A Slice of Heaven and Pie – September 22, 2019

We had such a great day planned for the 2019 Tom Kat ride on September 22nd. Take a nice ride through the Kansas countryside to Wilson; have a delicious lunch at Made From Scratch where everything is…well, made from scratch; stop by the World’s Largest Czech Egg (which we have tried to do before but weather kept us from going); and then ride to Kathryn Langrehr’s for yummy dessert. Thirty-five Kitties, Toms and friends had signed up to go. The groups had been divided and Lead Kitties and Sweep Kitties assigned. Everything was all systems go. Wait. What’s that you say Miss Weather App? 80% chance of rain at the exact time we would be leaving? Better get a Plan B set up….again.

I reached out to Kathryn to alert her of the weather forecast and she was way ahead of me. She had been watching it, too, and already had an idea for a Plan B. I love it when a Kitty does all the thinking for me! She suggested if we couldn’t ride to Wilson for lunch that we all jump in our cars and come to her house for lunch and dessert. “Are you sure Kathryn? That’s potentially 35 people!” Kathryn scoffed at my silly question and said, “That ain’t nothing, I’ve fed way more than that before.” Why am I not surprised?

So, with the promise of an announcement by noon the day before of whether it as Plan A or Plan B, we hoped for the best and expected the worst. All that morning before, I was watching the forecast on my phone like it was a Bradley Cooper movie. True enough it had improved, but only by 10% and with the kind of wet riding year I’ve had, I knew I couldn’t chance taking 35 people out in a potential thunderstorm. Kathryn, you’re on deck!

That Sunday morning dawned very ominous with lots of darkness in the direction we would be heading. I was actually relieved because the last thing you want to have happen is calling off a riding event and then have it be a bright sun-shining morning. This was definitely not that. The numbers of Kitties, Toms and friends had dwindled to 24 and with the exception of Shelley Seidl, who had gone directly to Kathryn’s to help her get ready (thankfully, because Shelley said Kathryn had absolutely nothing done when she arrived. Anyone else besides me think Shelley is a liar liar pants on fire? heehee), and Bobbie Cole and Kari Miller, who were coming from a pre-lunch shopping excursion, we all met at the QuikTrip; grabbed to-go beverages; Kim Jones pimped the 50/50 tickets; and we grouped four by four into cars, with one lone rider. Cindy McGuire’s son, Kendal, snubbed his nose at those dark clouds and said “I ain’t no pussy(kat)! I’m riding!”

In far less time than it would have taken us to get to Wilson, we arrived in the metropolis of Hutchinson, Kansas. Kathyrn welcomed everyone into her charming and lovely home and thanks to the assistance of Shelley Seidl, there was an abundance of wonderful food spread across the countertops. We all starting filling up plates and after everyone had a chance to bite into our sandwiches, we realized this was no ordinary bread. People started raving about it and Kathryn reported that she had made it. Wait….you made dessert for all of us AND you made your own freaking bread?! Way to make us look like low-achievers Kathryn! Of course, that then started the litany of comments that included…Did you milk your own cow to make the cheese? Did you butcher your own pig and cow for the meat? Did you grow your own lettuce and tomatoes? Did you grow your own wheat to make the bread? Kathryn said no to all of the above, but I guarantee you not one of us would have been surprised if she would have said yes.

After having firsts, seconds and even thirds if you wanted it, the most amazing thing happened. Out from another room, Kathryn brought, and kept bringing out, pie after pie and a layered cake! There was a chocolate pie, a banana cream pie, a cherry pie, a coconut cream pie…wait, I’m not done yet…a lemon pie, a pecan pie and a Betty’s Buttermilk Cake that she couldn’t just make as the recipe directed; she had to add a raspberry filling! It was a literal mob scene when those desserts came out. Everyone scrambled to cut a piece, or two, or three and some got a bigger plate because those little dessert plates just weren’t going to cut it. Lori Gibbs, on more than one occasion, tried to claim one whole pie as her own, but was forced to share by the outraged pie eaters. There were so many choices and each one was just as delicious as the other. I don’t know how Kathryn did it – making seven desserts in one day. I make one cake and I need a nap.

Kathryn gave tours of her home, but somehow Christine Allsman and I missed the guided one and took one of our own. I gotta tell you, Kathryn’s got a little slice of heaven out there in Hutchinson. It’s like she’s out in the middle of the country without a soul around her, but yet she’s not. In fact, her daughter and her family lives right next door, but you can’t see hide nor hair of any of them. There are so many trees separating Kathryn from seeing anyone and anyone from seeing Kathryn that it makes you wonder if there’s any skinny dipping going on in her pond…yes, she has her very own pond…with a bridge on it. Her home itself is so delightful and welcoming. If you followed the process of her building it on Facebook, then you know she literally built some of it and lived in her detached garage while doing so – for over a year! One side is where her truck lived (and still lives) and the other side, separated by a wall and a door is where Kathryn lived. Kim Jones wanted to go home right then and there to get her stuff and move in that darling apartment, but there were all the cats and dogs. What would she do with them? Decisions. Decisions.

There were so many things to love about Kathryn’s house, but here are my top three favorites:

  1. Much of the art and décor in her home were made by Kathryn’s mother. She was an incredible artist and there were paintings and carvings throughout the house, inside and out, to prove it.
  2. Her washer and dryer is in her master bedroom closet! How brilliant is that? You are right where you need to be to put everything away. No hauling from the basement or another room to the bedroom. That was smart thinking right there Kathryn!
  3. The MONSTER potted plant on her porch! It was so big, in fact, that she was asked if she wintered it over to grow it that big. Kathryn nonchalantly, like we were silly for even asking because don’t we all have plants that big on our porch? responded, “No, I planted that after Mother’s Day.” Of course you did.

After all the good eating and house-touring and oohing and ahhing, it was time to draw the 50/50 ticket. I gave our lovely and gracious hostess the honor of drawing the ticket and I’ll be darned if that lovely and gracious hostess didn’t win! Hopefully, between the $61.00 she just won and the collection we took up in a plastic cup was enough to reimburse Kathryn for all the food she purchased, but something tells me it was not. Congratulations Lady! Sorry you had to use your winnings to feed us!

After taking a couple of rounds of group pictures, I spent just enough time outside talking to some of the Kitties to miss the entire clean-up process that was going on in the house. When I felt I had given it sufficient time, I went inside and asked “Anything I can do to help?” The clean-up crew of Lori Gibbs, Suz Tiede and Nellie Taylor shot me that “too little too late” look and as they were putting the final touches on everything said, “We got it.” What we got was Lori Gibbs in the pantry trying to figure out a way to stuff an entire pie in her purse!

So, it may not be what we planned to do on September 22nd, but I gotta say it was the best Plan B ever! I can’t thank Kathryn enough for hosting, with very little notice, a lovely lunch and sharing her beautiful home with us. She got several marriage proposals that day because who wouldn’t want to have Kathryn as your cook, baker, builder and candlestick maker? I vote we change Kathryn’s Road Name to Wonder Woman!

As a final note, in talking to Kathryn on the following Thursday, she shared a picture with me. Are you kidding me?! In the four days since we had been there, she put in raised garden beds! I feel so inadequate….

Those on board for the A Slice of Heaven and Pie day were Queenie and Greg Friedman, BatKat and JT Taylor, Sycho Suz and Jim Tiede, Sugar, Boom, da Vinci and Gene Morse, AliKat and Gary Friedman, Glitter and Dorrin Allsman, Twisted Angel, Shelley Seidl, Julie Vance, Lil Pibble and her guest Kevin, Medusa, WildKat and her son Phone Kendal, Star and Tink.

Rocky Mountain Kitties – August 30 – September 2, 2019

With fingers resting on the keyboard, I struggled to find a way to start the article on the 15h Anniversary trip to Pueblo, CO. What could I say that hasn’t already been said on Facebook by so many? How can I report on what everyone did when I wasn’t with them? In the end, I decided the best approach was to do a travel log with the help of contributing authors to give you my perspective, as well as the perspective of a few other Kitties. Who knows, you might decide you like hearing from others more than me and this will become a new thing.  A great big HUGE thank you to my co-authors Krista Cotterill, Tanya Horn and Kari Miller! I know the amount of time it takes to write down your thoughts, so thank you for doing that for us. WARNING: This is a looonnng article. You might want to read it in stages…with a glass of wine…over several days. So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Friday, August 30th

From Janice Friedman: In the days leading up to the departure, the chances of rain waffled back and forth from 40% to 60%. Each day, I yo-yoed from celebrating the 40% and feeling deflated when it changed to 60%. When I woke up that Friday morning, I was thrilled that it was dry – very cloudy and unseasonably cool, but dry. Just as we were gathering at the QuikTrip for the pre-ride briefing and consulting Ms. Weather App, our luck ran out and it started to drizzle, which forced us to put on rain suits and hold our meeting under the gas pump awning. With everyone present and accounted for, 17 Kitties pulled out with me in the lead and Lori Gibbs in the sweep position; the 18th Kitty, Kathryn Langrehr, would be met in Greensburg where the group would be split in two and Kathryn would take over leading the second group and Suz Tiede would take over sweeping the first group.

