Author Archives: Alan Bates

Skywatch Friday – Spring 2019 Edition


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.

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!!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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?

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.


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.


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.

2019-03-20 Medium Moon

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


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.


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.


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:
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.

Skywatch Friday – Ray Harral Nature Park


It’s been stormy and rainy here lately and so this past weekend when son and I wanted to go hiking we went to Ray Harral Nature Park where most of the trails are paved and the others drain well.


The trails aren’t as extensive as some places but it is extremely networked and one can easily get a two mile hike in without it getting repetitive.


And of course I brought my newest toy, my LensBall to take some photos. I really like experimenting with it.


We got a couple miles in on a nice sunny breezy day.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Beer Yoga Edition


We are having a late winter this year and it is really irritating me. I mean the days are longer, the light is good, even the birds are singing but it is bitter cold. What’s up with that.


I got me a glass ball to take photos with. I love it. It took me a while to get the hang of it but I am liking it now. You have to be careful in full sun. I was taking a photo today with it and I about burnt my hand. It is like a magnifying glass. I’ve read reviews that it can start fires if you place it on dry grass in full sun.


I like messing with photographs. This is the green space in our neighborhood. I edited it rather heavily with some iphone apps.

The floor was kind of cold, even with a mat.

I’ve been taking lots of yoga classes lately. Six so far this year, five in the last three weeks. I have very stiff muscles and at my age I can tell if I don’t do anything about it then it is going to be a bigger and bigger factor as time goes by. I don’t want any big factors. I can tell a difference already. I feel a little looser and a lot stronger. Yoga is not for weaklings. Those small, skinny, women who teach are strong as well as limber. Plus I have this great sense of well being afterward.

A nice French Ale

So I signed up for a “Beer and Yoga” event at a local brewery. Yep, I went. It was great. I noticed most of the participants got their beer to begin with. I didn’t because the brew was going to be my reward. Plus at my age, if I drank it before the class then I would have to leave the class temporarily one, two, or three times. Don’t make me explain why. Anyway I loved the class but it will be a while before the next one. Our gym was hosting a kids indoor triathlon last Saturday and had cancelled all the classes. So this Saturday I’ll be back to either the stand up paddleboard class I have been taking or my wife’s AquaZoneBa class she teaches. No beer at either one but hey, I have lots of my own beer.


And while I am telling on myself, here is some more. We went to a recently renovated movie theater the other day and guess what they have a full bar. So I got me a craft beer to go with the movie. It was cold that day and they had reclining seats so I brought me a blanket as well. T Don’t you judge me!!

Now that I have shared much more than I should, I am linking with Skywatch Friday.

2019 Post Oak Challenge Quarter Marathon


Last Sunday I ran in the Quarter Marathon segment of the 2019 Post Oak Lodge Challenge races, three days of trail races of both metric and mileage based races from the Quarter and 10K up to full Marathons. This is the tenth year of the races and I think I have run in maybe eight of them and it has been really cool watching this event take off from something relatively small and cool to something that is a lot bigger and still cool.


This year, like last year, there was some rain in the days ahead of the event, but it didn’t seem near as wet to me as last year, especially the first half.


The race is mainly along single track trails and it has a nice vibe to it, rolling in and out of the woods and meadows and up and down the hills.


And it was extremely well marked which is something since there are so many races over three days and many of the races use the same segments for part of the time and then diverge. So I was keeping a sharp eye out for the yellow ribbons with black polkadots.


At about halfway, things started getting a little messy. you can see some of the maneuvers above that us back of the packers use to negotiate the mud.


And sometimes you can’t do anything about it at all. Maybe edge toward the side. Running through the tall grass is an imperfect solution as it grabs your legs and the ground is uneven. I had several elite runners lap me on the muddy segment. Their technique is to just run through the mud.


And we had a few creeks to cross. I would love to have a video of my tip toeing from rock to rock here. Again, the elite men women just run through it.


And then here. My foot my have slipped off the log going across. The water was ice cold. I only fell once during the event when I slipped sideways and fell on my butt. That was a week ago and my running clothes are still on the back porch while I figure out how to clean them.


The feature that everybody gets to run of all lengths is the “Hill from Hell” one mile up a hill. This is the view from the top. That is downtown Tulsa way over yonder.


And then the post race five course luncheon. Simple but good and filling. Chili, potato salad, potato chips, bottled water and beer.


When I first started running races years ago, nobody had medals, now they are all the rage. Post Oak had nice medals back before they were cool.

The race was supposed to be a quarter marathon which would be about 6.5 miles. It ended up being a little shy of seven. No big deal, that is the way trail races go. I think the race directors laugh and laugh. I finished just about last in every category, but I finished, vertically and had a great time. I finished it thirty minutes faster than I did last year. Last year it was my first race after my injury the previous November so I walked it and the mud just made it miserable. This year, I jogged the easy downhill legs and was able to do a much easier pace and at least stay in sight of a few people.

Thank you to the race directors, sponsors, the army of volunteers it takes to put a good race on and my fellow participants as well as they Post Oak Lodge which good naturedly puts up with people tracking mud and and out of their facility for three days. Trail Racing is the nice and kind type of racing. The elite guys always warn you that they are coming up behind you, because on single track trails you have to move aside, and they say thank you or good job as they pass. Everybody is good natured and friendly.

The course was great, the aid stations wonderful, the food afterwards, great, the shirts, the medals. You can tell that they work hard to make it a great event.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Another View from the Office

Sunset West February

I know that I repeat myself a lot but this is another view of the Sunset from my office building where I work. Because my employer is renovating my favorite floor to take sunset photos I had to go find another spot on another floor to take the pic. I feel a little funny about it because to minimize internal reflections I close the door and turn off the lights. But hey, I have been doing it on other floors for years. I have to make hay while the sun shines as they say because day light savings time is coming and I am not going to stay another hour at work just to take pictures. That may mean that I am not a dedicated skywatcher, I hope you let me stay.

Come join us at Skywatch Friday

Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness – Public Input Needed for a Master Plan


The Tulsa Riverparks Authority announced some exciting news recently. They have funding to develop a master plan for Tulsa’s beautiful Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. You can read the Tulsa World article here.


The best part of the news is that they want input from everybody including the general public. They have hired Micahael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc to develop the master plan. They are the landscape architecture firm that designed Tulsa’s Gathering Place.


A series of public meetings have been scheduled. (Check the Tulsa World story for details.) And if you can’t make it the meetings or if you just cannot wait to participate, you can make comments on the web here.


You may remember the events of three years ago when Simon Malls announced plans to build an outlet mall of all things on Turkey Mountain. A small cadre of people who founded the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition stood up to them and said No. They were able to mobilize the general public and community leaders to save Turkey Mountain and Norton decided to build somewhere else (and they haven’t built an outlet mall in Tulsa yet) and funding was found to buy the private tract and eventually it will be transferred to the River Parks and preserve it from commercial development.

Jumping and Kicking Tree

And all that is great but this latest effort is needed to come up with a plan for Turkey Mountain. What does the community want Turkey Mountain to be. The threatened mall awakened the community and now the Mountain has more visitors than ever but there is no one person in charge of it and there is hardly any budget to maintain it.

Turkey Mountain 3d Photography

This master plan is a first step to defining what we want for public mountain and how to go about funding it. I’m pretty pumped about it actually.

So check out the Tulsa World Article and the River Parks website. Also check out the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition and think about joining them.

Skywatch Friday – Oxley Nature Center through a LensBall

Logan at Oxley Wicket

Last weekend, son Logan and I ventured to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center to get a little outside time.


I also took along my LensBall, a bigger than a baseball sized glass sphere. It’s heavy and it is kind of cool. I am still learning what to do with it.


Logan was a good sport while I fiddled with all the gidgets you fiddle with on a camera.


Some things worked and other things didn’t.

Deer at Oxley III

We came across two groups of deer. They stayed in the woods behind brush. Made it tough to focus and get the right brightness.

Deer at Oxley II

To me finding deer is always a treat. I have seen more deer at Oxley than the rest of the natural areas around town put together. Sometimes they hang out in the waterline rights of way and you can get good clear, well lit shots. Other times you just have to do the best you can.

Deer at Oxley I

And then you edit things to draw out what you can from the images that you take.

Running Deer at Oxley I

And then all the sudden a couple bolted out in front of us. This one, and


that one!! Of course I was not expecting them and got some pretty fuzzy shots because I had slowed the shutter down in order to deal with the light better.

Oxley Skywatch I

And I’ll close out with some blue sky since this is a Skywatch Friday post. Come join us!!

2019 Starbird Car Show

1949 Buick

Saturday I headed to Tulsa’s Expo Square to check out the Starbird Car Show. I have been going every year the last several years.


This car show features one of a kind cars, Custom Cars that are heavily modified for shows.

1949 Buick

High gloss paint jobs and displayed with lights and mirrors.


I think the owners spend a lot more money than they will ever receive.


But I, along with lots of others, love to look at them. I had never seen such crowsds at the show before. It seems cars have had steadily lower status in our culture for years now.

1958 Chrysler New Yorker
“Kandy Gold Color”

People used to identify with their cars. Not so much any longer.

1957 Ford Fairlane
“Jade Idol II

These cars are works of art.


And not very practical.

1949 Buick
1938 Chevrolet
Lincoln Zephyr

Enough words for this post. I have lots more photos. I love rat rods but I am going to do another post for that.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Tulsa World article on the Starbird Car Show

Previous Posts on the Starbird Car Show