Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Sunset Across the River

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I went on a bike ride Thursday night. At the end the sun was kind of low and some clouds were showing up. Not quite sunset but I love the reflections in the Arkansas River.

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And then the 21st street bridge across the river and more reflections.

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This is where I am almost home. I stopped the car in the middle of the road and took this photo. Pretty nice, no filters or edits, I promise.

I’m linking with other Skywatchers

Skywatch Friday – Mid May 2018 Edition

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Well May is well on its way and it has certainly warmed up around here and it is about time.

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I apologize but I am going to bombard you yet again with a barrage of action cam shots from my bicycle rides. I have ridden over 200 miles this Spring. I do it every chance I can. I love it and it is a lot easier on the knees than running was. It is not near as good for cardiovascularwise. It is hard to get your heart rate up.

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Heather has joined me a lot also. She teaches Zumba and other exercise classes so often times she rides after teaching two or three classes and she is still ready to ride a bunch of miles.

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On one of my rides, I got to the literal “End of the Trail.” Most trails end a little more gracefully than this. The end at a road or something. Oh well.

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Lets get out of the sun for a little bit and head to Tulsa’s beautiful Woodward Park. The azaleas were in bloom recently. The park’s shrubs got freeze damaged a few years ago so they are re-establishing the vegetation and doing a very good job of it in my opinion. It is not up to what it used to be but it is on its way.

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I know nothing about flowers, and blooms but I know what I like. It was opportunity for me to practice what I learned about depth of field and making have a “soft” background.

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More practice!

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The season doesn’t seem to last too long and the strong winds that we have been very hard on the blooms.

What have you been up to lately?

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday!

Skywatch Friday – A U2 Sky

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Heather and I went to the U2 Concert last night here in Tulsa. In fact Tulsa is where U2 is starting their latest tour. They of course put on a great show. It had a sad tinge to it that I think is reflective of our country right now.

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And then earlier this week we had a full moon. Fish Moon, Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, I love all the different names we have for full moons. The problem is, that I took this photo the night after the full moon. Still it was 98% full. I can’t tell the difference. Aren’t you happy with me that I came out and was honest with you about this? Don’t always count on it!! I’m a scoundrel with the facts.

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The sculpture is “Monument to Forgiveness” in honor of Tahlequah, Oklahoma being the end point of many Native American on the Trail of Tears when they got evicted from the southeastern USA. Check out “www.monumenttoforgiveness.org

On our trip to the JT Nickel Wildlife Preserve on Sunday, Logan and I stopped at Northeastern State University for a look see. They are starting a program for people with Special Needs to get a university experience. We are applying and have high hopes. They are taking only five this, their first year of the program.

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He’s doing well at school and is still working maintenance at Walmart. He’s a hard working kid.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, better late than never.

Last Skywatch Post of April 2018 – Osage Prairie Trail

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Last week I took my bicycle up north of Tulsa to the “Osage Prairie Trail” a rails to trail project  that starts in north Tulsa and goes to Skiatook, way out in the country. I started in Sperry and went about five miles north to Sperry. The trail is deluxe, asphalt paved and well maintained.

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I got some geocaching in on the way. How do you like my stylish outfit? I found that garish yellow top at Walmart for about seven bucks. Don’t feel bad if you don’t like it cuz I like it just great! Along with my mismatched socks. Where’s the law that says your socks have to match? There isn’t one, I already checked!

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I love this bridge across Bird Creek.

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I got to Skiatook and everybody in town was taking an exercise class.  I felt like jumping in myself but they were just finishing up. I love community stuff like that. Except community sounds like communism. We don’t like communism here in Oklahoma, so I am glad I didn’t join this communistic exercise program. People need to be in there own homes watching Fox News and checking you know who’s twitter feed. Not out in the sun getting skin cancer and getting to know your possibly leftist, immigrant, non gun owning  neighbors.

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Enough about politcs. How about some cows? These are my wife’s cousin’s herd out in western Oklahoma. I love the calves especially. I always name one of them “Little Brisket.”

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I went riding along the Arkansas River after work earlier this week during a pretty day. I am loving riding my bike this Spring!!

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And it is Azalea season here in Tulsa. Here is a house in midtown that I just love. Look at the blooms, and the windows.

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And I have a volunteer gig with the city of Tulsa picking up “litter on a stick” signs. I’ve picked up 17 so far. Within days of getting trained, me and my fellow 61 volunteers picked up over 500 trash signs off city rights of way. I’m all official now. I have a city ID Badge with my photo on it and some “cop gloves” to help protect from sabotaged signs. (Not yet in Tulsa but apparently in other cities the people who have put out litter on a stick signs have superglued razor blades to the wire frames.” The gloves will come in handy for geocaching also. On my bike ride on the Osage Prairie Trail I went looking for a cache called something like “In the hole” and I found the hole in the tree and as I went to inspect it, a snake slithered out! So as we say in the energy biz, I plugged and abandoned that cache, figuratively. I am just glad that I didn’t stick my hand in there, even though the slithery critter did not appear to be poisonous.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday this week.

Springtime Skywatching

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After a long winter of short days and featureless skies we are having lots of skywatchable skies these days. The longer warmer days means that I am outside more and we are having a little weather and unfortunately the many grass fires in western Oklahoma adds a tinge to the air here in northeast Oklahoma.

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On the advice of my doctor I have quit running and am riding my bike a lot. So far over 200 miles this year. (I am not bragging, I know several bikers who more than that on a weekend.) Most of the time when I am riding I have my Go Pro clone camera working. I alternate rides between video and stills.

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It is very low fidelity with medioce specs but I don’t mind.

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Another bicycle selfie. I always try and save one from each ride.

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Anyway I am sure enjoying being outside in the fresh air. And some of the trails allow me see some rural Oklahoma scenes. I posted this photo in Instagram. Speaking of which, if you are an instagrammer consider following me. I’ll follow back. My handle is @yogiab. You can see a little of my feed in the right sidebar.

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I took this with my cell phone. I spent some time trying to make it look better but you sometimes you just have to go with the plain version. Not that it is a great or even good photograph, I just like the contrast during the golden hour between the building and darker sky.

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I even had a geocaching opportunity on one of my rides. I didn’t find it but I found this cool “Posted, Keep Out Signs. I don’t know why the sign is so high in the air. I have a feeling that if I could figure out how to get up to the sign, that is where the cache might be. I know the guy that hid it and he is evil. I didn’t spend too much time looking for it I needed to get back to my car before dark.

How about you, is the weather changing good or bad for your Skywatching?

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – 1500th Geocaching Found

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Tuesday at noon I was signed up to go to a “Lunch and Learn” at work. That is where a vendor agrees to buy us engineers lunch if we agree to listen to their sales spiel. However, it was such a nice day, I ditched the lunch and learn and decided to go look for a new geocache named “RiverCache” right on the banks of the Arkansas River. So I drove down there and went walking along the river using the geocaching app on my cell phone to guide me.

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It took me to this little “social trail” on the river.

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Which led to this little wild and wooly hobo trail.

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After about fifteen minutes of looking here, there, and everywhere I found it!! Actually the photo is not the actual cache. To be fair to other finders and the owners of the cache I am using a photo from another cache I found years ago. The one I found on Tuesday was a lot smaller than this.

I found my first cache on Valentines Day 2004 so I have been at it for over 14 years. I only find a few dozen a year now but I still love it. Check out geocaching.com to get more information about the sport.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday 

Skywatch Friday – Tulsa Botanic Gardens

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A blue sky with fluffy clouds over the children’s garden. I think that is the scariest feature I’ve even seen in a children’s garden. It looks like it eats children!!

We are having some typical Oklahoma Spring Weather this year. Freezing one minute, roasting the next, bone dry, and then soaking. After a few nice days it has turned cold. I did get a chance to get to the Tulsa Botanic Garden during some sunny yet windy weather. It was so windy it was making the tulips bob one way and me and my camera the other way.

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From the sky to the ground. There were thousands of tulips blooming. It almost made for retina burn there were so many.

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And so many colors. With the bright sun it made the petals translucent. I love that look.

How about you,? Do you have anything blooming where you live?

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Top of the Rock

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Still documenting the continuing saga of our family Spring Break Trip to Southwest MIssouri a couple weeks ago. Our second day we went to “Top of the Rock” which is a sister organization to Big Cedar Lodge and is right adjacent to it.  I was kind of confused about what Top of the Rock was before we went and I am still kind of confused.  The first part we ran into was the “Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Tour” which is kind of a self guided tour of a cave and series of waterfalls. It is not only self guided but they give you a golf cart to go in. No walking allowed!! To get the cart you fork over a pile of cash and sign the longest list of releases I have ever seen.  And then off you go!! Was it nice, sure, but there wasn’t much natural about it. The cave is fake, and many of the rocks are faked and I think that the waterfalls are fed by pumped water. Was it fun? Sure it was a lot of fun. Was it a rip off? No, they spent a fortune building the landscape and the trails and did a great job of it. The golf cart trail winds along a canyon and they have places to get out for photo opportunities. So think of it as a very slow ride that you can get off when you want. Am I glad I did it? Sure! Would I do it again? Nope!!

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A copy of the iconic End of the Trail sculpture by James Earle Fraser. What a setting on an infinity pool overlooking a lake.

From the parking lot of the Nature Trail, you take a shuttle bus to the rest of the complex. There is a beautifully set wedding chapel, a spectacular golf course and driving range, a wine bar in a cellar,  two very nice restaurants, a great Natural History Museum, and there is a hotel just starting construction. You can see why the complex is called “Top of the Rock” it is on top of a mountain overlooking Table Rock Lake. It is spectacular. We were there on a Sunday so everything is closing early but we will be back from some sunset dining there.

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Three story wedding chapel. 2 is the main floor, 3 is a loft, 1 is changing rooms ( I think) it has an elevator. How many quaint country chapels do you know have an elevator?

The stone wedding chapel. The back side overlooks the valley and lake below. What a place to exchange vows. And who knows, you pay enough money they might shoot off the cannon for you at the right moment.

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A view of the driving range and par 3 golf course. My friends tell me that it is an evil course. I would love to play it again.

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As much as we loved the outside, Heather and I thought the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum was a highlight. It is a sprawling museum covering everything from the ancient flora and fauna of the area and the heritage and history of the Native Americans from the area. The museum is very well done and has lots of unique items. Photography without a flash is permitted but it is so dim (to preserve the art and specimens on display” that it was hard to get a good photograph (cuz I am a rule follower especially when it comes to photography in museums).

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They had some Native American Pottery like I had never seen anywhere else, and we hit all the museums that we can.

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So here is the rest of my crew. We had a great time and will be back.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

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We went on a little Spring Break trip this past weekend to southwest Missouri. Monday we visited the Dogwood Nature Park near Lampe, Missouri. It is a 10,000 acre private preserve owned and operated by the nonprofit Dogwood Canyon Foundation. The land was originally acquired by Johnny Morris, owner of the Bass Pro Shops and the branding is very familiar. The park has a very nice, affordable restaurant, wildlife museum, and a gift shop.

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The Park has a beautiful tree house built by some famous television tree house guy. It is nice, very cozy with two levels, a deck and would be a perfect place to sit and read and get away from it all.

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What is about a treehouse that is so peaceful?

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The park offers walking, bicycling, tram tours, segway tours, trout fishing, and horseback riding. They even have a wedding chapel. They don’t have any accommodations or camping. Do your research before you show up. It costs $10 per person to enter which gets you access to the restaurant, museum, and gift shop and a short trail. If you want to go walking on into the canyon it will cost you and another $10 per person. Personally, I think it is worth it, but I understand others may differ.

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The park has about 10,000 acres organized up and down a canyon with a nice stream that has a lot of waterfalls feeding it. The water is crystal clear and you can see lots of big fat trout swimming around. For a fee you can go fly fishing on the property.  Apparently the best spot is right behind a wedding chapel.

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The stream is dammed up behind a series of weirs. The water pools up behind the weirs and spills down into the next pool. Bring your camera, there are lots of opportunities for photos. The trail is paved so I don’t know if you can really call it a hike or not but at least it is all weather. There a few side trails that are dirt but we didn’t take them.

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There are several waterfalls coming off the canyon into the stream. They are really beautiful. I think the walking trail is about six miles out and back. We didn’t get quite to the end  but close and turned back. It is uphill going into the canyon and downhill coming out so the second half was a lot easier than going in.

So are walk/hike was about 5.6 miles and we went a steady 20 minutes per mile including taking lots of photos and stopping to look at the sights. We finished up with a nice meal at the restaurant on site. It was a great family outing.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

 

Skywatch Friday – Bike Riding Skies

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You can tell that in Oklahoma we are strict. Walkers and runners over there, bicyclists over here. I feel jealous of roller skaters, and skate boarders. I guess they can go where they want.

Spring is here, the weather is warming up and we have daylight savings time. I love daylight savings time.  With the warmer weather it is time to ride my bike. I am not running any longer, I don’t know if I am ever going to run, and walking is great, but walking is so slowwww. Riding is a lot faster than running.

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That is the Creek Nation River Spirit Casino over on the left. The relationship with the tribe and the rest of the state is complicated in Oklahoma. I kind of like complicated. I had a guy ring the doorbell today to try and sell window replacements to us. He was a good guy and not giving me the hard sell. I asked his name (I forget what he said but it was both unfamiliar and nice sounding to me.) He laughed and said that he is Cherokee and the name means “first born” in that language.

Heather and I went on a bike ride a couple week ago on the Arkansas River. We started north an d basically flew north. We were sailing, biking was easy.  It was great. We went north to the turnaround and headed south, into a strong wind. It was a long slow miserable painful seven mile slog back to the car. Springtime and Oklahoma winds are not always great.

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Heather and Logan were busy doing something the other day and so I went on a bike ride on the Arkansas River. The forecast and the skies were both threatening so I didn’t go far.

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Today I took a half day off and came home and got our taxes organized to to take to the accountant this week. That always makes me anxious. I ran into some questions about my late Father’s estate and his tax return. I talked to my sister, I talked to the accountant, and I talked to my sister again and it is all good. Of course I am sure she appreciated me calling her about tax questions on her birthday. But I got it all figured out. And then it was like, I got it all figured out, the kid is still at work, Heather is at work. I am going for a short bike ride, so off I went for a quick ten miles. Above is a not bad turnaround point.

I am linking with Skywtach Friday