Since I quit running last November I have been doing other things including riding my bicycle. Here is a shadow selfie of me riding my bike after work. The shadows are getting longer and longer and I won’t be able to ride my bike at all after work fairly soon.
Last Saturday I went to the Tulsa State Fair. I love the Fair, I try and go every year. I love the sights and sounds , and the people and all the colors.
I got there kind of early so the midway wasn’t very busy yet.
Don’t you love it. I wouldn’t touch cotton candy with a ten foot pole. I haven’t had any since I was a kid. I am kind of a sensory guy and the texture totally creeps me out. Plus, too danged sweet.
Photos, I take my own photos, thank you very much.
I checked out the Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show. I did a separate blog post on it yesterday. I love all the cakes! I spent the most time there.
Then I went to the far eastern end where the crafts were. I love the quilts. There were lots of quilts there. Very nice.
This little teardrop trailer was a winner in a woodworking classification. Isn’t it gorgeous. These little trailers are very popular in geocaching campouts. I’ve always wondered about the practicality of these things. Like I am 63 years old and there is no way that I could change clothes in this thing. They are cool to look at though.
Pumpkins, lots of decorated pumpkins. I love decorated pumpkins. There were no Trump pumpkins this year, that I saw unlike previous years. Maybe they don’t allow them.
They had a lego competition. Lots of great entries.
I moved over the adjoining building where they had the birthing center (for critters not humans, just so you know, although they could probably handle that too, that would give them little kids an education don’t you know!) and the petting zoo. I didn’t go to either one of those. I took one look of vintage veterinarian tools and I saw all I needed to see.
And then over the FFA exhibits. I love those. It is kind of the best of small town Oklahoma. (Which is the best of Oklahoma in my opinion.) They had pumpkins also. They had a bunch lined up outside of the building. I didn’t see any Trump pumpkins here either. (I am going to call them Trumpkins from now on.)
They had a Smokey Bear pumpkin inside. As a Forest Ranger’s kid I am always into anything Smokey Bear.
There were lots of Snoopy themed pumpkins.
This is my favorite. No Trumpkins inside though.
The various FFA chapters have table displays and I love looking at those. Lots of work and creativity involved. This is for the Oolagah, Oklahoma Chapter. Oolagah is a town about an hour north of Tulsa, near where Will Rogers grew up. I loved the photo in this display. All those pretty young women and the guy, dressed in pink. Obviously confident himself and smart enough to hang out with women. I have always preferred the company of women, myself. Kudos the guy, whoever he is. I salute you. And whoever had the genius idea of inverting the expected colors. Nice.
A flower display.
Displays on native grasses in Oklahoma.
And this was an FFA project, to restore this beautiful Massey-Ferguson tractor.
And then on to the critters. I swear the pigs were making eye contact looking for a friendly face.
Some handsome sheep.
And the cows. These are Herefords. What my Dad called white faces. You don’t see too many of them these days.
The longhorns are always impressive.
I finished up and rested up with a Spaten Optimator at the Beer Garden. That and a corn dog was the only thing I paid for at the Fair (except for the $6 entry fee, and a $1 tip to the shuttle bus drivers, and a corn dog.) So, I’ll be back next year!
I try and get to the Tulsa State Fair every year. I don’t go for the rides or the food, or the all the cheesy vendors flaunting their wares. I go for the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition that goes on at the fair only on the first weekend.
It is the 25th year of the competion and it is directed by Kerry Vincent. A tough and demanding judge. Nice to the amateurs and really snarky with the whiny professionals.
The theme this year is “I am a modern classic.”
This year, like every year, the cakes in the professional division are very well done and very elegant. I am not going to provide very much more commentary. The cakes speak for themselves.
Traffic jam caused by an interview in the middle of the show.
This is one of my favorites.
I thiought this was spectacular.
The spray of flowers and bird on top.
The water dripping from the fountain below.
This is also a favorite. Inspired by John and Jackie Kennedy.
I loved this one also. A Wedding on the Prairie theme.
And that is a wrap. It is open one more day, tomorrow, Sunday September 30. It opens at ten. It gets very crowded and the later you go on Sunday the bigger chance that some of the competitors have taken their cakes home.
Logan and I decided to go on a hike today. We went to Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center up north of the airport. We decided to do the little used North Woods Loop, away from the main Oxley Nature Center. We may have been the first people to use the trail on Sunday.
How would I know? Because we were walking through lots of spider webs. That honor traditionally goes to the early morning hikers and runners. It is not that pleasant but on Sunday we were walking through webs at four in the afternoon!
Went on the Sierra Club trail. It has my favorite walkway.
We saw the beginnings of Fall Color. We’ll be checking back.
Lots of fungus.
More beginnings of Fall Color.
