All Aboard for Buhler-April 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rolling with the Punches – October 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Falling at Elk Falls – September 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Gravel We Travel – August 25, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


“P” is for Ponca, Pawhuska and Pig – May 20, 2017

We is kind.  We is beautiful.  We is smart.  For the Road Trip on Saturday, May 20th, we were especially smart.  You see, back in April at the Burrton ride, Kathryn Langrehr approached me and said, “You know there can be up to a five hour wait for lunch at the Pioneer Women Mercantile, right?”  I replied, “Are you flipping kidding me?”  We can’t wait five hours to eat lunch!”  “Precisely.” Kathryn responded.  “I would suggest you ride to Ponca City and eat there and then ride to Pawhuska and avoid that whole line around the building thing.”  Following Kathryn’s advice, that’s exactly what we did.

Nellie Taylor, Maureen Stout and I selected The Ground Round for our eatin’ spot and once again, we proved how smart we is.  First of all, as Dawn Morse led us all into the restaurant parking lot, our Oklahoma Kitty, Sherri Carver aka Hard Core Kitty, was just getting off her bike.  That, my dear Feline Friends, is what you call perfect timing.  Secondly, this parking lot was my absolute very favorite kind – wide open with not. one. single. car in it.  Ain’t no five hour wait in this joint, no sirree!  In lickety split time, we were all seated in a long stretch of tables and shedding layers and eyeballing menus.  While we waited for our food orders to arrive, I passed out the AWESOME member patches, which, by the way, will be given to you the next time I see you so let me see you soon!  We all chit chatted through our meals and Dawn Morse expressed her displeasure with those who don’t pay their taxes and then get to settle a $50,000 debt with the IRS for like 80 bucks.  How in the world did that come up in conversation, you ask?  Well, Sherri Carver is a tax attorney; you can probably figure it out from there.  “How is that fair??”  Right, Dawn?  And then it was time for the most important part of the lunch – the 50/50 drawing!  There was a total of $45.00 in the flamed bag so that meant someone (not me) was going home with $23.00!  We gave our friendly and very helpful waitress the honors of drawing the ticket and …….  Sherri Carver was the winner!  Ironically, Sherri had just thrown all kinds of money at me to pay for a shirt, Kitty Kap, patches and a spot pin.  Now, I was throwing it right back to her.  I’m now thinking maybe we might ought to change her nickname to Shrewd Sherri!

After our friendly and helpful waitress took a group picture and commented (or was it more like me saying?) how bad ass we were, we all filed outside and biked up for the long 44-mile journey to Pawhuska with Dawn Morse in the lead.  Next stop – shopping!!

It didn’t take a Lewis and Clark expedition to figure out where the Pioneer Woman Mercantile was in Pawhuska.  Just look for a line of people wrapped around a building.  We is SO smart for avoiding all that standing and waiting by eating a tasty and quick meal in Ponca City!  Thank you Kathryn Langrehr!  We masterfully pulled nine bikes into like three parking stalls and bypassed all those suckers (uh, I mean poor souls) to walk right into the Mercantile.  We all split up and agreed to meet back at the front door in one hour.

I was committed to finding a pig for Suz Tiede and recruited all Kitties to cover every inch of the place and report back.  Their marching orders – FIND ME A PIG!!  Here’s what we came up with – one small plain white piggy bank, which didn’t even have the Mercantile logo on it; small pink pig mugs; and little bowls with pigs on them.  What the heck??  Wouldn’t you think at a place called “Mercantile” there would be pigs?  There were plenty of cows, horses, chickens and every other barnyard animal, but no PIGS!  What do these people have against pork??  Well, in the end, I opted for the bowls but it was truly a very disappointing experience.  (Sad emoji face.)  After I recovered from the pig debacle, I wandered around the store and covertly took pictures of the Kitties shopping and caught Shelley Bonnell in both her Ladylike and Sexylike poses.  We commandeered a young man to take our group picture in front of the store with our bags of goodies and then walked to the bikes to pack them all up and get ready for the trip home.

