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

Our World Tuesday – Nature Photography Class – Spring 2018 – Chapter One

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I am all excited!! I did a one day Nature Photography class by Tulsa Community College.  We met early in the morning and then headed off to several venues, the Linnaeus Gardens, Tulsa Garden Center, Tulsa Botanic Gardens, and Oxley Nature Center.

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So the over a dozen of us, clicked and snapped away and we walked, and walked. My little garmin wrist device tells me that I walked 7.76 miles today. I believe it. My dogs are barking, you know what I mean. I do trail running, and this was about the same except I had a camera and was clicking happily away.

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This is at Wooward Park, before the class really even started. So what do you like best, pink tulips in front, with yellow in back?

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Or the other way around? Without cars in the background. Ignore the cars in the background.

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Or how about the Redbud Trees.

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How about some ancient stone steps.

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At Oxley, do you like the little snake my fellow students found?

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Or do you like the bigger snake a few hundred yards away. They said, don’t worry, no triangular head, and the eyes are round so it is not venomous. Like I even cared. Who is going to get close enough to snakes to figure out the roundness of its eyes?

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I forget where this is from. It is pretty is all I know.

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I love this also. No idea what it is.

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Anyway, the more I learn about this photography thing, the more ignorant I get. I am firmy entrenched into manual mode, and metering the photos and all that but the complicated things get me. Like the above. Sunny on one side, shady on the other, overeposed on one side, under on the other. Who you going to call? Nobody, suck it up big guy, figure it out.

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Or focus on the blossoms. The yin and the yang. Big picture, small picture. I am so confused.

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Here is a redbud up close.

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Linnaeus Gardens

How about a flag reflection. The reflection looks okay, but the sky is blown out.  No editing done anywhere on this post by the way.  Haha you say, we could tell that.

That is all for now. I took over 200 photos and I store them all in cloud and it is painfully slow to get them there. I used to store them on an external hard drive. Big, huge mistake. It cratered.

I really enjoyed the class. Kudos to my fellow students who really got into it, the various venues, who welcomed us with welcome arms and the instructors, Larry and Natalie who spent a considerable amount of time scheduling us into the various places, and led us around making sure that everybody had a fun time. I’ll be taking more classes from them again.

I am calling this Chapter One because I have so many photos to upload and don’t want to  wait until they are all uploaded before I post something. Call me impatient.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

 

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

Our World – Spring Break at Big Cedar Lodge

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A week or so ago we had the perfect storm appear of the kid getting a break from school, and a few days off from his job at Walmart and me having some time so we dashed off to Southwest Missouri to Big Cedar Lodge, near Ridgedale to spend a couple nights.

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I really didn’t know what to expect. Big Cedar is owned by the same company who owns Bass Pro and if you have been to a Bass Pro store you know they push the time share condos and Big Cedar hard. (They also the founders of the now non-profit Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, that I discussed in my previous post.) So anyway we got to Big Cedar and it was very nice and very low key. The staff at the hotel act like they like there jobs and are very engaging and spend time with you to make sure that everything is good. What little problems did occur were set right quickly with very little fuss.

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The property is huge and has lots of amenities, most of which are at no extra charge such as the nice mini golf set up that they had or the paddle boats. This is not a resort where they nickle and dime you to death.

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They had a nice chapel on the property available for weddings.

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Lots and lots of flowers. I like it when owners take pride in their properties. There really is not a rate of return to flowers.

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There were lots of people there on the property but it is so spread out and has so many activity centers that it did not seem crowded at all.

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This is the marina where you can check out the paddle boats, kayaks, and other equipment.

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I had never seen so many mounted heads of deer and other wildlife in my life. Whole herds must have been wiped out to furnish the place. (I am being sarcastic folks). These were in the fully equipped fitness center.

Anyway we had a fun, relaxing time. I know this sounds like a puff piece for Big Cedar and I assure you that we paid full price for stay there and were happy to do so and will probably be back. I think it is a great place for our family for a long weekend. The accommodations were nice despite very thin walls. The food and drink in the restaurants was good and reasonably priced and the staff was friendly. What else do you want?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

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

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day my fellow Irish!

It is Saint Patrick’s day and I am ashamed to admit that the only photos I have out of 67,000+ in my archives are for a 5K run Logan and I ran a couple years ago and this crappy photo of some green beer. That’s alright I guess.