We continued to ride in drizzle and I remember thinking “this isn’t so bad.” When we were looking at Ms. Weather App, we saw that there were two yellow and red blobs in the area in which we were going. Maybe we’ll get lucky and thread the needle right between them, was everyone’s thought. Somewhere around Kingman, all our hopes and wishes were completely shattered. It was like riding right into a waterfall with drizzle one second and hard, pounding rain the next. Throw in a couple of crackles of lightening and booms of thunder and we found ourselves in an honest to goodness, full-blown thunderstorm! Everything inside of me was screaming Pull Over! Pull Over! But the logical side of me was screaming just as loudly, No, Keep Going! It’ll be worse if you stop! The thought of 17 motorcycles pulled over on the side of the road in a situation where visibility was somewhere between 0% and -0% seemed like a very bad idea. So, I flipped on my flashers so the Kitties behind me could see and prayed that I stayed on the straight and narrow because I knew if I drove off the road, 17 Kitties would follow right behind me. I can’t even tell you how long we rode in that rain; it seemed long enough that we would soon see (IF we could see!) the Welcome to Colorado sign. At long last, I could see the light.  Literally! Way up yonder, I could see the edge of the storm and like a cat to catnip, I honed in on it and brought the drenched, cold Kitties back into daylight. This was the first time some of the Kitties had ridden in rain and I gotta give them mad props for not just riding in rain, but riding in a big yellow and red blob!  They persevered and now they have bonafide rain riding experience! Welcome to my Wet World!

As promised, Kathryn Langrehr was waiting for us at the gas station in Greensburg and although she came from a different direction, she got just as wet as us, but she was doing it all alone! We quickly gassed up and de-rain suited and were back on the road. The sun was out in full force by now, but the temperatures stayed on the cool side, which made for perfect riding weather. We made a quick gas stop in Garden City and then 25 miles later, we stopped for lunch at the Flashback Café in Lakin.

At lunch, a couple of Kitties expressed interest in stopping at the border to get a picture of the group by the big brown and white Welcome to Colorado sign. I promised if it seemed safe to do that, we would make a pit stop for the photo op. With a nice wide shoulder, I pulled over and gave the signal for single file and we all trudged down the embankment to gather around the sign. Wait, we’re missing someone. Actually, we’re missing two someones! Lori Gibbs and Jan Brock were MIA Kitties. It was reported that Jan noticed a lot of noise coming from her BRAND-NEW bike and they had pulled over to see if they could mechanic their way to it, which they were unable to do. We spent the time we were waiting on them by taking lots of selfies and pretty soon, we could see the lights of two bikes heading our direction. I waved them over and they quickly hopped off their bikes; Suz Tiede whipped out her selfie stick; we snapped a picture and scurried back to our bikes.

When we got to our last gas stop in Lamar, CO, Jan’s bike was not any quieter and she said she had contacted the Harley Davidson dealership in Pueblo and she was going to take it directly there when we arrived in town.

Turns out that was a wise decision because it saved Jan from the chaos that met us at the hotel. Because of a missed turn I made in Pueblo, the second group arrived before the first and as I was parking my bike, Stephanie Rodriguez came out and said, “It’s a cluster f*** in there. They don’t have rooms for lots of the girls.” I grabbed my green folder with all the paperwork and went in to see what the problem was. I had confirmed and reconfirmed the rooms about a dozen times, so I knew everyone had a room. I felt confident that this could be resolved and it was, but not easily or quickly or quietly.

I have to stop here and say well done! Well-done to 18 lady bikers who rode through torrential rain, 440 miles, three gas stops and a lunch break and we made it to Pueblo BEFORE dinnertime! I think Maureen Stout said it best when she commented, “We got to Pueblo three hours sooner than Mena, Arkansas and that was 70 miles closer! This calls for a celebration and what better way to celebrate than with liquor?!” (Maureen didn’t say that, but I know she was thinking it!) So, after getting checked in and settled in, we all met at the hotel bar for a cocktail. Lori Gibbs took the celebration one step further and announced she had gifts! Gifts?! We love gifts! She whipped out Kitty Swag Bags that she had whipped up with the help of a sewing machine and Dawn Morse’s zipper installation tutorial. They were all sugar skull patterned and were full of helpful goodies, such as a buff to protect our faces from the heat and cold, bug gut cleaner and a micro cloth, leather conditioner (that Lori cautioned was NOT lip balm!), a deodorant wipe (that’s gonna come in handy!), an aloe face mask (for treating those windburn faces), and a cute postcard to mail to a Kitty Sister just cuz it’ll be fun. THANK YOU, Lori, for all the time and effort you put into these adorable Swag Bags! It was such a sweet surprise but I’m still trying to figure out how you got all that stuff in your saddle bags!

After throwing back our two-for-one cocktails and being introduced to pickle shots (where have THESE been all my life!), everyone with the exception of Kari Miller, who decided to stay at the hotel and have a quiet dinner for one, walked the short distance to Black-Eyed Peas for dinner. Most of the dinner conversation centered around figuring out who was going where the next day from all the options that Lori Gibbs had researched and sent out (with great assistance from Julie Vance.)  Suz Tiede and I knew we weren’t going to be riding on Saturday as we needed to work on and set up for the banquet, so we just sat back and enjoyed our dinner without having to make one single plan. There was another Kitty who wasn’t going to be riding on Saturday because her bike had just been delivered to the Harley Davidson dealership and that was Jan Brock. I had offered my bike to her, but she had declined and said as much as she appreciated it, she didn’t feel comfortable taking someone else’s bike. Well, as more and more plans started to develop for Saturday, the temptation of riding in the beautiful world of Colorado became too strong to resist and she accepted my offer. I reminded her it was just a bike and bikes can be replaced. As a matter of fact, if you just so happened to be riding near a cliff and you just so happened to jump off and let the bike go over said cliff, that means a new bike for me, so don’t take any heroic measures in saving it. She promised she would see what she could do to make that happen.

After dinner, some of the Kitties returned to the bar for a nightcap, but this Kitty was pooped and said goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite and retired to my room.

From Krista Cotterill: I don’t know if anyone was more in need of this little get away than me. Seriously, this Kitty was mentally and physically and emotionally, and even spiritually, at the bottom of the bucket. Nothing left. But I had Pueblo with my girls to look forward to so I continued to do my thing until the KKMC travel day. Packing for this was easier than packing for Topeka. I don’t even know why. Maybe because I wasn’t recovering from pneumonia? Anyway, I threw everything in waterproof bags and tossed them in/on my bike, strapped it all down and I was on my way.

On Friday, I was extra thankful that Janice Friedman has a tendency to lead us to water because it meant I had finally broken down and purchased rain gear! I got to use it for the first time and it got a B- but that is for another post. God brought the rain, and more rain, and some awesome lightning and thunder to go with it. That first leg was wet, but once again, I proved to not be made of sugar and spice and everything nice, so I didn’t melt. Ha! The second leg was memorable for another reason, the smell. Ugh. Never have I ever had to put up with so much bull*h! t. Seriously, it was bad, and that is saying a lot seeing as how I have two teenage boys, a hard-working man, and 18 animals under my roof. The rest of the trip was enjoyable because of the rolling plains of western Kansas and the smells were a lot better.  My bottom was screaming at me for the last hour or so and arriving at the hotel was bliss. Little did I know….  A few of us did a quick trip to the local HD dealership and I forked over the bucks for an air “pillow” for my butt and it was worth every stinking penny. I can rate that little purchase later, but I give it an A-.  Side note: this is the first HD dealership that I have visited that DIDN’T have a military discount. I don’t even know what I ate that night, I’m pretty sure there was a beer, or two, involved and a pissed off waitress (the Kitties may have cut in line for a table), but I didn’t starve and I slept through most of the parking lot hullabaloo, so there’s that.

From Tanya Horn: Funday!! At 7AM we met up at an elevation of 1302 ft at the QT. Our ride began with a bit of showers, then more showers, but no one melted and we all survived. I always enjoy adding to my riding resume with the opportunity to better my abilities while behind the bars. I’ve never really owned rain gear and still don’t see the point, as I can air dry! Our day consisted of approximately 440 miles to the soon-to-be-updated (important to note!) Clarion Inn in Pueblo, CO – elevation 4692 ft. Overall, it was a good ride through western Kansas to colorful Colorado.

From Kari Miller: Yes, I am going! No, wait, due to personal reasons I can’t go. No wait, can I still join? Sorry for being a PIA Janice, but I did not want to miss this trip! Since I wasn’t originally going, I did not spend a lot of time worrying about what to pack until the last minute. Rain suit was numero uno on my list, since we were traveling with Janice. As for clothing, layer, layer, layer. Also having a mandatory clothing list was helpful.  I left the house in rain gear and prayed for the best. I met up with the Augusta girls and we zoomed to the meet up spot. Upon arriving at the QT, there was a flurry of Kitty activity and everyone was pumped and ready to go.

The ride out was good, long and uneventful except for being rained on for a while; fearing for our lives that we would be struck by lightning and then there was the damn tornado siren that went off in Deerfield, KS.  Who knew that blowing the whistle at noon is custom in small town Kansas? Anyway, our lunch stop in Lakin was good and quick and we were back on the road in no time.  The hotel didn’t know what hit them when the Kitties arrived. It was Kitty Kaos for sure. My roomie and I finally got a room and went and got settled in. She had good snacks which was a bonus. Thanks Kim Jones!