Dawn Morse found a beautiful little road to begin our trip home which reminded me of Thunder Road out of Augusta with lots of turns and some hills.  Everything was a brilliant green what with all the cool and wet weather we’ve been having and it was a very relaxing and serene ride.  That is until the pothole from hell that several of the Kitties fell into.  I was right behind Christine Allsman when all of a sudden, she bounced like she was on a trampoline!  I swear I thought she was going to come clear off her bike!  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something fly off her bike and as I was zooming past at about 70 miles per hour, I thought, “Huh, that looked like a key on a key ring.”  But knowing there’s no way a key was going to come out of an ignition like that, I didn’t give it too much thought.  Until…..we stopped in Winfield for gas.  Christine pulled in line behind some other Kitties and switched off her bike to wait her turn.  When she went to turn it back on, all she got was a whole lot of nothing.  You see, these newfangled bikes have a Fob that has to be near the bike in order for it to start.  Turns out that Fob was nowhere near the bike and somewhere near that pothole from hell.  Guess my quick assessment of a key on a key ring flying by me was spot on.  Linda Moreland came to the rescue and said, “I know how to start it.  All you have to have is your code.”  “Code?  I don’t know my code,” replied Christine.  “Here, let me get my phone and call my husband, Dorrin, to give it to me.  Oh wait, my phone is in my saddle bags and I can’t open my saddle bags without the key.”  We all started throwing phones at her and she got hold of Dorrin.  Dorrin asked silly questions like how did your Fob fly out of your pocket and if it wasn’t in your pocket, how did your Fob fly out of your windshield pouch?  Christine decided this wasn’t the time to get into the fact that her key wasn’t securely tucked away in her pocket or windshield pouch, but rather laying in a cubby hole on her dash.  Some things are better left unsaid, right Christine?  Dorrin provided the code and after quite a few minutes of Linda and Christine hovering over her bike, we finally heard it fire up!  In unison, we all said, DO NOT SHUT THAT OFF UNTIL YOU’RE IN YOUR GARAGE!  While we were patiently waiting for Christine and Linda to break into her ignition system, a grumpy Winfieldite told us we needed to get our bikes out away from the gas pumps, despite the fact that there were many other pumps to choose from.  Our Enforcer Maureen Stout, said “Since you asked us so meanly, we’re going to move them but we ain’t gonna be quick about it!”  This guy must not have realized what a rough and tumble biker gang we are – he’s lucky we didn’t get our lipsticks out and defame his car!

Now fast forward to the next day and Dorrin is determined to find that key Fob so he packed up his biker gang member Christine and headed off to retrace our steps of the day before.  Christine and I exchanged several texts that Sunday morning trying to determine where I saw it fly by me and I made a comment something along the lines of a needle in a haystack.  What I was silently thinking was, “There’s a snowball’s chance in Hell she’s going to find that.”  Well, Hell froze over on Sunday, May 21st, when I got a text from Christine saying “We found it!!”  Feeling quite confident she was fibbing to me, I demanded pictures to prove it.  And then she sent pictures!  I’ll be damned if they didn’t find that key Fob, along with about a dozen sticks of Trident gum that also flew off her bike, laying alongside the road.  The Fob is a little worse for wear and it’s anybody’s guess as to whether it’ll actually ever work again, but the Eagle Eye Allsmans proved me wrong.  If you’re ever actually looking for a needle in a haystack, might I suggest you contact Christine and Dorrin?  I just have one question….how is that they could find a Fob in the middle of nowhere and I couldn’t find one darn pig in a country store??  To quote Dawn Morse, how is that fair?!

And so it goes for the second Road Trip of the 2017 season.  Thank you, Dawn Morse, for leading us to and fro without one turnaround and thank you Nellie Taylor and Maureen Stout for planning a fun day of riding, eating and shopping.  Those on board for the “P” is for Ponca City, Pawhuska and Pig Road Trip were Janice Friedman, Sherri Carver, Melaina Phares, Maureen Stout, Nellie Taylor, Linda Moreland, Dawn Morse, Shelley Bonnell and Eagle Eye Christine Allsman.




Barn Kitties in Burrton – April 23, 2017

What a pleasant departure for an April ride.  Normally, the days leading up to an April ride are filled with indecision and stress.  There are usually dozens of emails shared between myself and the Excursion Kitties scrutinizing every change in the weather forecast.  Plans A, B and C are devised in the event the 50% chance of rain turns into 80% chance of rain.  Well, not THIS April my Feline Friends!  While the day before the ride to Burrton was very cloudy and cool, Sunday, April 23rd, dawned with abundant sunshine and no wind!  Let me repeat that.  NO. WIND!  So, although the temperature was only in the high 40’s by the time we all were leaving our homes, the sunshine and NO WIND made it feel warmer.  Well, for everyone except Sherri Carver who left her house HOURS before the rest of us, but more on that later.

As I pulled off Highway 96 to find the Kwik Shop, the first thing I noticed was a Quik Trip.  What the heck?  When did they put that there?  I swear – Quik Trip has planted their stores all over the city and having planted this one right where I said we would be meeting at a Kwik Shop could pose a problem.  And sure nuff, a couple of Kitties had pulled in the Quik Trip and were waiting for the rest of the Kitties to show up.  Fortunately, a Kitty who knew that we were to meet at a KS and not a QT pulled in and drug them down to the right gas station.

And here’s another departure for the Burrton ride….the Kitty attire!  There were splashes of red, green, purple, orange, pink and combinations thereof all over the place when the Kitties proved that you don’t, in fact, have to be a little girl or ballerina to wear a tutu!  For those of you who weren’t able to attend the trip, here’s the back story….

Way back in June 2015, we traveled to Atchison, KS for an overnight trip.  After a full day of riding, with a stop in Topeka for lunch, we quickly changed into something more comfortable.    For most of us, that meant shorts or capris and flip flops.  But not our wacky Kitty Sister, Maureen Stout!  She changed into….wait for it….a skirt!  Of course, she was given all kinds of grief and assaulted with comments such as, “who brings a skirt on a motorcycle trip?” and “well, aren’t you the fancy one” and “she’s just trying to make me look bad in my stupid capris.”  Now fast forward to the next ride in July and Suz Tiede decided she wasn’t done with Maureen just yet and wore a skirt to the departure location.  Suz made a comment that July morning about what’s next on a motorcycle trip – tutus??  Well, Maureen was a great sport about it all and let just enough time go by before exacting her revenge so no one (meaning Suz) would suspect anything.  She decided that yes, Kitties CAN wear tutus on a motorcycle trip and rallied a number of the Kitties to do just that!  Sure, we got pointed at – snickered at – and eye rolled at, but we all looked so pretty in our tutus that we decided that April will officially be named Tutu Month and from this date forward, all April rides will have two dress code requirements…a Kitty shirt and a tutu!  Well, in Dawn Morse’s case, a fourfour with her longer, fuller version of a tutu.   That’s Dawn for ya, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing!  Suz hooted and hollered over the joke on her, but was a little put out that even Dawn’s Trunk Monkey had a tutu to wear and she didn’t.  Knowing she would feel that she was just as worthy of a tutu as a Trunk Monkey, another Kitty brought an extra tutu for her to slip on, as well.  There, are ya happy now, Suz?

After all the fun of looking at tutus and other people looking at us in tutus, we welcomed three new riders to the Club.  Brenda Berry, who isn’t really new to the Club as she joined after the last ride in 2016 and attended the Winter Events, was making her debut ride with us; Tricia Carruthers; and Sherri Carver.  This would be a good time to talk about Sherri for a minute.  It seems like for every long-distance Kitty we have, there’s someone who has to outdo the last.  First, we had the Augusta girls of Nellie Taylor, Linda Moreland and Suz Tiede with a 24-mile trip to get to the middle of Wichita.  Then, Amy Hammer said she could do better than that with a 27-mile ride in from Newton.  Not to be outdone, Brenda Berry said that ain’t nothing, I’m going to ride in 34 miles from Milton.  Kathryn Langrehr thought she had it in the bag when she moved to Hutchinson just she could say she came the farthest at 46 miles.  And then there’s Sherri Carver, who said “I got all you bitches beat!  I’m going to ride in 165 miles from Oklahoma City!  I dare one of you to try to outdo me – go on – just try it!”  Uncle Uncle!  You win, Sherri!  I think your record will stand unchallenged for…well, ever… and your official Kitty nickname is Hard Core Kitty!

