A Slice of Heaven and Pie – September 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janice – Founder

A Slice of Heaven and Pie – September 22, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rocky Mountain Kitties – August 30 – September 2, 2019

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

Friday, August 30th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 31st

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 1st

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

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

Janice: “Where?”                                                                                                                                            Suz: “New Mexico.”  

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

Janice: “Where?”

Suz: “New Mexico.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 2nd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janice – Founder

Rocky Mountain Kitties – August 30 – September 2, 2019

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

Friday, August 30th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 31st

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 1st

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

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

Janice: “Where?”

Suz: “New Mexico.”

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

Janice: “Where?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 2nd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s all about the numbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you drain, avoid the pain.

Refill with oil so parts don’t boil.

To properly take care for your primary,

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

Those on board for the 355 mile ride to the 2019 Women’s Freedom Rally were Queenie (Janice), Glitter (Christine), Boom (Lori), Lady (Kathryn), Wrench (Melaina), AliKat (Alice), BadA$$ (Stephanie), Sugar (Lily), Star (Kari), River (Chris), Lil Pibble (Kim), Inky (Susan), Moonshine (Maureen), Annette, Cindy, Krista, Sycho Suz (Suz), BatKat (Nellie), da Vinci (Dawn), Ice (Linda), Half Pint (Tricias), PonyGirl (Colleen), Tink (Bobbie), Tanya, Justine, Frosty (Kristi), Curly (Stefany), Sherita, Shorty (Deborah) and Sonja.

Janice – Founder

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

It’s all about the numbers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you drain, avoid the pain.

Refill with oil so parts don’t boil.

To properly take care for your primary,

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

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

Popsicle Kitties – May 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those on board for the 242-mile Popsicle Kitties Road Trip were Janice “Queenie”, Bobbie “Tink”, Deborah “Shorty”, Shelley, Sherita “Eight Ball?”, Lori “Boom”, Kristi “Frostbite” Evans (not her real Road Name…or is it??), Kathryn “Lady”, Melaina “Wrench”s, Alice “AliKat”, Kari “Star”, Kim “Lil Pibble”, Tresny, Maureen “Moonshine”, Christine “Glitter”, Annette “Howdy”, Suz “Sycho Suz”e, Nellie “BatKat”and Jan “Rang”.

Janice – Founder

Popsicle Kitties – May 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palm Pilot – April 14, 2019

Trust God’s plan.  That was the moral of the story for Sunday, April 14th, when we thought we were going to be riding to Council Grove for our annual Tutu Day after the bike blessing at Douglas Avenue Assembly of God church.  However, God blew some unseasonably cold weather our direction two days before our ride and while He warmed it up enough for a comfortable afternoon ride, He said “You won’t be going anywhere in the morning.”  So, Lori, Kathryn and I feverishly texted back and forth and came up with a Plan B, which was to give God some time to do His thing with the weather; go to the bike blessing AFTER church services and then ride the short distance to Stearman Field in Benton for lunch. 

I guess my use of All Caps when I typed “We are leaving at 12:15 SHARP” in my Facebook post scared the bejeebers out of everyone because when I arrived at 11:40 for the 11:45 arrival time, there were already about a dozen beautiful bikes and snazzy tutued bikers in the parking lot.  As more Kitties joined us, Gary, our personal Krome Kitty photographer, snapped picture after picture of the greetings and frivolity.  I’m going to make a detour in reporting on the day with a story that occurred the next day.  Gary and I were on the phone talking about the link that he had created with all the pictures.  During that conversation, he asked, “When you looked at all the pictures, what was the first thing that popped into your head?”  “That we all love each other?” was my response, to which he replied, “That’s exactly right.  Everyone is hugging one another and laughing with one another and anyone observing the interactions can see there is a great amount of love you all have for each other.”  Amen to that!

As 12:15 SHARP approached, I did a quick check of my slip of paper that required using both sides to record the names because we had a WHOPPING 26 KITTIES signed up and confirmed that everyone was present and accounted for and properly tutued up.  I held a brief meeting to give the instructions for how it was going to go down at the church and we mounted up.  At 12:15 SHARP, we exited the QuikTrip parking lot with Photographer Gary doubling as Traffic Stopper Gary, with my Tom Kat, Greg, providing assistance.