Saturday, August 31st

From Janice Friedman: A remarkable thing happened on Saturday morning. I was awake at 7:00 a.m. without an alarm to tell me to do so. That meant I was wide awake when I got a phone call from Lily Nordyke bright and early. “Did you hear about the fight last night?” she asked. My first thought was panic and I asked, “Between the Kitties??” all the while wondering just what the heck happened in the bar after I went to my room. “No, you silly Kitty. In the parking lot in the middle of the night.” I had heard lots of voices in the wee hours of the morning and remembered thinking Go To Bed People! Well, apparently, they were not happy voices, but “put your dukes up” voices and there had been a fight involving several guys and more than one beer bottle…which had been shattered…over Lily’s bike. I threw on some clothes to go check it out and there were teeny tiny pieces of glass ev-er-y-where on her bike; a tiny chip in the paint of her gas tank and plenty of sticky beer covering the entire bike, some of which had crossed over onto Sonja McCall’s bike. The police were called, reports were made and promises were given to look into it. Our concern was that the glass which was laying on the fins of her engine would make their way INTO the engine so I made a quick call to my husband, Greg, to ask how worried should we be. HIS concern was why in the world was I calling him so early in the morning and after hearing the story, he assured us that there was zero chance that would happen. After lots of pictures were taken and concerns eliminated, Lily and Sonja scooted on over to the car wash and gave their babies a good power wash, which officially made their bikes the cleanest of them all. The hotel gave Lily and Sonja their most sincere apologies and backed that up with a free weekend – no room cost, no food cost, no alcohol cost. Made me kinda wish someone would come back that night and christen MY bike with beer!

After all the excitement of the fight/glass/cops/beer subsided, I returned to my room to brush my teeth and make myself somewhat more presentable and was interrupted by another phone call. It was Suz Tiede and she wanted to know how to get into my saddle bags. I had previously given my bike key to Jan Brock and showed her everything she needed to know about unlocking and locking the bike, so I was confused as to why they couldn’t get into my latch-only saddle bags. Oh well, if they need help being shown how to unlatch a quick release buckle, I was happy to show them. When I got to the bike, Jan and Suz were having a big ole belly laugh. Turns out they were trying to get into Nellie Taylor’s bags, which did indeed have a lock on them. I guess Nellie and I need to paint a big “N” and “J” on our bikes so people can tell them apart!

Kitties were starting to mount up and heading off in all directions, so I snapped a few pictures of the groups leaving and then once again returned to my room to work on some pre-banquet tasks. Later in the morning, Suz Tiede and I took a break from the prep work and Uber’d our way to the Harley Davidson dealership and a darling gift shop to see if we could leave some Kansas cash with them. After hooking up with Nellie Taylor, who opted out of riding that day as she wasn’t feeling up to snuff, we walked to get some lunch and then returned to the hotel where Suz and I began to work in earnest on the banquet.

The Banquet. So much has been written about it and pictures posted on Facebook that I won’t go into great detail as it will be a wash, rinse and repeat of what you’ve already seen. Suz Tiede and I worked on that event for quite some time and it was every bit as fun as we hoped it would be. I threw my phone at Christine Allsman and said “you’re in charge of taking pictures” (thank you!) and then opened the banquet with a speech about what the Krome Kitties mean to me and how we used to look in the old days; Lori Gibbs gave a tear-jerking speech about her early years, the in-between years and her return to the Club; Nellie Taylor gave an equally emotional speech about what the Kitties mean to her (next to her husband, JT, the Kitties are the most important people in her life. Now that’s an endorsement!); Suz Tiede talked about what led her to seek out and find the Kitties; and we ended with a hilarious story that Kristi Evans and I gave about her almost first ride with the Kitties, with a promise that her f***ing dingbat days are well behind her.  

And then there were the gifts. Again, I can’t thank you all enough for the fabulous Miss Krome Kitty doll and one-of-a-kind leather plaque with the 15th Anniversary logo and all of your names on it, which is a wonderful snapshot in time. Both of these items will be forever treasured. Lori Gibbs gave me a super cool belt with a custom-made KKMC buckle and that will be part of my Krome Kitty uniform from this day forward.

After dinner, there was lots of shenanigans at the photo prop corner where Kitties could be anything they wanted to be with the props that had been previously shipped in. We then played a loud and rowdy version of Family Feud, called Kitty Feud, where the Kitties’ memories for trivia was challenged. There were two teams – the Road Warriors and the Asphalt Angels, renamed the Asphalt Asses. In the end, the Asphalt Asses (with a larger population of seasoned members) were victorious and they each received a cat sugar skull patch as their prize.

Prior to the banquet, Lily Nordyke sold the 50/50 tickets in the bar where everyone waited for the banquet to begin at 6:30. After the Kitty Feud game, I gave Kristi Evans the honor of drawing the ticket since coming on this trip was a HUGE accomplishment for her with it being her longest distance and the first time to ride in rain. She drew the ticket and all you heard were the rustling of Kitties inspecting each ticket to see if it was theirs. No “That’s Me!” or “I Got It!” emerged. Hmm, maybe I should check my tickets which I hadn’t even bothered to pull out. Sure enough, the winning ticket was in my hot little hands! So, I just got presented with the most amazing gifts AND I won the $50.00 pot! Can this day get any better?? I think not

Before concluding the festivities, there was one piece of business to address. Someone in the room was going to be turning 50 in three days. Now who could that be? I’ll give you three hints: 1. I’ve known her longer than any other Kitty in the Club. 2. She’s had four children and yet looks like she’s had none (can we just take a moment to hate her a little for that?) And 3. She took a long hiatus, but she’s back…for good! If you guessed Lori Gibbs you are correctamundo! In honor of this milestone birthday, I presented her with a crown and sash and not just any crown and sash. The crown lit up like a Christmas tree and the sash said “Old as Shit.” Pretty rich coming from a person who is nearly 13 years older than her, don’t you think? 

We gathered together for a couple of group photos, one of which was labeled “Incognito Kitties” as all our faces were covered with the big, bright white and black Kitty faces that Lori Gibbs had printed….and cut out….by hand….all by herself. That was brilliant Lori!

All that was left was the clean-up and with all hands-on-deck, we returned the room to the hotel lickety split!

Rumor had it that there was going to be a drag show in the bar on Saturday night, which was substantiated by the spotting of several drag queens in the hotel hallways. The night was still young so let’s go check out the Queens! A handful of Kitties gathered in the bar and because the show started way later than promised, we only stayed for a short while, but long enough for a queen to spot Lori Gibb’s sash and crown and pull her up for a Happy Birthday shot and another queen to do a little dancing with Lily Nordyke. Sugar’s got some moves! However, her moves are so swift that every picture I took to prove it came out blurry so you’ll just have to take my word for it…or get her out on the dance floor to see for yourself! It had been a long, full and wonderful day and we were pooped! We had another full day of riding the next day so we said our good-nights and found our respective beds to crash in.

From Krista Cotterill: Saturday promised to be gorgeous. I wanted to RIDE! After a quick bite to eat at the hotel, with a questionable table partner (I seem to attract the weirdo’s), I saddled up with two sweet Kitties, Maureen Stout and Tanya Horn and we rode south to catch the Highway of Legends. Not going to lie, I don’t even know why it’s called that. But it was beautiful! I led and my GPS dumped us off at the first waypoint and we sort of figured it out from there. Our only deadline was the banquet, and some clean-up time, too, so we just rode. There were so many little twists and turns and ups and downs and some all-the-way arounds. I’m prone to look around a lot because the beauty of nature just takes my breath away. Not always such a good thing on unfamiliar roads with trees, meadows, mountains, surprise lakes, and chipmunks, and, well you get it. But it was an amazing ride. We lunched in Cuchara at a sweet little spot. The weather was pretty perfect. We had clouds, we had sun, we had a little rain, we didn’t really have much wind except what we created for ourselves. I was a pretty happy girl. We made it home in time to doll up a little for the anniversary banquet.

I have so many words of gratitude for Janice Friedman and Lori Gibbs who got that wild hair 15ish years ago. If you wouldn’t have had that little dream of having an all-girl riding group, where would we be today? The friendships I have found among THIS group of women is nothing short of spectacular. Hanging out with a group of all women used to make me squeamish, and that’s an entirely different conversation, but the Kitties are unique and I am so very grateful and humbled that I get to be a part of it. The banquet was superb, thank you ladies (Janice Friedman, Suz Tiede, Lori Gibbs, and whoever else I’m forgetting!) for putting it all together! I was exhausted, all those emotions, and all that riding, caught up with me and I went straight to bed and missed all the shenanigans in the bar. Missed might be the wrong word here. HeHe

From Tanya Horn: On Saturdaywe had a little trio crew decide to ride a loop of 300 miles, following our fearless leader Krista Cotterill! We three Kitties of myself, Maureen Stout and Krista flew down I-25 South as the sun was burning off the morning fog over the foothills. We rounded a few corners in Trinidad and made our way past Boyd Mountain along State Highway 12 (aka the Highway of Legends.) The Tarahumare Indians believed the Spanish Peaks to be sacred and the place where all life emerged on Earth. These parts were even said to be traveled by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. We enjoyed the views through the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado, arriving at the charming village of Cuchara. It was a gorgeous ride in with a little rain. We enjoyed our lunch at an elevation of 8468 feet in the Dog Bar and Grill and then headed north to our home site. Little did we know, the rain Gods were waiting for us with a present. It is up for debate whether they threw some hail at us for fun! 

