were state names, some were President profiles and some just had fancy tops. All of them were darling! Like Linda Moreland, we just can’t take Bobbie Cole anywhere nice. Not wanting to leave a single bit of sorbet behind, she picked up her egg cup and stuck her tongue in it and lapped it up like a hungry kitty. Now, she might tell you that I told her to do that, but don’t believe her. They’re all lies – lies I tell you! And last but certainly not least, were the desserts! A chocolate covered strawberry served in a dish that had been repurposed from something else, such as a tea bag holder or a little metal basket, cream puffs and a piece of chocolate cake. While everything was served in small portions, we filled our tummies and had cup after cup of delicious tea. The whole experience was delightful! From the beautiful tables settings, to the lovely dishes, to the delectable food, to the lively conversations, to the laughs we shared. An absolutely perfect lunch!

While we were eating our small portions, Suz Tiede got a text from Krista Cotterill who said she had just arrived in Abilene. Given that the Tea Room was inside a building that wasn’t noticeably marked, I offered to go out and wait for her and wave her down. There I am standing on the corner in all my tutu fabulousness when I hear the roar of a motorcycle. Wrongly assuming that there can only be one motorcycle out on a cold day like this and it must be Krista, I started wildly waving it down. As it got closer and closer, I notice that it’s not Krista at all and in fact, it’s not even a girl! I’m pretty sure that biker dude thought I was way too crazy for him to stop to get to know better. Smart guy that biker dude. I made my mind up then and there, I was not waving first. Sure, it might not be the friendliest greeting for Krista, but fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Pretty soon, I see a bike coming my way. I resisted the urge to wave and kept my arms firmly planted at my side. Then I saw it….a wave! It’s Krista and I started waving like a tutu-clad lunatic! Let’s just stop right here a minute and give some mad props to Krista. She rode in rain that was worse than what we had and she shivered the whole way to Abilene and she did it all alone! Since we already have a Hard Core Kitty, Krista’s Road name may have to be True Grit!

As soon as Krista got in her seat and started warming up with some tea, Bobbie Cole and I started pimping 50/50 tickets. With 16 Kitties, this was going to be a pot worth winning! Not that I would know and not that I would care. I would take any size pot. Once again it was proven that even if I was in a pot with just one other Kitty, I would still lose. We gave our hostess, Sarah, the honors of drawing the ticket and we all were confident it would be either Lori Gibbs, Deborah Barker or Krista Cotterill who would win given our history of first time Kitties walking away with the loot. However, unfortunately for those three Kitties, the tradition didn’t hold up and Linda Moreland came away $45.00 richer! Hey Sarah, seems to me you could have Linda pay for that tea cup now!

Then it was time to get some group photos and we all know what an ordeal that can be and our first group photo was no exception. Suz Tiede wanted to get a picture with all the Kitties for whom she had made tutus. After seven attempts with Kitties looking everywhere but at the camera, we finally came up with a good one. Paula Franklin, who was high on catnip, was pirouetting in every single one of them and then even gave us a solo performance. I’m anxious to know how many times Paula practiced that pirouette in the privacy of her bathroom mirror. Well done Paula!

After settling up the tab and saying our thank yous and good-byes to Sarah and her assistant, we went outside to get a couple more group shots. Holy Toledo! We did it! We got not one, but TWO group pictures on the first try! Now that I know we can do it, my expectations are high so don’t let me down you frisky felines!

After making a quick gas stop, we pointed our noses south and made the journey home. Just like we predicted, there was no rain on the return trip and while it was a smidge warmer, it was still a pretty cool ride home. However, it was so much more pleasant than the “going to” ride.

I know the “going to” ride sucked, but I hope the other 15 Kitties can agree that it was so worth it to tutu our way to Abilene on our bikes where we could be loud and proud. Ken Stoppel, who is a friend to many of the Kitties, said something on my Facebook post that I thought summed up the day and our group the best. He said, “There are a thousand reasons NOT to do something like what you did today. It takes someone special to simply emerge and attack the moment. You guys killed it. Putting on your big girl panties is in your DNA.” Thank you to 15 Kitties for putting on your big girl panties and coming out to kill it!

And thank you to Suz Tiede and Kathryn Langrehr for planning such a special way to celebrate our Second Annual Tutu Day! You guys knocked it out of the park on this one! Kathryn, thank you for leading us to Abilene. I know the pressure of wondering do we keep going or pull over was great, but as always, you did a fantastic job!

Those who attended the “Tutus and High Tea” Road Trip were Queenie, Shorty (Deborah Barker), Lori Gibbs, Lady, Tink, Sugar, Star, Lil Pibble, Moonshine, Glitter, Squirrel, Sycho, BatKat, Ice, da Vinci, Winer (Paula Franklin), and Krista Cotterill.

 

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All Aboard for Buhler-April 21, 2018

Welcome to the Krome Kitty Car Club! That’s right Kitties, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are no longer a motorcycle club.  We have become a Car Club.  For the third time in a row, we have been forced to leave our bikes tucked in our garages and sought shelter in our cars.  It all started last October when we TRIED to ride to Peabody and it rained…rained hard!  Then fast forward to the April Meow Mixer when we TRIED to ride to Five Guys Burgers and Fries and it snowed!  And then on April 21st when we TRIED to ride our bikes to Buhler, it did what it hasn’t done since last October on the Peabody ride – it rained!  Anybody see a pattern here?  I swear Mother Nature must have a vendetta against the Krome Kitties because it never snows…it never rains…except on a Krome Kitty day.  However, when life gives the Kitties lemons, we ask for tequila and salt!  Ain’t a little bit of rain and cold temperatures gonna keep these girls from having a darn fine day!

Denise Johnson offered to pick me up at my house and drive to the QuikTrip in Park City.  While she was driving, I real quick texted everyone who was going and said, “Because it’s raining, let’s all meet up inside the QT for car assignments.”  Upon arriving, we all gathered around the ATM and coffee machines so everyone could money up and juice up and try to be as inconspicuous as possible.  We were doing a pretty good job of that UNTIL Suz Tiede opened up her brightly colored, ruffle trimmed skull umbrella.  Nothing says “blending in” like an open umbrella inside a dry building.  But then again, when has Suz EVER blended in? (winkwink)  Because the umbrella caused enough of a spectacle, I announced that the 50/50 tickets would be sold at the restaurant.  I took roll call and once everyone was accounted for, I assigned riders to the drivers who were Tricia Carruthers, Suz Tiede, Kathryn Langrehr and Dawn Morse.  I called All Aboard and we were on our way to the bright city lights of Buhler, Kansas!

Our lead driver, Kathryn Langrehr, drove us right to the door of The Mustard Seed and we all filed inside to be greeted by some mighty friendly staff who seated us at a loooonnng table for fifteen.  There was only one other table in the room and I assumed they put us in this back room all by our lonesome because they heard how rowdy the Kitties could be and they didn’t want their other diners to be disturbed.  Not long after I set up my Kitty Boutique and we all got settled in our seats, in walks an older couple who sat at that very table, which was in VERY close proximity to those rowdy Kitties.  I immediately looked over at them and said, “You’re probably going to regret that decision to sit there.  We can get kinda loud…actually very loud.”  “That’s OK, we don’t mind and we can get kinda loud ourselves”, they responded.  That was all I needed to hear to know that this was one cool Grandma and Grandpa and they were going to be very fun neighbors.

After ordering our food and Bobbie Cole pimped the 50/50 tickets, I started passing out the Road Name patches which were hot off the sewing machine. That brought about our next order of business.  We needed to find just the right Road Name for Lily Nordyke. If you haven’t met Lily, she is super sweet and kind, generous, a huge dog over, a devout Christian, a Grandma, and gets carsick if she sits in the backseat of a car.  Those were the criteria we were working with to find a name for her.  Some of the names that we bantered about were:

Joy, Grace, Dawg, Ruff, Candy (cuz she’s so sweet but she ain’t a stripper so we quickly abandoned that one), and UpChuck or just Chuck (cuz she gets carsick, but who wants their name to basically be puke?)  Finally, Kari Miller suggested Sugar. That’s it! It’s perfect! Lily is sweet like sugar and it’s adorable so Sugar it is!

We then decided that Amy Hammer’s Road Name is going to be Wrong Way (due to the fact that we made a couple of turnarounds on a ride she led us on a couple of years back) and Paula Franklin’s Road Name will be FP (due to the moniker of F@%K Paula I gave her at the overnighter last year, but we can’t actually put the F bomb on a patch. Well, we could, but we aren’t.)

Of course, because we are rowdy Kitties, Grandma and Grandpa next door heard the entire conversation about road names and they also approved of the name Sugar.  Grandma then said, “You know, we have Road Names, too.”  “You do??  Well, let’s hear them then!”  Grandma said, “I’m Tumbleweed and this here is Straight Shooter.”  I then responded, “Is Tumbleweed because you drink so many of them?”  She just laughed and laughed and said, “No, I didn’t even know there WAS a drink called a Tumbleweed.”  Grandma we got some schooling to do with you.  We know ALL about alcohol, and none more than our very own Maureen Stout aka Moonshine, who had just announced she had spent her last $5.00 on beer the night before.  It’s important to have priorities, right Moonshine?!  Anyway, back to Tumbleweed…she explained she got her name because she was from Oklahoma.  “So, seriously….it has NOTHING to do with alcohol??   “Nope, not even a little.”

And then the time had come for the 50/50 drawing.  I counted out the cold hard cash and there was $80.00, so some lucky Kitty (not me) was going home $40.00 richer (not me…again.)  I gave Tumbleweed the honors of drawing the ticket and the new member phenomenon struck again!  Kim Jones, who was attending her very first Road Trip, won that dang pot!  I should be keeping a list of how many times a new member won on her first ride.  On second thought, let’s just make a list, shall we?  It all started with Amy Hammer when she joined in October 2014 and attended that last ride of the season…and won.  Then there was a guest rider in 2016 by the name of Dominque Kadatzke (who can forget THAT experience on the Misadventures of Moline?!) who only rode with us that one time, but that one time was enough to send her home with the winnings.  Then there was Brenda Berry, who rode her first ride in April 2017 and won; then Chris Emond’s boyfriend (which is close enough in my book) won the Tom Kat drawing last September, which was her first ride; followed by Annette South who joined us for lunch for the first time in Peabody last October and…you guessed it, won the pot. And now Kim Jones!  That’s SIX, yes I said SIX!, first time KKMC riders who have been winners!  For crying out loud people!  I’ve been riding with this Club for 14 years and I HAVE NEVER WON!!  What’s a girl gotta do?  Quit and come back as a new member?  I know what you all are thinking….how about you quit and NOT come back?  Hey! I’ve got feelings, ya know!

After I licked my wounds and sold a few things from the Kitty Boutique, it was time to settle up the tab at the restaurant and say our good-byes to Tumbleweed and Straight Shooter.  Because they were such great sports and neighbors, I made Tumbleweed an honorary Krome Kitty and gave her a KKMC spot pin in her favorite color – orange.  That just made me love her a little bit more.

We got some shopping to do!  Some of us went to Adrian’s A to Z (which by the way, they literally have everything from A to Z in that there store) and a few wandered over to the thrift store across the street.  Of course, our Bling Queen, Kim Jones, zeroed in like a kitty to catnip on the shiny baubles at Adrian’s.  After we took advantage of the 20% off one item at Adrian’s we met back up at 1:00 to start making our way south.  We had more shopping to do!
It rained all the way home and it brought back the not so pleasant memories of our very wet ride home from Milford Lake last year. We were a lot more comfy in our warm, dry cars although I commented several times what a great ride it would have been if we could have been on our bikes.  Someday, we WILL be motorcycle riders again.  I hope.

Those of us who didn’t have commitments to get home to attended Sgt. C’s Grand Re-Opening to see their new shop and take advantage of the 50% off everything sale.  Maureen Stout bought a new vest so she could display her Road Name and Member Number patches.  She then proceeded to buy about a dozen other patches to fill up all the blank space.  Pace yourself Moonshine!  Oh wait…Moonshine pace herself?  Now that’s funny!

So, our first ride of the 14th season was not on our bikes, but regardless of the transportation, we had fun, we laughed, we jibbed and jabbed with each other and we enjoyed each other’s friendship.  Despite the dreary cold weather, that’s still an awesome day!

Huge Kitty Kisses to those who offered up their cars and gas to transport everyone to Buhler and back. Kathryn, Dawn, Suz and Tricia – you ladies are the best!

Those who attended the “All Aboard for Buhler” ride were Queenie, Half Pint, River, Sugar, Squirrel, da Vinci, Tink, Star, PonyGirl, Lady, Lil Pibble, Moonshine, Sycho, Ice, and BatKat.

 

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Rolling with the Punches – October 14, 2017

ADJUST: verb: ad-just: to adapt or conform oneself (as to new conditions.)

And that, my Feline Friends, was the word of the day on Saturday, October 14th. For the days leading up to the Kitty Road Trip, I studied not one, not two, but three weather apps, hoping that someone, anyone, would give me better news. I celebrated with each minor drop in the chance of rain, but while it may have improved in the morning, it worsened in the afternoon. If it improved in Wichita, it worsened in Peabody. With the soggy return trip from Milford Lake still fresh in everyone’s minds, I knew that I had to get this right. To knowingly take a pack of 17 Kitties out with a better than 50/50 shot of getting wet would result in an unquestionable dethroning from my Queen Kitty status. Done. Kaput. Never again to be heralded as the Queen that I think I am. So, I self-imposed a Friday evening deadline for making the call. Option A: we ride. Option B: we ride….in a cage. As I was about to start my long post on Facebook about my final decision, I got a text from Paula Franklin who said and I quote, “Hey, you Black Kat of the Krome Kitties, you did it again! You’re like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoon, but instead of a dust cloud you bring a raincloud everywhere you go. Well, I for one want nothing to do with you and your stupid wet crap! Call me a Puss but I’m out!” Ok, I may have taken a great deal of poetic license on that quote, but I heard her loud and clear and I took that as a sign that I was doing the right thing by pulling the plug on the conventional way of Kitty riding. We’re going by cars bitches! And to my great pleasure, every single Kitty who had signed up to motorscoot their way to Peabody agreed to pile in cars and caravan their way to Peabody! You guys rock!!