While my son, Pastor Clayton, had left instructions for the congregation to not park on the very farthest west row of parking spaces so we could use it, that didn’t happen.  But once again, God knew best because we all crowded into the very south row and it actually was better because we weren’t so spread out.  Here’s where I have to take another detour in the story.  Clayton later told me that he was in his closing prayer for services when they all heard the bikes come roaring into the parking lot.  Everyone started shouting, “They’re here!  They’re here!”  He told me that he finished his prayer, but I have a feeling he pretty much lost his audience at that moment. 

No sooner had we all gotten parked and started taking off helmets, people came pouring out of the church.  Hugs were plentiful as the members of the church greeted us and welcomed us to Douglas Avenue Church.  After gathering together, Pastor Clayton greeted us with a message and announced that he would be blessing not only the bikes, but our helmets and brake hands.  He also said that since it was Palm Sunday, each of us would be given a palm.  Gifts?  We weren’t expecting gifts, but Kitties love gifts!  Never underestimate the power of prayer (not for gifts!) as Pastor Clayton pointed out Larry, a member of the church, had prayed that God would intervene and allow him to be a part of this event.  You see, Larry loves motorcycles, but he teaches Sunday School before services and had we’d been there earlier in the day, he would have completely missed the whole bike blessing event.   

Pastor Clayton then gave a touching prayer by asking God to keep our bikes steadfast and upright; to keep us off the sand; and to allow us to see the beautiful country He created with a shield of protection around us.  Following the blessing, Pastor Clayton and Pastor Brandon, went to each individual Kitty to say a prayer over us and anoint our helmets, heads, bikes and hands with blessed oil.   In God’s infinite wisdom he thought there was one special Kitty who needed a double blessing.  That special Kitty was Kim and God brought both Pastors together at the same time to pray over her. 

Following the blessings, several of the children from the church passed out the palms and we gathered under the church sign and the cross on the church for group pictures.  We’ve had a lot of group pictures taken over the years, but hands down, the ones with these palms were the absolute best!  The sun was shining brilliantly upon us and all the green against our black leather and what all that green symbolized made for some pretty spectacular pictures.  Speaking of pictures, Photographer Gary and Novice Photographer Greg captured each individual blessing and lots of candid shots of the event.  While I had complete faith in Gary, I was a very worried about Greg.  You see when I labeled him “Novice Photographer”, that’s exactly what I mean.  If it ain’t a truck part, Greg ain’t taking a picture of it so to trust him with this important responsibility was a leap of faith.  Thank you, God, for not letting him let me down…this time. 

After stowing our palms in our saddle bags, we bid our farewells to our new church friends and prepared to leave; feeling a whole lot more blessed and grateful for everything Pastor Clayton, Pastor Brandon and all of Douglas Avenue Church did to make this day so special for us.  Truth be told, they were as excited about us coming as we were about us going…eventually.  Clayton told me a story of when he first announced to his church family that a big ole gang of lady bikers were coming on April 14th to be blessed that there were a couple of elderly women who were not in favor of having us.  In their defense, they are from the era when bikers were a symbol of roughhousing, hooligans and ne’er-do-wells.  Clayton’s response to them was, “After these ladies leave the church, they are going on an hour-long ride (this was when we thought we were going to Council Grove.)  If we can play one small part in them thinking about God for that hour, then it’s our duty and our honor to do that for God.”   The ladies’ response…”Amen Pastor!”  And guess what?  Those ladies were right there praying with us and for us on that Sunday morning!  They probably took one look at our tutus and thought, these ain’t no Alley Kats; these are just a bunch of Pretty Kitties!  (No offense Alikat!)

So, we fired up our bikes, revved the engines and honked our horns (which caught the attention of more than one neighbor!) and filed past the receiving line of well-wishers and palm-wavers, who were trying their darndest to out-hoot and out-holler the roar of our bikes.   As I was leading the first string of Kitties to Benton, Pastor Clayton’s words to the elderly ladies replayed in my head.  He was right, I DID think about God and all of my many blessings, so mission accomplished Douglas Avenue Church!

Without one missed turn or one gravel road (you’re welcome!), I led the king-sized group right to the closed gate that Stearman Field had promised me that morning would be open so we could park on the tarmac.  As I sat there wondering how did this happen, Maureen took matters into her own hands and squeeeezzzzed past the gate and one by one, we followed her lead.  I briefly thought about saying something in my stern voice to the staff about that little fib they told me, but being so full of blessings made me think better of it.  Hey, we all make mistakes, am I right?  Yeah, remember that the next time I lead you down a gravel road!

What Stearman Field did get right was they had plenty of tables reserved for the Tutued Throng of Kitties that descended upon them.  We all claimed our seats and starting de-layering as the day had warmed quite nicely.  Orders were placed and the booming noise that has become synonymous with Lunchtime with the Kitties commenced. 

I had given the job of selling 50/50 tickets at the QuikTrip to Bobbie Cole and she reported we had a staggering $62.00 up for grabs.  Again, after having just left such a spiritual event, I resisted the urge to pray to God that He would let me win this ginormous pot, but I sure had my Kitty paws crossed!  After I pimped all my wares that I had brought for eager Kitties to buy, we gave the honors of pulling the ticket to our kind waitress.  It’s remarkable how quiet the Kitties can be when they’re waiting to hear a number called and there’s $62.00 at stake.  After the waitress called out the number, all you heard was the rustle of tickets being looked at, until out of the blue, we heard, “That’s me!”  “That’s me” turned out to be none other than Dawn!  Congratulations Dawn and not to be tooting our own horn, but did you all see that she just bought ANOTHER Valkyrie motorcycle?  Let’s all say it together…You’re Welcome!

After settling up our tabs and taking some fun pictures by the bikes; with each other and at least 100 selfies (seriously, I do believe Suz got a selfie with every single Kitty!), it was time to start herding Kitties for the group lunch shot.  Lori happens to know the owners of the luxury hangar next door to Stearman Field so she real quick texted them to see if we could use their patio for our group picture.  Of course, as soon as they heard, Kitties, tutus, and bikers, they couldn’t throw enough thumbs up her way!  So, we’re all gathered, but wait…we need a photographer!  Where the heck is Photographer Gary when you need him?!  Lori ran back to Stearman Field and commandeered a lady to take the picture and as luck would have it, she was a professional photographer!  That means two things:  1) she knows what the heck she’s doing; and 2) she brought her own professional camera!  She snapped a few pictures with my non-professional camera phone and took some with her fancy schmancy camera.  After checking to make sure we got a good one, I released the Kitties, who started scattering like crackheads at a drug raid.  Not that we’re crackheads; although, I’ve been known to be a knucklehead on more than one occasion.  I know what you’re all thinking…143rd St.  Turn the page people!

Several of the Kitties announced they were going to Twister City, while the rest of us said we were pointing our noses home, in all kinds of directions.  While we tried to have a plan for Twister City people to gather in one spot and everyone else in another, it didn’t quite work out that way.  And because we went in different directions, we didn’t have a clear idea of who was going where and that caused one Kitty, Justine, to be left behind…stranded…with a bike that refused to go.  But with palms in her saddle bags and a blessing still fresh from this morning, God sent her three saviors of Bobbie, Denise and Krista, who were in a car.  They were the last of the Kitties to leave Stearman Field and saw Justine on the side of the road.  Justine was eventually able to get her bike started and the three saviors followed her home to make sure she was safe and sound.  Thank you Krista, Bobbie and Denise! 

And that’s not the only example of God intervening that day.  This was reported to me the following Monday and it literally gave me goosebumps.  Kim, being one of the Twister City Kitties, was on her way home when a guy in a car who must have been on his phone, reading a book, trimming his nose hair, or doing anything other than paying attention, merged right into Kim’s lane without one iota of an idea that she was there.  Her words to me were “I felt no fear or panic and had the wherewithal to speed up instead of slow down or he would have hit me.  He never saw me.  It didn’t even shake me up.  Oh, and I also didn’t give him the finger!”  Well, the mystery as to why Kim got that double blessing has been solved!  God knew she was going to need it that day.  With a strong shield of protection around her and a palm as her pilot, Kim avoided a serious tragedy.  And let’s not overlook the “I also didn’t give him the finger!”  If that’s not a sign of God working through Kim, I don’t know what is!  When I told Pastor Clayton this story, he was overjoyed that a) Kim was OK; b) his prayer for our protection worked so quickly; c) the palm, which is a symbol of peace, allowed her to remain calm; and d) he had a new topic for a sermon.  And what happened when Pastor Clayton told Pastor Brandon, the most enthusiastic man in all the land, about this?  As you might expect, he shouted out with joy and praise to God!

Well, there you have it!  I don’t know if it was the tutus or the bike blessing or everyone itching to get out on their bikes for the first official Kitty ride or a combination thereof, but it was the largest attended Kitty ride in our 15-year history!  As a matter of fact, I did the math and 76% of the Club came out to play that day.  I don’t know how that day could have been any better; well, maybe if I had won the 50/50 pot.  That would have made it better.

Those on board for the Palm Pilot Road Trip were Janice (Queenie), Justine, Lori, Kristi, Kathryn (Lady), Stefany (Curly), Alice (AliKat), Shelley, Bobbie (Tink), Stephanie (BadA$$), Lily (Sugar), Chris (River), Sonja, Kim (Lil Pibble), Susan, Tresny, Maureen Moonshine), Annette (Howdy), Denise (Squirrel), Krista, Suz (Sycho Suz), Nellie (BatKat), Linda (Ice), Deborah (Shorty), Jan, and Dawn (da Vinci). 

Janice – Founder

Palm Pilot – April 14, 2019

Trust God’s plan.  That was the moral of the story for Sunday, April 14th, when we thought we were going to be riding to Council Grove for our annual Tutu Day after the bike blessing at Douglas Avenue Assembly of God church.  However, God blew some unseasonably cold weather our direction two days before our ride and while He warmed it up enough for a comfortable afternoon ride, He said “You won’t be going anywhere in the morning.”  So, Lori Gibbs, Kathryn Langrehr and I feverishly texted back and forth and came up with a Plan B, which was to give God some time to do His thing with the weather; go to the bike blessing AFTER church services and then ride the short distance to Stearman Field in Benton for lunch. 

I guess my use of All Caps when I typed “We are leaving at 12:15 SHARP” in my Facebook post scared the bejeebers out of everyone because when I arrived at 11:40 for the 11:45 arrival time, there were already about a dozen beautiful bikes and snazzy tutued bikers in the parking lot.  As more Kitties joined us, Gary Friedman, our personal Krome Kitty photographer, snapped picture after picture of the greetings and frivolity.  I’m going to make a detour in reporting on the day with a story that occurred the next day.  Gary and I were on the phone talking about the link that he had created with all the pictures.  During that conversation, he asked, “When you looked at all the pictures, what was the first thing that popped into your head?”  “That we all love each other?” was my response, to which he replied, “That’s exactly right.  Everyone is hugging one another and laughing with one another and anyone observing the interactions can see there is a great amount of love you all have for each other.”  Amen to that!

As 12:15 SHARP approached, I did a quick check of my slip of paper that required using both sides to record the names because we had a WHOPPING 26 KITTIES signed up and confirmed that everyone was present and accounted for and properly tutued up.  I held a brief meeting to give the instructions for how it was going to go down at the church and we mounted up.  At 12:15 SHARP, we exited the QuikTrip parking lot with Photographer Gary Friedman doubling as Traffic Stopper Gary Friedman and Greg Friedman providing assistance.

While my son, Pastor Clayton, had left instructions for the congregation to not park on the very farthest west row of parking spaces so we could use it, that didn’t happen.  But once again, God knew best because we all crowded into the very south row and it actually was better because we weren’t so spread out.  Here’s where I have to take another detour in the story.  Clayton later told me that he was in his closing prayer for services when they all heard the bikes come roaring into the parking lot.  Everyone started shouting, “They’re here!  They’re here!”  He told me that he finished his prayer, but I have a feeling he pretty much lost his audience at that moment. 

No sooner had we all gotten parked and started taking off helmets, people came pouring out of the church.  Hugs were plentiful as the members of the church greeted us and welcomed us to Douglas Avenue Church.  After gathering together, Pastor Clayton greeted us with a message and announced that he would be blessing not only the bikes, but our helmets and brake hands.  He also said that since it was Palm Sunday, each of us would be given a palm.  Gifts?  We weren’t expecting gifts, but Kitties love gifts!  Never underestimate the power of prayer (not for gifts!) as Pastor Clayton pointed out Larry, a member of the church, had prayed that God would intervene and allow him to be a part of this event.  You see, Larry loves motorcycles, but he teaches Sunday School before services and had we’d been there earlier in the day, he would have completely missed the whole bike blessing event.   

