2019 Sequoyah Gravel Run 10K

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This past Sunday I drove an hour southeast of Tulsa to Oklahoma’s Sequoyah State Park to run the inaugral Sequoyah Gravel Run 10K. They also had 5K and 15K races as well and earlier had bicycling events.

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It had been raining the day before but Sunday it was sunny, and kind of cold and windy actually. Perfect conditions for running in other words. They sent us off and away we went.

I ran with Paula and Misti. This is the third race we have run together. We all kind of go at the same pace so it works out well.

There were only a few really muddy spots on the course, all easily circumvented. An environmentally conscious runner always goes right through the mud to avoid damaging the non-trail segments. And then there is me who hates running with cold wet socks. Sorry, true confessions time.

You have to look close but we came upon some riders on horses. That was cool.

Another muddy spot, nope I didn’t splash through this puddle either. Sorry.

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And the finish line. Me in the middle, Paula to my right, Misti in the blue, a friend of theirs in yellow, and the legendary Trail Zombie, aka Ken Childress, on my far right. Ken is not only a great trail runner but a very generous and kind guy as well. He has directed so many races and helped a lot of people out in the sport.

We finished third and fourth males on the race so we got to share the podium also.

I give Kudos to the organizers of the race.

  • Great trails – It had rained the whole day before but the trails were in great shape with just a few really bad puddles. (Not their fault right). The park was beautiful and the trails in good shape.
  • They didn’t have a ton of trail markers but they had a couple dozen people on the course making sure nobody got lost.
  • They had a couple aid stations with plenty of supplies.
  • Beer – Craft beer from Heirloom Rustic Ales at the end, plus a complimentary glass to put it in. That will make the sustainability people I work with swoon with delight when I tell them that.
  • A nice touch is that everybody got a framed photo of themself at the finish.
  • So I give the race five stars out of five. I’ll be back!!

Thank you to the organizers, the sponsors, and the army of volunteers that it takes to put these events on.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Tulsa 2019 Auto Show

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I sneaked off for a little bit today amongst a busy day to check out the Tulsa Auto Show at the Fairgrounds.

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It has considerably downsized in the twenty some years I have been going. People don’t seem as excited about cars as what they used to be.

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I don’t blame them. All the sedans look like Toyota and the truck and SUV’s look alike also.

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The emphasis these days seems to be on technology and other features. My new Subaru is impressive. It has twin cameras installed up by the rear view mirror and they almost drive the car by themself. If I have an excursion they car pulls back into the lane. My car also sends me a monthly email telling me how it is doing. It never asks how I am doing. Maybe the next big thing will be cars with more emotional intelligence. You heard it here first.

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They also have lots of older cars there. I love them. You can actually tell them apart from each other.

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I wonder why don’t see pickups like this any longer?

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I love the Corvairs. Lots of cool technology in these cars. Not because of gee whiz type features but of operational simplicity.

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The new pickup trucks are gigantic but I love the look of the older trucks better. Especially if they have cool two toned paint jobs like this. Look at that grill!

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Anyway, I had a lot of fun. I like car shows. Have you been to one lately?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday!!

Spring Skies in Tulsa

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Spring stepped up this week after weeks of cold. And so I took my bike on the RiverParks Trails after work. Here is a shadow selfie of me on my fifteen year old Giant at work.

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A little sunset action on the west bank of the Arkansas River.

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A view of the soon to be demolished Pedestrian Bridge. The powers that be decided we needed something fancier to fit in with our new Gathering Place Park.

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Same bridge only behind several varieties of redbuds. The white variety is actually still a redbud. Or so I am told.

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More redbuds!! And my old bike. People make fun of my bike because it is very old and heavy and not sleek and I have a bell and a mirror on it. They say get something newer and faster. Why, what is my hurry?

