If you happened to see a string of cars leaving the parking lot of Castle Rock State Park with Cher's "Believe" blasting from the windows with a very happy woman behind the wheel recently, relax...it's just one of the "things" the self-described "Warrior Women" do when they make their annual escape to Oregon.
This year's group, consisting of 14 professional women from 6 states, spent Nov. 9-11 treating themselves to spa services at Joanne's Total Image Salon & Spa, shopping at Oregon businesses, and staying at the Pine Creek Cabins near the White Pines State Park.
"We've been coming to Oregon since 1999," said Warrior Woman "Facilitator" Terri Stoner, Iowa. "Every year we just enjoy getting away from work and coming here. We just love the area."
Group members who live out of state fly to a regional airport and then drive to Castle Rock State Park to meet other group members for the official drive to the Pines.
"We change into our 'costumes' and meet at the park. It's an escape for us. When we first started coming here there wasn't even cell phone service, It's so quiet," said Stoner.
The group used to make their escape in Lake Geneva, but found the larger spas too restrictive, crimping the Warrior Women style.
"They wanted to serve us tea all the time so we had to sneak out for something else," she said. Stoner then saw an ad in a local newspaper advertising Joanne Canfield's salon and spa.
"We called and Joanne said 'come on down' and we've been coming here ever since 1999. Joanne lets us take over the place," said Stoner laughing.
The freedom to bring in their own snacks and beverages with massages, facials, and other pedicures all at their ready, has made the salon and spa a perfect fit for the group.
"Everyone gets a nickname when they come. And every year we have a theme, this year's was 'Divas' and every year we have a craft," said Stoner. "We have engineers, MBAs, PhDs, and retired administrators in our group, all professional women between the ages of 30-70, so we don't put up with a lot of crap."
And the banter in one of the spa rooms Saturday morning proved that. Clad in robes with each of their designated glasses in front of them 6 of "Divas" exchanged barbs with one another recalling past adventures in Oregon—like the time the detailed spreadsheet Stoner had made for the weekend was "retired".
"Every year I used to make a speadsheet with the all the times and services outlined for the weekend and one year they tore it up in front of me," said Stoner a retired hospital administrator. "Joanne said 'enough...it's time for you to relax' and now she handles it all."
That personal service is one of the attractions the Warrior Women treasure most when they visit Oregon.
"We just like Oregon," said Pat Frahm, Iowa, an original member of the group. "We have to shop when we we're here. Everyone is very friendly. We have 'people' at Super Valu and Merlin's. It's not a big shopping mall. People know who we are."
"Yes, they love us, because it is about us because you know we are 'Divas'," said Stoner smiling.