Author Archives: Alan Bates

Skywatch Friday – Winter Sky

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It’s been cold here and I’ve been cooped up. Sunday morning I went for a walk around Lafortune Park, a 3 mile trek around a combination golf course, library, playground, tennis complex, and little league ballparks. One of those huge rambling urban parks that I tend to love. I’ve been around it hundreds of times over the years and of course I took my camera and I took this photo just focusing on the water and not paying attention to the sky. I was pretty happy with the result. I got a pretty good walk in also.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

Our World – Rainman in Oklahoma

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

Last week while traveling to south central Oklahoma to pick up the kid from college for a three day weekend I took a little detour to the town of Cogar. Cogar is nothing now, just a crossroads. It probably never was much of anything.

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

Back in the late 1980’s though (30 to 40 years ago!!) Hollywood came to Cogar to shoot a brief scene from the movie Rainman, the major Oscar winning movie that year starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman won an Oscar, the movie was Best Movie, and it got several other Oscars as well. It was the top grossing movie of 1988.

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

In the scene at Cogar, Cruise’s and Hoffman’s character stop and both step into a phone booth so that Cruise could make a business call. It’s kind of funny. Cruise and Hoffman play brothers who didn’t know each other existed until their dad dies and leaves it all to Hoffman, who has autism. All Cruise gets is a nice classic car and some rose bushes. For some reason they have to go on a cross country trip together and it makes for some funny scenes.

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

These days, there is no phone booth at the station in Cogar and the paint is a little more peeled. Other than that, not much has happened.

When I worked in the natural gas field of western Oklahoma I must have passed this place a thousand times without recognizing it from the movie. Now, I think was the last instagrammed in Oklahoma to venture to Cogar to capture the gas station.

Have you ever been to a site that was made part of a movie?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Town and Country Skies

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Downtown Tulsa

Monday I went to my first session as a Reading Partners tutor and I think it went pretty well. The first grader is smart, well mannered, lively and has a great sense of humor.

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Pepsi Lake

I read a story and then we went on a scavenger hunt and then I helped them with a book report. It took only about 45 minutes all told and I think we both had a good time.

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96% Waning Gibbous Wolf Moon

It was a great way to start the day.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – Mystery House 2016

For good or bad I have over 75,000 images in my archives. Of these, maybe three or four are really good. But I’m keeping all of them. The thing about image archives is that if they are not tagged then they are not of any use. even though I can literally remember taking every single one of the photos. Every once in a while I run across one that I don’t remember like the following.

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When I am sitting down commenting on posts and such I also open up my untagged photo part of my archive. I have over 10,000 photos without tags. At least I have dates to kick start my my memory and I jump around the dates to keep things interesting. Doing that I came across the above photo. No tags but a date of April 17, 2016. Also, I can tell that I edited the photo and probably posted it on instagram. I started to remember being in New Orleans back then and taking a street car from downtown to Audubon Park and seeing this bar. And then I started looking at other photos I uploaded that day.

Update, Mystery Solved, In the great way that Al Gore’s Interwebs works, a facebook friend of mine, had a friend, a professional photographer who lives in New Orleans who knew immediately that this was the Circle Bar on St. Charles Avenue. I love serendipity.

French Quarter, April 2016

This bar with the beautiful doors and mysterious interior. New Orleans is a photographers paradise.

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These prehistoric looking birds at Audobon Park. Cormorants. Their feathers get wet so they hang them out there like that to dry them out. Good luck drying anything in New Orleans, the air is so thick and humid.

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And the big beautiful trees. The park itself is not that much. Hardpacked ground and kind of scruffy. That is just like most of the south though and that is its appeal.

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And the streetcars. It’s hard to take a bad photo of a New Orleans street car.

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K Paul’s restaurant in the French Quarter. A few years before my wife was with me and we had dinner there. We ate at one of the tables on the balcony. We spent hours and a had a great time. One of the most expensive dinners I ever had and worth every dime.

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Even the bicycles have style in New Orleans.

As you can tell I am a big fan of the city. I hope to be back soon. Meanwhile I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Reading Partner Sky

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Brand new Route 66 attraction in Tulsa. I love it. It emerges out of the ground with all sorts of loops and whoops. This is on the morning sun east side.

So I forget whether I shared this little bit of information yet or not on this humble little page of mine. I am retiring at the end of April this year. I’ll have 43 years in the natural gas business and that seems enough to me. And so I want to go do other things. Things that don’t involve meetings especially, things that involve helping people directly. Like those guys at Home Depot, you know what I mean. You say excuse me but I want to blah, blah, blah blah, and they say well you are going to have to have this, this, and this and you need to watch make sure that blah, blah, blah. I like that, on your feet, helping people. Only problem is that I am a piss poor handyman if you want to know the truth. So I need to do something else.

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This is on the shady west side.

So a few months ago I got on the advisory board of the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. Urban Wilderness is something I can get into and have enjoyed my experiences so far. We had a meeting a brewery and meetings are not too bad if you have a beer to sip on.

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And from the southeast.

So the other thing is I signed up with an outfit that helps grade school kids learn to read. It’s called Reading Partners and it involved working an hour a week with a particular child helping them learn to read. That is something I can get into. I may not be the greatest Dad in the world but I read to my son Logan a lot. Almost every single night of his life from the night we brought him home from the hospital to when I told him at age eight or so that he was on his own with the Pokemon books. When I read to him I sold it as much as I could. I used different voices and emphasized inflection and tried to be as silly and goofy as I could. I have learned that little kids like goofy a lot.

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And straight south. Strangely enough I like this vantage point the best.

So I heard about this organization and thought that what better thing can I do for somebody than helping them learn to read. Reading is such a gateway to the world. So the other day I went to east Tulsa for an orientation. Afterward I decided to proceed with it and they asked if I would mind working with a child in their highest need school. Nope, that is what I am here for. So I am not sure what I am got myself in for but next comes an introduction to the child I’ll be working with and then four sessions with coaching. Wish me well!! I think I can handle it. I am not a natural with children but I’m going to give it my best shot.

I decided it needed a bit more motion. I love my iphone apps.

Be thinking about me!! This structure, a Route 66 gateway on the east side of Tulsa is close to where the orientation was and where the school I will be working with the child is located. Hey if you have any other ideas for retirement gigs that involve directly helping people let me know!!

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

Our World – Rock Creek Bridge on US66

Rock Creek Bridge is an old school truss type bridge located on the southwest side of the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. It is pretty fragile and not rated for automobile traffic any longer and US66 traffic roars by on the adjacent modern bridge and you can park here and inspect it all you want and imagine the hundreds of thousands of cars who passed over it on vacations and work trips. Maybe you drove over it at some point. I love the old Route 66 landmarks such as this.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Happy New Year 2020

Up until a few years ago I went running every week, regardless of weather, after work on the Arkansas River trails. The only thing that stopped me was thunder and lightning. I have all sorts of cold weather gear to where I could run relatively comfortably down to the single digits if I had to do so. Since the tread on my knees has gotten a little thin as one doctor told me, I have cut my running way back. More cycling, more yoga and aquatics classes. But still I like to get out and run every now and then and participate in a race.

December 2019
I got out of the car, and saw this and took the closest path to the waters edge. That’s way there are trees in the way. I love the glow on the water.

Last week, the temperature wasn’t so bad so I went to the river to run and the sunset was just waiting for me. Actually I hurried because we skywatchers know that the sunset waits for no one.

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I moved upriver to a clearer vantage point.

There is nothing like a great sunset. They are so hopeful and I am looking forward to 2020. 2019 was a mixed year (aren’t they all?). Our son started college, Heather and I got to be empty nesters for a little bit and took a couple of great trips to the Teton Mountains and southeast Oklahoma. It was nice. The year ended with my brother coming down with viral encephalitis. My wife, my sister, and her husband and I dealt with that the last couple of months and will continue to deal with that for some time.

December 2019
This is looking north, upgriver after the color faded from the sunset.

So for 2020, our son heads back to college in a few days. My brother will be moving out of skilled nursing into long term care or assisted living as he continues his recovery, and life will go on as it always has.

So keep your friends and family close, be thankful for what you have, and help each other out. I wish all of you a Healthy and Happy 2020.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – Seen on the Trail

One of the popular tags on the video sharing app, Instagram, is #SeenontheTrail which features photos of what people see while hiking, running, bicycling, horseback riding or whatever on a trail.

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A good example of is the trail itself. I just cannot resist a single track trail like this. I have to know where it goes, and even though in this example at Tulsa Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Park, where I know where it goes and have been on it a lot, I still feel compelled to get on it and go.

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I take lots of pic of trees, their leaves, and their bark. I am a lousy outdoorsman because I don’t know what too many of the trees are. My father, the Forest Ranger could tell at a glance all about trees and what kind they are and what they are used for. It was great listening to him but not much soaked in.

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And here is what’s left of Turkey Mountain’s “Oklahoma Rock.” It used to be standing up and was a great place to take people for photographs and such. Vandals have done a pretty good job of breaking it. I hate vandals. Southeast and southwest Oklahoma are broken off. That’s my glove that I put on the rock to provide a sense of scale.

So that is what I have seen my trails lately, what about you?

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Favorites Edition

Hey, like a lot of people I have had a lot going on lately and have not taken as many photos as I would like so this week I am dredging of photos, taken in Decembers past from the archives . I hope that you don’t mind.

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Some of my wife’s family have a ranch in Western Oklahoma and they occasionally send me photos of the cows they have. I love it when they do that. So here are a few of their Angus breed cows under an Oklahoma sky.

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And here is the sky in our neighborhood in Tulsa. Kind of fun to take a sky photo in my pajamas from the front porch.

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And a shot from the office building where I work. I get lots of such pics between late October and March.

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This is from the River West Amphitheater on the west bank of the Arkansas River here in Tulsa. You can’t see this sight any longer as the River Parks Authority completely redid the area and got rid of the floating stage.

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This is on the west bank of the Arkansas River.

So I hope that you didn’t mind me punting this year, from deep in the archives.

I hope that all of you who celebrate it, had a very Merry Christmas. I know that our family did.

Come join us at Skywatch

Our World – Hiking on Turkey Mountain

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Those cables have been there a while!! They look like some sort of oilfield type thing to me.

We haven’t been very good churchgoers lately. At least to the kind of church with brick and mortars. This cold foggy morning I got up and attended the church of Turkey Mountain.

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Wagon Wheel Lake (my name for it)

It was cold and it was foggy but I felt instantly at home. Getting outside is my way of reconnecting with myself and the infinite.

Turkey Mountain Seep
The seep from Wagon Wheel Lake. Hmm, whats up with the bright color and there is an oil sheen as well. Turkey Mountain used to be ranching, farming and oilfield way back when.

My brother is now in Tulsa at a skilled nursing facility but it is just another of the waypoints he will be on as he recovers. The skilled nursing facility he is in right now is well recommended but they are lacking in a number of things now that he is in it and it eats at me. Is any place good enough for a loved one?

Turkey Mountain Christmas Tree
I found me a Christmas Tree. Somebody told me that there was at least one ore on the mountain. Yes its cook but it is also graffiti. I hope whoever put the ornaments up, takes them down after the Christmas holidays.

And he is here only two more weeks and then he moves on to the next step. Will it be long term care or assisted living? Will he get better, or not?

December 2019 from Phone
Bicyclists. The Mountain Bikers are kind of hard to put up with but you know, that out volunteer everybody else by far on the Turkey Mountain work days.

The Church on Turkey Mountain doesn’t have any answers of course but it strengthens me for confronting these things.

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One of the many abandoned oil wells on Turkey Mountain
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The rod clamp has at least one bolt missing and another is loose. I am not too worried though.

Fortunately my sister, her husband, and my wife are strong partners in this.

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I googled Skinner Jack Box and you know what. They are still in business, still making rod stuffing boxes. I sent them an email about his find. After decades their product is still at work.

Some things are too hard on our own.

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Shale rocks just waiting to break somebody’s ankle. Turkey Mountain is a layer cake of this hard shale and softer sandstone. The sandstone is softer and erodes away leaving the shale to break apart.

So at the end of my hour and half I went to see brother Bob. He is doing okay. No therapy on Sunday. We talked a while, watched some football and then I left him to go home. He is very brave, he never complains about what life has dealt him. He has run 26 marathons and over a hundred half marathons so he knows what pushing through when the going gets tough entails.

He’ll get through this race as well.

Come join us at Our World Tuesday