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We had big family plans to head off to a resort today for Spring Break but I got sick yesterday and Logan got sick so we’ll just have to see how everybody feels this morning. I hate being sick. I was planning on taking lots of pics. I feel better this morning. Yesterday I was at maybe 70% and today maybe about 85%. Yesterday was the first day in years where I didn’t have a cup of coffee. That hasn’t happened in decades!! Today I’ve already had two. No green beer for me today. That would be a mistake. I had a piece of toast yesterday and a baked potato. This morning I was starving so I fried a couple eggs.

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No bike rides for me today either. So we’ll have to see, we are not packed and we are not ready for the house sitter and I have yet to see how Logan is feeling.

 

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

Blue About Blue, Learning About Color

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That sinking feeling…

I am taking a photography class and it has been fun (I originally typed “phun”, I like it) and this week we are supposed to take a Pantone color and match it to something and photograph it and then talk about what the Pantone color of the year is. You may wonder what Pantone is? It is a company in New Jersey who is known for standardizing colors in a repeatable way. I had always wondered because in previous lives I had occasion to have signs made for various things, such as compressor stations or new offices and whatever company I was working for would send the sign design and the colors were just listed by numbers and I would ask, how do you know they will get it right and they told me not to worry about it, a good print shop will get it right. And sure enough they did whether it was British Petroleum Green, Shell Oil Yellow, Lear Petroleum Aggie Maroon, Champlin Petroleum Red, or Mobil Oil Red. They always got it right.

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Great pic, except you can’t see the object I am trying to match.

Anyway I had a problem because I lost my assigned paint chip which was some sort of bright pinkish red so I decided to work things backwards and take an object and find the Pantone equivalent. Smart plan right, well guess what I couldn’t find the Pantone colors. So being the problem solver that I am I just went to Lowes with my Yeti and found the color among what they had that matched the object as close I could get it. They had several displays of different paint chips and I tried to get as close as I could. I tell you what matching colors is tiring and frustrating. Some colors that seemed close, didn’t seem so close later. They all look different depending on the light it is in.

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This was taken with my cell phone. Looks like several matches.

I know people who are good at matching colors and it is magical. Once they do it, I can see the match but I can’t come up with it on my own. Often it seems counterintuitive but it works. I guess that I’ll stick to my day job.

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Taken with my fancy schmancy Nikon D5300 with full sun whitebalance. This color looks lots less dark than the above photo.

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So the winner, after much worrying and sweating is Olympic Paint’s “Florentine Lapis” number OL635.6 and I am not happy with it. Color is difficult. I pick out what I think is closest and it doesn’t quite photograph right despite taking the photo outside with the white balance adjusted. Color problems drive me crazy. You got how it looks to my eye, and then what the camera sees, and then what the monitor displays to you when you look at my photo.

Do you have a good eye for color? Tell me about it, because I don’t.

And as a bonus here is a link presenting Pantone’s color of the year.

PANTONE 18-3838 ULTRA VIOLET!

from the page: “…Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.”

Now you know all the secrets!! The color Violet is the solution to all our problems.

Skywatch Friday – The Last Week or So

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Heather and I went to see Pink here in Tulsa at her concert. I tell you what she can sing, and she can fly. Toward the end she got geared up and flew on wire from one end of the arena to the other. Up high in the air and cruising just over everybody’s head. She was amazing.

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Massed decorations in stores creep me out. Even these birds.

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I happen to think that gnomes are evil.

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The gardens of Philbrook Museum has daffodils. I love them, especially on gloomy days.

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I found some artistic bee hives at Philbrook also. Gardens, no matter how fancy have those areas at the very back where they put all their left over stuff. Do you think they will reuse those hives? I hope so. My MIL, Nana, buys us a membership to Philbrook every year. I love it, I can just pop in and pop out and see what I want. I feel pretty comfortable there. They might think I am a little too comfortable.

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Philbrook has an “Installation” as they say by Rachel Hayes, a textile artist. The installation is spectacular but I get to thinking, what happens to the installation later? I mean do they ship it back to her, put it in their dumpsters, is it recycled? Just what or do they store it for posterity. Yes, I worry about this kind of stuff. I tell you what I think. I think they have the material returned to them, and they cut it up, and reuse it. You see I have known a few artists and they hate to throw away stuff and they will reuse what they can.  Hey, I can respect that.

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I ventured out to Tulsa’s Graffiti “Permission Zone” at the former Mad Mike’s Liquors. The liquor store was okay with the graffiti but I wonder if a new occupant would be so welcoming. I posted a cropped version of this photo on Instagram and several people popped up and said that the female figure is an Anime figure, “Morrigan” from the Darkstalker Series. Uh? You over feel that there is a lot of stuff going on that you don’t know about.

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A driveby moonrise.

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In my photography class we did light painting. The instructor arranged all these cameras on a table in a totally dark room then illuminated them with a flashlight for 90 seconds while we held our shutters open on our tripod mounted cameras and then got colored light sticks out to create the ribbons. Totally cool! is what I thought.

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A couple weeks ago I walked a trail run. I have not run since November so I walked this quarter marathon. The race was in the third day of racing after several days of rain so it was muddy. Since I was walking I tried to stay out of the mud and I was okay but there were a few places like the creek above where I just had to slog through the ice cold water.

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Similar thing here. The trail, which has running water in it, is paralleling a creek. Off to the right is some pretty thick brush. Just smile and splish splash.

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But hey, we eventually made it to the top of Holmes Peak, the tallest point in Tulsa County, big sky in all directions. You can see the high rises of Tulsa off in the distance. I love the big skies of Oklahoma. I have to report that it took me about four hours to go the six and change miles. It was slow going!!

Happy Skywatching is what I am saying this week, and linking to also.

What the Heck are Dagmars? Road Trip to a Car Auction

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Last week my friend Richard invited me and his other friend Wayne to the Leake Car Auction in Oklahoma City. We met at Richard’s office here in Tulsa and rode down the turnpike to the State Fairgrounds to a big huge barn of a building where the auction was held.

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Richard and Wayne are car guys. They know a lot about almost every kind of car. Me, I like cars also but I can’t quote chapter and verse on them. I love the older “swoopy” style cars and the more fins and different colors, the better.

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I know I hurt peoples feelings but I think most cars today look like Toyotas. Having said that I think modern day cars are lots better mechanically than the older cars.

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Growing up we had cheap cars for me and my siblings to drive. Cheap was good but I was never quite sure if the car was going to start for the return trip. This was back in the days before cell phones and such. We had tow ropes in all cars and jumper cables and used them a lot.

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So I love the old classic cars but let me keep my Kia Soul.

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The other thing I love about old cars is a reminder of car culture.

1982 Toyota FJ240 Open Top

When I was a kid, car culture was king. Everybody I knew got their learners permit on the day they were eligible, and then a few months later you got your drivers license on your birthday. Nowadays, kids are a lot more casual about it.

1960 Studebaker Lark Police Car

I used to grab the car magazines, “Car and Driver“, “Road and Track” and devour the reviews and memorize the statistics. Horsepower, torque, 0 to 60 times, displacement, brake types,, everything.

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People identified with the cars, or at least the cars they wanted. Me, I drove a Renault Dauphine, top speed of about 48 mph. The car I wanted was a Chrysler Hemi Challenger. I watched the movie Vanishing Point, over and over. The final scene where he crashes his Challenger into bulldozers is the greatest scene in movie history.

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So here I am, 47 years later, dreaming of Hemi Challengers.

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Anywho, there were lots of car guys way back when. They worked on their cars, many of them took shop classes and learned how to modify their cars. Car culture is on the decline. Most of the attendees at the car shows and auctions I go to are about my age or older. I think it is kind of sad.

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Of course nowdays it is hard to work on your car. Everything is computer controlled.

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So still I love looking at the old cars. They are beautiful.

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Many of them are elegant.

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I love the old IHS Scouts. Very rugged. The people I knew who owned them had to work on them constantly. Finding parts was a challenge.

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I love this old Plymouth.

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Richard pointed out to me that the hood ornament was a stylized sailing ship. Very art deco I would say.

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One of the few Camaros we saw.

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I loved the paint job. Wayne used to teach car painting at a local school. He showed me some of the things to look for in a paint job and the difference between slapdash and good.

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Here is an old Henry J. Richard told me that it is pretty close to the Renault Dauphine that I used to drive.

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Love the chrome, the shape, and the color and the covered wheel wells and the white wall tires.

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Love the color.

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So you may be wondering, what the heck are Dagmars. They are a car part named after an early 1950’s television actress named Dagmar. That is right, just one name.

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Here is a closeup of a Dagmar. And a bonus selfie of me taking the photo.

Here is her photo. So, do you get why they call those bumper things, Dagmars? Let me know.

Anyway we three had a great time. Richard did all the driving and treated us to lunch.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday