Tag Archives: Arkansas River

Skywatch Friday – Summertime on the River

Bike Riding

Summer is here and I am retired and I am spending a lot of time outside including lots of time running and riding my bicycle on the RiverParks Trails here in Tulsa.

Bike Riding

The trails are on both the east and west bank and stretch for miles. I love them especially for biking because there are no street or road crossings. I hate riding my bike on the road.

Bike Riding

Anyway, a perk of being retired, I can pretty much go to the river whenever I feel like it.

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I’ve been scanning old photos. Here is a scene from a cruise that Heather and I took in the 90’s. I think the ship on the left was ours. It had a bar up on the smoke stack at the back of the vessel. We spent a lot of time up there.

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And this is me in La Jolla, California during a vacation to the area back in the 90’s. We loved it there. Too many people though and I think that has gotten worse.

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And this is Heather way back when. We were doing social distancing from the critters in the background.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday this week.

Skywatch Friday – Happy New Year 2020

Up until a few years ago I went running every week, regardless of weather, after work on the Arkansas River trails. The only thing that stopped me was thunder and lightning. I have all sorts of cold weather gear to where I could run relatively comfortably down to the single digits if I had to do so. Since the tread on my knees has gotten a little thin as one doctor told me, I have cut my running way back. More cycling, more yoga and aquatics classes. But still I like to get out and run every now and then and participate in a race.

December 2019
I got out of the car, and saw this and took the closest path to the waters edge. That’s way there are trees in the way. I love the glow on the water.

Last week, the temperature wasn’t so bad so I went to the river to run and the sunset was just waiting for me. Actually I hurried because we skywatchers know that the sunset waits for no one.

December 2019
I moved upriver to a clearer vantage point.

There is nothing like a great sunset. They are so hopeful and I am looking forward to 2020. 2019 was a mixed year (aren’t they all?). Our son started college, Heather and I got to be empty nesters for a little bit and took a couple of great trips to the Teton Mountains and southeast Oklahoma. It was nice. The year ended with my brother coming down with viral encephalitis. My wife, my sister, and her husband and I dealt with that the last couple of months and will continue to deal with that for some time.

December 2019
This is looking north, upgriver after the color faded from the sunset.

So for 2020, our son heads back to college in a few days. My brother will be moving out of skilled nursing into long term care or assisted living as he continues his recovery, and life will go on as it always has.

So keep your friends and family close, be thankful for what you have, and help each other out. I wish all of you a Healthy and Happy 2020.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – on the River

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I am loving the big blue skies and the white fluffy clouds we are temporarily having. I say temporary because it clouds up and rains quite a bit these days.

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The Arkansas River is still high but within its banks and it is muddy as a soaked cow pasture.

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I love the big cottonwoods on the river. Even if some of them are suffering from storm damage.

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Almost all the River Parks trails are open now. They had a big sinkhole to fill in and repave here. There is still considerable work to be done getting the lights going again and fixing the plumbing at the restrooms. There was considerable damage to the river banks and they are trying to figure out how to rebuild and stabilize them.

So that’s the latest with the sky situation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. How they looking where you live?

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

The Flooding Winds Down in Tulsa

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Keystone dam on Friday, flowing 195,000 cu ft per sec through the gates.

The waters of the Arkansas River in the Tulsa area are rapidly falling. The waters flowing into Keystone Dam above the city declined rapidly which gave room for the Army Corps of Engineers to start closing the big Tainter gates and reduce the water drastically.

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Close up of the Tainter Gates controlling the flow out of the dam.

The peak flow was 275,000 cubic feet per second, now is down to 120,000 which is high but low enough that the river is back in its banks.

Downstream of Tulsa things are still bad, Muskogee still has a lot of flooding, and it is even worse in Arkansas where a major levee has been breached.

The images above and below are screen shots from a Corps web site. People had them open on their screens all day, refreshing and posting what the latest inflow and outflow numbers were.

