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 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, whose 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 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 had called in reservations, so they had our table all ready for us when we arrived. As we were perusing the menu, Maureen asked, “Does anyone what to share a steak with me?” Lori 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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…
On Saturday, July 21st, after we toured the Frank Phillips home, seven of us headed east out of town and Janice 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 came speeding up to catch Kathryn, our road captain, and asked her to stop. Maureen’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 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’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.
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 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 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 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 and Melaina 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 was stopping in Tulsa to see a grade school friend. The Samurai Six were: Dawn, Christine, Lori, Maureen, Melaina, 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 pulled up to Dawn 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 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 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’s 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 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, AliKat, da Vinci, Wrench, Glitter, and Lady.
Janice, KKMC Founder