Author Archives: Alan Bates

Our World Tuesday – Yellowstone Park’s Gibbon Falls

I have been out of pocket for a few days. My sister Ellen  who works as a seasonal Park Ranger in West Yellowstone, Montana for the Yellowstone National Park  invited me up for a few days for a chance to see a bit of the park with her. She loves sharing the park. 

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One of the first things we looked at was Gibbon Falls on the Gibbon River. A beautiful 84 foot drop of the Gibbon River.  This is the view from a bit downriver.

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The Gibbon  River is about 25 miles long and starts near the center of the park at the outlet of Grebe Lake and confluences with the Firehole River to form the Madison River.

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This is a view of the river downstream of the falls as it flows toward the Firehole River. I came across a post talking about how the Park Service is starting a process to remove non-native fish like rainbow and brown trout from the river and re-introduce native species such as cutthroat trout. They are starting later this month and is expected to continue to 2020 or 2021.  I love these kind of projects.

 Ellen tells me that the week I was there the visitor count had dropped off presumably because of schools starting. The park had the fewest people I have ever seen on my visits there. That being said, the parking lots fill up early and so you need to get up get out early to go see what you want to see.

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My sister Ellen

This is just a small bit of all that we saw in my few days at Yellowstone. I am trying to break my visit down into bite sized pieces to make it easier on me, and hopefully you.

This was maybe my fifth time to Yellowstone and the first time I didn’t just do a drive by, and instead got to hike a little and spend some time getting to see things. When I was a kid, we did the standard 1960’s thing and just breezed on by and maybe stopped to see Old Faithful and maybe a few thermal features but then it was back in the car and head out.

How about you? Have you ever been?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday – Will Rogers/Wiley Post Fly-In

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On Saturday Logan and I headed up to Oolagah, Oklahoma to check out the annual Will Rogers and Wiley Post Fly-In at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. The event is held every year to commemorate the deaths of Rogers and Post in a plane crash in Alaska on August 15, 1935. 

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Will Rogers is the favorite son of Oklahoma, a humorist, movie star, newspaper columnist, and movie star. Although later in life he moved to California, Oklahoma regards him as their own. 

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Wiley Post, from Maysville, Oklahoma is less known but was an aviation pioneer. He was the first person to fly solo around the world, discovered the jet stream, and developed the first pressure suit.

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I didn’t know what a fly-in is but through the magic of google I found out that it is a pre-arranged meeting of aircraft. Beyond that anything goes.  This one seemed to feature vintage airplanes. They also had a helicopter and some vintage cars. We got there a little late. But there were still several interesting aircraft.

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I loved the one above for its batlike paint job and its wooden propeller.

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Son Logan perked up at this. It appears to be an ex military observation plane with a cool paint job. It had the biggest crowd of kids. I have found that you need to follow the kids to see the coolest stuff.

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One by one they taxied to the fare end of the grass strip and took off.

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Even the medevac helicopter.

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Logan and I checked everything else out. They had inflatables, food trucks, face painting, lots and lots of stuff. We found this conestoga wagon in the barn.

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I love this view of the old ranch house. It may be the prettiest house in Oklahoma. 

Next Year we’ll get there earlier!

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – New Views!!

Here is my big news this week.

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I had a great cubicle that faced the west for years at work and I loved it. Then years ago, I got an “upgrade” a nice office in the interior of the building but no window, just gas company beige. Don’t get me wrong. I was glad to have it but I missed by window. Since then I have moved around but always with a beige view and last week I finally got an outside view again. To the south, not the west but I will take it. I can see a slice of the Arkansas River and Turkey Mountain. So I am happy. I’d have been happy without the view, but you know what I mean.

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Having an outside view certainly makes a difference to me. How about you?

I am linking to Skywatch Friday 

Our World Tuesday – Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park

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Recently, I ventured up Route 66 from Tulsa to Foyil and then on Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park. The park was built by a retired shop teacher, Ed Galloway during the period 1937 to 1961. The signature piece is the 90 feet totem above. It is built of sandstone, with a concrete skin, reinforced with steel and wood. And as you can see it is decorated elaborately. After Galloway’s death in 1961 the park went into slow decline until the Rogers County Historical Society and the Kansas Grassroots Arts Association  restored it in the 1990’s.

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Here is the other side. You can see that Galloway has the totem sitting on the back of a turtle. The turtle is a natural sandstone outcrop on the site that the artist incorporated into the structure. This also shows a little better the  decorations.

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I am not sure what the symbology of the snake in the mouth is about.

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Some examples of the Native American decorations.

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The inside of the first floor is open and is also decorated. There seems to be lots of discussion about the difference between biggest totem pole, largest, tallest, etc. I am not worried about it.

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Here are a couple more totems. That are yet others. There is also a visitor center/gift store and a short nature trail.

Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park is a great Route 66 attraction and is in very good shape. Check out the this National Park Service site for more information.

I am linking to Our World Tuesday 

Here is a blog post I made of the park six years ago when son Logan visited with me. 

Skywatch Friday – Visiting an Old Indian Trader’s Grave

The other day I had a meeting in a field office of my employer’s in Western Oklahoma. I had  a little time afterward so I went on a little drive.

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I drove past a herd of cattle.

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Then a newly drilled well being prepared for fracking. Notice the green pipe in the foreground being built to take gas from the well for processing and delivery to market.

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And then I turned down a muddy farm road to get to this marker.

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And walked a short ways down a grassy path to this humble grave.

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This is where Jesse Chisholm is buried. He  blazed the Chisholm Trail from South Texas to Abilene, Kansas where tens of thousands head of cattle herded north to supply beef for the northeast. He didn’t drive cattle, he was a trader with several stores and developed the trails to restock his stores. He also had good relations with many of the Native American tribes and negotiated to recovery of several women and children who had been kidnapped by the tribes.  He also helped facilitate several peace treaties. He died of food poisoning near where he is buried.

I think it is amazing that somebody who had such a huge part of the history and legends of the West has such a humble grave.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

A New Photo App, Oilist

I love photo editing apps on my iphone. My favorite is the free Snapseed, followed by Prisma, and IColorama. Recently I found another one, OIlist.  Oilist is a little unique because instead of just picking some a type of filter and then seeing a results, you pick more of a process and then watch as the process “paints” the photo and you can interact with the process as you wish. It is really very cool. I’ve had a time learning it. I’m not much for tutorials or manuals, I like to jump in and try it out so I’ve been experimenting with it.

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This is a bay scene at Orange Beach Alabama. I didn’t like all the black in it so i set it out on a new course.

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Subtle difference I know, but I like this much better although still not happy with it. The instructions on the app said that it works best on more colorful photos.

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I tried it on a photo of flamingos that I had and I like this.

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is there anything more colorful than 1950’s era Ford Thunderbirds. I loved this. Apps like this are not for everybody. I’ve some “photographer” friends who hate these apps. To them fidelity to the original image is what counts. And hey I get that. What I am looking for is what I see in my mind.  I love the interactivity of Oilist and how one can try different things and save interim works and go back and try again. It’s a lot of fun but it does take time.

How about you? Do you have any photo apps that you like.

Shopping with Heather

I guess that I am a little different that some husbands. When Heather goes shopping, I almost always go with her if I can. She is my best friend and I am rarely bored especially with my phone and my various camera and filter apps. So this is a recent trip.

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We went to Sprouts. Sprouts used to have these stern signs at the entrance to the store that photography was strictly forbidden. Yeah, you gotta be kidding me man. So I took pics of everything in sight. They don’t have the signs any more but I still take pics of lots of stuff. I love these pears.

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And their flowers! I love them also. I was using the Hipstamatic App to take photos. I love Hipstamatic.

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And then we went to Steinmart. I found these bears.

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And these purse chains.

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And these bears!

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And these little knick knacks.

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I found these shorts. I love them, but I have way too many clothes. Should I go back and get a pair?

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I loved this shirt also. Should I get I go back and get this one. The slightest encouragement would cause me to do so. I think Logan has this same shirt. Maybe he will let me borrow his.

Anyway, so much for shopping trip today.

Skywatch Friday – From All Over Town

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The sky was clear and the moon was bright so I took a photo of it. Don’t forget this Friday we have a full blood moon coming up. This was about 86% gibbous phase. I don’t always get them but I love it when I can see the craters on the “bottom” of the moon.

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And here we are in the ‘hood. I loved the clouds one day when I was on the front porch. I guess sometimes I am a lazy skywatcher. While we are in a sharing mood, I took the photo of the moon from my front yard as well. Do you have any true confessions you want to share?

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And this is my favorite building in Tulsa. The Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. An art deco masterpiece built in the late 1920’s and designed by Bruce Goff and Adah Robinson. The interior is beautiful also. It was our family church when we first moved to Tulsa.

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And this is from Oxley Nature Center. I love how the island appears to be suspended in air. (Okay maybe I’m stretching it a little bit.)

Okay, that’s it for this week. Don’t forget the full moon on Friday. Take some photos for me. I’m going to be at a baseball game so I am depending on you.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – The Deer at Oxley Nature Center

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It has been hot lately but Sunday it cooled down quite a bit and we had overcast skies. Heather went to have some girl time with her friends and Logan went to his job, so I loaded up my camera and an extra lens and went north the Oxley Nature Center on the north side of Tulsa next to the airport. I don’t know what it was but the deer were out big time. I saw scads of them. I am going to spare you photos of all of them but I will show you this guy. He was a little slow on the uptake but once he noticed me he sure gave me the hawkeye.

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And he gave a high pitched snort and took off.

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He might have lost a little face. The ladies never moved. We had a face off for a while and then I ducked back into the woods so they could resume their salad munching and visiting.

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And I came upon this deer. I was walking along the trail one way, a woman with a camera was coming my way, and this jumped out about 15 feet away but didn’t run very far. We had another  stare off, until I let him win and walked away.

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I eventually made my way to the boardwalk and went across. I bet have a hundred photos of this. I just love boardwalks.

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I came across these two. I don’t know a thing about birds but I am going to  guess the dark one is a great blue heron, and the white one is a white heron. Please correct the ID if I am wrong. I just want to get it right.

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And I resumed my trek on the trails. I walked about four miles according to my step counter. Slow miles but I was on my feet so it counts right?

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Just toward the end I came across this fawn. I hung with me for quite a while but then he bolted.

So it was time to get back to the car to make an instagram post (If you don’t instagram an activity then it didn’t happen, right?), and then fetch the kid from work. I was worn out and happy.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday