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.