- 18 Kitties
- 2 Guest Riders
- 286 miles
- 6 counties (Sedgwick, Sumner, Kingman, Harper, Barber and Woods)
- 2 states (Kansas and Oklahoma)
- 2 campsites
- 9 hours
- Returning from an early April ride with a sunburn
Saturday, April 6th, started off cool, cloudy and Kansas-style windy, but hopes were high that the opening ride of Season 9 would get better with each passing mile. As I pulled into the QuikTrip meetin’ spot, I was immediately accosted by Dana Branam who spanked me good for being a few minutes late. Yes, I know I said to be here at 8:30 sharp, but at the last minute, I got a phone call that went a little like this, “Hi Janice, this is Ben the video producer, we’re in Wokanoka (that should have been my first clue that Ben was a little scatterbrained.) Just wanted to make sure we’re still a go for today.” I respond, “Yep, I’m heading out right now.” To which he responds, “Where are we supposed meet?” Really?? What I wanted to say was, “Please refer to the half dozen flipping emails I’ve sent you in the last week”, but being a kinder, gentler Kitty than Dana, I patiently repeated the details. “Hold on a second, Janice, I need to get a pen and paper and write all this down.” (This should have been my second clue that Ben was a little scatterbrained.) After a long pause, Ben returned to the phone and s-l-o-w-l-y repeated everything I just said. He then proceeded to tell me that he had a tire problem that cost $700 to fix; they’ve had equipment problems, etc. etc. etc. I proceed to tell him, “Ben, I gotta go.”
(OK, maybe Dana wasn’t as mean as this sounds but it makes for a better story so I’m sticking to it.)
As I was holding the pre-meeting, I looked around saw nothing but black leather, black leather, black leather, screech! There in the circle of black was a girl in capris and flip flops! Holy Fur Balls! The Krome Kitties might not have a helmet requirement, but we sure as heck expect more appropriate riding gear than that! Turns out it was former Kitty, Sueanne Rugh, who drove up in her lime green Camaro/Charger/Mustang – one of those fast ridin’ cars – and after hearing about all the fun we were about to have, stuffed 30 bucks in my hand and said, “I’m on the way to work right now, but I’m coming back to the Kitties!” Oh, thank God! Thought there for a minute I was going to have to sic Safety Dana Branam on her for poor riding attire.
With a few less riders than initially planned, we split the group into two. I led the first group; Dottie Schoemaker led the second and off we went with the acronym HAKA (Harper, Anthony, Kiowa, Alva) drummed into my ol’ noggin as a way of safeguarding against any “middle of the highway” turnarounds. Trust me, nobody hates those more than me.
Video Ben got his notes right and met us in Alva, Oklahoma in what must be THE absolute worst gas station in northern Oklahoma. By the way, who the hell picked that gas station anyway? Oh right – it was me. My bad. Ben filmed us as we all filed into that tiny, cramped, sand-covered gas station which is precisely where I made my first bonehead move of the day. Was there a second bonehead move of the day? You betcha. Conoco was the sign I was looking for and assumed it would be a great big white sign with huge red letters. Looking…looking…looking. Crap – there it is! At the very last second, I saw this teeny, tiny little sign that read Conoco buried underneath another sign so I quickly threw on my blinker while at the same time, make a “turn on a dime” right hand turn. Correction…turned on a dime and right in front of Kim Janzen. Probably for the first time ever, Kim got some much-needed practice utilizing her anti-lock brakes (you’re welcome!) and managed to stop before t-boning me. Best part is, I was oblivious to the whole thing. The worst part is, Ben got the whole thing on tape. Dadnabit!
After some creative exiting out of the Conoco Sand Dunes, we got back on the highway headed towards Ben’s Wokanoka, while he and his assistant filmed us leaving town. My instructions were to drive as slowly as possible and he would catch up and film us from the rear, side and front. I did as I was told, but I never saw hide nor hair of Ben. As a matter of fact, I never saw him again for the next 26 miles. Apparently, the second group saw more of him so hopefully, he got some good footage of them.
