A scorcher. That’s what the days were like leading up to the Krome Kitty annual overnighter. Sometimes the Weather Gods play well with the Biking Gods and this was certainly the case the morning of Saturday, June 27th, as the day dawned bright and sunny and MUCH cooler. As everyone gathered in the QuikTrip parking lot, I announced that we had to make a quick detour. Turns out the Biking Gods weren’t so kind to Nellie Taylor. When she went to start her bike the night before, all she heard was a whole lot of nothing. It was too late in the evening to do anything about it, so she planned to be at Alef’s Harley Davidson the moment they opened their doors on Saturday morning for a new “whatever it was she needed” to get Firecracker up and running. The detour would take us by Alef’s to pick up Nellie and then we would be on our way. When we arrived at Alef’s, Nellie was already biked up, her engine was fired up and she was ready to go get gassed up. That left us with a few minutes to make sure everything was buttoned up for the trip. About the time Nellie pulled back into the Alef’s parking lot and we’re mounting up, Maureen Stout says, “Oh, did I mention I got engaged?” Wait…WHAT??? You throw that little piece of juicy tidbit out as we’re leaving??? Now we have to wait until at least the next gas stop to get the details. Damn you Maureen! Oh, and it gets worse. She not only didn’t have her rink ON, she didn’t even BRING it so we couldn’t ooh and ahh over it! Double-damn you Maureen!!
With Christine Allsman and Nellie Taylor in the lead and Sue Morrissey in her customary sweep position, we were on the road to Atchison, KS USA. We made a quick stop in Cottonwood Falls for fuel, drinks and jacket shedding (still not enough time to get engagement details…DRATS!) and then we were back on the road. Next stop…Topeka, KS for lunch. As we neared Topeka, GPS Kari Miller took over the lead so we could find our lunch destination without too much confusion. Like a honing pigeon, Kari led us to exactly where we needed to be – The Burger Stand, which seemed to be right in the middle of the Washburn University campus. You know it’s gotta be good if thousands of college students says it is, right? The answer is Hell Yes! This wasn’t your normal run of the mill burger joint. This was a gourmet burger joint with words like truffle and feta and sundried tomato paste being thrown around. I suppose that’s what compelled Suz Tiede to assume a new identity. After placing our orders, we had to give our names so they could call us when our food was ready. Well, in a place like that, Suz felt she needed something a little grander – a little statelier – European even. You can imagine the laughter that erupted when the name MARY MARGUERITE was called and Suz was the one who got up. You can pretend to be anyone you want, but you’ll always be just Suz to us!
After filling our bellies, we rode the short distance to the Topeka Harley Davidson dealership. One of the male employees was standing by the entrance and as each of us filed in, he said, “CaCHING. CaCHING. CaCHING.” Looks like he knows a wallet when he sees one as we all loaded up with shirts, jewelry, and sexy facemasks. Following our spending spree, we all gathered for a group photo shot, which turned out to be the only one of the trip, but a darn good one it was! After stowing all our newly acquired goodies, it was time to ride the last 60 miles to Atchison.
GPS Kari Miller led us right to the door of the Atchison Super 8, which was not really Super at all. After taking an exceptionally long time to get us all checked in (and a little Kitty shenanigans in the lobby), phone calls statted pouring into the front desk with comments like, “Our room is missing a refrigerator.” “Our room has a hole in the wall.” “Our room reeks of cigarette smoke.” “Our room hasn’t been cleaned yet.” To be honest, I felt sorry for the desk clerk as he normally works the overnight shift and he’s lucky to see ONE person check in, let alone thirteen all at once! After some shifting, sorting out, and apologizing, the Kitties were all content with their rooms and changed into more comfortable clothes. For most of us, that meant flip flops, jean capris, a clean shirt and getting rid of bandanas. One person must have been under the impression that Atchison was a hoity toity little town because she changed into a….SKIRT! That person was none other than Maureen Stout! She did look pretty adorable, but one of the funniest moments was when Suz Tiede said, “Note to self…on the next overnight Kitty ride, bring a skirt.”