And more and more fungus. We only went a little more than two miles but didn’t see anybody. We saw lots of squirrels and cardinals and a glimpse of a few white tailed deer as the scampered through the woods away from us.
We were only out for a couple miles and it was nice not seeing anybody. Or hearing anybody, except the squirrels in the brush, the deer in the thickets, and the wind in the tops of the trees.
This novel is about Beverly Green a native Okie who made her mark in New York City and returns to Oklahoma to kind of slow down a little bit and get back to her roots and chill out a little bit.
So she moves to Guthrie, Oklahoma, the former state capitol (and still brooding about it) about an hour north of Oklahoma City. She opens a small bookstore but this being the gig economy and all she also gets.a newspaper gig as a side hustle and raises chickens.
The editor at the local paper where she works has assigned her the job of reporting on a local Sasquatch sighting and she dreads it. She doesn’t believe in Sasquatches see, but she was also tormented in her youth by visions of the beasts.
She sullenly goes through the motion of pursuing the story, talking to local characters who believe in the creatures. In the meantime she keeps running into a man who she gradually becomes very attracted to. I guess that it what makes this a romantic novel. To me it is a romantic comedy and this part of the novel is hilarious. I haven’t read too much fiction before where a female character goes on in detail about why she is attracted to a guy.
I am more into thrillers, detective stories, and non-fiction but this book drew me in and I kept going. The writing just pulled me through was very sparkly and interesting from start to finish. The story involves a Sasquatch stakeout, chickens, and a kiss (a kiss is just a kiss right? or is it?) . It seems set up for a sequel or maybe a whole series.
I give this four stars out of four, or five out of five or however many stars you like. It’s a good read, and I hope there is another one from Andrea Neil soon.
You can get the book at Amazon or if you live in Tulsa at Magic City Bookstore. Both the physical book and the Kindle version, which I got, is are reasonably priced. You can sample some of her writing at her blog.
I saw lots of sights on my August trip to Yellowstone National Park to explore the park with my sister Ellen who works there. One of the most graceful and beautiful things I saw was a lone Trumpeter Swan feeding in a river. (I think it was either the Firehole or Madison River, I forget which, the first flows into the second).
Definitely not a sight one sees in the wild in Oklahoma. We stopped and took lots of pictures of this guy (gal?). It was paddling around, dipping its head in the river, and sometimes tipping its entire body forward so just its butt was sticking up in the air. The Cornell Lab has a great web site on Trumpeter Swans here.
We stayed for quite a while looking at this swan as he swam about. My sister tells me that he stays there a lot and sees it almost every time she drives through the area. Just thinking about it gives me a sense of calm.
Earlier in the day we had been in Jackson, Wyoming and on the way back we saw a pair of Trumpeter Swans at the National Elk Refuge.
Ellen and I sure packed a lot of things into three days!!
Sorry, not sorry, another post of my trip to visit my Sister Ellen who works at Yellowstone National Park. One day we went to the Lamar Valley in the northeast section of the park. We saw lots of bison, a couple of antelope, and went on a couple of hikes.
It is a beautiful broad valley with mountains on both sides and it takes a while to get there. Forget about any bars on your cell phone because there are not any to be had. Great news!!
The Lamar Valley is known as a great place for watching wildlife including wolves. My sister Ellen tells me that you have to get up and be in place early to have a chance of seeing them.
Here is a video by the National Park Service about the wolves.
We went on a short hike but the sun was beating down on us and we wanted to get into the woods.
We saw a couple of fishermen wading in the Lamar River. It looked like they were having a great time.
Saturday, September 8 was a big day in Tulsa. A Gathering Place, our new $465 million privately financed public park opened up. Seven years in the making, over three years of construction, including shutting down a one mile stretch of one of Tulsa’s busiest streets, Riverside Drive, came to an end (kind of they still have a some final touches to do.) And they took down the barricades and told everybody to come on down and check out your new park and despite the sometimes misty weather people did.
The Architect who designed it is Michael Van Valkenburgh. He and his firm have designed other parks and he came well recommended. He spent a lot of time just listening to the people who were financing the park about what they wanted and he came to Tulsa and looked at the city and the surrounding region and tried to capture the soul of the city.
One article I read talked about his visit to Chandler Park and how struck he was with the “lost city section” with the stone making seeming streets and alleys and he incorporated that concept into the park.
The place is full of details. I think they spent a fortune on landscaping, including many wildflowers.
And stuff to do? My gosh their is a lot to do there. Especially if you have kids. I think this log course above might be something I could try.
They have a lot of areas for relaxing and will have several restaurants. This a nice area that is well shaded. I love the wood furniture.
This is view from the the previous area down to a bridge across a pond.
And this is from the bridge back up to the eating area. This is the ONEOK Boathouse. My employer paid for it. (I’m so proud, really, I am.) What a legacy. (And yes ONEOK is all caps, you pronounced it One Oak.)
The heart of the park is a huge playground for kids of all ages. Oh man, for the first time since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a little kid. This looks fun.
And so does this. I would settle for having an eight year old again. Son Logan was with me, but he is 20 years old and 6’3″ tall.
Kids were having a blast. Talk about a bunch of places to climb into, climb across, slide down. It is the ultimate “do touch” place. And yes, it is all free. There is no charge. In addition to the $400 million is money for security and maintenance. What a gift to the city.
The concept of A Gathering Place is that is a place for the whole city to come and reconnect from each other. I think we need it. A little known secret is that Tulsa is home of the worse race riot in US history, the Tulsa Race Riot, now increasingly known as the Tulsa Race Massacre. Read about it here.
In my opinion, the city has never recovered from that and the wounds still exist. There are still survivors of the riot alive in Tulsa today. Anyway, the New York Times has a pretty good, if a little more than slightly condescending article on the park, and the riot. Read it here.
Read the comments also. I know us Okies get a bad rap and my favorite comment was from a New Yorker who said she would never visit the state because she hates us Okies because of the hate we have in our heart. (Huh).
Be that as it may, the park is fun, and great. And I expect to spend a lot of time there especially when the hubub dies down a little bit. It is only a couple miles from downtown where I work. I figure during the day the kids will be at school, so I can come and try out the banana slide for myself.
Pooh!! I know it is probably not officially a Pooh bear, who could afford the licensing fees. It has a nook inside just right for several kids and an adult reading a story.
There was a steel drum band playing. I love steel drum bands.
My favorite place is probably the Williams Lodge. It is like a ski lodge in the Rockies. The woodwork is superb.
I loved the ceiling!!
The guy behind the park is a Tulsa Oilman billionaire philanthropist named George Kaiser, who over the years has been very generous to Tulsa through his George Kaiser Family Foundation. He is in the oil business and obviously has done very well. I know several people who have worked for and with him and they credit him as being a very good but tough boss and also thinks very out of the box. I get the impression that he is playing chess when everybody else is trying to figure out checkers. He has several hundred million dollars invested in the park and was able to convince lots of other companies to contribute as well.
The fireplace is a favorite.
The designer of the place had to contend with something. Most of the land was on one side of Riverside Drive and the Arkansas River was on the other side. He wanted to integrate the park with the river so he used “land bridges” to link the park with the river. There are two of them and they are genius.
I am just glad the running/biking trail is back in business. It is all new. For three years we have contended with the one mile gap, now we don’t any longer. And the trail integrates well with the park.
Sports is a big thing in America and Tulsa and the park has tons of sports courts of all kinds. Logan and I sat down and watched the ladies play 3 on 3 basketball. They were very very good. The park plans on having lots of sports programming.
“The Trail of Tears” by Robert Lindneaux. Andrew Jackson oversaw the ejection of thousands of Native Americans from the southeast USA to Oklahoma and elsewhere. Many died on the way over. To this day Andrew Jackson is not a popular guy among the tribes in Oklahoma.
While there we breezed through the museum. We have been there lots of times but it has been at least a year and a half for me and I was glad to see a few changes from the last time I was through.
I love this chuckwagon exhibit. I love chuckwagons. That is where the food is!!
I checked on some old favorites. This is a bust of Geronimo the baddest of the bad (or the baddest of the good). My late father was a student of western history had studied up on Geronimo. His favorite story was about the Tonto Apache Tribe who were scouts for General Crook who finally convinced Geronimo to surrender. When Geronimo’s braves were on the train to Florida to begin their imprisonment, Crook’s troops told the Tonto scouts to get on the train also. One reason why we have trust issues with Native American’s maybe?
They have machine guns on exhibit also. One time several years ago when I was there. A guy was inspecting it really closely and said, “You know, I don’t think that this actually works. I am not sure it is going to help come crunch time.” We are kind of hard core here in Oklahoma.
I always love the airplane hanging from the ceiling in the basement. I wonder if they would ever take it out and fly it again?
Enough of all that! Time to hit the trails. We found a couple of nice full size geocaches on the trails in the preserve on the beautiful 60 degree sunny day we had in Oklahoma.
I’ve always loved oil refineries. As a young kid, it seemed like big important things were going on with big towers and huge tanks and all sorts of pipes and lots of electric power lines. Ironically, I have a chemical engineering degree and have only spent a few hours inside a refinery. Oh well, I’ve done other things.
This is one of two refineries that HollyFrontier operates in Tulsa. I used Topaz Glow to add a little drama to the scene.
The refineries are located on the west side of Tulsa along with a power plant, a trash to energy steam plant, a bunch of trucking outfits, and oilfield manufacturing companies. All this industrial stuff is the original financing of the all the nice part of Tulsa. The art deco office towers, museums, and all the rest. I’ve always found the dichotomy fascinating.