After introductions were made for the benefit of the aforementioned new Kitties and safety and route instructions given by Kathryn Langrehr, we were ready to roll out with one thing on our minds – Barn Food!

Like a stabled horse, Kathryn Langrehr led us right to the Barn door and after navigating a dicey entrance into the parking lot and pulling in wherever we could find a parking spot, we debiked and stretched our tired muscles from the grueling 34-mile journey.  Nellie Taylor did her best to round everyone up, which was like herding cats – oh wait, we ARE cats – to get everyone inside.  There we were greeted by The Barn staff and assigned our very own waitress who led us to a long string of tables that were all ours.  While some Kitties ordered chicken strips and salads, Suz Tiede and Colleen Williams ordered a cow.  Perhaps they didn’t intend to get the whole cow, but that’s what appeared on their plates.  Seriously, the size of that chicken fried steak was off the charts huge!  Instead of a side of mashed potatoes and green beans, it should come with a side of a to-go container!  (Side note:  I found the notion of Colleen ordering such a gigantic meal rather perplexing since in all the years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her eat more than thimbleful of food.  I guarantee she’ll be eating those leftovers til Turkey Day!)

During the meal and after we stopped gawking at the side of beef on Suz’s and Colleen’s plates, lots of patches and pins were sold, new Kitty snap jewelry was admired, and Kathryn Langrehr counted out the 50/50 cash.  Holy Fur Balls!  We got 80 bucks in this here flame bag!  Someone is going with home with 40 bucks!  Please let it be me.  Please let it be me.  Please let it be me.  It wasn’t me.  We gave the honors to a patron at the Barn in drawing the winning ticket and BRENDA BERRY was the lucky Kitty who got my 40 bucks!  I’m trying to not be bitter since it was Brenda’s first ride and all, but I swear if I don’t win this year, the claws are coming out!

After several photos at the table, which involved yours truly doing a heave ho with her not so limber body onto a high-top chair, we were ready to get that customary group photo.  Here is what we’ve learned over the years….get everyone in formation BEFORE we recruit someone to take the picture, which is exactly what we did and then accosted, uh, I mean asked, a couple who just got off their bikes to snap a couple of pictures.  Turns out the couple is from Andover and several of the Kitties put on their marketing hats and told the gal all about our Club.   Suz Tiede told me, uh, I mean asked me, to go get a Kitty card for her.  Given that she lives in Andover, she might think she lives too far away to belong to a Wichita Motorcycle Club.  Silly girl….she’s not even a contender.

It was a perfect April ride day with some of the best women a gal could have the privilege of riding with.  We’ve officially got 2017 off to a great start and I’m excited for all the memories we will make together this year!  Those on board for the “Barn Kitties in Burrton” ride were Janice Friedman, Brenda Berry, Kathryn Langrehr, Melaina Phares, Amy Hammer, Alice Friedman, Maureen “Skirt” Stout, Christine Allsman, Denise “Squirrel” Johnson, Tricia Carruthers, Colleen Williams, Suz “Tutu” Tiede, Nellie Taylor, Linda Moreland, Dawn Morse and Sherri “Hard Core” Carver. 




A Zen Kind of Day in Zenda – October 8, 2016

Up until the night before the October 8th ride to Zenda, KS, I was feeling pretty smug about how we managed to make it through the entire season without a freezing cold ride.  After all, it had been beautiful in the days leading up to the ride day, so I had no reason to believe we wouldn’t have more of the same.  Then Bam!  The night of October 7th took a turn for the worse which is so unusual as weather is typically very predictable here in the Kansas heartland, right?  When I got up that Saturday morning (which was like two hours before Nellie Taylor drug her little Kitty butt out of bed.  “Why take an hour to get ready when you really can do it in 20 minutes” is Nellie’s philosophy.), I was psyching myself up for a very cold ride as the temps had dropped into the 40’s overnight.  I sausage-cased myself into about five layers of clothes, took a deep breath, and braced myself for the first step out of the garage.  “Huh.  This isn’t so bad.” I thought to myself.  “Either it’s not as cold as I thought or after 13 years of Fall riding, I finally mastered the art of dressing warm.”  Trying not to be too cocky, I reminded myself the true test will be when I’m actually moving.  And then I started moving and I still wasn’t cold!  Halle – freaking – luiah!  Turns out I wasn’t being smug at all!  I was just being right!  That happens a lot.

Thirteen Kitties poured into the parking lot of the QuikTrip and we hugged our hellos to each other; hugged our welcomes to two new Kitties, Amanda Mareda and Leigh Ann Simmons; and waved our howdies to Linda Moreland’s Mom, Jackie, who was riding shotgun in Linda’s car.  We pimped the 50/50 tickets and then I called the Litter together to have a quick pre-ride briefing to let everyone know the route and that I would be leading the group and Linda Moreland would be the sweep.  That’s when I saw it.  The look of fear that washed over everyone’s faces.  “Seriously, can’t Kari Miller lead?  It’s not that we don’t trust your sense of direction (we don’t) and it’s not that we don’t think you can get us there without having to execute a U-turn somewhere (we don’t), it’s just that we’re very accustomed to riding behind Kari and she’s awesome at getting us where we need to go.”  Words are hurtful, you know, and while they might not have been spoken aloud, they were implied!  Well, who got who to Zenda without a hitch?  That’s right!  This girl!  Truth is….I’m just as surprised as you all are.

Under the outstanding leadership of yours truly (that’s right, I said it, all you Doubtful Debbies!), the ride to Zenda was uneventful and NOT cold, which was the best part.  However, the road south of Highway 400 to Zenda was a mess.  Potholes everywhere and a good amount of gravel scattered all over the place.  Hey, Kansas Department of Taking Care of the Roads, how about you bring your road making machines to 90th Street and Highway 400 and fix something!   We filed into Zenda and got ourselves parked and immediately started shedding our sausage casings.  This day is getting warmer and warmer by the minute!

The Lumberyard Restaurant had our tables all ready and after we all got settled in, I did what KKMC has only ever done once before.  We bequeathed an Honorary Krome Kitty status to one Jackie McNutt, which of course comes with a complimentary Kitty shirt.  Jackie is Linda Moreland’s Mom and Linda is her primary caretaker so often times, where Linda goes – Jackie goes.  The first Krome Kitty Honorary status had been given to our dear departed Marjorie Bare, who at the time she was named an Honorary Kitty, was 105 years old.  We decided we didn’t need to make Jackie wait 20 some years for her bequeathment (Is that a real word?  I’m not sure, but it sounds impressive.)   This was Jackie’s second outing with the Kitties as she had also attended the YWCA Ice Cream Social in July.  Looking down the long table at all the Kitties, Jackie must have felt right at home as she birthed and raised EIGHT, let me say that again – EIGHT – children!  Jackie, this may come as a surprise to you, but you don’t have eight children, you have 33 children as we all consider you to be our Honorary Kitty AND Mom!  You are a warrior and delightful and we are thrilled to have you as part of our Litter!  We welcome, and encourage, you to ride shotgun in the cage any darn time you please!

We placed our orders of hamburgers, salads, sandwiches, chicken fingers, steak fingers, lady fingers butter fingers, lift-a-fingers, sticky fingers, trigger fingers, crossed fingers, burned fingers, snapped fingers, bony fingers – OK, I’ve taken this too far – and of course, made certain there would be ample pie by ordering it sooner than later.  Then the anticipated moment came of who was going to win the 50/50 pot!  Honoring my vow to not complain about never winning since I was gifted such a wonderful white leather Harley coat last month, I will not ramble on about how once again I didn’t win.  I’ve never won.  Probably never will win.  How many seasons must I endure this?  We gave Honorary Kitty Jackie the honors of pulling the ticket and drumroll please……ALICE FRIEDMAN was the lucky (luckier than me) winner of $40.00!  Rumor has it she was leaving for vacation the next day and this would be used to buy something pretty or pay for dinner for her and Tom Kat Gary.  My money is on buying something pretty.  And Drats!  How did I not get a picture of Alice and her newfound windfall??  I blame Bobbie Cole for this.  I told her to get a picture, but she forgot.  She started to say something once, but she forgot.  She ordered pie already, but she forgot.  Seems like Bobbie has a hard time remembering much of anything these days.  FYI, we’re a motorcycle club Bobbie.

As we were eating our delicious Lumberyard food, Sherri Hischke yelled from down yonder, “Hey Janice, there’s a girl here and she wants to talk to you about becoming a Kitty!”  Wait.  What?  There’s a girl in Zenda, Kansas USA who wants to be a Krome Kitty?  Turns out the girl, Brenda Barry, is from Suppesville and had just purchased a motorcycle in May from a bike shop in Hesston.  While there, she was commenting to the salesman about how she wished she had people to ride with and get this!  He said, “You need to hook up with the Krome Kitties!”  What. The. Heck??!!   I don’t know how in heaven’s name he knows about us, but we’re famous!  Or maybe it’s more like infamous, but nevertheless, I was blown away that he would know about us and recommend her to us.  Anywhoo, we talked a bit and she was very excited about joining and even though this was the last ride of the season, she wanted to join us for our winter activities to get to know us a little better.  I told her not to bother introducing herself to Bobbie Cole at said events.  She’ll just forget anyway.

This was the second time the Kitties had pointed our noses to Zenda.  The first time was way back in September 2008.  As we did then and must do now, we had our picture taken in front of the ittsy bitsy tiny Zenda jail.  What immediately struck me as we approached the jail was the sign was in pretty sad shape.  You could hardly read the words “Zenda Jail” on the board, whereas in 2008, it was very legible.  When I commented on how the sign had not aged well at all, Bobbie Cole mumbled something about, “Yeah, well neither have you.”  Don’t bother asking if she really said that.  She won’t remember.  After what was a record for getting a group shot taken in a timely fashion, we noticed Bobbie Cole was INSIDE the jail.  When asked what it was she did to get thrown in the ReBar Hotel, she said – you guessed it – “I forgot.”  We then decided to impose upon our Waitress/Photographer for one more group shot inside the Pokey and then decided it was time to bike up and head back east to Doo Dah.

We all agreed there was no reason to travel back down that dilapidated old road to Highway 400 so we would take Highway 42 to Highway 14 north to Kingman, where we would stop for those who needed gas.  At the gas station, Bobbie Cole suggested we take the Old Highway 54 to Garden Plain to avoid the hustle and bustle of Highway 400.  I indicated I didn’t know where that was and she said, “I remember where it is, so I’ll lead.”  I responded, “Fat chance you’ll remember where you left your bike, but OK, we’ll trust you on this one.”  Bobbie came through for us and led us down a lovely scenic route and as I looked to the left, way over there was Highway 400 with lots of trucks zooming along while we had this road all to ourselves.  OK, Bobbie, you redeemed yourself.

That’s a wrap and drop the mic!  We had a great season of rides and comradery; we added two new Kitties (Amanda Maredo and Leigh Ann Simmons); we finally got Alice Friedman moved here from Colorado and she was able start riding with us; we re-added one Kitty (Sherri Hischke); we bestowed Honorary Krome Kitty status to Jackie McNutt; we met, ate and rode with Suz Tiede’s family in Ponca City in April; we Zoo’d it with the YWCA Moms and Kids in May; we met Chinese Jesus in Van Buren, AR in July; we Dali horsed around in Lindsborg in July and in the same month, we Ice Cream Socialed with the YWCA Moms and Kids at Watson Park and overstuffed their van with needed items; we swung on a bridge in Moline in August; we Tom Katted our way to Cottonwood Falls in September; and we did prison time in Zenda in October.  A great big HUGE thank you to each and every one of the Kitties for making our 12th riding season one to remember. A MASSIVE thank you to Suz Tiede and Denise Johnson for finding us fun and interesting places to go this season! The Kitties rock in so many way, 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 2017, keep the shiny side up!

Those on board for the Zen Kind of Day in Zenda were Janice Friedman, Leigh Ann Simmons, Melaina Phares, Alice Friedman, Bobbie Cole, Kari Miller, Christine Allsman, Sherri Hischke, Colleen Williams, Nellie Taylor, Linda Moreland, Amanda Mareda, Dawn Morse and Jackie McNutt.



Cutting Up in Cottonwood Falls – September 10, 2016

(Insert the Misadventures of Moline first paragraph here.)  Literally, the exact same Friday night downpour as what we had before the Moline ride repeated itself the Friday night before the Cottonwood Falls trip, only worse.  This time there was major flooding all over the city, but the skies cleared up and dried up just in time to bike up the next morning.  And like the Moline ride, it was a double jacketed kind of morning with much cooler temperatures than the days leading up to the ride.

Nineteen bikes and a Slingshot poured into the Quik Trip on Saturday, September 10th, and I just want to say thank you.  Thank you for recognizing that it’s high time the Kitties come bearing gifts for me and my Tom Kat, Greg, when arriving for a ride.  I mean isn’t that what dignitaries do when they come to the United States to visit the President?  Isn’t that what the Three Wise Men did when they visited the Baby Jesus?  OK sure, maybe I’m not as important as the President of the United State or Baby Jesus, but let’s just all agree to keep up with this tradition, shall we?  So, what did we receive at the September gathering, you ask?  Well, Colleen Williams presented me with a brand spanking new white leather Harley Davidson coat!  Clearly, this was purchased especially for me because a) it still had the tags on it; b) it was my size and fit perfectly, and c) it matches my black and white bike to a tee. Colleen, your gift was AWESOME and all I gotta say is you girls have a mighty high bar to reach for future gifts!  No sooner had I finished oohing and ahhing over my wonderful coat, when Melaina Phares fulfilled her duties and presented my Tom Kat, Greg, with a wonderful denim Harley Davidson jacket!  My very own Daddy Long Legs has Daddy Long Arms, too, and rarely finds shirts or jackets to fit, so the fact that this fit him perfectly shows that Melaina put a great deal of effort into her gift.  Now some naysayers might try to tell you that Colleen gave me the coat because she felt it would be a betrayal to her beloved Indian to wear competitor’s clothes and that Melaina had had this denim jacket in her basement for years and was looking to pass it on to someone else, but don’t believe them!!  They’re being Negative Nellies (not you Nellie Taylor, you’re not negative, you’re wonderful, I love you, bring me a gift in October), and are just trying to get out of bestowing gifts upon me.  So follow your conscious and do the right thing.  I wear a medium.

OK, back to less important matters – like the ride…..

We split the group into two with Greg and I leading one group (in our beautiful new coats) and Christine Allsman and her Tom Kat, Dorrin, leading the second, while Nellie Taylor and her Tom Kat, JT, and Suz Tiede and her Tom Kat, Jim, rode in the sweep positions.  All the rain we’ve had this summer made for absolutely beautiful fields of green dotted with thousands of wild sunflowers.  Seriously, these were so abundant that the state of Kansas really should consider making sunflowers the state flower.  I think I’ll mention that to the State Flower Supervisor.  Maybe they could even put that on license plates – something like…Kansas, the Sunflower State.  I’m so smart.

We arrived in Cottonwood Falls without incident, but turns out Greg and I didn’t really know how to get to the restaurant, so Maureen Stout who happens to know the town of Cottonwood Falls like the back of her hand, took over the lead and drove us right to the Grand Central Hotel, with just one tiny little U-turn to get on the right side of the street to park.  The restaurant had our tables all set up, complete with personalized Krome Kitty menus, but the day was so beautiful and what do we have here?  Outdoor  dining tables!  We all picked up our place settings and moved the party out to the warm, fall-like sunshine.  I think I did hear a patron or two mutter under their breath, “Thank God!  Them Hells Angels look unruly and loud so put those Alley Kats outside!”

While some of us had their food and some of us were waiting for food, each of the Kitties introduced their Tom Kats and guests, which included two handsome men, Mike Hermann (Christine Allsman’s brother and long-time Tom Kat rider) and his friend, Paul Lisa.  We also welcomed Emma Stout, Maureen Stout’s daughter, who is a real life, bonafide Cowgirl and lives in Bizarre just down the road a piece.  (Emma, did I say that right?  Isn’t that how Cowboys and Cowgirls talk?)  We learned that Maureen had high hopes of Emma finding some rich rancher to hitch her daughter to, only to find out that she much preferred her fellow ranch hands for friends and a sweetie.  We also welcomed newish Kitty Alice Friedman and her Tom Kat, Gary, who is my husband’s brother and according to Gary, the Better Friedman.

And then the long awaited moment arrived.  Who was going to win the 50/50 pot, which on a Tom Kat ride is pretty darn sizable – $50.00 sizable to be exact!  Suz Tiede mixed up the tickets and gave Emma Stout the honors of drawing the winning ticket, which belonged to….. drumroll please…….CHRISTINE ALLSMAN (or Dorrin Allsman but that also means Christine Allsman.)  Normally, this is where I would bitch and moan about once again being cheated out of winning and how this is the SECOND time Christine has won, but I’ve decided in light of the new tradition of showering me with gifts, I will refrain from my usual rant.  Congratulations Christine (and Dorrin who will never see a dime of this money!)

And then there were MORE presents – a little gift for each and every one of the Tom Kats!  Bobbie Cole had eaten 13 McDonald’s Happy Meals just to get the Talking Tom Kat toy inside each meal.  Bobbie, you are to be commended for the sacrifices you made for these absolutely adorable and perfect gifts!  She had gift bagged each one and as she passed them out, I said a few words to let our Tom Kats know how much we appreciate all their support; being understanding when their Kitty says they’ll be home around 2:00 and it ends up being 6:00 (insert a big hurrah from Dorrin Allsman here – something about that not being a bad thing); and giving us their muscle when we really needed them to (no, Maureen, not THAT kind of muscle you naughty Kitty!)  We all had fun listening to what each little plastic Tom Kat had to say such as “My name is Tom and I’m a Superstar”; “Ooooh, do want to be my friend?”; “You and me should go on an adventure”; “Let’s go have some fun”; “C’mon, high paw!”; and “I’m a Tom Kat, show me your boobies.”  Wait what??  Sounds like a perverted Tom Kat slipped by internal controls!  I then made the declaration that in order to attend next year’s Tom Kat ride, those who received these adorable little Toms must present their little guy as an entrance fee.  We’ll see how many were paying attention; how many end up giving them to their kids or grandkids to play with; or how many “accidentally” lost them on the way home.  Thank you, Bobbie, for finding such a fun and clever way to honor our guys!

Next came time for the photo shoot.  I had this brilliant idea of getting all the Kitty’s bikes to the town’s beautiful and historical courthouse just down the street and positioning them so that all the Kitties could be photographed from the front and back.  For the most part, the Tom Kats did the jostling of bikes and Nellie Taylor backed in and backed out, drove in and drove out to get her Slingshot in just the right position. After all the positioning and poising, the best shot of the day ended up being a spontaneous picture taken by Gary Friedman of Kitties in full on laughter mode.  That picture is a true depiction of the fun, fellowship and feistiness we have with our feline friends!  Try saying THAT 10 times!

We then gathered everyone together for one last group shot courtesy of Chinese Cowboy Jesus Chris (Suz’s words not mine!) and given that there were Sedgwick County Fairs to visit, movies to go to, family dinners to attend and naps to take, we decided to call it a day; although Maureen Stout and her Tom Kat, Larri Brown, talked of doing a little Cottonwood Falls shopping (I think it was more Maureen talking and Larri rolling his eyes and sighing heavily.)  In typical herding kats fashion, everyone scattered in different directions and what started out as two groups coming to Cottonwood Falls ended up being about six groups leaving Cottonwood Falls.  But everyone got home safely with traveling buddies and it couldn’t have been a more purrfect September day for a ride.  The 12th Annual Tom Kat ride is in the books and thank you to all of those who attended for making it such a fun day!

Those on board for the Cutting Up in Cottonwood Falls Tom Kat ride were Janice and Greg Friedman, Christine and Dorrin Allsman, Linda and Jim Moreland, Melaina Phares, Alice and Gary Friedman, Maureen Stout and Larri Brown, Suz and Jim Tiede, Nellie and JT Taylor, Mike Hermann, Paul Lisa, Colleen Williams, Bobbie Cole and Al Brumbaugh, Kari Miller and Guest Kitten Emma Stout.