Of course, then I started second guessing myself and I especially had judgement anxiety when on Saturday morning, it was all bright and shiny outside. After a quick check on my not one, not two, but three weather apps, I saw that the chances of rain had actually decreased! What. The. Hell? Oh well, what’s done is done and there’s no turning back now so onward we go, but for the first time in Kitty history, I was actually HOPING it would rain! I needed validation! Needed it bad!

And I didn’t have to wait long to get it! As Alice Friedman, Denise Johnson and I were heading north on Highway 135 to meet at the Park City QuikTrip, it was very dark and stormy looking ahead of us – right where we were going. That’s when I knew that I was just as smart as I thought I was – brilliant even. Not to mention that my Kitty crown was safe from confiscation, so there’s that, too.

After all the Kitties arrived at the QuikTrip in their non-traditional Kitty Road Trip clothing of capris and flip flops and we all gathered around the non-traditional Kitty Road Trip mode of transportation of Toyotas, Fords and Chevys, Suz Tiede started pimping the 50/50 tickets. We chatted a bit and then I started assigning passengers to cars and did my best to keep Alice Friedman from getting in the wrong line. After potty breaks and drink purchases, we were on the way to the metropolis of Peabody USA!

We hardly even realized we were in Peabody before we were pulling into the Coneburg Grill and Pub. What was the very first thing every single one of us saw? The parking lot! It was perfectly suitable for Toyotas, Fords and Chevys, but for motorcycles…not so much. There was about a postage size spot of pavement and the rest was potholed gravel, which by then were water filled potholes from an earlier rain. Shelley Bonnell sized it up perfectly when she said, “Every single one of us would be crowding into that wee bit of pavement over there had we been on bikes.” True dat Shelley!

Just after we got seated, we were joined by Amy Hammer, who drove in from Newton, and Annette South, who resides in none other than Peabody. This was Annette’s very first introduction to the Kitties and in fact, she officially joined on Saturday. So how did she hear about the Krome Kitties way out in Peabody, KS you ask? Well, let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, a Kitty named Alice Friedman was at Hartman Arena purchasing Willie Nelson concert tickets. Right there in line with her was a gal who had the most darling Harley Davidson handbag. Not one to ever let a sweet handbag escape her attention (and trust me, I know this for fact; I saw the tubs of purses Alice moved to Kansas from Colorado!), Alice commented to this gal, who just wanted to buy a couple of Willie Nelson tickets, about how lovely her purse was. “Why thank you”, she says. To which Alice says, “Do you ride, I mean like your own bike?” “Why I sure do, Nosy Stranger. And since your hellbent on knowing all about me, I just moved here from New York and am ever so lonely since I don’t know a single soul here other than my Mom and sister.” To which Alice aka Nosy Stranger replies, “Well, have I got a group for you! You see, there’s this here group called the Krome Kitties and oh my gosh, they are so awesome and friendly and fun and wild and crazy! And don’t even get me started on the Founder, Janice. She is SO amazing and pretty and smart – I mean like, she’s the total package!” (In full disclosure, this is a very loose interpretation of the conversation, but it’s my story so I get to say (or embellish) however I darn well please!) By then the New Yorker, who Alice learned was named Annette, was either too scared to say no or too intrigued to say no, shared her contact information and agreed to meet this girl biker gang for lunch on Saturday right there in her hometown. And they all lived happily ever after. The End.  So that’s how a girl who just moved here from New York one month ago found 25 new friends right there in her own backyard. And for those of you who weren’t able to make the trip Saturday, let me tell you that Annette is super friendly and super fun and super excited about all the adventures she’s about to have with her new friends. As we were chatting over lunch, Annette said her sister has lived in Wichita for years and doesn’t really have friends. I said, “Well, you tell your sister you’ve only been here a month and you’ve already made 25 new friends!”

After chatting and eating and chatting some more, the long-awaited moment had come. Who was not going to win the 50/50 pot (me and Nellie Taylor immediately came to mind.) There was $43.00 up for grabs and as much as I would love to have $43.00, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never, ever, not in this lifetime, win the pot. I gave Annette South the honors of pulling the ticket and when she read the number, all you heard were crickets. Not one Kitty claimed it. Well, Linda Moreland tried to but she was a liar liar pants on fire. My heart skipped a beat as I thought maybe, just maybe, my time had come and it was me! I hadn’t even bothered to pull my tickets out. I mean, why should I? It isn’t like I even thought I had a chance to win. Just as I was fumbling in my purse to see if I actually had the winning ticket, Annette dashed all my hopes said, “Oh my gosh, it’s me! I have that number!” I tried, really really tried, to not resent Annette just a little bit for her stupid, uh I mean good, luck and we all were dumbfounded as this was like the umpteenth person who won on her very first outing with the Kitties. So, I guess the moral of the story is I gotta quit the Kitties and then rejoin to win that dadgum pot! Is that what you want?? Please don’t answer that….

And then the most amazing thing happened! All of us are still trying to wrap our heads around this monumental event, but as hard as it is to believe, I promise you, it’s true. Brace yourself….are you ready? OK, here goes….Paula Franklin doesn’t have a flip phone anymore! That’s right, she now has a brand spanking new IPhone! We’re all absolutely flabbergasted over this major life event and now she can not only TAKE pictures, she can actually SEE them on the bigger than a one inch square screen! Congratulations, Paula, and welcome to the world of smart phones!

After commandeering our waitress, and the only waitress in the joint, to take our group picture, we all made our way to the door to start our long journey to the Flint Hills Gypsies store. Why, what do we have here? Rain! I mean like real rain! Not that drizzling stuff but rain that made every single one of us so glad to not be struggling with rain suits and sitting on wet motorcycles. Finally! Finally, I get to be a hero and not a zero! I guessed right on cancelling the motorcycle part of our day and I hope in some small, tiny, miniscule way I’ve been redeemed from the 143rd St. gravel debacle in August.

We made our way through town, which took like 4.5 minutes, to the Gypsies store, while we listened to the sound of raindrops pitter pattering on the car. We did our ladylike run to the door and Holy Moth Balls! this place was jammed packed full of vintage everything! Everyone scattered in different directions to scope out what little treasures they just had to take home with them. Colleen Williams, Maureen Stout and I proved that you are never too old to play dress up and tried on the same vintage dress and yet not one of us bought it. I’m still kind of regretting that; it would have been so perfect for the Bridesmaid Christmas Party. As we were meandering through the store there was a big clap of thunder, followed by darkness. The lights had gone out in the store right when I was about to go to the bathroom…..in a room with no windows. Thankfully, technology came to my aid and my phone, now turned flashlight, lit the way so I in fact, peed in the toilet and not the sink or some other vintage pot in the bathroom.

After we hugged our good-byes to each other, we all piled back in our Toyotas, Ford and Chevys for the dry (you’re welcome!) ride home because you see, it never….stopped….raining….all the way home.   So, on October 14, 2017 Mother Nature gave us a one two punch, but we brushed ourselves off and rolled with the punches and made a gloomy, wet day another fun Krome Kitty day with a bonus. We didn’t have to navigate on that teensy weensy parking lot!

