Heather and I went down to Broken Bow, Oklahoma this past weekend for a long overdue vacation and reset. We were supposed to go last Spring for a combination birthday, retirement, and other things weekend but then the pandemic showed up. We rented a very nice cabin for the weekend.
We did a couple of hikes. The first one was in Beavers Bend State Park, a four mile route on the Lakeview Trail.
It was a clean, very well maintained and marked route through the mixed hardwoods and pines.
I think they use controlled burns to keep the brush down. It really makes a difference in forest health where it can be done safely. It really opens the forest up to where you can see into it.
The loop trail borders Broken Bow Lake on the return leg leading to some nice scenery. This looks like a good place to go fishing to me.
Another cove seen on the trail.
Right at four miles. We were tired but happy!! Ready to chill out at the cabin we were renting.
Sunday afternoon Heather and I took off on a bike ride on the Tulsa RiverParks Trails. Not only was it a bike ride but we said goodbye to one community landmark and hello to a new one.
First up was the Pedestrian Bridge across the Arkansas River. It’s 103 years old, starting off life as a railroad bridge for the Midland Valley Railroad and then repurposed to a pedestrian bridge in 1976. I have walk, run and rode my bike over that bridge a bunch. In the summer you were shaded and there was always a nice breeze blowing up or down the river. Running on the wooden deck was a great respite from the asphalt. It’s been deemed unsafe to continue so we got a brand spanking new bridge coming in about three years. Here is the conceptual design. It’s all swoopy and swanky. The curmudgeons who never watch the news or read the newspaper are all coming out against it now, as the demolition crews start staging in. Hey Curmudgeons!! wake up, your asleep.
And then we rode a little further north where old Route 66 crosses the Arkansas River. Tulsa is putting in a Neon Sign Park using replica signs from actual Motels that are no longer around.
I think it is supercool. They have placards giving the history of each motel. The electricity isn’t connected but I’m told it is coming soon. It will be super cool at night when they get them lit.
So some lady came by and said she hasn’t been able to figure out how to get all three signs in the same picture. I couldn’t figure out what her problem is. I got all of them, and my beautiful wife in the image as a bonus.
Anyhow, fourteen miles and change on a hot humid afternoon. Sign me up.
Sunday afternoon I headed down to Sequoyah State Park about an hour southeast of Tulsa. Just for a little change of pace.
The park sits on Fort Gibson lake and the marinas were busy with people and their boats. I saw three other people on the trails the three hours I was there.
They keep the trails maintained very well.
I was mainly searching for geocaches like this one. In the city there is no way you could leave one of these so open.
There used to be several settlements on what is now the park. This is all that is left of Ray, Oklahoma. It was founded by members of the Osage Tribe and they got removed to Kansas in the 1800’s so that the Cherokees could come in after they were removed from the southeastern USA by the US Government. The Corps of Engineers bought everybody out when they put in Fort Gibson Lake in the 1940’s. They gave the land to the state who made a State Park out of land.
There are several cemeteries scattered here and there through the park.
This is a recreation of a Cherokee type grave. They often built little houses over the graves. I don’t really know why. I’ve searched the internet and there is a lot of what I call speculation or guesses. If you know, let me know!
There is at least one active church in the park. It looks very sharp with a fresh coat of paint and some flowers.
I had a great time wandering around the park. I’m linking with this post withOur World Tuesday.
Saturday I ventured up to the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch near Oolagah, Oklahoma where the annual Wiley Post/Will Rogers Fly-was taking place. The event is to remember the day that Wiley Post and Will Rogers died in an airplane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska on August 15, 1935.
Wiley Post was a famous aviator back before World War II. Among other things he was the first pilot to fly solo around the world. He discovered the jet stream and was the inventor of the pressure suit used in high altitude flying.
Will Rogers is like Mr. Oklahoma. He did everything, vaudeville, movie acting, broadway star, comedian, author, newspaper columnist. He had all sorts of quips including his most famous, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” He was born in Oklahoma near Oolagah and was a member of the Cherokee Tribe.
This fly-in has been going on for some time. I read an article that this is the 35th year.
Anybody is welcome to fly-in to the 2000 foot grass airstrip. They were all single engine planes including a news station helicopter that landed for a short while
The planes were all older, some of them hand built by the owner/pilots and they were all extremely small. Not too many younger pilots present. They all looked to be in their 60’s and above.
I loved the art work on some of the planes. They went from nice and innocent.
To a more worldly theme.
And everything in between.
This is my favorite. You ever see a more shapely bee butt?
Back to the aircraft.
There were a few biplanes.
This is one of the hand built ones.
Another view of the bumble bee.
Some of the planes had the huge soft tires and it looked they could take off in just a few hundred feet.
There were well over a hundred airplanes there. They come in and land kind of early and starting around 11 am they head out. I asked why and was told it’s August, it’s hot, and none of these aircraft have air conditioning. Okay, I get it. Last time I attended, I lolly gagged around and got there just as everybody was leaving. Don’t be that guy!!
Because of the Covid situation I didn’t tour the house on the grounds. The Ranch is great the rest of the year and has hardly any visitors so show up and take a look. The home is wonderful and is decorated in period style.
I went for a walk last week at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. A huge public, privately funded, free park built right next to the Arkansas River. I’ve been there a bunch of times and I am still trying to get my head around it.
It has a bunch of different facets to it. One of the things I like is the beauty of the place. From the native, sustainable plantings the landscaping. It’s a great place to hang out. No cars are allowed in the place, the parking is all in the periphery. So be prepared for walk. They do have handicapped parking closer in though.
Who says Tulsa doesn’t have a beach?
I love the Koi Pond. The park is a mixture of high energy and serene.
The native plants make for low maintenance and low water use. It also makes for critters that live in the planting areas and other critters who feed on the critters, like snakes.
There are all sorts of areas to sit and visit, while maintaining social distancing.
The main draw are spectacular play structures. They are huge. Designed and built in Europe, they are unlike anything I have ever seen.
Other times, like on winter mornings I have climbed and clambered and used the slides. I’m not really into that when kids are present though. It’s for them.
The structures are complex and interconnected and there are multiple ways to play on them.
And great exercise to, sliding down the tubes is fun, but you have to climb up to them.
I loved their boat with the sail.
They had their water/hydraulics feature working. It had never been working on my previous trips. You have hand operated pumps, valves, dams. You can make the water go this and that. Talk about fun!!
And then off by itself is the sensory garden with all sorts of things to look at, touch, feel and make noise with.
So you can go from the busy and noisy to isolated and quiet easily.
And make your own music!!
One of my favorite places is the Lodge. It looks like an expensive resort.
I love the woodwork and the midcentury modern vibe with the furniture. Masks required!!
They have a great big fireplace that is just the place on cold winter days. And wifi and a snack bar.
So, this is just a sampler. They also have a boat house where you can rent canoes and kayaks. Bicycle and skateboard parks, and lots of sports courts, cafe’s. Play areas for smaller children, lots of rest rooms. And guess what, no admissions fees, no parking fees, no nothing. They are open 9 am to 8 pm seven days a week. Check out their web site for more information. The home page has some great drone video footage of the park.
Sunday morning, before anybody got up, I ventured out to do some geocaching out of Town. I went through the city of Mounds and stopped to take a photo of this building which looks to be unoccupied at the moment.
What got my attention though was this mural on the side of the building. I checked out the web site and it looks to be not very active right now. It was state sponsored organization and I imagine that funds got cut. But the mural survives and I love the handprints.
At a nearby cemetery I found this little angel. I like hanging out in graveyards. I get a sense of peace there.
I found this really old marker. Eliza A.N. What’s up with just initials for a last name. 1822-1907 – A lot happened in the world during that time. A mystery!! I tried googling a little bit but couldn’t find anything.
Here we had three crosses put up on fenceposts. Some sort of trinity type thing. I think this is fairly recent.
Close by a long forgotten hibiscus is growing up among poison ivy.
I did a little bit of exploring while looking for geocaches Sunday. I found a new nature trail I didn’t know about in the Tulsa suburb of Jenks.
It even has a bench. I just love benches on trails. Downtown Tulsa used to have benches on the sidewalks but the homeless population grew so much that they took over the benches all day long so all the benches were removed. I don’t know blame the homeless people. Many of the services for homeless are downtown and they got to sit somewhere right? With the benches gone, they sprawled on the grass at churches and other buildings. Anyway, I digress.
So I found a cache on the trail. About 40 feet from where it was supposed to be.
Elsewhere I found this gadget caches. Gadget caches are the big thing in geocaching right now. The caches are easy to find but hard to open. This one had various screws and such on both sides of the box so you were supposed to use your fingers on each side to use your body to complete an electrical circuit and you look through the hole and you are supposed to be able to see what the combination to the lock is. Well I completed the circuit but I couldn’t figure out the combination.
I went bicycling on Friday. I pretty much stick to the RiverParks trails because their are no highway crossings and I can make a good 13 mile to 15 mile loop out of the trails. That’s nothing to a good rider. I am not a good rider but I love riding my bike. My bike is about 15 years old so by now.
This was Sunday morning at our house, actually most mornings. We get them up, outside, fed and then they sleep. After sleeping all night long!!
I’m reading John Bolton’s latest book on his time at the Trump Administration. I saw a few of his interviews and I was shocked that he actually had a great sense of humor and could laugh and smile. The only thing I ever remember him doing was threatening hellfire and war on countries he wasn’t happy with. He is still that way but I am seeing that he has consistent set of principles that he acts from so I have a new respect for him. His book has lots of quips also. He has an excellent sense of dry humor.
We are looking at freshening up our house of twenty years. We brought it brand new and we are going to get new flooring and make a bunch of other changes so we went to Tulsa’s Parade of Homes. We saw all sorts of stuff we liked in terms of flooring, windows, decor, etc. Also, everybody was masked up and there were not the crowds of previous years.
Afterwards we went to a produce stand. Dotson. One of the many things about summer I like are the vegetables.
So on my bagels nowdays, at the suggestion of a blog friend, I am using avocado and orange marmalade. I was a little leery but I love it. I bought some spicy mashed avocado and I love it. It’s also good insurance that nobody else in the house will eat it.
So last Friday I ventured out for another run on Turkey Mountain. Sorry for being so repetitive but when the weather is hot I love heading to the shady dirt trails. This time I went on the east side, which some people call the back country. Not near as many people in the back country and easier to get lost.
It’s an Urban Wilderness so in addition to powerlines there are a couple of pipelines. This one is Enable Midstream Partner’s transmission line to PSO’s Tulsa Power Station. I used to work for Enable you see. I hope that I am not giving away any secrets. This is an old pipeline, not sure how old but pretty old. New pipelines have more modern technology where they would drill this little segment instead of putting it above ground.
Somebody used the pipe to mark the Pink Trail. Or maybe Enable is saying that gas can flow both ways.
Got up to a sign notifying that the trail ahead is closed because of renovations to the West Side YMCA. I had to go check it out.
Can’t go any further. They are really revamping the site. It’s going to be great. But anyway I head back.
And take the Snake Trail back to the parking lot.
I didn’t go very far but I went far enough.
And then, I am continuing to scan old photographs. Below is one my favorites.
It’s my late mother fishing for trout in Idaho’s Birch Creek way back in 1987. She had MS but she was tough. She would pick a nice spot and go fishing. If she caught any that’s great, if she didn’t, it didn’t bother her too much because that is why they call it fishing instead of catching.
I’ve been going through old film photos and scanning them. Remember those days. You go on a trip, you sparingly took photos because film and processing was expensive and you never knew if you what you took was any good. Oftentimes you didn’t have time to put them in an album so you stuck them in a drawer somewhere and forgot about them. That’s what happened to these photos.
Back in the 90’s, Heather and I went to Park City, Utah for our summer vacation. It was a few years before the Olympics and things were still kind of sleepy in town. We went hiking a few days in the Wasatch and nearby Uintah Mountains.
It was summertime but in the higher elevations it was still snow.
There’s me with the map thinking we should climb that mountain over there.
The Wasatch Mountains are some of the prettiest mountains I’ve ever seen. Of course I don’t remember any ugly mountains.
My wife Heather has been taking advantage of the this isolation to revamp our back yard and add bird feeders and such. So we are getting a lot more birds than we used to. Plus we have more time to sit out and watch them.
So its kind of fun. We have lots of squirrels also helping themselves to the feeders. I don’t care as long as they stay out of the attic.
So I am consulting inaturalist on some of the critters. I don’t have the patience to be a birder but I’ll do it opportunistically.
On a different note, we spent some time with Heather’s Mom yesterday celebrating Mothers Day. A good time was had by all. We got food from a local restaurant and so nobody had to cook!!
And I got a little drone time in as the clouds come rolling in. Check in later this week on my Skywatch Friday post for the images I captured.