I think that this has been a wake up call for the whole community. Personally, I thought with a big dam upstream that a major flood was pretty much impossible. Well, it is possible and we were lucky that the levees held and that the rains held off. With the climate change we are experiencing I am wondering if we are going to see these occurrences more often.

The local paper, the Tulsa World, produced the video above and the links I reference below.

An oil and gas producer who had tanks flooded mishandled the situation and ended up in hot water. Read about it here.

The waters are lower and residents are starting to return to their homes.

The Tulsa World also has a listing of handy phone numbers and internet links that might be helpful.

Skywatch Friday – Valentines Day Edition

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Arkansas River at I-44 in Tulsa

It’s Valentines Day, so I don’t mean to pry but are you ready? Card, Flowers, Perfume, Wine, Candy? Don’t get caught short.

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Lake Skiatook near Tulsa

And if you are not seeing anybody then Valentines Day marks the end of the Dating Dead Zone. You know what that is right? If you are not dating anybody then you don’t start from Thanksgiving until Valentines Day. So awkward to date somebody right before Christmas or Valentines Day, right?

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Downtown Tulsa from the Arkanas River.

I am glad that we have these little events scattered through the year. Valentines Day, then Mother’s and Father’s Days. I like the little min-celebrations. I do hate going out to eat on Valentines Day though or Mother’s Day.. The restaurants, at least the good ones, are overstressed and so are their customers.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Life on the River

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From the end of my bike ride earlier this week. I love a little color in the sky.

The Arkansas River runs through the middle of Tulsa from North to South. We are lucky because a huge part of the River is a public park of one sort or another for miles and miles. So we have lots of bike trails, many on both sides of the river. I have either run or rode my bike or walked every inch of them. I have  never got tired of them.

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The 21st street bridge from far away.

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And up close. 

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The ONEOK Boathouse in the background with Peggy’s Pond. 

Tulsa’s brand new park A Gathering Place for Tulsa is right on the river. Check the link. The home page is basically a flyover of everything and you can see how intimately the park is integrated with the River.

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I love the ripples in the pond. See the tall grass across the way. Most of the park is planted in native prairie grasses so no mowing, a lot less water, and fertilizer, so less money spent on maintenance, less chemicals on the land and the river, better habitat for bugs and birds. Win-win-win. Sustainability to most Okies is how to maintain high flows from  older fracked wells. 

It has been open about 10 days and I have been there five days. That’s ratio that I would like to keep up. Looking at the video I mentioned above I saw about four or five things that I hadn’t seen yet.

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One of these days, maybe when it gets cold, and it isn’t so crowded I am going to come over here and climb the towers and do some exploring. I may forego the slide though. I think my outside diameter is greater than its inside diameter. That would be a problem.

It’s a great place to take photographs. There are all sorts of things, and angles, and reflections, and interesting structures to make photographs. So I hope you don’t get tired of it. You see I’m still pretty excited about the Gathering Place.

I am linking to Skywatch Friday this week.

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 

The Lederhosen Lauf 3 Mile Race at Tulsa’s Oktoberfest

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Last week was Tulsa’s Oktoberfest. It is quite the party. It has grown considerably for the years and is a lot of fun.

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On Thursday night they have the “Lederhosen Lauf,” a three mile run from the festival out along the Arkansas River trails and back to the festival.  I am always looking for a deal and it is a deal. For your entry fee, you get the race and a t shirt, sure, but you also get admission to the festival, a 16 ounce mug, a free fill of the beer of your choice for that mug, and a nice tee shirt. So sign me up.

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The pre-race festivities included our mayor G.T. Bynum on the right. On the left is the lovely and talented Leslie who works for the company that sponsors the festival and is also a fellow Zumba exercise instructor with my wife Heather. Anyways, after the talk, off we went.

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This is the halfway point, they had beer for us there. I don’t know what kind it was but it was good.