That’s a wrap and drop the mic! We had a great season of rides and comradery; we added six, yes I said SIX, new Kitties (Sue Harman, Tricia Carruthers, Mona Thomason, Sherri Carver, Chris Emond and Annette South); we patched ourselves up with member numbers; we added our mascot, Kit E. Kat, to the litter; we gave a whole new meaning to Kitties Rock with Kitty Rocks; we rolled out a kick-ass website and then quicker than we got it, we lost it (see more about that in the website article); we tu-tued our way to Burrton, KS in April and a new opening ride tradition was born; we acted like Pioneer women at the Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK in May; we Zoo’d it with the Wichita Family Crisis Center Moms and Kiddos in June; we tried to go to Wilson, KS in June, but ended up in Dexter and Winfield and no, I wasn’t leading!; we escorted a croquet champion in July; we tried to go to Wakita, OK in July but found ourselves in Anthony, KS because sometimes family situations are more important; we got gravel road experience and camped out (Janice style) at Milford Lake in August and nearly drowned coming home; in the same month, we dished up ice cream for the Moms and kiddos of the Wichita Family Crisis Center and over-stuffed their van with badly needed items; we Tom Katted our way to Elk Falls in September (which is ironic since we Tom Katted our way to Cottonwood Falls last year. I guess we better find another Falls town in 2018!); and we made the best of a bad weather situation by driving to Peabody, KS in October. A great big HUGE thank you to each and every one of the Kitties for making our 13th riding season one to remember. A MASSIVE thank you to Nellie Taylor and Maureen Stout for finding us fun and interesting places to go to this season! The Kitties rock in so many ways, but the friendships we’ve made and strengthened has to be at the top of that list. Winter activities will be announced soon so make time to stay connected and until we ride again in April 2018, keep the shiny side up!

Those on board for the Rolling with the Punches Road Trip were Janice Friedman, Paula Franklin, Annette South, Shelley Bonnell, Kathryn Langrehr, Melaina Phares, Alice Friedman, Bobbie Cole, Chris Emond, Maureen Stout, Christine Allsman, Denise Johnson, Colleen Williams, Suz Tiede, Nellie Taylor, Linda Moreland, and Amy Hammer.

Elk Falls (2)

No Falling at Elk Falls – September 10, 2017

Here’s what I’ve learned….be careful what you wish for. I really wanted to have a good turnout for the Tom Kat ride so I was encouraging, asking, and begging people to go. When the RSVPs started coming in, the list got longer and longer and longer. We had 15 Kitties signed up to go, which is a nice sized group, but not like crazy big. However, these 15 Kitties are so proud of their Kitty Klub that they invited lots o’family and friends to join them. By the time the deadline came and went, we had 40 people signed up to go! Holy Fur Balls! That’s a huge group of big bad bikers, and in fact the largest in KKMC history, and now the pressure was on…the pressure to get everyone there without any turnarounds; the pressure to keep everyone together; the pressure that the restaurant could even accommodate that large of a crowd since we had originally told them it would be about 20 people; and the pressure to get everyone in the teeny tiny parking lot at Elk Falls, which isn’t even really a parking lot all but rather just a dead-end road. But more on that later.

Then as Sunday, September 10th, approached, a couple of cancellations and/or changes came in. First up was Melaina Phares who contacted me to say that her entourage of six had a scheduling problem so they were going to just meet us in Sedan for lunch. OK, that’s six less people to lead down the road. Then Christine Allsman and her Tom Kat, Dorrin, had to cancel because the daggum guy who was working on her bike STILL didn’t have it done. I can tell you one thing, I would NOT want to be that guy when he told her he didn’t have it done. Holy smokes! He deserved and got an old-fashioned butt chewing! Because Christine wasn’t going, neither was her brother, Mike, and nephew, Zack, who had signed up to go as her guests. OK, that’s four more less people so we’re up to 10 fewer people. Then the morning of the ride, Kari Miller texted me to say that while she was still sending her Tom Kat, Daryl, she was a no go. OK, that’s now 11 less people going down the road. Whew! That seems a lot more doable now. I know that sounds like I’m glad these people didn’t go and that’s not the case at all and we super missed Christine, Dorrin, Mike, Zack and Kari, but I was freaking out people! That said, it made me proud and pleased as a Momma Kat that you all think enough of KKMC that you would want to invite your family and friends to join us on the Tom Kat ride and give them a glimpse into just how much fun we have. So on with the ride…..

We met at the Quik Trip at 143rd and E. Kellogg and while I was braced for some poking and jabbing that I imagined would go something like this, “Janice, isn’t this the same Quik Trip that we left from on the overnight trip and you led us down about 20 miles of dirt road? Huh, Janice? Isn’t it?” Well, all I gotta say is you love me, you really, really love me! Not one Kitty brought up that painful memory and for that, I thank you! Bike after bike after bike came swarming into the parking lot, each one more beautiful than the last. Man, these Kitties, Tom Kats and friends got some awful purty bikes! After Linda Moreland pimped a boat load of 50/50 tickets and we did the usual meet and greet, I gathered the group in a circle to give them the lowdown. First order of business was to break the group into two with my Tom Kat, Greg, leading the first group and Nellie Taylor and her Tom Kat, JT, leading the second in the Whiz Bang Machine. Greg had assured me that he had scoped out the route and he was good to go. So, you can imagine how my heart just about dropped out of my chest when, in front of God and everyone, he said, “Does anybody know how to find the actual falls in Elk Falls?” WHAT?? You’re just now trying to figure this out? What happened to that confidence you had shown the night before? What happened to that, “I got this” from earlier this morning? Well, one of the good things about having a crowd of bikers in front of you is someone has more than likely been there done that and thankfully, that was the case that Sunday morning. Some kind, more INFORMED, soul spoke up and said, “There’s a sign there in town where you turn.” Greg’s response, “OK, I just don’t want no bitchin’ if we have to do a turnaround.” Oh Lord, help us all……

And He did. Greg led us right to Elk Falls and then right to the parking “lot” of the falls. Let’s talk about that parking lot, shall we? Way back in 2005, the Kitties went to Elk Falls when the Club was in its infancy and I was in my infancy of riding. As we were planning this latest trip to Elk Falls, I recalled that hairy scary parking “situation”, which it will henceforth be referred to as because it ain’t no lot, as being pretty much terrifying. For those of you who weren’t on the trip, let me describe the setting. Once you turn off the road in Elk Falls to get to the falls, it turns to gravel. You drive a bit on the gravel where it dead ends at a bridge. The dead end, my Feline Friends, is the parking situation. And what does dead end mean? That’s right, you have to turn yourself around to get back out….on gravel. Back in 2005, I wasn’t at all used to riding on gravel and that drive to the parking situation seemed to be VERY long and it scared the bejeebers out of me. And then there was the actual parking. I remember I got turned around, but it wasn’t at all pretty. Now fast forward to 2017, and yep, there’s that gravel road, but thanks to the On Gravel We Travel Road Trip, it didn’t seem to be nearly as long or nearly as horrifying. However, I’m sad to say that the getting turned around part had not improved one iota. There was no way I was going to make a smooth U-turn in that narrow little gravel space, so I decided walking my bike around was the best course of action. Of course, the beauty of being the lead rider is absolutely everyone gets to witness you making this pitiful attempt and as a matter of fact, let me recount for you the play by play that Dawn Morse’s Tom Kat, Gene, was giving to Dawn. It went a little something like this….”Wow. I’ve heard of baby steps, but those are infant steps. Well, she just killed her bike. No, I guessed she didn’t. Oh look, now she’s fallen into a rut. Oh look, she got it out. Well there you go, now she’s sliding. Good grief, how much longer is this going to take? Should I go help her? I can’t watch this train wreck any longer. Finally, she’s almost there…getting closer…why is she laughing? Please make this nightmare end!” So long story made not very short, I did get turned around but here’s what I’ve learned: 1) After 14 years of riding, I’m much more comfortable riding on gravel. 2) After 14 years of riding, I still suck at parking and am especially sucky on gravel. 3) When you know you are going to have to make a U-turn on gravel, make sure you’re the very last bike in so there are no witnesses.