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And Monday, the Tulsa Drillers were playing an 11 am game. Well by gum, I have lots of vacation and a flexible type job so after clearing with my boss I went down a bought a ticket right behind home plate and watched me a baseball game!! No better way to spend a day. Actually if my son and wife with me it could be better. But they hate baseball, so never mind. You like my seat? The guy with the radar gun was six seats to my right. And then I went back to work after watching about six innings. I love daytime games.

ABC Wednesday – “N” is for …

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First up “N” is for Natural Gas!! That is what I do for a living. It’s kind of hard to take a picture of though because it is odorless and colorless. (The odor you associate with it is added before it gets to your house.) Above are pictured natural gas compressors in the Woodford Shale Field east of Oklahoma City. My job involves optimizing the use of these machines to maximize the production of natural gas while minimizing costs (consistent with safe operation).

Believe it or not, I am on the sustainability team at work as optimization is all about sustainability. Do I believe in man-made global warming? Yep, I do. I also believe in hot showers! I am an “all the above” on energy and I think we are headed toward green energy faster than what most people think. I follow the trends and stats. Wind and Solar is taking market share away from natural gas (for electric power generation) and gas is taking away market share from coal and nuclear, and is barely holding its own. The growth in natural gas production is export. Energy for transportation (gasoline for our cars) will be the hard part.

I love the idea of nuclear power but I am not sure we are going to restart that. I am reading “Midnight in Chernobyl” by Adam Higginbotham and there are some chilling passages, especially about the plant management who refused to believe that a reactor core had literally exploded and insisted that they had it under control, when actually their reactor core graphite was all over the countryside and there was literally no reactor left to cool. I can tell you from first hand experience that the human capacity for denial is infinite. (Oops I digress, I am bad about that!)

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N is also for Neon. This is Orphas’s Lounge in downtown Tulsa. I have been stepping over the drunks passed out at its front door since I’ve been working in Tulsa since 1992 (admittedly a rare occurrence.) My goal is to go inside and have a beer one of these days before I retire. As old as I am though, I am too young to die!!

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N is for National Guard Armory. This one is a now privately owned one in Haskell, Oklahoma about an hour or so from Tulsa. Remember when all the towns had one it seemed. They used to be almost community centers. Not any longer for some reason.

So that’s about it!! I am linking with ABC Wednesday

Our World – Tulsa Botanic Center Tulips 2019

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I took the day off Friday and wife Heather, and son Logan ventured out north of Tulsa to check out the flowers at the Tulsa Botanic Garden.

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The Tulips are in bloom and are beautiful. I think they planted something like 130,000 bulbs or something like that and they are dazzling especially in full sunlight.

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All sorts of colors and varieties.

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And here is wife Heather! She loves the flowers.

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And son Logan, he is okay with flowers and came along in anticipation of the ice cream to come later.

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And I captured Heather again.

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A few daffodils.

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Thousands of fragrant violas.

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I snuck in my conjuring ball and took a few photos with it.

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You have to really be careful holding it, especially in the full sun because it flat burn a hole in your skin in seconds flat. So I have learned to hold it on the top. I flip most of the pics over anyway. It took me a while to learn how to get decent pics with it. I use a point and shoot in the macro mode and focus on the ball. You can use an SLR or a smart phone and I have but it is kind of clumsy, to me it is anyway.

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I never get tired of the tulips. The Garden has come a long ways over the years. I remember running trail races through the property years ago wondering when were they ever going to get some color out here. Will they have it in a big way now.

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We were out there because it was my birthday. This is my wife of many years, Heather. She spoils me shamelessly.

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Yep 64 years old as of Saturday. I like numbers and 64 is two to the 6th power. I don’t think I’ll make it to two to the seventh years, or 128. For some reason that doesn’t bother me. Ask me if I make it to 127 and I’ll probably be singing a different tune!!

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Flowering All Over

Earlier this week I went biking on Tulsa’s Riverparks trails along both sides of the river for about 14 miles total.

I saw my first rowers of the season. They have been absent for a while because their boathouse burned down. They are back in business now. I love watching them. It looks very hard work. Here they are making great progress on against the water flow of the river.

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I stopped near some white bud trees at the base of Turkey Mountain.

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And at what I call the Bear Fountain at the southern end of my ride. Notice the flowing water effect? I use a new photo app called Spectre to get that. It can do that while hand held, no tripod needed although that would be helpful. Note how the rest of the photo is a little fuzzy? I have dozens of photo apps. I have so many I forget about them. How about you, what are your favorites. I use Snapseed the most.

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It was sunset by the time I got back to my car. Wait a minute you are saying, the post title says something about flowers! Sorry, I get distracted. Here are some flowers.

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Tulips at Tulsa’s Woodward Park. I love them.

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I used my macro lens. It takes great pics of flowers, and squirrels, but no squirrel pics today, sorry.

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And this is a little overexposed and then I “fixed” it and then I went back to the original image. It’s good to share our trials and tribulations, right?

And I used my LensBall to get this shot of the ”Appeal to the Great Spirit” sculpture at Woodward Park. I know I may use my conjuring ball too much but I love it. Sorry

And that is it for this week. I had to finish up my post on my iPad and it worked fairly well. I am linking this to Skywatch Friday, which I moderate. Come check us out!

Skywatch Friday – Boys Night Out on the Deck

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Once a month, my wife has her book group, and for the last nineteen years or so Logan and I have “Boys Night Out” where we go out and get bite and then go do something depending on our mood. This past Tuesday was our evening and we went to a restaurant here in Tulsa overlooking the Arkansas River.

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The air was cool and the sun was warm and the view sublime. Service was kind of slow but we didn’t care we talked about a wide range of topics. Everything from Logan’s school to Article 13 that passed in Europe this week and everything in between and beyond.

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When we started the sun was high, when we left it was getting dark.

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Did we go home? Nope, time for some ice cream at a funky ice cream joint downtown.

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It was Viennese Coffee and Vegan Coffee for him and Peanut Butter Curry and Marshall’s Stout for me. And more conversation for both of us.

Then we went home!

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – Spring Weekend Update

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We are unwinding from cold Spring to a warmer Spring. Last Thursday I got home in time for a fast (for me) ten miles on a trail close to home. I can run again after about a one year hiatus so I plan on alternating running with bicycling. Which probably means that I will suck at both but I am going to protect my knees.

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Friday I discovered the thrill of cheap tickets on stubhub(dot)com. March Madness came to Tulsa and as game time approached the prices of tickets from the online scalpers plunged. I was able to get a lower level ticked for a fraction of the face cost. I love getting a deal and I thoroughly enjoyed the game.

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Friday night was warm enough for the first fire on the patio night for Heather and I, and the dogs. Although they had a worried look, like “We have a perfectly good house just a few feet away, what are doing out here?”

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Saturday afternoon Logan and I headed to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and along with a bunch of other people rebagged potatoes from huge supersacks holding hundreds of pounds to ten pound bags. After about three hours I think I have had enough of potato sacking to last me a while.

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Here is a sign they had as we left . I liked it and thought I would share it.

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Sunday morning was more volunteering for me as I helped at an aid station for a trail race on Turkey Mountain here in Tulsa. I poured out cups of gatorade and water, set out cookies, pretzels, cheetos, m&m’s and potato chips, cut up bananas, and made a bunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

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Look at those people actually running. None of the photos taken of me while I am running, actually show me running. I look like a fat guy walking to a donut shop.

Trail Runners and are a great group. They are very polite and appreciative. Most of them stop for a little bit and visit. Also they are very neat and tidy. On road races it is customary for the racers to just throw the cups down on the street at an aid station. I have never once seen that happen in a trail race. They hate litter and so put the cups in the trash sack and a few of them actually pick up bits of trash as they are running. They love their trails and want them to stay clean.

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As you can see it was kind of a party from time to time. It was a lot of fun but I was beat after my three hour shift, plus I had to walk back to the car through the mud that these folks were running in.

So that was my weekend, how was yours?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Spring 2019 Edition

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Spring is here finally. Warm days, cool nights, periodic rains! Sign me up. Plus the daffodils are blooming. I went to Tulsa’s Woodward Park on Tuesday and they were blooming. It seems to have caught everybody by surprise.

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I love my new lensball maybe too much.

The pickers were not out yet. The people who pick the flowers and tell me that “The flowers are for everybody, so its okay!” So I got them early. Next come the Tulips!!

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I know, to others it should be called Turkey Mountain hill but I love it.

That’s Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain over there across the Arkansas River.

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And here is a guard donkey out in western Oklahoma. Now pay attention, my wife’s cousin’s wife took the pic and texted it to me. I edited it and post it on instagram. Are we instagram friends yet? Why not, I am @yogiab. Connect! That’s what we do on the interwebs right. Do it now!! Guard donkeys are used to protect cow herds from predators such as coyotes.

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On Sunday, I went for my first bike ride of the year on the RiverParks. I loved it!! I only went ten miles and it was great and brutal at the same time. I loved the sunshine but my butt was feeling the ten miles.

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Something new was the electric powered scooters on the trails. My grumpy curmedgeonly self was like these need to be banned! They have no use on the sacred Riverparks trails and my other self really loved the smiles of joy of the riders as they cruised on by. So I am keeping an open mind.

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And then the puzzling case of the strange person laying across the lanes of the bicycle lane while watching a rugby match (yes, rugby is a semi big thing in Tulsa). Hmmm. What’s up with that?

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I love Turkey Mountain before the vegetation grows back, and the snakes. Oh btw, the snakes are already out, and the chiggers, and the ticks. Sorry

Monday night I went running on Turkey Mountain. It felt totally unnatural and I couldn’t figure it out and then it struck me. After I injured my knees back in 2017, they didn’t quit hurting until June of 2018. By then I was bicycling whenever I could. So it has been two years since I have been running regularly.

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And I can tell it! My multifaceted program of bicycling, elliptical machines, workout classes, yoga classes and lots of walking are okay but nothing beats fitness and fun like running. I only did about 2.6 miles but I loved it.

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Two years ago it was about trying to fit in an 8 mile run in such a small space without looping anything again. Now, its about keeping my eyes open and loving what I see.

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A rare add to a post. Wednesday night I captured this image of the Equinox Supermoon, or Worm Moon, or my favorite, the Lenten Moon.

Well, I have overstayed my welcome, I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Free Like the Birds

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We had a little group meeting at work a few days ago where they gave us an update on what is going on and what is planned and so on. I started with this outfit when the group was pretty small and last year they were just a few million short of a billion dollars in earnings so we have been pretty successful and I have had my part in it and have been rewarded and that is great that have been and continue to be good to me and now I am in a support job which is fine and I’m thinking about retiring in the next year or so.

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But a funny thing happened. I got into what the future plans were and thinking, I can’t leave now. I want to see what happens and I want to be a part of it! And then the IT guy got up and started talking about all the software tools and upgrades we are going to get. So it was like, wow, I want to see that also.

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But then I realized that there is always going to be new things going on and there will always be new tools to use and that is great but I don’t want to be hauled out of work feet first, so to speak so it is going to be others taking up the challenge and I’ll be off doing something else.

I read a poem recently by Mary Oliver called Storage where she writes about moving from a bigger house to a smaller house and putting some of her treasures in a storage unit and then a few years later she hires a guy to haul it all off because they were no longer treasures to her and the poem closes with:
…Things,
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing – the reason they can fly
.”

So I need to make room for other things besides business plans and tools. Things like spending more time with my wife, reading more books, riding my bike more, taking lots more yoga classes, staying up late, getting up late, lingering over coffee, seeing more movies and not giving a second thought about what I left behind except to make sure the pension checks don’t bounce.