All that aside, this last leg gave me plenty of time to applaud myself for getting the 18 Kitties and two guest riders all the way to Waynoka without one missed or wrong turn. Back in the old days, Lori (Resnik) Gibbs would never let me lead because she said I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag. Well guess what? This old Kitty not only found her way out of a paper bag, she found her way across state lines! Feeling all smug with myself, I led us into Waynoka and that’s when the paper bag utterly and completely swallowed me up and I made the second bonehead move of the day. For the life of me, I could NOT find the street we were supposed to turn onto to get to the designated campsite for parking and hooking up with Ben and the second group. But, I kept on driving…right on out of town. Thankfully, I did find another campsite sign sometime before we hit Texas. What the hell – how about we give this a look see? After circling the grounds (on ASPHALT thank you very much!), I headed back to town and we stopped for directions for the second time. When talking to the store clerk about how to get to the Deuces Wild Campground, she said just take the next right hand turn which is Ash St. Already knowing it was on Ash St., I commented that I never saw a street sign with said name. “Yeah, there isn’t one.” Perfect. Just perfect.
The trip from Hell that we had been on was about to get a whole lot hotter when we entered the Deuces Wild Campground. Unlike the previous one, this wasn’t all nice and pavey. No siree. This was all sand, dirt and a whole lotta rock! With teeth gritted and hands clenched on our grips, we slid and bumped through the campground until finally, Sue Morrissey from Group 2 waved us into an even rockier campsite. All I could do when I turned off my bike was let out a stream of curse words. Sorry Kitties and onlookers – Queen Kitty Janice has got herself a potty mouth.
The cool and cloudy morning had given way to a very warm and sunny afternoon so layers needed to be shed. With the assistance of quick change artists, Nellie Taylor, Dana Branam and Kathryn Langrehr, Maureen Stout and I shocked and awed everyone in the area with our own version of a strip tease. Sure, there wasn’t a pole in sight, sure there wasn’t one single dollar bill thrown our way, but I know for a fact that there were two dudes in a dune buggy that wasn’t hatin’ it! Did you get THAT on video Ben??
Suffice it to say that Ben’s company, White Trash Productions, certainly lived up to its name. Nellie Taylor and I were the first ones to be summoned into the RV for private interviews and after several attempts, Ben never could get his recorder to work. No kidding, I thought for sure at any moment Ashton Cutcher was going to walk in and declare, “You’ve been punk’d!” The difference being that Ashton’s show is funny. This..not so much. Knowing the Kitties were hot, hungry and growing impatient, Ben conceded defeat and we were released to make the walk into town. By the way, I don’t know who told Ben that it was four blocks into town, but their sense of distance is about as good as my sense of direction! OMG!! I would have paid good stripper tip money to hitch a ride on a dune buggy…had there actually BEEN any stripper tip money.
The Kitties splintered into small groups with a little bit of the afternoon left to explore the merch vendors, food trailers and of course, the snakes! After inhaling a lunch of pulled port parfait, hot links and Moink Balls (anyone know what a Moink Ball is?), several of us plunked down our $5.00 to walk into the Den of Death Snake Pit. Throwing all caution to the wind, I told the cute Mr. Snakehandler Man to give me the biggest, meanest, angriest rattler he had in the pit and wrap that sucker around my neck. I ain’t scared of no stinkin’ rattler! Nellie Taylor, who has a keen dislike for snakes, claims she actually did put a rattler around her neck, but no one actually witnessed it so her story cannot be validated.
After doing a little t-shirt shopping to commemorate our day, we made the long trek back to the campsite, but not before using the hottest outhouse ever (rumor has it that Kim Janzen peed through her long underwear because she couldn’t slide them over her sweaty legs. Again, said story was not witnessed so it cannot be validated.)
We all said a silent prayer that we would make it out of this rock quarry with both wheels on the ground and pointed our noses north. I just want to go on record by saying the fact that not one Kitty dropped her bike on this trip is a testament to what great riders we are…or how mighty the power of prayer is. I prefer to thinks it’s a little of both.
Such was the first ride of the 9th season. It was a picture-perfect spring day with one of the biggest turnouts in Kitty history. If there was a mishap, I don’t remember it. All I recall was seeing a truly great bunch of women enjoying themselves and making a whole lotta memories.
Those on board for the Rocks and Rattlers trip were Janice Friedman, Susan Barber, Nellie Taylor, Sandy Barber, Kelly Green, Cindy Kotschegarow, Maureen Stout, Jean Taylor, Christine Allsman, Kim Janzen, Libby Beckman, LaVonna Deffenbaugh, Linda Moreland, Dottie Schoemaker, Sue Morrissey, Dana Branam, Christina Brown and Kathryn Langrehr.