At this point of the day, the group splintered into three groups. Group A (made up of Janice Friedman, Christine Allsman, Maureen Stout, Suz Tiede, Melaina Phares and Maureen Humbolt) went on a History Mystery Tour of Old Atchison; Group B (made up of Sue Morrissey, Sueanne Rugh, Kari Miller, Bobbie Cole and Christina Brown) went to a local restaurant to relax and have a few cocktails while gazing at the lovely Missouri River; and Group C (made up of Nellie Taylor and Linda Moreland) decided to call it a day. Nellie was a feeling a little under the weather and Linda kept her company as they ordered pizza and watched a little TV. The plan was for Groups A and B to meet up for dinner later.
Reporting for Group A…when you’re told you’re going on a “Walking Tour” of Atchison, KS…wear athletic shoes. Not flip flops or Harley boots! Additionally, when you’re told you’re going on a “Walking Tour” of Atchison, KS be prepared to walk up and down a LOT of hills! People say Kansas is flat. To all those people…I beg to differ. Go take a Walking Tour of Atchison, Kansas and let me know what you think about Flat Kansas. I should also add that by now, the humidity and temperatures were at their highest for the day, so in addition to all the panting and aching, we had sweat running down our backs. Maureen Stout, on the other hand, seemed to be remarkably cool. Hmmm, maybe she’s onto something with that skirt thing. After what seemed like a 5K event, we finally met up with our tour guide, John. In its heyday, Atchison was a very wealthy town so there are many mansions and stately homes. John walked us to every single one and I do mean every…single…one. By now, Maureen Stout had a full blown blister brewing on her foot, but she powered through the pain. John was a wealth of knowledge as he described each home, along with the history of the original owners and current owners. The most fascinating part of the Walking Tour (other than the fact that Maureen wore a skirt) was the “Mystery” part of the tour. Turns out that Atchison is proclaimed to be the most haunted town in Kansas! John reported several instances when unexplained events occurred in the different old homes of Atchison. The most fascinating one was of the current day owners who left town for vacation. As they were returning home, the wife mentioned to her husband that the first thing she was going to do when they got home was have a cup of tea. Upon entering their empty home, they could hear the tea kettle whistling and cups and saucers were set out on their kitchen table. Is that not freaky weird?? John assured us that all the reported instances were from people who were of sound mind and body and not prone to wild fantasies. He also reported that none of the occurrences were scary in nature so it appears Atchison’s ghosts are all kin to Casper the Friendly Ghost! (I acknowledge that some of you young ‘uns probably never heard of Casper, but you’ll have to trust me on this…he’s very cute and very friendly!) Our 5K event had turned into what seemed like a 10K event and after two hours and fallen arches, we said our good-byes to John and walked SOME MORE to the restaurant for dinner. (Side note: these old gals still got it going on as several trucks full of, hopefully young, men threw out a cat call or two. Yes, I know it was dark and they couldn’t really see anything other than that we were women, but it was a cat call all the same. I think I even heard one yell out, “Nice skirt!”)
In the meantime, Group B had decided to call it a night as they received word that Sueanne Rugh’s father was having a serious medical procedure the next morning and they wanted to get a very early start back to Wichita. We agreed to return separately and wished them a good-night and safe travels in the morning (Side note: Sueanne’s father came through the procedure like a champ.)
After dining at Willie’s and yes, you guessed it…walking some more back to our hotel, we all said our good-nights and agreed to meet for the free breakfast in the morning and then point our noses home.
The 2015 Krome Kitty overnighter was coming to an end and while it was a short trip, there were still many memories made, friendships re-enforced, and 407 miles ridden in beautiful weather. Oh, and I finally got the scoop on the engagement story. Larri Brown, you did good! It was fortune cookie brilliance!
A king-sized THANK YOU goes to Maureen Stout and Melaina Phares for planning a fun, eventful trip for all of us to enjoy. You nailed it girls!
Those on board for the Thirteen Kitties and a Couple of Ghosts overnighter were Janice Friedman, Nellie Taylor, Christine Allsman, Sue Morrissey, Maureen Stout, Linda Moreland, Sueanne Rugh, Mary Marguerite aka Suz Tiede, Melaina Phares, Maureen Humbolt, Kari Miller, Bobbie Cole and Christina Brown.