Pastor Clayton then gave a touching prayer by asking God to keep our bikes steadfast and upright; to keep us off the sand; and to allow us to see the beautiful country He created with a shield of protection around us.  Following the blessing, Pastor Clayton and Pastor Brandon, went to each individual Kitty to say a prayer over us and anoint our helmets, heads, bikes and hands with blessed oil.   In God’s infinite wisdom he thought there was one special Kitty who needed a double blessing.  That special Kitty was Kim Jones and God brought both Pastors together at the same time to pray over her. 

Following the blessings, several of the children from the church passed out the palms and we gathered under the church sign and the cross on the church for group pictures.  We’ve had a lot of group pictures taken over the years, but hands down, the ones with these palms were the absolute best!  The sun was shining brilliantly upon us and all the green against our black leather and what all that green symbolized made for some pretty spectacular pictures.  Speaking of pictures, Photographer Gary Friedman and Novice Photographer Greg Friedman (yep, they’re brothers, although I see zero resemblance) captured each individual blessing and lots of candid shots of the event.  While I had complete faith in Gary, I was a very worried about Greg.  You see when I labeled him “Novice Photographer”, that’s exactly what I mean.  If it ain’t a truck part, Greg ain’t taking a picture of it so to trust him with this important responsibility was a leap of faith.  Thank you, God, for not letting him let me down…this time. 

After stowing our palms in our saddle bags, we bid our farewells to our new church friends and prepared to leave; feeling a whole lot more blessed and grateful for everything Pastor Clayton, Pastor Brandon and all of Douglas Avenue Church did to make this day so special for us.  Truth be told, they were as excited about us coming as we were about us going…eventually.  Clayton told me a story of when he first announced to his church family that a big ole gang of lady bikers were coming on April 14th to be blessed that there were a couple of elderly women who were not in favor of having us.  In their defense, they are from the era when bikers were a symbol of roughhousing, hooligans and ne’er-do-wells.  Clayton’s response to them was, “After these ladies leave the church, they are going on an hour-long ride (this was when we thought we were going to Council Grove.)  If we can play one small part in them thinking about God for that hour, then it’s our duty and our honor to do that for God.”   The ladies’ response…”Amen Pastor!”  And guess what?  Those ladies were right there praying with us and for us on that Sunday morning!  They probably took one look at our tutus and thought, these ain’t no Alley Kats; these are just a bunch of Pretty Kitties!  (No offense Alikat!)

So, we fired up our bikes, revved the engines and honked our horns (which caught the attention of more than one neighbor!) and filed past the receiving line of well-wishers and palm-wavers, who were trying their darndest to out-hoot and out-holler the roar of our bikes.   As I was leading the first string of Kitties to Benton, Pastor Clayton’s words to the elderly ladies replayed in my head.  He was right, I DID think about God and all of my many blessings, so mission accomplished Douglas Avenue Church!

Without one missed turn or one gravel road (you’re welcome!), I led the king-sized group right to the closed gate that Stearman Field had promised me that morning would be open so we could park on the tarmac.  As I sat there wondering how did this happen, Maureen Stout took matters into her own hands and squeeeezzzzed past the gate and one by one, we followed her lead.  I briefly thought about saying something in my stern voice to the staff about that little fib they told me, but being so full of blessings made me think better of it.  Hey, we all make mistakes, am I right?  Yeah, remember that the next time I lead you down a gravel road!

What Stearman Field did get right was they had plenty of tables reserved for the Tutued Throng of Kitties that descended upon them.  We all claimed our seats and starting de-layering as the day had warmed quite nicely.  Orders were placed and the booming noise that has become synonymous with Lunchtime with the Kitties commenced. 

I had given the job of selling 50/50 tickets at the QuikTrip to Bobbie Cole and she reported we had a staggering $62.00 up for grabs.  Again, after having just left such a spiritual event, I resisted the urge to pray to God that He would let me win this ginormous pot, but I sure had my Kitty paws crossed!  After I pimped all my wares that I had brought for eager Kitties to buy, we gave the honors of pulling the ticket to our kind waitress.  It’s remarkable how quiet the Kitties can be when they’re waiting to hear a number called and there’s $62.00 at stake.  After the waitress called out the number, all you heard was the rustle of tickets being looked at, until out of the blue, we heard, “That’s me!”  “That’s me” turned out to be none other than Dawn Morse!  Congratulations Dawn and not to be tooting our own horn, but did you all see that she just bought ANOTHER Valkyrie motorcycle?  Let’s all say it together…You’re Welcome!

After settling up our tabs and taking some fun pictures by the bikes; with each other and at least 100 selfies (seriously, I do believe Suz Tiede got a selfie with every single Kitty!), it was time to start herding Kitties for the group lunch shot.  Lori Gibbs happens to know the owners of the luxury hangar next door to Stearman Field so she real quick texted them to see if we could use their patio for our group picture.  Of course, as soon as they heard, Kitties, tutus, and bikers, they couldn’t throw enough thumbs up her way!  So, we’re all gathered, but wait…we need a photographer!  Where the heck is Photographer Gary when you need him?!  Lori ran back to Stearman Field and commandeered a lady to take the picture and as luck would have it, she was a professional photographer!  That means two things:  1) she knows what the heck she’s doing; and 2) she brought her own professional camera!  She snapped a few pictures with my non-professional camera phone and took some with her fancy schmancy camera.  After checking to make sure we got a good one, I released the Kitties, who started scattering like crackheads at a drug raid.  Not that we’re crackheads; although, I’ve been known to be a knucklehead on more than one occasion.  I know what you’re all thinking…143rd St.  Turn the page people!

Several of the Kitties announced they were going to Twister City, while the rest of us said we were pointing our noses home, in all kinds of directions.  While we tried to have a plan for Twister City people to gather in one spot and everyone else in another, it didn’t quite work out that way.  And because we went in different directions, we didn’t have a clear idea of who was going where and that caused one Kitty, Justine Busher, to be left behind…stranded…with a bike that refused to go.  But with palms in her saddle bags and a blessing still fresh from this morning, God sent her three saviors of Bobbie Cole, Denise Johnson and Krista Cotterill, who were in a car.  They were the last of the Kitties to leave Stearman Field and saw Justine on the side of the road.  Justine was eventually able to get her bike started and the three saviors followed her home to make sure she was safe and sound.  Thank you Krista, Bobbie and Denise! 

And that’s not the only example of God intervening that day.  This was reported to me the following Monday and it literally gave me goosebumps.  Kim Jones, being one of the Twister City Kitties, was on her way home when a guy in a car who must have been on his phone, reading a book, trimming his nose hair, or doing anything other than paying attention, merged right into Kim’s lane without one iota of an idea that she was there.  Her words to me were “I felt no fear or panic and had the wherewithal to speed up instead of slow down or he would have hit me.  He never saw me.  It didn’t even shake me up.  Oh, and I also didn’t give him the finger!”  Well, the mystery as to why Kim got that double blessing has been solved!  God knew she was going to need it that day.  With a strong shield of protection around her and a palm as her pilot, Kim avoided a serious tragedy.  And let’s not overlook the “I also didn’t give him the finger!”  If that’s not a sign of God working through Kim, I don’t know what is!  When I told Pastor Clayton this story, he was overjoyed that a) Kim was OK; b) his prayer for our protection worked so quickly; c) the palm, which is a symbol of peace, allowed her to remain calm; and d) he had a new topic for a sermon.  And what happened when Pastor Clayton told Pastor Brandon, the most enthusiastic man in all the land, about this?  As you might expect, he shouted out with joy and praise to God!

Well, there you have it!  I don’t know if it was the tutus or the bike blessing or everyone itching to get out on their bikes for the first official Kitty ride or a combination thereof, but it was the largest attended Kitty ride in our 15-year history!  As a matter of fact, I did the math and 76% of the Club came out to play that day.  I don’t know how that day could have been any better; well, maybe if I had won the 50/50 pot.  That would have made it better.

Those on board for the Palm Pilot Road Trip were Janice Friedman (Queenie), Justine Busher, Lori Gibbs, Kristi Evans, Kathryn Langrehr (Lady), Stefany White (Curly), Alice Friedman (AliKat), Shelley Seidl, Bobbie Cole (Tink), Stephanie Rodriguez (BadA$$), Lily Nordyke (Sugar), Chris Emond (River), Sonja McCall, Kim Jones (Lil Pibble), Susan Riley, Tresny Janzen, Maureen Stout (Moonshine), Annette South (Howdy), Denise Johnson (Squirrel), Krista Cotterill, Suz Tiede (Sycho Suz), Nellie Taylor (BatKat), Linda Moreland (Ice), Deborah Barker (Shorty), Jan Brock, and Dawn Morse (da Vinci).  We’s gots to get some Road Names assigned!