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And then we finished so I took my stein and had it filled with Paulaner Oktoberfest Wiesn. it is my new favorite beer. I am usually not much for lagers but this one is great. It may be my favorite beer ever.

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I also had a Spaten Optimator. I drank this back in the bad old days when Tulsa was a wasteland for beer. It was good but a little sweet.

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I got me some schnitzel and sides for dinner.

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And listened to a band playing decent rock and roll covers. I am not much for German music so I stay away from the big main tents.

The race was great. Well organized, nice well marked course, beer on the course, beer after the race, fun before, during, and after the race. So check, check, double or triple check, check and check. Plus

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They posted the results on paper (I was fourth out of six in my age group) and on the internet. Immediately and right away.

A big thank you to the sponsors, the race director, the army of volunteers, and my fellow participants, and the brewers!! I love this race.

As you can tell, I am pretty slow!! But I was out there.

Skywatch Friday – Fall is Falling

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My wife’s cousin’s wife, Cheri Lou took this photo at the ranch in western Oklahoma. I love the rolling hills, grassy rangelands, and the big skies out there. The people are great also.

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Where we live in northeastern Oklahoma is more forest land and a lot wetter. Son Logan and I went on a little jaunt at Tulsa’s Oxley Nature Center. Lots of wildlife in Oxley. Lots of water also and it is right underneath the main approaches to our local airport and is right next to the police gun range so it can get kind of noisy but I love it.

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There are several sizeable lakes and ponds and it is known as a good birding site. I love birds but I don’t have the patience to put in the work.

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Here you go, any photoblogger worth his salt has the obligatory first red leaf of Autumn. I think this might be my first red leaf ever.

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This gave me a start! Don’t worry, it is a rubber snake placed near a geocache. At least I think it was near a geocache. I looked for it and didn’t find it. I lifted a rock and found me a real snake. Just a tiny little garter snake but I decided, enough is enough.

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Saturday I had some time so I went looking for some urban caches in Tulsa. Found one near the Saba Grotto. I think it has some relation to the Masons. There were a few instagram pics with Saba Grotto. it looks like a big man cave. They have a pretty active facebook page and they seem to have all sorts of benefits and events. Who would have thought? Stuff like that intrigues me. People don’t seem to join clubs any longer. They belong to “affinity groups” where they do people who have similar interests but is a lot looser. Anyway, one reason I love geocaching is that I find new places and learn new things.

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Another cache I found was on a freeway interchange. Talk about hiding something in plain sight. Lots of cars whizzing by while I figured out where the cache was.

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I am still training for the Tulsa Run 15K the last weekend of this month. Last week I ran 9 miles after work and I actually felt pretty good. Cooler weather and a hydration vest works wonders. I had already signed up for the race and went ahead and signed up for the Route 66 Half Marathon in November. This weekend I am running 11 miles on Sunday morning. At least that is my plan. Check back later. Plans change.

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A side benefit is running is the opportunity to take photographs. A great deal of my running (and a great deal of my photos) are along the Arkansas River. Tulsa really is a beautiful town. Of course I love the gritty west side of Tulsa where all the industry and refineries are.

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In the Fall the skies get a lot more interesting. This is a sunset photo looking east with my back to the sun.

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I’ll finish up with a selfie with a combuster at a waste treatment plant on the river. I was halfway on my nine mile run and I was really happy with how good I felt. Cooler weather, a hydration vest, and Metallica on the earbuds works wonders. That is about as big a smile as you will ever get out of me.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Storm Coming on Turkey Mountain

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One day after work when I was on the east bank of the Arkansas River looking across trying to figure out whether to run on Turkey Mountain or not which is the hill to the right. I decided to go ahead and stayed dry for the most part. I really look forward to my Wednesday night runs on the mountain or the river and rarely cancel them. I always feel like a kid when school has let out especially when the weather is decent. I hardly ever see anybody else especially when I’m more than a quarter mile from the parking lot.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday