Author Archives: Alan Bates

Tulsa Time – Out and About


Orpha’s Lounge in downtown Tulsa. I’ve seen lots of scuzzy people going in and out. I’ve also seen lots of them passed out in front. If you are looking for a good place to go slumming, this might be it.


I was out west of Tulsa in Sand Springs looking for a geocache and spotted this sign. I sure didn’t dump anything there. We love our guns in Oklahoma! Gun owners have all sorts of rights in Oklahoma. The rest of us just need to stay out of their way.


This is the Rock Creek Bridge in Sapulpa. It is a landmark on Route 66. It runs several hundred miles in Oklahoma. That brick on the bridge deck is the original brick put in way back when. Route 66 no longer goes over the bridge. That is one thing I’ve learned about Route 66, the actual roads it goes over has changed continuously almost from the start.


A bison sculpture on Route 66. I love public art like sculptures.


A big tree out in the middle of an abandoned baseball field in Sapulpa.


I stopped by the an industrial area of downtown Tulsa to take a look at the Creek Hanging Tree. Over 200 years old and supposedly many a rustler and other criminals have been hung off the branches. Great story right? I can find almost know documentation of it. I googled it just now and number one on the list is a blog post I did several years ago.


I found this little rock hut about eleven miles from downtown Tulsa in Osage County.

How about you? What have you seen where you live lately?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Scenes from Kansas

I am punting this week. I reached deep into the archives and searched for “Kansas Skywatch” so this is what I am doing. Why Kansas? I don’t know, Dorothy and Toto were from Kansas maybe. I was in the mood for Sky photos with you know, clouds or a little color. Lately here in Tulsa it has all been either gray skies or nice blue skies.


Here is a Kansas sky with a little color. A little grainy but still, I love the color.

#ferriswheel #countyfair #coffeyville #kansas #roadtrip

And this is from Coffeyville, Kansas a few years ago. I stopped for gas and a carnival was going on close by.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – Sign Farm


I was out and about Sunday afternoon out in the country west of Tulsa when I encountered a sign farm. It was a bunch of long forgotten old gas station signs arranged in a giant semicircle in a field out in the middle of nowhere.


I passed this once before last spring on first Bike Run, the Tour de Cure 2018. We passed it and I remember being very interested but being my first ride I didn’t feel like stopping and taking photos.


Remember the days of full service gas stations? You’d drive in and run over the cable making the bell ring, and somebody would be right out and you’d tell them to fill it up. They’d check the oil and fill the windshield washer tank. Ah, them were the days.

Somebody has spent a bunch of money not just collecting the signs but restoring them to mint condition and then installing them. To whoever you are, I salute you!!

I’m linking with OurWorldTuesday

New Car – 2019 Subaru Crosstrek


I purchased a new car last week, a Subaru Crosstrek. I got the “Premium” trim which is the middle of the road level. I opted for the “Eyesight safety system” that uses a stereo camera mounted close to visor and nag me when I go over the strips or median line and will stop the car if a collision is imminent. It also has all wheel drive. Other than that it is pretty basic, no power seats, or push button start. It does have seat warmers though.


Buying it was grueling and took a long time. I test drove the top of the line “Limited” version and they told me that had five of the premium’s available. When it come time to start talking specifics, it turns out that none of the five were available. I laughed to myself. Car dealers are all the same I said to myself. So I told them. Well that is too bad, give me a call you get some in. On the way home I called Heather and told her what happened and predicted that I would get a call within two hours about the miracle of miracles, they actually did have a car I wanted. So we went back and got the deal closed. I was not upset about the miracle of miracles. Life is a game right, and I enjoy my role in the game!!


My old car, the Kia Soul, served me well. Incredible at parking, and 100,000 miles and I all had done was maintenance, new tires and a battery. It was rough riding though, and noisy on the freeway. I drove 65 mph in 75 mph just so I could hear myself think.

Skywatch Friday – Oklahoma Winter Riviera Edition

View from my office building to the west. The sunset reflected in the Arkansas River.

It’s been warm this week here in Tulsa. No coat, maybe a jacket in the morning, walk around in shirt sleeves at lunch. Something is messed up about that. Except to me, I like it.

The Petroleum Club Building, kitty corner to where I work, has balconies on the top two floors. The Petroleum Club has been gone for some time. I think the livers of the members all gave out from the early afternoon gin and tonics. Some sort of internet based company took over the space. They took out all the walls, carpet, and ceilings and called it good. I’ve been in the space during a fund raiser. They have ping pong tables and refrigerators and workstations everywhere. They also have the balconies and late afternoon on nice days there are lots of people out there. I hate every one of them, and wish I was over there at the same time.

This is a little shaded area right next to the Arkansas River as it flows through Tulsa. It looks almost summery. We are going to get lower temps here in the next few days and maybe some rain. I can take cold wind and rain and you can keep your snow and ice.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

First Hike of 2019


New Years Day I skipped the various organized runs and polar bear plunges and go on a facebook organized hike on Turkey Mountain but I had to change by plans when I was ten minutes late for the hike so I just went by myself. Which is fine, I like to go at my own pace and take photos and there were a couple of geocaches I wanted to try and find.


It was frigid as you can see from this surface skim ice on the wet part of the trail. It gets cold in Oklahoma but almost always a few days later it warms up pretty good.


I stayed on the eastern side of the park. It has the best views, it also had a little bit of wind compared to the more secluded areas. I was bundled up pretty good though. I’ve got a lot of excellent cold weather gear that I have accumulated over the years.


There were not very many people. I saw one or two trail runners, several couples hiking, and only a few mountain bikers.


I ended up with about five and a half miles and looked for two caches and found one. I have found almost all the geocaches on Turkey Mountain that don’t require climbing equipment or a ladder to reach. I used to try and get those on my own but as I have got older I realize that gravity is not necessarily my friend.

I had a good time and went home to warm up. I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Happy New Year Skywatch

Tulsa County Courthouse
(Older photograph)

New Year’s eve I had to go downtown and pay our real estate taxes. Yep, I hold on to the money until the very last minute. I actually like going to the courthouse and seeing how functionaries function. The assessor’s office is very efficient. All hands on deck there New Year’s eve to take care of people like me. Some sad faces close by though. They are on the same floor as the family court and there were tears there. I have a very blessed life is what I can say. My prayers go out to those having difficulties.

I’ll be going back though at the end of the month. Got a stern looking letter from the very same courthouse telling me to report for jury duty!! I haven’t done jury duty since about 1983 in Panorama Village, Texas north of Houston. We had a trial for a guy accused of speeding. Found him guilty, by gum. The town needed the cash!! Especially from non-residents.


I left downtown and ventured to East Tulsa. I came upon this new gateway sign going in on US 66. I think it is beautiful. They are almost done with construction. So that is looking roughly south of north west.


I turned to the south and took this photo. We had decent skies on New Year’s eve.


This is what I was looking for in that area of town. A geocache. In my quest to get 2000 caches by the end of 2019 I try and find ore two every day. I’m at about 1632 or so. I have a tracker on the right sidebar to this page. This cache was cool because it was in the owners front yard and wasn’t hidden at all. I love those that are easy to find.


As far as Skies are concerned, New Years Day was a bust. I went on a five mile or so hike on Turkey Mountain and it was gray and cold the whole time. I have to tell you that I loved it anyway. I’ve got the gear and clothes to stay warm and comfortable in most kinds of weather.

I have to tell you about my new toy for Christmas. I got a drone, one with a camera. An inexpensive one to learn on. A Zeraxa Pro. I finally took it out for a spin in a park hardly anybody ever visits and I loved it. It is very stable and responds well to the controls. So I am just learning the basics of flying and trying to smooth my movements out. Later on maybe I can get one with a lot better camera. As you can tell, Oklahoma is very brown right now.


I think it is kind of pretty. And don’t worry I wasn’t drinking and flying!!

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Mary Poppins Returns with Emily Blunt

The family went to see Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns. The original Mary Poppins came out when I was a kid way back in the 60’s. It is so far back that I don’t actually remember seeing it back then. I just remember that it was special and magical and I was hoping that this sequel was that way as well. And it is!! I won’t get into the story line, IMDB does a great job with that, except to say that a family is in trouble and Mary Poppins flys out of the air to get the children organized and all the problems sorted out.

So there is singing and dancing, and great semi-animated scenes. The problems are all sorted out, a couple new romaces started up and at the end (spoiler coming) Mary Poppins opens up her umbrella and flies off to wherever she goes leaving happiness and hope in her wake.

Emily Blunt is a perfect Mary Poppins. She is not Julie Andrews, and she doesn’t need to be. I keep people comparing the movies. I don’t think they need to be compared, they are both wonderful.

I give this movie five stars or two thumbs up, or whatever the scale is, check it out, go see it. It is great.

Visiting Tulsa’s Woodie Guthrie Center


Right after Christmas me, son Logan and brother Bob visited the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa. The center is the archive for almost everything Woody Guthrie and they have a small museum showing off some of his papers, musical instruments, artwork, and of course his music. 


They have on display lots of his papers with lyrics and notes, letters and such.


He put his stamp on his musical instruments including woodburning and ink. You may notice that on this violin he says it helped kill ten fascists. He was in the merchant marine during World War II and served on three ships that were sunk. (If I remember right.)


He wrote on all sorts of materials. You can tell he hated fascism. One interesting segment is that he lived in an apartment owned by Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump in New York. Woody didn’t really care for what he considered racist housing policy. 


The museum also has a Virtual Reality experience of the dust bowl that is very eerie. Here are brother Bob and son Logan with the VR goggles.


The center also has a small space for special exhibits. This time they had a lot of memorabilia from John Cougar Mellencamp including recordings of his songs and quite a bit of material of Mellencamp talking about his music. I found it quite interesting.


As part of the Mellencamp exhibit was this reel to reel recorder/player. I tried to explain to my son how cool these things were and how expensive they were and then to why a ipod touch like mine totally outclasses these things. Reel to reel tape machines are still  very cool in my book!!

Check the centers web site for information on hours, location, and exhibits coming up. They have an exhibit on Leonard Bernstein coming up in January. I’ll  be checking it out. I got to see Bernstein at the premiere of one of his operas in Houston back in the 80’s. Everybody in the crowd was yelling “Bernie” like they knew him or something.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Yule Edition


We had a full moon just before Christmas. Usually known as the Cold Moon. I found a new name that I like, “Moon Before Yule.” It was bright, silvery, and beautiful here in Oklahoma.


Also just before Christmas we had dinner with some friends and then went to Tulsa’s superb Gathering Place to check out the Christmas lights. We missed the lights but just walking through the place is great. Aboveis the Williams Lodge. 


I’m continuing my geocaching trying to get to 2000 before year end 2019. I am finding myself in very out of the way places like the remote cemetery above where my only company was a few deer. We had a standoff for literally a minute or two with them and standing motionless until, I was like, okay you win and waved my arms and off they ran.


My brother drove over from Tennessee for Christmas and we are having a good visit and sharing Christmas with him. Its always nice to have family and consider ourselves blessed that we can be together. 

I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Linking with Skywatch Friday