We arrived back at the hotel in plenty of time to get all dolled up (in biker fashion) for the 15th Anniversary Krome Kitty Celebration! Fun was had by all!! With amazing food, presents for all, speeches to make a Kitty kry and pictures with our pals to remember the evening by. Oh, and cake!! Can’t forget the Kitty cake!! Janice Friedman and the party planning Kitties outdid themselves. 

From Kari Miller: Had a short night sleep due to some exciting events in the parking lot outside of our room, but that was just part of our story. We got up and got ready to roll again to see some beautiful scenery. Everyone gathered for breakfast at different times and then we split up and went about our day in different groups. The group I rode with went to Bishops Castle where it was a beautiful ride and Kathryn Langrehr did a great job of getting us there and back safely without getting lost. The smells were much better here than in western Kansas. We eventually ended up at an excellent little restaurant in some town somewhere in Colorado. When we were ready to leave, it started raining again. We waited it out for a few minutes but had to hit the road. The rain did not last long, and the ride home was just as beautiful as the ride there.  When we got back to the hotel, a few of us went to do some retail therapy at a local “Specialty Shop” and that was a fun experience. Too bad they don’t give out samples like COSTCO. We got back to our room and prepared for our long-awaited banquet.  Pre-cocktail hour in our room followed by cocktail hour in the bar and then onto the festivities. It was all great fun and I was so glad that I was able to be a part of this. Thank you to everyone who was involved in putting this together.

Sunday, September 1st

From Janice Friedman: Sunday morning there was a flurry of activity of deciding who was going where and with whom and who was going to lead. I joined a small group who were going to ride the Highway of Legends, which is a state highway through the Rocky Mountains. By 9:00 am everyone was geared up, biked up and rolling out to see what Colorado could wow them with. My group included Suz Tiede, Christine Allsman, Nellie Taylor, Kathryn Langrehr, Lori Gibbs and Stephanie Rodriguez with Kari Miller in the lead. When we pulled over in Trinidad, CO for a potty break, Suz and I had the following conversation:

Suz: “You know where I’ve never ridden to?” 

Janice: “Where?”

Suz: “New Mexico.”

Suz: “You know where we’re only 20 miles from?”

Janice: “Where?”

Suz:  “Ohhh Kari! Can we go to New Mexico?”

Turns out Suz was right. We were only 21 miles from Ratan, New Mexico so Ratan, here we come! This provided us with an opportunity to fill our tanks and run into a nice young man named Tony from Illinois who was just trying to gas up his bike. Big mistake Tony. Should have gotten gas down the street. We pounced on him like kitties on mice and said, “Wouldn’t you just love to have your picture taken with us? We’re kinda of a big deal and you’re gonna want to show this to your friends.” With just enough of a hesitation to let you know that he was trying to figure out how to get his way out of this sticky situation, he finally agreed to be surrounded by a pack of Kitties and have a picture taken. There may have been some rubber left near the gas pumps when he left. After documenting that we did indeed go to Ratan, Wyoming, we backtracked to get on Highway 12, otherwise known as the Highway of Legends. The ride was spectacularly beautiful and the leadership of Kari Miller was superb. We lunched at great little spot called the Dog Bar and Grill (proving that cats and dogs CAN get along) in the small town of Cuchara. We arrived in Cuchara in brilliant sunshine, but by the time we left, it was gloomy and raining. We waited it out for the worst to pass and spent that time putting on rain suits. Rain or no rain, we had a long way to get home and it was getting late, so we had to crawl on wet bikes and go. I gotta say one thing….rain in Colorado is NOT like rain in Kansas! You can be wet and warm in Kansas; you will be wet and COLD in Colorado!

We rode in and out of drizzle and through some breathtaking scenery on the way home. In a town on the way, we got stopped by a train and feeling like we had left all the rain behind us, we took this opportunity to de-rain suit. This provided some mighty fine entertainment for all the cars that were stopped along with us. You’re welcome! As we neared Pueblo, there were those dark rain clouds again and we just BARELY made it to the hotel before the skies opened up. The activities of the weekend caught up with me so I had a quick quesadilla dinner in the hotel bar with Lori Gibbs and Suz Tiede and called it a day. We had a long ride ahead of us starting at 7:30 in the morning so time to pack up and hit the hay!

Sunday status report on Jan Brock: After being told on Saturday afternoon that her bike was fixed, only to get to the Harley Davidson dealership to find out it wasn’t and furthermore, it wasn’t going back to Wichita by its own volition anytime soon, Jan spent the day Sunday securing a rental car and having several conversations with the service manager at HD in her stern voice. Sucks to be you Service Manager!

From Krista Cotterill: Sunday bloomed bright and beautiful and I needed coffee. I’m sort of an addict.  So, it being only a short walk to Starbucks, Tanya Horn and I headed up the road and filled up our bellies with caffeinated goodness. My brain was much happier. I’m not a very nice person without coffee, so you’re welcome! Back at the hotel, ride plans were being tossed around. Again, I just wanted to RIDE. I didn’t need a destination, just fun roads to travel. So, six Kitties headed out to ride around Pike’s Peak. Sort of. We passed by so many fun tourist spots along the route, the Royal Gorge, Manitou Springs, the Garden of the Gods, a dinosaur resource center, wait, what resources do they need? Lots probably, but we’re saving all of those for next time, right ladies? After the Colorado Springs traffic (I did get to do a “sic em bears” with a guy with a “Baylor Dad” bumper sticker who was kind enough to scoot over so we could join our formation), we flew back to the hotel. Cocktails were in order so after a quick stop off at a liquor store and Starbucks (for juice!), Tanya and I made up a yummy Kitty Koncoction and determined that we definitely didn’t buy enough ingredients. For dinner we again pissed off a waitress, or hostess, or someone who worked at the restaurant, but got to eat some yummy steak/burger/pork and someone got chocolate cake, and then we all headed back to tuck our tired little heads into bed.

From Tanya Horn: Sundaywe regrouped the trio of myself, Maureen Stout and Krista Cotterill and added another trio of Lily Nordyke, Sonja McCall and Justine Busher to ride a loop to the north that was about 200 miles. The group allowed me to lead, so we rode west through Cañon City, CO, waving at the Royal Gorge as we passed by. Enjoying Cactus Mountain, Big Baldy and Booger Red Hill to name a few of the beauties of Colorado that we cruised by. I sure enjoyed the open road, little traffic and the opportunity to hit the mountain roads wide open! 

We took a rest at Evergreen Station in Florissant, CO for a pitstop, gas and photo opportunities (even though it was only eight miles from Cripple Creek) We enjoyed the stunning beauty of Red Mountain and Mt. Pisgah on the way into Cripple Creek. As we rode into town down Main St., the majestic views were indescribable!! This quaint town of an elevation of 9494 feet, is a former gold mining camp located 44 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, near the base of Pikes Peak. It completely takes you back to the wild west in one turn down Bennett Avenue.  We lunched at McGill’s Pint & Platter and kept our gambling and drinking at bay. Queenie would be proud of us! Upon leaving, we passed the town’s gold mine, Cow Mountain, Sheep Mountain and Raspberry Mountain, all of whom lay at the foothill of Pikes Peak & Mt. Manitou. We, again, waved at the sites of Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods, The Broadmoor, and Seven Falls, all touristy attractions we had no time for, because we were busy being biker babes, riding through the scenic mountains and soaking up the goodness in cruise mode!!

After we clutched our way through the hot Colorado Springs traffic, we headed south to our home-base in Pueblo. We passed by two of my favorites in CO: the quaint town of Fountain and Pikes Peak International SPEEDway – I have had some fun times there!!

Most of the Kitties in our group went back to the hotel, but Krista and I needed refreshments, so we hit up the adult beverage store and Starbucks to make us a Kitty Koncoction for the evening. After our self-made hotel happy hour, we dined with a few other Kitties at a nearby steakhouse and called it a night as we had a long ride home in the morning.

From Kari Miller: Same as the day before, gather for breakfast and everyone decides what they are going to do. My group was riding the Highway of Legends with a side trip to New Mexico with lunch at The Dog Bar and Grill in Cuchara, CO. It was a beautiful ride, and the only bad thing about riding in the mountains is that sometimes you must stop and/or park on hills and that is not fun for a Kansas girl with a new bike she is not used to. Oh, add some more rain to that mixture. Yep, we are three for three now on the rain. Anyway, the ride and the friendship were both amazing. Oh, my favorite part of the day was when I was leading the group in the mountains and could ride the curves as fast as I wanted and not run anyone over! Back at the hotel to rest and pack up for the trip home tomorrow.

Monday, September 2nd

From Janice Friedman: One of the things I did before drifting off to sleep the night before was to pre-organize everyone into two groups. We had a 7:30 departure time and that saved some precious minutes on Monday morning. With everyone present and accounted for right on time, we headed off with me in the lead of one group with Suz Tiede sweeping and Kathryn Langrehr in the lead of the second group with Jan Brock sweeping in her mini-van (which was so helpful to have to get my leather plaque and the box of photo props back without having to mail them. Thank you Uber Jan!)

At the first gas stop in Lamar, CO, the second group was arriving as we were finishing up filling tanks and emptying bladders. Kathryn Langrehr reported to me that Lori Gibbs had lost her gas cap and her and Jan had gone back to get it. To this day, I haven’t gotten the full story on how she lost it or where, but that’ll be a great story around a lunch table sometime. Kathryn asked if she should wait on them and I said since Jan was with her in a car, Lori was safe so you gotta keep going. Hopefully, they will catch up at our lunch stop in Garden City.

Sure enough, as we were all settled in and eating a Subway sandwich, here comes Lori walking in. One has to wonder just how fast she was riding to catch up with us, but we’re going to abide by the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy on that one.

After an unexpected tour of a windmill farm due to a turn I shouldn’t have taken in Dodge City, we made it to our last gas stop in Greensburg, KS. We thought the second group might catch up with us due to the windmill tour, but we never saw them. We said our good-byes and biked up for the last 100 mile run for home.

Taking 18 Kitties on an 880-mile round trip (plus hundreds of miles in between) was a gamble. So many things could have gone wrong. The weather could have been insufferably hot, but it wasn’t (well, it might have been a little hot on the ride home, but it could have been much worse!) We could have had a bike break down and have to call for a trailer, but we didn’t (even Jan’s bike had the good sense to get her to Pueblo); a Kitty could have been involved in an accident, but they weren’t; Kitties could have struggled with the distance, but they didn’t – everyone rode their bikes like their stole them and there wasn’t one complaint or one “Are we there yet?”; and Kitties could have hated me for dragging them so far, but they didn’t (that I know of!) The 15th Anniversary trip to Pueblo was a huge success and that’s in large part to the great attitudes and “let’s have fun!” approach to this trip from the Kitties! Thank you to Lady, Star, Lil Pibble, Glitter, Twisted Angel, BatKat, Frosty, Hard Core, Sycho Suz, Boom, Moonshine, BadA$$, Krista Cotterill, Sonja McCall, Rang, Sugar and Justine Busher for one helluva trip! For those of you who were unable to attend, we missed you; we talked about you (in a good way); and we thought of you. We’ll catch you on the next one!

From Krista Cotterill:  Monday. Darn, the fun is over. After getting on the road, and Lori Gibbs going back to get her gas cap, oops!, our group had a fairly non-eventful trip home. Until, we sort of took a wrong turn or something and had to make some adjustments. The important thing is that we all made it home safely. My soul regained a little bit of shine, my heart is still a little melancholy but “outlook is good” for now. The important thing is that I got to do this awesome weekend with some of the most amazing women I know. Thank you for a weekend full of laughs, a few small tears, irreplaceable memories, a new “distance in one day” record, but mostly, for the friendship and love. When can we do it again?

From Tanya Horn: Monday morning, we packed up to head back to our permanent addresses in Wichita, another 440-ish miles to add to our trip. My Kitty Sister Krista Cotterill and I went to Starbucks so we could get some shots of caffeine for the trip and it was needed. It had warmed up quickly and I truly appreciated Queenie’s knack to get where we are going in a speedy fashion!! I was really looking forward to a cold shower and puppy dog kisses those last couple hundred miles home!! 

Overall, we rode 1350 +/- blissful miles. These miles were full of love and newfound friendships and for that I am forever thankful for being part of KKMC.

My takeaways:The KKMC sisterhood is the bom-diggity!! Our leader, Queenie, is top notch!! I miss riding the mountains of Colorado, but realized my heart is still wandering for my next ‘home’. My seat sucks after back to back trips of 5000 miles. I totally need a luxurious cup holder for beverages in the heat. I hope Santa brings me some fancy motorcycle luggage that everyone else has. Lastly, but mostly, my heart and soul are full because riding IS life!!  

From Kari Miller: Up early to prepare for the ride home. I knew we would be in for a long day. It was hot, and my butt and body were screaming GET OFF THE BIKE! It got hot right away and seemed to take forever to get home. I just kept focused on the next stop to get off the bike and cool off. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I am happy for the time spent getting to know some Kitty Sisters better and riding in the beautiful mountains. I am proud of the Kitties that did this for the first time. It is harder to do a trip like this than it looks. Everyone did an excellent job riding their own ride. I am still recovering but would do it again in a heartbeat. Love you all.

Status report on Jan Brock’s bike: Shortly after our return, the Pueblo HD dealership made arrangements to have Jan’s bike shipped to Twister City. That’s the good news. The bad news is it STILL hasn’t been worked on. There seems to be a lot of talking going on between the Pueblo dealership, the Wichita dealership and HD corporate. Hey, HD people! How about doing a lot less talking and lot more wrenching?!

Women’s Freedom Rally – June 13-16, 2019

It’s all about the numbers.

  • 4 Days
  • 355 Miles
  • 30 Kitties
  • 762 Lady Bikers
  • 3 Laps
  • 0 Rain Days (for 29 of us; one got plenty of it!)
  • 1000’s of memories

After months of planning and anticipation, the 2019 Women’s Freedom Rally has come and gone and we enjoyed, participated, photographed and loved (most) every minute of this four-day event. To those few who were unable to attend, we missed you! To the 30 Kitties who journeyed north to Topeka, thank you! Thank you for the laughs and the memories; thank you for the love you have for your Kitty Sisters in the best of times and the worst of times; and finally, thank you for following the Yellow Itinerary and being where you supposed to be, at the time you were supposed to be there and wearing what you were supposed to wear and rolling with the punches when things didn’t go exactly as the Yellow Itinerary said it would. If there’s one thing the Kitties have learned, it’s how to be flexible and we got to practice that on more than one occasion.

Editor’s note: Normally, I like to give a detailed blow-by-blow accounting of our Kitty Road Trips, but with a road trip that spanned four days, you would be reading this article until the July Road Trip. Nobody wants that. So, here is my best attempt to summarize what was our largest Kitty attended event….ever! Yes, I know even in summary form, it’s plenty long. Please forgive any errors or omissions in my reporting. It was a LOT to remember and I may have gotten some facts or details wrong. If you do see something that is off, please do not report it to Greg. I try to every day remind him that I’m never wrong.

On June 13th, Kitty after Kitty after Kitty filled up the QuikTrip parking lot with saddlebags filled to the brim and tbags strapped to their bikes. Along with the Kitties came our very own Sending-Off party.  Annette South’s mother, Carmen, and Kari Miller’s Tom Kat, Daryl, was there to meet and greet Kitties; our resident photographer and Alice Friedman’s Tom Kat, Gary, arrived with his fancy schmancy camera and started clicking away; and shortly thereafter my Tom Kat, Greg, arrived to say good-bye since he was going to Twister City and was so close. It’s not every day I get to say “That’s some smart thinking right there” to Greg, but this was the day I could. As he was leaving our house, he thought “You never know who might need a little something tightened up, taken off or put on so I better throw my suitcase-sized tool kit in the bed of my pick ‘em up truck.” Turns out that was a very smart decision indeed. In case you haven’t heard the saga of Lori Gibbs’ new saddlebags, it has been a battle since day one involving acorn nuts, belt guards and pulling hair out.  A friend of hers initially installed them; Nellie Taylor’s Tom Kat, JT, has worked on them and on that morning, Lori discovered there was an acorn nut digging into the side of one of her bags. The saddlebag drama has gone on for so long that I named her bike Bewitched. Time will tell if that name will stick, but I’m here to tell you, them darn bags are hexed! Mechanic Greg rolled out his tool kit (yes, it is actually on rollers!), removed the belt guard with said acorn nut and Lori was ready to roll – belt guard-less – so the chronicles of ol’ Bewitched ain’t over yet! To be in compliance with the rally “rules”, Alice Friedman provided a purple bandana for everyone to tie onto their bike. If there’s one thing we can count on is Alice following rules! Thank you AliKat! After taking roll call and confirming that everyone was present and accounted for and Suz Tiede snapping one last group selfie, we rolled out at exactly 12:30 on the dot with Christine Allsman in the lead of Group One with Colleen Williams in Sweep position and Kathryn Langrehr in the lead of Group Two with Lily Nordyke in Sweep position.

I was hoping since the Ramada was a “convention center”, there would be a great big huge wide-open parking lot. I couldn’t have been more wrong. A grocery store has more parking than that hotel and what parking they had was completely swallowed up with bikes, cars and vendors. After parking in the middle of a lane and wondering what’s a Kitty to do, we learned that the parking lot across the street was ours to use and would be guarded overnight. Sounds good to me! Let’s circle around AGAIN and get off these bikes! Of course, then there was the issue of unloading our bikes and hauling all our belongings across the street, which was no easy task.