After some got turned around and others just stopped and decided to defer the agony of turning around to when they left, we all started scattering. There were those who made the small hike down to the falls and some who decided seeing the falls from the bridge was good enough. We took lots of couple and family photos; we witnessed Suz Tiede tip toeing out onto the falls and then witnessed her son, Brett, having to go save her from herself; we witnessed five people standing at the edge of the embankment staring into the water like they had never seen anything like it in all their lives; and we got to finally meet Paula Franklin’s Tom Kat and caught a glimpse of her making out with him. I don’t know about you, but the whole thing seemed a little filmy to me.

After we shutterbugged our way to exhaustion, we biked back up and left that parking situation forever in our distant memories. Next stop, Sedan! Once again, Greg came through and led us right to Granny’s Green Door Café and what do we have here? The final sweep rider was Nellie Taylor in her Whiz Bang Machine and when she arrived in Sedan, right there in the passenger seat was Kit E. Kat! That frisky little puss hitched a ride along with Nellie and said it ain’t a record breaking Tom Kat ride without me! Well, come on then you big headed Kitty Kat!

As we walked up to the Green Door Café’s green door, we were greeted with a sparkly gold and silver sign welcoming the Krome Kitties. Well, ain’t that just the friendliest small-town welcome ever?! We also hooked up with Melaina Phares and her band of bikers and one car rider. Melaina’s Tom Kat, Tim, isn’t a biker but after nine Tom Kat rides, he put on his riding gear of shorts and a t-shirt, jumped in the car and said what the heck, let’s just see what this Kitty Klub is all about. Well, Tim was so down with the Krome Kitties, he even impersonated Kit E. Kat!

All my fretting about the restaurant being able to accommodate such a large crowd was for naught as they were set up for us; they were super friendly; and they were as fast as jack rabbits in getting food to a lot of hungry bikers. Of course, there was only one thing on everyone’s mind while we were chowing on fried chicken and giving Suz Tiede’s Tom Kat, Jim, and Kari Miller’s Tom Kat, Daryl, a few quiet moments to themselves at the private corner table, and that was how much is in the 50/50 pot and I gotta have it!

These were some high stakes people! There was $165.00 in that there flamed bag which meant one lucky Kitty or Kitty guest was going home with $83.00! I kept thinking, if there ever was a time for me to win, this just HAS to be it! Kit E. Kat insisted on being the one to call the winning number, but after being told she had to play nice with others, she allowed Granny, the owner of the café, to pull the number out of the bag.  And once again, I was wrong in thinking that this just HAD to be the time I would win, because for the like bazillionth time in a row, I was a big. fat. loser. The winning ticket belonged to Chris Emond’s guest, Mark! Not that I’m bitter or anything, but Mark, I liked you just fine at the Falls, but now, not so much. OK. Ok. I still like you, but what’s a girl gotta do to win that stinking pot?!

After the disappointing loss of the 50/50 pot, I asked the Tom Kats who had attended last year, and were gifted little plastic Tom Kats, if they remembered to bring their Tom Kats this year. There were a few who remembered and gleefully presented them. Some thought the whole thing was a bit silly but what these menfolk don’t realize is we find great delight in silliness! Of course, then we had to document these little plastic Tom Kats’ attendance by photographing them eating off Linda Moreland’s Tom Kat, Jim’s, dinner plate and flirting with Hello Kitty outside.

While the flirting was being photographed, several of the bikers who couldn’t make the 48-mile ride to Severy for the scheduled gas stop, rode down the block to a small gas station to get gas. A few members of the group decided to go ahead and head for home and others stood around chatting. After a while, Greg sent Nellie Taylor’s Tom Kat, JT, down to where I was photographing to ask how much longer it was going to be? “I don’t know JT, when everyone gets done getting gas, that’s when!” was my response, all the while JT was stepping back in quick retreat. It was reported that when JT got back to where Greg was, he said, “I ain’t asking her again. If you want to know, ask her yourself!” When Greg worked up the nerve to approach me about how much longer it would be, I pretty much let him have it with “We will go when everyone gets done getting gas! How about you just slow your roll! Huh? How about that?!” After a bit longer, Greg and probably all the other Tom Kats who aren’t accustomed to the practice of Kitties aren’t in a big hurry to get home, had had enough and said “Let’s go. Those who are still at the gas station will see we’re leaving and will fall in behind.” As we drove by the gas station, I looked over to make sure they saw we were leaving and that’s when I saw it. The bikers that I had so resolutely stood my ground with JT and Greg and said we aren’t leaving until they are done, weren’t even part of our group. Yep, total strangers. Oops, my bad.

While on the road to Severy, I was thinking about what a spectacular day it was, how grateful I am to have all these people in my life and what a perfect day it ended up being, despite my overthinking and overworrying about it for days leading up to it. What I didn’t know was it wasn’t quite as peaceful behind me. Somewhere between Sedan and Severy, an SUV driver decided this would be a good time to start fishing for something she dropped or looking at her phone or putting on make-up or whatever it was that caused her to be completely distracted and cross the center line right into our line of bikes. There were several who had to use some masterful defensive driving skills to avoid being hit head on, namely Linda Moreland and her Tom Kat, Jim; Suz Tiede and her Tom Kat, Jim; Paula Franklin; and Kari Miller’s Tom Kat, Daryl. There may have been others, but those are the ones I’m aware of. Hey lady in the dirty SUV, how about the next time you see a big ole line of motorcycles coming at you, you not worry about whatever it was you were doing while you weren’t doing what you were supposed to be doing and that’s driving!

So that’s how the largest Tom Kat ride in Krome Kitty history went down. Thank you to all those who joined in the fun and made this day so memorable! Those on board for the No Falling at Elk Falls Tom Kat ride were Janice and Greg Friedman; Chris Emond and Mark; Maureen Stout, Larri and Shelby Brown; Tricia and David Carruthers and guest Joe Erdman; Nellie and JT Taylor; Linda and Jim Moreland; Dawn and Gene Morse and guests Dallas and Michelle Hastings; Suz and Jim Tiede and Brett McQuitty; Daryl Miller; Sue and Bill Hartman; Bobbie Cole and Al Brumbaugh; Melaina and Tim Phares and guests Stuart and Cissy Volz and Mike and Stacy Haire; Paula Franklin; and Sherri Carver.

#3

On Gravel We Travel – August 25, 2017

Settle in ladies, this is going to be a long one!

You know the old biker saying, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey?” Well, as we started the overnight trip to Milford Lake on Friday, August 25th, it was all about the destination because the beginning of the journey sucked. Sucked in an epic way. Let’s set the stage, shall we?

I had offered to lead the ride to Junction City and then Nellie Taylor would take over and get us to Milford Lake. Nine of the Kitties were to meet at the Quik Trip at 143rd St. and E. Kellogg. The Augusta girls of Suz Tiede, Nellie Taylor, Linda Moreland and Christine Allsman, who was riding shotgun with Nellie since her bike was in the shop, did not want to ride east only to have to ride back west, so we agreed the better plan would be for them to ride to El Dorado and fall in behind us as we rode into town. Since I was leading the ride, I looked at a map on the World Wide Web and saw that 143rd went north all the way to Highway 254. We would then take Highway 254 to El Dorado and then Highway 77 all the way to Junction City. I consulted with my husband, Greg, and he agreed and even encouraged me to go that route. Easy peasy, right? Uh, that would be a big fat N.O.

I blame the World Wide Web and Greg for what happened next. Both of whom should have known this was a very bad idea. We pulled out onto 143rd St. heading north and we’re riding….riding….riding…WHAT THE HELL?? Out of nowhere, we went from a nice smooth paved road to a lumpy, bumpy gravel road! At the moment it happened, I was looking in my rearview mirror to check on the string of bikers behind me and I was on the road before I could do anything about it. I knew the last thing anyone would want to do was make the dreaded U-turn on this treacherous road so onward we went. And let me tell you it went on FOREVER! So many things were running through my head, but at the top of the list was how stinking mad all those girls behind me were going to be; we were going to be late meeting the Augusta girls; and they were going to be worried. In hindsight, it was good that I was so focused on these things because the least of my worries was having to ride on this gawd awful road. I ended up getting way ahead of the rest of the pack in FINALLY reaching Highway 254 so I got there before everyone else. I immediately shot my kickstand in the down position and got off my bike to greet the angry mob that I could see coming up in a cloud of dust. After apologizing all over myself for the worst start to a journey in Krome Kitty history, we finally rolled onto the pavement we all had dreamed of for the last 15 or so minutes, which seemed more like 60. In the meantime, I got a call from Suz Tiede through my Sena system and like I knew she would be, she is wondering what the heck is going on. I was still rattled from the gravel road experience and I think some foul language might have been used. Fortunately, Suz does not have ladylike ears and totally overlooked my potty mouth. While I was on the phone with her, I see Bobbie Cole come screaming up from behind and motioned for me to pull over. What now?? Is there a bike problem? Did something shake off a bike from the aforementioned nightmare we just lived through? After we pulled over, Alice Friedman yelled from behind me, “Your saddlebag is open!” Damn! I sure was hoping I could blame someone else for this unexpected stop and I yelled into the phone to Suz, CAN THIS BLANKETY BLANK DAY GET ANY WORSE? You can probably guess what should be inserted in the blankety blank spot. After about 10 more minutes of me, and probably everyone else, fuming and trying to calm down, we pulled into El Dorado and come hell or high water, I was not going to miss the one turn we had to make to get on Highway 77. Thankfully, I didn’t. So, I guess like the one time you finally convince your husband to do the laundry and he ruins a whole load so you will never ask him again, so goes the notion of Janice leading a ride. I screwed this up so bad, no one will ever let (make) me do that again!

After about 100 miles of uneventful riding (which we were all grateful for because we had had all the excitement we needed for one day), we pulled into Junction City’s Harley Davidson City Cycles Sales dealership. The dirt riding girls dusted themselves off and we piled into the dealership where we were greeted and treated like Rock Stars. The staff all wanted to know who this band of badass girls were; Nellie Taylor, a native of Junction City, ran into an old boyfriend (awwwkward!); cameras were pulled out to take our pictures; and credit cards were a flyin’. If we were real Rock Stars, we would have been comped on all the things that were being thrown onto the sales counter, but I guess we haven’t reached that status just yet. I made a call to Cynthia’s One Bite Delight, the lunch destination, and asked if 13 hungry Kitties could converge upon them and she said if you promise you will show up, we’ll set up for you. I pinky swore we would not let them down and would be there in about 30 minutes. Several of the girls found the perfect shirt, which I announced I already had because I got it at the last Kitty Christmas party, and now several of us have matching not-quite-a-Kitty-shirt-but-we-are-Bad-Kitties shirts. All too soon, I was herding Kitties out the door because, after all, I did pinky swear that we would be at Cynthia’s in 30 minutes. One of the staff followed us out and took several pictures in the parking lot and then walked up the road to get a few shots of us leaving. Thank you for taking such good care of us City Cycle Sales! Nellie Taylor took over the lead and drove us right to Cynthia’s One Bite Delight, where we were greeted by a not so lovely gravelly parking lot. Geez, we cannot get away from this gravel today! True to her word, the waitress had a table for 13 all set up for us and we all got ourselves situated. And that’s when I made a dreadful discovery. I couldn’t find my regular eyeglasses in my saddle bags and after a phone call to Greg, he confirmed that yes, they were indeed still sitting on the kitchen counter. Dadgumit! I really, really, really debated getting back on my bike and riding back to Wichita to get them. Suz Tiede offered to go with me if I wanted to go, but common sense prevailed and I decided riding all the way back home and then back to Milford Lake all in one day just wasn’t worth it. I would just have to wear my prescription riding glasses the entire weekend…which I hated….and made sure everyone knew it…on numerous occasions.

All sorts of different menu items were selected, like catfish, shrimp, and oxtails, and everything was delicious and as homecooked as it gets. If you ever find yourself in Junction City, please take time to eat at Cynthia’s One Bite Delight and tell them you’re a Krome Kitty. I promise you will not regret it! After filling our bellies and chit chatting a bit, the all-important moment came. Who was walking away with some spending money?! I patiently waited for our wonderful waitress to finish taking care of the table next to us and all the while, I noticed a gal who had on the same red shirt as the waitress, sitting on a chair against a wall on her phone. When the waitress was free, I held up the flamed bag with the tickets and all I got out of my mouth was, “Would you mind drawing…..” and that’s when like she had been shot out of a cannon, the phone-talking, red-shirted gal came running over and said, “No! I wanna do it! I’m the owner and I should get to do it!” Well, I could tell she was a feisty one so I responded, “You sat over there all this time on your phone and didn’t pay one bit of attention to us! You had your chance and you blew it, so no! our sweet waitress gets to do it!” And that’s how our friendship with Flo, the one-time attorney who took over the restaurant from her mother, began. But more on Flo later….we got a drawn ticket and it damn well better be mine! I didn’t even have enough time to get my tickets out of my side purse before I heard Suz Tiede yell, “That’s me! I won! I won! I won! In your face Janice! You’re a loooooser and I’m a winner! You’ll never win because you’re too stupid to win!” Okay, maybe she didn’t say some, or any of that, but that’s how it felt. This is really starting to sting people! So, Suz walked away with 33 smackeroos, which hardly even made a dent in the wad she left behind at City Cylce Sales!

We chatted a bit with Flo and found out she always wanted to learn to ride and seeing all the bikes pouring into their parking lot and then realizing we were all GIRLS, well…she was inspired! She asked to come outside and have her picture taken on one of the bikes and, of course, we were happy to oblige. She got to pick the bike she wanted and Flo selected Paula Franklin’s black beauty. After summoning (more like yelling) at a gal named Jill from across the parking lot to get on over here and take my picture on this motorcycle, we snapped a few group shots. We then hugged our good-byes and she made us promise to come back again someday and we made her promise to get on a bike someday.

In 15 short miles, we were pulling into the Acorns Resort at Milford Lake. Great. Just great. While the road was paved, the parking was…you guessed it…gravel. If there’s anything a Kitty hates worse than riding on gravel, it’s parking on gravel. But like the big girls that we are, we all managed to get our bikes parked and we commenced to unloading saddle bags and deciding who was going in which cabin (we had two) and who was going to snuggle up with who for the next two nights. Then came time to decide who was going to paddle board and who was going to couch surf for the next couple of hours. Bobbie Cole, Denise Johnson, Maureen Stout, Christine Allsman and I went to the lake while the rest of the group rested up and enjoyed the AC and each other’s company, although several other Kitties came down later to see how the lake Kitties were doing with the paddle boarding. Unofficial awards were given in the following categories: Fastest to Get Wet goes to Denise Johnson; First to Get to a Standing Position goes to Maureen Stout; Best Yoga Pose goes to Christine Allsman; The Only One to NOT Get Wet goes to Bobbie Cole; The Farthest Distance from Dock goes to Maureen Stout; and The Most Clothes on While Paddle Boarding goes to Janice Friedman. One final award was given to Maureen Stout for The Only One to Lose her Flip Flops on the Lakeshore. It’s still a mystery as to what happened to said flip flops – they were either stolen or were too close to shore and floated off.

After returning to the cabins, a liquor order was taken and Nellie Taylor and her Whiz Bang Machine, along with escorts Linda Moreland and Bobbie Cole, went to fetch the booze and pick up a few snacks. Good Lord! What they came back with would have supplied a frat house for days! There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell we were going to eat or drink all that stuff, but that’s what happens when you shop when you’re hungry and thirsty! We had a pre-dinner cocktail and then got ready to walk to the Cove Restaurant for dinner. That’s when Kit E. Kat, the Krome Kitty mascot, finally made her appearance. Lots of pictures were taken to document her attendance on the ride but she was more than a little put out when she found out she wasn’t invited to actually eat with us. Get over it Kit E. Kat, no one likes a pouty Kitty! Dinner at the Cove Restaurant was delicious, the service was outstanding and to top it off, we got to see a gorgeous sunset over the water.

After dinner, we walked back to the Party Cabin; tried our best to drink some of the massive amount of alcohol; and laughed until our faces hurt and our bellies ached. I would like to say that we partied way into the night, but let’s be honest….none of us are spring chickens anymore so we called it an early night with orders to be ready to roll at 9:00 the next morning.

The next morning everyone was up and out the door right on time and as I was walking to my bike, what to my wondering eyes should appear? Like an old-fashioned Texaco gas station attendant, Dawn Morse was cleaning everyone’s windshield! This is one of the many reasons we love you Dawn – you are always thinking ahead and thinking of others! The other thing that caught me off guard was we had a genuine celebrity riding with us today. Willie Nelson’s sister, Nellie Nelson, had joined this band of Bad Kitties and no one is badder than a Nelson!

The first order of business was to put some fuel in our bikes and that’s when Kit E. Kat came back out to play. She gassed up Suz Tiede’s bike; she posed in a variety of positions and even got all playful on Bobbie Cole’s bike by stretching out like the sun-loving, frisky Kitty that she is.

Suz Tiede planned a lovely day of riding for us which took us through miles and miles of Kansas countryside; alongside Glen Elder Lake; and several small towns. I have to mention a little something about the lake. When I say “lake”, I mean a very large body of water. Not a pond, not a stream. It. Was. A. Lake. We’ve all seen a lake, right? They are hard to miss, right? Especially when we’re riding right alongside one, right? Imagine our shocked reaction when someone mentioned at lunch about how pretty Glen Elder Lake was and one Denise Johnson responded, and I quote, “What lake? I didn’t even see a lake.” We are stared in silence at her with our mouths agape with incredulity. That lasted for a brief moment before the questions came fast and furious. “What? How could you miss the lake?” “What were you doing that you couldn’t see a lake?” “You do know what a lake is, right?” There were more, many more, but now I feel like I’m beating a dead horse or an embarrassed Kitty so I’ll stop. Denise’s only defense….”I guess I must have been looking at the road.” Hey, Denise, we appreciate your lazer-like focus on the road and if there’s roadkill or a pothole or a dead body on it, we know you’ll be the first to point it out, but it’s OK to look up every now and then!

Speaking of lunch, a short distance from the invisible Glen Elder Lake was Cawker City, where we jockeyed our way into the Lakeshore Tailgater Bar and Grill parking lot (I bet Denise Johnson wondered why it was called “Lakeshore”) and filed into the restaurant for some hamburgers and french fries. Kit. E. Kat also had a chance to peruse the menu a couple of times but the finicky Kitty that she is, didn’t even order anything. We learned from the waitress that the Word’s Largest Ball of Twine was within easy walking distance and if you called this lady named Linda Clover, she would meet us there so we could add some twine to the ball. Hell yeah we want to add twine! Nothing a Kitty loves more than a ball of string!

As promised, Linda Clover met us at the Big Ol’ Ball of Twine and provided a bit of history of how all this started. I was so busy taking pictures, I didn’t catch the entire story, but I did hear that it was started by Frank Stoeber in 1953 and he gave the ball to Cawker City in 1961. It currently weighs over 20,000 pounds!! Cawker City has taken this notoriety very seriously and even has painted twine on their sidewalks. I was selected to tie the twine onto the ball and Linda was great about letting us go round and round and round again in order for everyone to take a turn in adding twine to this historic ball. We agreed that since Alice Friedman was the newest member on the trip, she would tie it off. Thanks to the Kitties, they can now record a pound or two more to that Big Ball’s total! While we were all taking silly pictures with Kit E. Kat, a sidecar that looked very vintage, but come to find out really wasn’t, pulled up. We were like bees to honey and swarmed that poor man who just wanted to come and spend a few quiet, reflective moments with the Ball of Twine. Turns out he was on a cross country trip on his sidecar bike, called a Ufal, which tops out at about 50 miles per hour. I bet HE saw the lake!

After we sufficiently saw everything there was to see at The Ball, we walked back to the restaurant and biked back up for the next stop on this 270 mile Tiede Tour de Kansas. Rock City here we come! There we were riding along with music a playin’ in our ears or thoughts a runnin’ through our heads when suddenly, the pavement ended and gravel began. What The Hell? This is almost starting to be funny that we cannot escape the gravel on this trip! As I’m riding along, two things crossed my mind. One – I no longer have any fear whatsoever in riding on gravel. We had done it so much that it beat that anxiety right out of me. Two – you’re welcome Kitties! You’re welcome for providing some practice time on 143rd St. for what was to come! I guess I’m not such an idiot now, am I? That’s a rhetorical question – please do not answer. Now we just gotta get everyone used to riding in the rain, but no chance of that on this trip. Or is there….

The gravel did seem to go on and on and on, but we eventually found paved road again and pulled into Minneapolis – the KS one, not the MN one. We gassed up and regained our composure from the gravel experience and decided who was and was not interested in riding the very short distance to Rock City. Turns out, you had to ride on a dirt road to get to Rock City and between that and being hot and thirsty, five Kitties decided to stay at the Casey’s gas station to cool off and rehydrate and eight Kitties and Kit E. Kat rode on to Rock City.

Rock City is actually a park with about 200 ginormous Dakota stones. They each have a name based on what they resemble. A few that I remember were Turtle Rock, Donut Hole Rock, Shipwreck Rock and Mushroom Rock. I went on a rock climbing expedition on Turtle Rock and was able to successfully summit but then had to get back down, which was actually a lot harder and required a bit of sliding on the ole’ derriere. Kit E. Kat aka Paula Franklin and Dawn Morse recreated a scene from the Lion King and everyone agreed they nailed it! After group pictures, we got back on our bikes and rode back to Casey’s to get the rest of the Kitties and ride the 40ish miles back to Milford Lake.

“So, what’s for dinner?”, I ask when we returned. Hot cheese and hamburger dip and snacks was the answer. Someone’s gotta eat all that food sitting on that there countertop! So, a few of the Kitties started frying hamburger and melting cheese and ripping open bags of chips and cookies and candy bars and crackers and sausage. Are you getting an idea of how much food there was? We all grazed off the countertop and made a half-assed attempt to drink all that alcohol, which we had no chance of actually ever doing. We all sat around and laughed; chatted; watched Bobbie Cole break her glasses; and after watching Denise Johnson ignore the ranch dressing that had spilled on her hand for about ten minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore and walked right over to her and licked it. Hey, someone had to do it! We also did a lot of studying the radar. “Looks like rain is heading our way in the morning,” says one Kitty. “What will we do?” says another. “We get wet,” says yet another. The original plan was to meet for breakfast at the Cove Restaurant before heading for home in the morning; however, in light of the wet weather scheduled to hit in the morning, we aborted that plan and decided to meet at the bikes at 8:30 with an 8:45 departure.

No sooner had the Kitties in my cabin rose from their slumber that Sunday morning, we got a call from the other cabin. “We’s got to go and we’s got to go now! Be ready in 20 minutes!” The Kitties in that cabin had apparently been up for like hours looking at radar and talking to husbands back home and knew rain was coming our way. Because of their early rising, they had a very leisurely time of getting things and themselves ready and packing bags on their bikes. In my cabin, it was utter chaos as clothes were being stuffed in bags; rains suits were being unrolled; clothes were being thrown on; Denise Johnson was worried her rain suit wasn’t going to fit anymore; and saddle bags were being packed. As we were walking out the door, right on cue, the skies opened up and it poured. Does this mean Dawn Morse isn’t going to clean our windshields? I guess not because she was already biked up and ready to roll. Nellie Taylor took the lead and after a quick stop for gas, we got on the road for the long, wet, cold ride home.

That long, wet, cold ride home was even longer for Suz Tiede. You see, somewhere between Herrington and Florence, there is a roundabout. Suz was riding sweep and Linda Moreland was right in front of her. Suz and Linda got separated from the rest of the group by a car at the roundabout and we lost sight of them, presumably because they were behind a few cars. The group got to El Dorado where we pulled over at the Quik Trip to regroup and take a break from the weather. I called my husband, Greg, to let him know where we were and I would be home soon. That’s when he said, “Did you hear about Suz?” My heart dropped not knowing what was going to come out of his mouth next. “No, what happened to Suz?, I asked. “Her bike died and she is sitting all alone in the rain. She tried to call her husband, Jim, but he didn’t answer so she called me for help. I was going to give it 15 minutes of trying to get hold of Jim and if he didn’t answer, I was going to hook up the bike trailer and go get her.” Three things then happened. First, I said “FBomb!” and then I asked what happened to Linda and then I asked if some of us needed to go back. Greg went on to say that he was able to get hold of Jim and he and Nellie Taylor’s husband, JT, were on the way to get her. He stressed that Suz did not want anyone to go back for her. Turns out Linda Moreland pulled over in Florence and called Suz. Suz explained what happened and that she had called the Highway Patrol and an officer was coming to take her to a dry waiting spot. She told Linda to go on so this meant that Linda was riding all by herself in the rain. (I found out later that Linda made it home safe and sound and wet and cold.) After being convinced that Suz was being rescued, we hugged our good-byes and got back on the road headed to our respective homes. As soon as I got home, I called Suz and she was sitting in a restaurant with her husband and JT having lunch, the bike had been loaded and while she was very wet and cold, she was safe. But that’s not all folks. The Highway Patrol who was supposed to come get her and take her to a safe and dry waiting location…never showed up. Turns out there was some sort of crises going on in Ellsworth, KS and it took everyone’s attention, most notably the dispatcher’s. She had forgotten all about Suz and didn’t even call it in. Not to the Highway Patrol and not even to the Sherriff’s office. Here’s another little fun fact, Suz literally counted every car that went by and it took 69 cars before anyone stopped to see if she needed help. That person….a biker driving his car. Number 70 also stopped. Yep, another biker in a car. They had each asked if she needed a ride somewhere, but knowing the Highway Patrol was coming, she turned them down. If only she had known….. In the end, Suz did everything right and I for one, am grateful that she used whatever resources she could (even if they failed her); kept her wits about her; and didn’t panic. She even did the most important thing in a situation like this. She took a selfie. Well done Suz! Oh, and the reason Husband Jim didn’t answer his phone? He was vacuuming…or so he says. He at least had the good sense to have the vacuum out when Suz got home to lend credibility to his story.

So there you have it Kitties! We rode 504 miles on this trip; we made memories that will be talked about, and laughed about, for years to come; and provided some valuable lessons in gravel riding (again, you’re welcome!) and rain riding and crisis handling. These overnight trips never disappoint in bringing members closer and strengthening friendships already made. We missed those who were unable to come and hope that you will be able to join us on the next one. I think Paula Franklin said it best when she commented that it’s so refreshing to be with a great group of women who truly enjoy one another and don’t bring drama with them. I couldn’t agree more!

In closing (please forgive my foul language, but it needs to be said), I have one last thing to say….
FUCK PAULA! (A little inside joke.)

Those on board for the On Gravel We Travel Overnight Trip were Janice Friedman, Malaina Phares, Christine Allsman, Nellie Taylor, Dawn Morse, Maureen Stout, Denise Johnson, Suz Tiede, Linda Moreland, Alice Friedman, Paula Franklin, Colleen Williams and Bobbie Cole.