And the chaos of the parking lot rolled right into the lobby of the Ramada. Bandanaed heads and black vested ladies were ev-er-y-where! And what little real estate was left from all the milling about lady bikers was covered in tbags, helmets and jackets. I gotta give credit to the Ramada as every check-in line was open and they were processing bikers as quickly as possible. However, they told me a little fib many months ago when they said they were completely sold out. Turns out that wasn’t quite true and since we had two Kitties, Tanya Horn and Justine Busher, staying at the Baymont, we quickly snagged one of the open rooms at the Ramada. But then there was the matter of cancelling their Baymont room and their registration counter did not have their happy pants on and wouldn’t let me cancel that Thursday night, but would allow me to cancel Friday and Saturday. It was agreed that Tanya and Justine would stay at the Baymont that night and then move over for the remainder of the rally. In the meantime, Kristi Evans, who was using free points at the Best Western, ran by the rally registration desk to pick up her goodie bag and sign papers and then scooted on over to get checked in.

By the time I made sure everyone was checked in without issue and got the Baymont matter settled, the rest of the Kitties had long ago gotten settled in their rooms and were already in the hotel restaurant hoping to have a nice, enjoyable dinner…hoping, but not having. This is where the Ramada lost all their “way to go” points they had earned in the check-in process.  There were Lord knows how many women staying at the hotel.  They’ve known for probably a year that we were coming that weekend.  Yet, they had one waitress covering the entire restaurant and probably double that number of cooks in the kitchen. By the time I got to the restaurant, Kitties were already frustrated because food was coming out very slow and orders weren’t coming out right. It was definitely an opportunity for us to practice our patience and we just tried to make the best of a bad situation. However, no one made the best of it quite like Kristi Evans. By the time she returned to the Ramada from getting checked in and entered the restaurant, she was oblivious to the meal chaos that had come before her, but what she wasn’t oblivious to was the more than half a leftover steak Suz Tiede couldn’t finish. Figuring there was no reason to let perfectly good food go to waste, she grabbed a couple of pieces of bread that no one wanted and made herself a steak sandwich. Kristi should give a class on how to go away for the weekend on a shoestring budget.  Speaking of shoestring, anyone gonna eat those fries?

While we were still trying to just get through dinner, the Thursday late shift of Dawn Morse, Bobbie Cole and Cindy McGuire arrived. Of course, they also expected to be fed because after all, this was a restaurant and the universal concept of a restaurant is to prepare and deliver food to you…the right food and in a timely manner. We cautiously told them to order if you dare and hope for the best. In the meantime, Lori Gibbs and Annette South decided to hire an Uber and go liquor shopping and liquor shopping they did! They brought back enough booze for the entire 4th floor of the hotel and needed a luggage cart to get it to their rooms.

Following the Great Dinner Debacle of 2019, several of us decided we needed a stiff drink and as luck would have it, there was a party going on in the Banquet Room, not to mention there was a mini-liquor store in a couple of Kitty rooms.  When we walked in, there were like four ladies in there. Well, I guess the party don’t start till we walk in and we is here so let’s get this party started! We woke that room up and piled on the dancefloor and shook our booty to some pretty darn good music courtesy of the band Straight Shot. If we weren’t dancing, we were fake singing into a karaoke microphone that wasn’t hooked up to anything courtesy of Lori Gibbs and didn’t care one wit if we didn’t know the words. Then the band made the frightful mistake of leaving a tambourine way too close to the edge of the stage. My vodka cocktail said, “Trust me Janice, you CAN play the tambourine and sing, so you just get right up on that stage and do you!” And so, with all the confidence that vodka will muster, I hoisted myself up on that stage and I punished that tambourine against my swinging hips. Seeing what a superstar I was, the lead singer, Shawn, shared his microphone that was hooked up to everything and I provided some powerful lead female vocals. To my friend Vodka I say thank you! Thank you for proving that Janice CAN dance; Janice CAN sing and Janice DOES have rhythm. To all those who have for years said I couldn’t do any of those things, well, there’s a video that proves otherwise so booyah! PS: I did not receive compensation for my performance in the way of cash, but I did get a drumstick to add to my collection and that is so much better. Never mind that I asked about a gazillion times for it and eventually had to resort to pizza bribery, but I got it and that’s all that matters.

The first thing on the Yellow Highlighted Itinerary for Friday morning was meet at the Ramada fountain for the Elder Abuse Awareness Day picture that Kristi Evans needed for her office. Immediately following breakfast, a sea of purple Kitties arrived and although we were missing a few, we got a great shot.  I don’t think there was an award presented to Kristi for gathering the biggest, prettiest group of purple people, but one co-worker reported that the picture was “supper cool.” By the way, I think we should all start using supper in place of super. I’m a fan of having our own Kitty language and this is a great addition. I would go so far as to say it’s supper fabulous!

Following the supper cool purple picture, Kitties kinda scattered. Lily Nordyke was the only one who signed up for a rally-organized ride and she rode to Atchison, KS to tour the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum. Several of us grabbed our Gloria Struck book and stood in line to get her autograph. For those who were on this trip, you know what an amazing lady Gloria is.  For those of you who weren’t on the trip, I can’t stress enough how gracious, kind and classy this woman is.  She started riding at the age of 16 and 78 years later, she is still riding.  She’s ridden in every state in the nation and several European countries in every kind of weather imaginable. From this point forward, any time I don’t think I can go one more mile or ride through one more minute of rain or move my heavy bike around, I will think of Gloria and use her as inspiration.  If Gloria can do it, then so can I and so can you!  At the age of 94, she sat at that table and personalized autograph after autograph; posed for picture after picture and chatted with fan after fan. I know I speak for everyone who stood in line that day that it was a true honor to get to meet this motorcycle legend. I have often admired the David Uhl painting of her and to get to meet her was pretty mind-blowing.

In between breakfast and lunch, some of us went vendor and some of us tried on other people’s purchases. Some may say it’s not high fashion to wear a knee-high motorcycle boot with a short skirt.  Bobbie Cole will say they are wrong!

After all that shopping and relaxing, we had worked up a powerful appetite and decided only the Blind Tiger could satisfy it.  But right before we left, our First Shift Friday Kitties of Stephanie Rodriguez and Linda Moreland arrived from Wichita. So, who’s riding to lunch and who’s Ubering it? While some got on bikes and some crawled into cars, we all met at the Blind Tiger where the portions of food are out of this world! Sure, we were hungry but Holy Half Pig on a Platter, they should have said “Must be shared with friend” on the menu! Christine Allsman’s stuffed mushrooms were the size of saucers and there wasn’t anything “let” about Colleen Williams’ pork cutlet! Not willing to let an alcohol opportunity pass her by, Susan Riley brought home not one, but TWO jugs of Blind Tiger beer and gave a whole new meaning to the statement, “Them’s are some mighty big jugs!”

Following lunch, the riding group of Kitties went to the Historic Harley Davidson to shop and participate in the activities there, while the Ubering Kitties returned to the hotel to do whatever the heck they pleased.  I know for me and Maureen Stout, we were pleased to have an opportunity to take a nap before getting ready for the Friday night banquet.

Getting into that Friday night banquet was quite an experience.  The mass of humanity all packed together outside the door ready to race to snag a table looked like the pre-opening of Walmart on Black Friday. Once those doors opened, it looked every bit like shoppers clawing their way in to snatch up the 75% off big screen TV. It was absolutely crazy, but we already knew how many tables we needed and everyone had their orders for grabbing three tables as close to the front as possible…and it was mission accomplished! We all got settled in our seats and semi-enjoyed typical large banquet average food. We also got a chance to welcome our Second Shift Friday Kitty, Stefany White, who had just arrived from Wichita and Sherita LaCoss, who had been volunteering at the rally and staying at Perry Lake so we hadn’t had much of a chance to hang with her.

Very soon after we began eating, the speakers’ presentations started and thank-yous given to the rally organizers. Finally, the speaker we were all anxiously waiting for, Gloria Struck, gave her presentation, which was fascinating, inspirational and captivating with just the right amount humor sprinkled in. She told many stories about her 78 years of living on two wheels, but my favorite was one she recounted about a trip to Daytona Beach. Gloria lives in New Jersey and there’s no such thing as trailering a bike as far as she is concerned.  Ain’t gonna happen – no way no how.  So, on the morning she was to leave for sunny Florida, she woke up to piles of snow in cold New Jersey.  She did what any respectable motorcycle legend would do. She got out her shovel and starting clearing a path on her driveway AND her street just wide enough to get a big ole Harley through. Now that’s commitment people! I think even Frosty (Kristi Evans) would have a hard time leaving on a bike trip if she had to ride on a narrow strip between two snow banks! We hated to see her stories end, but what followed Gloria, we hated even more. The MC introduced a gal by the name of Jessi Combs, who holds the four-wheel land speed record. Almost immediately into her presentation, she said and I quote, “I hate everything about Kansas.  I love the people, but I hate the state.” We were pretty much dumbfounded and even more so, when she went on to say, “Just try to find a decent place to eat in Kansas” followed by “Everything is just flat and green and boring.” The girl wouldn’t stop with her derogatory comments about Kansas so a big bunch of Kansas girls got up and left the banquet, including yours truly. I have no idea what Jessi was thinking by saying those kinds of things while in the host state of a rally, but I’m confident the Kitties weren’t the only Kansas girls who were highly offended. I hated that this is how the banquet ended, but it what it is and I’m just going to focus on the words I heard from Gloria, which were definitely the highlight of the evening. Besides, we got important business to take care!

We got word that there were a bunch of Kitties who were gathered at the bus stop. The bus stop? Is that a bar and if so, how did they get there?  Did they Uber it? Surely, they didn’t ride there. I just kept following the few Kitties who were in front of me and imagine my surprise when I see a small gathering of Kitties at the bus stop….like a real bus stop…where people wait to catch a bus. It had a bench and an overhead cover and it was as good a place as any to hang out and enjoy an after-terrible-speaker cocktail.  So, I was right, it WAS a bar! One Kitty who was there was Bobbie Cole. “Oh Booooobbie, we got a little something foooor you.” I knew that Bobbie was going to be celebrating her birthday just a few days after we returned home, so Lori Gibbs gifted her a bejeweled crown and satin sash that screamed to the world, “Look who’s turning 60!” We got lots of fun pictures and explained to one of the members of the Punishers MC, who were guarding the bikes overnight, that yes, we know the bus doesn’t come by until 8:00 a.m., but we don’t mind loudly waiting.

I had planned to draw the winning 50/50 ticket at the banquet, but with the long speaker program and the abrupt end to our attendance, I was unable to do that. So, Plan B was initiated. There were quite a few Kitties at the Bus Stop Bar so we employed the assistance of Tess from Wisconsin to draw the ticket and if the winner was among us, then great. If not, then I would put the winning number on Facebook and let the winner reveal herself on social media. As it turns out, the winner was a Bus Stop Bar partier and she was Melaina Phares! Melaina just got a whole lot more vendor shopping money with a wad of $62.00 clutched in her little Kitty paws.

The alarm went off at o’dark thirty on Saturday morning and we all threw on our 15th anniversary shirts and were at the bikes at 7:00 a.m. Dawn Morse led us on the 25-minute trip to Heartland Motorsports Park where the official line-up and count of the female bikers was to take place. I gotta give mad props to the organizers of the rally as they had lots of volunteers stationed everywhere to tell us exactly where we needed to go and got us parked nice and tight. However, to the Heartland Motorsports Park concession stand, I have some constructive criticism for you. How about investing in a box of tea bags for us non-coffee drinkers? Unless you were a coffee drinker, there wasn’t a hot drink in sight. Ahh, such is the plight of non-coffee drinkers everywhere. Although we were instructed to be at the Park by 8:00, we didn’t go anywhere anytime soon. This left oodles of time for picture taking and picture taking we did! It also gave us an opportunity to hook up with Sonja McCall, who was with another group of ladies but documented her time with the Kitties in photos. We were also joined by the last remaining Kitty from Wichita – Deborah Barker, who made the trip solo. Dawn Morse made sure we all looked supper patriotic and brought little flags and zip ties for us to mount the stars and stripes on our bikes. There are entirely too many pictures to even think about including in this article, but most of them were posted on Facebook so you got to see the fun and shenanigans that took place in the parking lot. We were also given very clear instructions for how to file past the video camera which would officially document our attendance for the world record count. Finally, we were given the go-ahead to mount up, but don’t start up. After another good amount of time had passed, we were at long last told “Ladies, start your engines!”

And then we were released into the gates of hell.  Actually, the beginning of our time on the race track was fine. We just moved very slowly to get lined up two by two, with occasionally moving up to allow more bikes on the track. After all the bikes had finally squeezed onto the track, we started on one of the most difficult riding experiences of my life. Let me paint a picture for you. It’s a 2.5-mile track and not just an oval track. It’s a road course so there are many turns and some slight elevation in spots. We were moving at a speed that rarely allowed us to get out of first gear. We had to stop frequently which meant sometimes having to walk our bikes because we weren’t moving far enough to actually ride. Our bikes were supper hot and we couldn’t get our legs away from the heat coming off the engine and pipes. We completely wore our hands out with the constant braking, clutching and accelerating. After the first lap, we were ready to pull back into the parking lot; however, the police escort at the front of the line thought differently and led us around again. Somewhere during the second lap, I was pretty sure my left leg had melted right into my jeans, while at the same time, I was berating myself because I was convinced I was the only one who was struggling. Everyone else looked like they were doing fine. I kept telling myself, just get through this last lap and it’ll be over. Well, it turns out the rally organizers and Greg have something in common. They believe if it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing and darn if they didn’t make us go around a THIRD time! When I passed a guy with three fingers held up, I decided right then and there if I pass him again and he’s got four fingers held up, I’m pulling off the track and I’ll jump back in when I see we’re done. Fortunately, we never saw the four-finger guy and after 7.5 miles of grueling riding, we were led back into the parking lot. When we got parked, the first words out of my mouth were, “That was one lap too many!” Several of the Kitties laughed and I couldn’t tell if they were laughing because they thought I was funny or they laughed because they thought I was silly for complaining and they were totally okay with lapping Heartland Evil Track three times. I was relieved to quickly find out it was the former and not the latter and everyone was just as miserable as me. This must be what they mean when they say “misery loves company.” The purpose of riding together for 7.5 miles was to make it difficult to beat a record of that many women bikers riding that far all together. I can appreciate that but Good Golly Miss Molly, give a girl a heads-up and she would have worn her chaps! Before leaving the parking lot, we learned that we didn’t beat the world record for the most female bikers all gathered in the same location. The record is currently held by Australia where they had 1132 lady bikers. We came up short with a total of 762, but we were thrilled to find out that that was enough to beat the National record so we still felt we were part of something pretty great. Although, I will feel even greater about that when my burns heal on my leg….which they haven’t yet done.

Several of the Kitties decided to go ahead and point their noses home following the friction zone lesson, so we said our good-byes to Kathryn Langrehr, Lori Gibbs, Krista Cotterill, Dawn Morse, Chris Emond, Tricia Carruthers and Colleen Williams. A large group of Kitties decided to head back to the hotel, while Tanya Horn and myself said we were going to ride to the Historic Harley Davidson to do a little shopping and tour the Evel Knieval Museum. One Kitty said she was also going to the Harley Davidson dealership, but she said, “I’m gonna hitch a ride in this here truck with this nice man. Oh, and I’m gonna have that nice man load my Little Blackie motorcycle on the back of his truck because something ain’t right with him. He needs some serious medical attention stat!” That Kitty was Maureen Stout. As Maureen was riding around the track from hell, she noticed all kinds of banging and clanging going on with Little Blackie. It was a stroke of good luck (and the last bit of good luck Maureen was going to see for a while) that Klondike Medevac had pulled up right behind us and agreed to transport Little Blackie to the HD Medical Center. After a thorough examination by the medical staff in the emergency room, the diagnosis was that Little Blackie had completely bled out from his primary. There was literally not one drop of oil to be seen, felt or smelt. What was in his primary was a lot of burnt up bike parts, all of which were on the brink of completely failing. The Chief Physician on the case brought us back into the operating room where he had Little Blackie’s primary opened up. Everything was so brown – the case, the chain, the clutch assembly and a lot of parts that sounded like gibberish to this non-medical professional. Never really having seen an exposed primary, I asked, “Is it supposed to be all brown like that?” The Chief Physician tried to not giggle at me or be patronizing (all of which he successfully accomplished) and said, “Uh no. All the brown is the residue from what little oil that was in there completely burning up.” Although there were several exchanges between Maureen and her boyfriend, and not all of them in her happy voice, they were never able to determine how this happened. No one remembered draining the primary oil, but clearly they did and in the words of the boyfriend, “Evidently we forgot to put oil back in.” Thank you for that bit of wisdom Captain Obvious! Tanya Horn and I kept Maureen company while surgery was being performed on Little Blackie and it gave us plenty of time to tour the Evel Knieval Museum, which was very interesting. We found a supper-sized oil container in the museum that I suggested Maureen see if she could buy to make sure she always had plenty of oil on hand. Too soon? Four hours and $1,100.00 later, Little Blackie was released from the hospital and he was completely cured from the banging and clanging. So, the lesson learned is…

If you drain, avoid the pain.

Refill with oil so parts don’t boil.

To properly take care for your primary,

Don’t use a mechanic by the name of Larri.

Those on board for the 355 mile ride to the 2019 Women’s Freedom Rally were Queenie (Janice Friedman), Glitter (Christine Allsman), Boom (Lori Gibbs), Lady (Kathryn Langrehr), Wrench (Melaina Phares), AliKat (Alice Friedman), BadA$$ (Stephanie Rodriguez), Sugar (Lily Nordyke), Star (Kari Miller), River (Chris Emond), Lil Pibble (Kim Jones), Inky (Susan Riley), Moonshine (Maureen Stout), Annette South, Cindy McGuire, Krista Cotterill, Sycho Suz (Suz Tiede), BatKat (Nellie Taylor), da Vinci (Dawn Morse), Ice (Linda Moreland), Half Pint (Tricia Carruthers), PonyGirl (Colleen Williams), Tink (Bobbie Cole), Tanya Horn, Justine Busher, Frosty (Kristi Evans), Curly (Stefany White), Sherita LaCoss, Shorty (Deborah Barker) and Sonja McCall.

Popsicle Kitties – May 19, 2019

Mactober.  Sometimes you have to make up your own word to describe a situation and Sunday, May 19th, was just such a time.  The calendar said it was May and well past the first day of spring.  The reality was that it felt more like a cool fall day in October.  So henceforth, this ride will be known as the Mactober Road Trip.

Funny thing is when I was riding from my house to the meeting location in Park City, I distinctly remember thinking, “This isn’t so bad.  Give the day another hour or two to warm up even more and it’s going to be a very pleasant ride to Ellsworth.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It was bad…really bad.  But I’m getting ahead of myself; let’s start at the beginning.

The first thing that probably struck the Kitties as they poured into the QuikTrip parking lot that morning was, “Is this a Tom Kat ride and no one told me?  What’s with all the dudes??” This would have been a natural assumption since four Kitties, Suz Tiede, Nellie Taylor, Alice Friedman and myself, were accompanied by our Tom Kats.  No, it wasn’t a Tom Kat Ride and none of us needed escorted to the QuikTrip, but when Lori Gibbs reached out to my husband, Greg, to ask about a problem she was having with her saddle bag installation, he agreed to meet her the morning of the Mactober ride to fix it.  Well, apparently it took four men to figure it out – and figure it out, they did not.  Turns out there is some part that needs customized; I don’t know, it all sounded like blah, blah, blah to me, but they assured Lori that her bike would be fine to ride to Ellsworth.  Lori took a huge leap of faith and thought, surely four men can’t be wrong.  Really??  I think four men can be wrong all day long!  Since these four Non-Professional Saddle Bag Installers were all together, they thought they might as well go on their own ride to Beaumont following the failed saddle bag installation repair.  Yeah, maybe there’s someone in Beaumont who needs a repair on their bike that you can’t do for them!

As usual, there was plenty of business to conduct in the QuikTrip parking lot.  Suz Tiede took control of pimping 50/50 tickets; Alice Friedman passed out 15th Anniversary shirts; and I delivered patches.  There was so much money being exchanged that to the average onlooker, it looked like Drug-a-Palooza day in Park City.  After conducting a brief meeting to announce Lead Riders and Sweep Riders and go over the route, which had multiple turns that I was thankful I didn’t have to remember, we were ready to mount up.  Ellsworth, here we come!

And this is when it all started to go bad.  The further north we went, the colder it got.  I thought to myself, is it possible that the temperature is actually dropping?  Silly me…of course it’s possible.  It’s Kansas!  Because that ride from home had been fine, I didn’t put anything on my face, or even bring anything to put on my face, so said face was frozen.  I had on my winter gloves, but I had lost all feeling in my fingertips.  Now we all are fully aware of my inability to tolerate cold, so I thought maybe it’s just me.  Everyone else is probably fine.  For SURE, Jan Brock is fine!  Seriously, is she even human??  This is where I was wrong for the second time that day; everyone was NOT fine!  Fortunately, we had worked in a gas stop in Lindsborg and at the pre-ride meeting, I had said, “It will be a quick stop.  Only one person needs to get gas, so everyone just stay on your bikes and we will leave immediately after Sherita LaCoss gasses up.”  This is when I was wrong for the THIRD time that day.  We needed to stop and we needed to stay stopped for awhile!  We were ALL frozen…well, except for the one aforementioned non-human.  However, no one was more frozen than Kristi Evans, who took the weather forecast of 75 degrees seriously and came with only a jacket on and NO GLOVES!  To this day, I don’t know how she did it.  As cold as my hands were and she did it with absolutely nothing to cover hers?!  There’s got to be a Road Name in there somewhere for surviving that.  Some kind Kitty loaned her a spare pair of gloves for the remainder of the trip and I stole a bandana right off of Suz Tiede’s neck to cover my face.  Hey, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!  After readjusting our clothing choices and warming up SLIGHTLY, we were back on the road for the remainder of the trip, which thankfully, was not as far as the first leg.

I have to stop here for a minute and give special recognition to Suz Tiede and Christine Allsman for their outstanding Lead Rider skills.  Somehow, they managed to remember all those turns that Kathryn Langrehr had talked about at the pre-ride meeting and didn’t miss a single one.  We pulled right into the Ellsworth Steakhouse parking lot and took special care to not take up all the parking spots by parking waaaay at the very edge. The only thing separating us from the street was a long patch of mud and some grass.  Well done ladies!  I also want to thank Tresny Janzen and Kathryn Langrehr for donning the yellow vests and providing excellent Sweep duty.

After dismounting from our bikes, we all started gathering things we needed from our saddle bags and after I pulled out the big ole Kitty bag that accompanies me everywhere I go, I turn around and run right smack into Kate Spade.  A pink Kate Spade.  A pink Kate Spade purse being carried by Maureen Stout! Now I ask you? Who in God’s green earth brings a pink Kate Spade purse on a motorcycle ride??  Oh yeah, the same person who brings a SKIRT on an overnight Kitty trip, that’s who!  And don’t think for one minute I didn’t notice how perfectly matched the Kate Spade was to your head scarf!  That’s our Maureen, always dressing to impress!

We all filed into the restaurant where they had all the tables set-up and waiting for us.  The only thing I could think of us, “Must have hot tea.”  Apparently, that was the thought for several of us as hot mug after hot mug was delivered to the Popsicle Kitties.  You know what happens when 18 Kitties all have the same idea to partake in the fried chicken buffet?  It quickly gets wiped out.  I have to give props to the restaurant staff, though, as they quickly recovered from the ravenous felines and replenished food as swiftly as possible. 

While some were finishing up eating, Suz Tiede and I had the chance to properly make fun of Lori Gibbs for going old school and wearing a dickie.  For you young ‘uns who have never heard of a dickie, this is what we used to wear back in the day under a sweater that mimicked the look of an undershirt or turtleneck, but all it really was was the neck part.  That way you didn’t get hot by wearing two shirts, but could still look fashionably cool.  Truth be told, I would have paid good money for that dickie.  Maybe I should have stolen that off of Lori rather than the bandana off Suz.  I’ll have to start scouting out my options before pilfering stuff. 

After filling our bellies, it was time to find out who was going to be the winner of the 50/50 pot.  Suz Tiede reported that there was $48.00 up for grabs and as the winner of the last 50/50 pot at the May Meow Mixer, I gave Sherita LaCoss the honors of pulling the ticket.  As she was reaching her hand into the flamed bag, I said, “Just so you know (or as Kathryn Langrehr would say, JSYK), if you win two times in a row, you are banished from the Club.”  I’m sorry to say, Sherita is no longer with us.  OK, that’s not true, but dang if that girl didn’t win AGAIN!!  She reported that her lucky number is 8 and both the ticket at the May Meow Mixer and this ticket both contained 8’s.  Ok, we have no choice but to give her the Road Name of “Eight Ball.”  Congratulations Sherita

After discussing the options for how to go back, it was decided that some would go the Speedy Gonzalez route via I70 and Highway 135 and some would go the scenic route under Kathryn Langrehr’s leadership, which again I have a snowball’s chance in hell of remembering.  Seriously Kathryn, have you been on literally EVERY road in the state of Kansas??

After settling up our tabs, we all walked outside and what in tarnation??  There, wedged in between our long line of bikes and the edge of the parking lot, were two big ole cattle trucks!   Talk about threading a needle!  That’s what those drivers had to do to get their trucks in such a tight space without tipping over bikes which would have gone down like dominoes.  I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed or annoyed; I chose to go with impressed because that was some skilled driving right there! 

Suz Tiede pulled out her trusty selfie stick and we got a great group photo.  I have to say, after 14 seasons, we are mastering this group photo thing!  Everyone is present and accounted for; everyone is looking at the camera; everyone looks pretty; one Kitty is showing off with a Kate Spade purse; and we usually get a good shot on the first try, which is huge departure from year’s past.  Keep up the good work Kitties! 

After replenishing our gas tanks, we were ready to gut out the cold ride home.  And just like the trip to Ellsworth got colder the further north we went, the trip home got warmer the further south we went.  Was it balmy, late spring weather?  No.  But, was it tolerable?  Yes, if you had on five layers, which I did.  When I pulled into my driveway, Greg came walking out of the house.  I looked at him and said, “That was one of the coldest rides I’ve ever been on.”  His response…”Really?”  Our ride to Beaumont was very pleasant.  I never got cold.”  Shut up Greg.

Those on board for the 242-mile Popsicle Kitties Road Trip were Janice “Queenie” Friedman, Bobbie “Tink” Cole, Deborah “Shorty” Barker, Shelley Seidl, Sherita “Eight Ball?” LaCoss, Lori “Boom” Gibbs, Kristi “Frostbite” Evans (not her real Road Name…or is it??), Kathryn “Lady” Langrehr, Melaina “Wrench” Phares, Alice “AliKat” Friedman, Kari “Star” Miller, Kim “Lil Pibble” Jones, Tresny Janzen, Maureen “Moonshine” Stout, Christine “Glitter” Allsman, Annette “Howdy” South, Suz “Sycho Suz” Tiede, Nellie “BatKat” Taylor and Jan “Rang” Brock.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.