Tag Archives: Our World Tuesday

Our World – Rainman in Oklahoma

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

Last week while traveling to south central Oklahoma to pick up the kid from college for a three day weekend I took a little detour to the town of Cogar. Cogar is nothing now, just a crossroads. It probably never was much of anything.

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

Back in the late 1980’s though (30 to 40 years ago!!) Hollywood came to Cogar to shoot a brief scene from the movie Rainman, the major Oscar winning movie that year starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman won an Oscar, the movie was Best Movie, and it got several other Oscars as well. It was the top grossing movie of 1988.

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

In the scene at Cogar, Cruise’s and Hoffman’s character stop and both step into a phone booth so that Cruise could make a business call. It’s kind of funny. Cruise and Hoffman play brothers who didn’t know each other existed until their dad dies and leaves it all to Hoffman, who has autism. All Cruise gets is a nice classic car and some rose bushes. For some reason they have to go on a cross country trip together and it makes for some funny scenes.

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

These days, there is no phone booth at the station in Cogar and the paint is a little more peeled. Other than that, not much has happened.

When I worked in the natural gas field of western Oklahoma I must have passed this place a thousand times without recognizing it from the movie. Now, I think was the last instagrammed in Oklahoma to venture to Cogar to capture the gas station.

Have you ever been to a site that was made part of a movie?

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Our World – Mystery House 2016

For good or bad I have over 75,000 images in my archives. Of these, maybe three or four are really good. But I’m keeping all of them. The thing about image archives is that if they are not tagged then they are not of any use. even though I can literally remember taking every single one of the photos. Every once in a while I run across one that I don’t remember like the following.

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When I am sitting down commenting on posts and such I also open up my untagged photo part of my archive. I have over 10,000 photos without tags. At least I have dates to kick start my my memory and I jump around the dates to keep things interesting. Doing that I came across the above photo. No tags but a date of April 17, 2016. Also, I can tell that I edited the photo and probably posted it on instagram. I started to remember being in New Orleans back then and taking a street car from downtown to Audubon Park and seeing this bar. And then I started looking at other photos I uploaded that day.

Update, Mystery Solved, In the great way that Al Gore’s Interwebs works, a facebook friend of mine, had a friend, a professional photographer who lives in New Orleans who knew immediately that this was the Circle Bar on St. Charles Avenue. I love serendipity.

French Quarter, April 2016

This bar with the beautiful doors and mysterious interior. New Orleans is a photographers paradise.

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These prehistoric looking birds at Audobon Park. Cormorants. Their feathers get wet so they hang them out there like that to dry them out. Good luck drying anything in New Orleans, the air is so thick and humid.

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And the big beautiful trees. The park itself is not that much. Hardpacked ground and kind of scruffy. That is just like most of the south though and that is its appeal.

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And the streetcars. It’s hard to take a bad photo of a New Orleans street car.

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K Paul’s restaurant in the French Quarter. A few years before my wife was with me and we had dinner there. We ate at one of the tables on the balcony. We spent hours and a had a great time. One of the most expensive dinners I ever had and worth every dime.

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Even the bicycles have style in New Orleans.

As you can tell I am a big fan of the city. I hope to be back soon. Meanwhile I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World – Rock Creek Bridge on US66

Rock Creek Bridge is an old school truss type bridge located on the southwest side of the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. It is pretty fragile and not rated for automobile traffic any longer and US66 traffic roars by on the adjacent modern bridge and you can park here and inspect it all you want and imagine the hundreds of thousands of cars who passed over it on vacations and work trips. Maybe you drove over it at some point. I love the old Route 66 landmarks such as this.

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Our World – Hiking on Turkey Mountain

Turkey Mountain Cables
Those cables have been there a while!! They look like some sort of oilfield type thing to me.

We haven’t been very good churchgoers lately. At least to the kind of church with brick and mortars. This cold foggy morning I got up and attended the church of Turkey Mountain.

Turkey Mountain Wagon Wheel Lake
Wagon Wheel Lake (my name for it)

It was cold and it was foggy but I felt instantly at home. Getting outside is my way of reconnecting with myself and the infinite.

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The seep from Wagon Wheel Lake. Hmm, whats up with the bright color and there is an oil sheen as well. Turkey Mountain used to be ranching, farming and oilfield way back when.

My brother is now in Tulsa at a skilled nursing facility but it is just another of the waypoints he will be on as he recovers. The skilled nursing facility he is in right now is well recommended but they are lacking in a number of things now that he is in it and it eats at me. Is any place good enough for a loved one?

Turkey Mountain Christmas Tree
I found me a Christmas Tree. Somebody told me that there was at least one ore on the mountain. Yes its cook but it is also graffiti. I hope whoever put the ornaments up, takes them down after the Christmas holidays.

And he is here only two more weeks and then he moves on to the next step. Will it be long term care or assisted living? Will he get better, or not?

December 2019 from Phone
Bicyclists. The Mountain Bikers are kind of hard to put up with but you know, that out volunteer everybody else by far on the Turkey Mountain work days.

The Church on Turkey Mountain doesn’t have any answers of course but it strengthens me for confronting these things.

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One of the many abandoned oil wells on Turkey Mountain
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The rod clamp has at least one bolt missing and another is loose. I am not too worried though.

Fortunately my sister, her husband, and my wife are strong partners in this.

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I googled Skinner Jack Box and you know what. They are still in business, still making rod stuffing boxes. I sent them an email about his find. After decades their product is still at work.

Some things are too hard on our own.

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Shale rocks just waiting to break somebody’s ankle. Turkey Mountain is a layer cake of this hard shale and softer sandstone. The sandstone is softer and erodes away leaving the shale to break apart.

So at the end of my hour and half I went to see brother Bob. He is doing okay. No therapy on Sunday. We talked a while, watched some football and then I left him to go home. He is very brave, he never complains about what life has dealt him. He has run 26 marathons and over a hundred half marathons so he knows what pushing through when the going gets tough entails.

He’ll get through this race as well.

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Our World – Hike to Yellowstone’s Fairy Falls and Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

On our trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming a couple weeks ago Heather and I decided to make a quick run up to Yellowstone because a storm was coming and we feared that the roads we closed.

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So we made our “quick run” to just past the Old Faithful Geyser to the trail head of the Fairy Falls trail. It took us about three hours on this quick run. Lots to look at so we were okay but ready to hit the trail. It was very cold and the wind was a gale.

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So, on the way, we took the little bypass to the overlook for the Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s a wonder of nature and no photographs I have took or edited shows it quite like it looks. So you get this unedited version of the Spring along with my wife Heather. She doesn’t need any editing in my opinion.

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The gale winds quit once we got in the woods. We saw this guy, the second of the Bison we encountered. We gave them wide berth. They seem benign but they can close on you in a hurry if they are riled up. We had our bear spray which is supposed to work on Bison but I didn’t want to have to worry about it. Especially if it is windy. The theory is that you create a cloud of spray for them to run through. No clouds though when the wind is blowing!!

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There is a definite boundary between the dead zone caused by the hot springs and the forests.

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Lots of old dead wood laying around from an older forest fire, I think back in the 80’s. My sister Ellen took me on this same hike in August 2018. She knew all about it, but I forgot.

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And here is Fairy Falls. They falls are 220 feet tall and are the highest “front country falls” in the park. Heather and I had the Falls to ourselves for quite a while. That is the thing about hiking this time of year. There is not near the crowds that you get in the summer.

Fairy Falls and log jumble October 2019

Here’s another view, obviously you can tell I edited it.

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And a closeup. A very nice and peaceful place.

I don’t have many photos of our return hike to the trailhead. It had gotten colder and the wind increased and we faced it heading back so we just hiked out with our heads on a swivel looking for bears and bison.

We had planned to see other sites during out time in Yellowstone but we got off to a late start leaving Jackson so we plugged and abandoned the other plans and just headed back. On the side of the road we saw mule deer (with tracking collars), a herd of elk, and another bison. The smartest bison in the world who stopped on the side of the road and looked both ways, waited for traffic to come to a stop and then walked across, with a brief stop in the middle. Heather saw a momma bear and two cubs crossing a gravelly stream and we violated all the rules, stopped the car and walked back to the bridge to see them and they were gone.

We got back to our condo very tired but happy. The storm came in that night and although we had a little bit in Jackson, they had enough in Yellowstone to where almost all the roads were closed.

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Our World – T.A. Moulton Barn on Mormon Row

The Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming is a spectacular place and may be the most photogenic area in the world, I don’t know. From majestic mountains and lakes to amazing animals, it has the whole package. I love all that but one of the sights that has amazed me is the Moulton Barn on Mormon Row.

Moulton Barn Mormon Row October 2019

Before there was a National Park there were settlers, including several Latter Day Saint members who in the 1800’s claimed land in what is now Mormon Row and put their homesteads on a road close together. They were there for several decades but the growing season was too short, and the work very hard, and they ended up selling their land and although most of the their buildings are gone there a few left standing including the T.A. Moulton Barn above and what I call the most famous outhouse in the world.

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The buildings are all underneath the Grand Tetons and it makes for a very spectacular setting. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live with such a view every day. Of course the day I was there, the Tetons were obscured by clouds. These buildings were built to last and last they do, although the Moulton family still shows up every few years to do some maintenance. For a while the policy of the Park Service was to just let the buildings go away one way or another (they now deny that this was ever the policy) but now they are more receptive to the preservation of the buildings that are left. Mormon Row is now a National Historic District and so hopefullly they buildings will stand for future generations to come.

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Our World – In the Woods

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

This past weekend I lucked out and got to for two short hikes into some woods. The first hike was at Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness. I go there frequently and Saturday I loved it. It was overcast although warm. I love dark and moody. That doesn’t mean that I am a dark and moody person. At least I don’t think it does.

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

I was actually kind of happy. I had just been asked to join the Advisory Board of the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition and had accepted. TUWC are the group of people that got together when Simon Malls wanted to build an outlet mall on Turkey Mountain (of all places!!!!) and got the community outraged and ended up convincing Simon to go build their stupid outlet mall somewhere else. Talk about a David and Goliath situation.

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

Anyway, they are not a militant environment organization and are into positive things so I am honored to be part of the organization. The Advisory Board of course is mainly honorary but I plan on redoubling the volunteering and advocacy that I have been doing.

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Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness

Turkey Mountain isn’t much of a mountain and it isn’t that big, about two miles by one mile, but it is special.

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Broken Arrow Sports Park

On Sunday, I went geocaching at some soccer fields at the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow. Little known fact is that many soccer fields are bordered by woods that separate them from surrounding neighborhoods. These are forgotten pieces of woods by everybody little neighborhood kids and geocachers. The going is a little rough because there are no trails and lots of nettles, stickers, and thorns.

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Tree with a frog face mocking me for not finding a nearby geocache.
Broken Arrow Sports Park

I only found one of the three geocaches I was looking for. One appeared to be beyond the park boundary behind a tall metal fence. A quick check on my iphone showed that it looked to be part of a private estate. I love geocaching and outlaw hikes but out and out trespassing on somebody’s home place? Count me out! So that was a big did not find on that one.

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So I looked for three and found only this one. It is kind of like fishing though. If you caught fish every time you cast your line they wouldn’t call it fishing, they would call it catching! To me, finding caches is fun but the major fun is the looking. (If you want to know what geocaching is check this video.) Be assured there are two types of people in this world, those who are on fire about geocaching, and those who don’t get it.

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#SufferingForMyArt – don’t pity me, totally self inflicted.

Those edge pieces of woods are pretty neglected. I soaked my legs and shorts with DEET and was wearing a treated shirt but the thorns did a number on my legs. You know something, I don’t feel the cuts when they happen. I call it “suffering for my art.”

So I am chilled out this past week, two times in the woods. How was your weekend?

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Our World – American Beauty Berries

During our hike in southeast Oklahoma’s Beavers Bend State Park last week, we saw some beautiful purple colored berries. Consulting my iNaturlists App later on it looked like they were American Beauty Berries. They are native to the area and apparently everybody but me knew all about them.

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Callicarpa americana

They are also known as the French Mulberry. Deer eat the leaves, birds eat the fruit. Humans can eat the berries which appear in late Summer or early Fall. A few my instagram and facebook followers report they have made jam and jelly with the berries. They reportedly have a slight medicinal taste. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center reports that Native Americans made tea out of the berries, foliage, and roots to treat various ailments. The Foraging Texas web site has other information about the plant and its berries including a recipe to make jelly out of them. (If you are going to do that, please do not pick your berries at a State Park or any other similar place.)

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I doubt that I will be eating any but I love the soft purple color. I think I have seen them on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness. They stand out among the various shades of green.

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Labor Day 2019

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Labor Day is here, the historical end of Summer. We went down to Chickasha and picked the kid up from college. He was in good spirits and his room wasn’t as messy as what we were anticipating. But then again he had only been in it a week and a half. I’m sure given time he’ll get it as messy as anybody else.

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Labor Day of course is a holiday to celebrate labor. We celebrate it by taking the day off and not working. Labor has a big history in this country. Labor Unions used to be a big deal but not so much any longer. For some reason they have a negative connotation in many people’s minds. In my career I was never a union member but I worked with all sorts of union contractors and crafts unions. I never had one issue with them. Unions have changed though. Above is a photo of a union protest of a renovation project downtown some years ago. Are they union members? Heck no, they are homeless people that the union hired to protest on their behalf. Where were the actual union members? Working I guess, I don’t know. I thought the whole situation was hilarious.

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Speaking of protestors and hilarity, here are my wife and son protesting at City Hall here in Tulsa about a move that was going to shut down a community theater. My son is an excellent protester with his loud booming voice.

We are not protesting this year at Labor Day. We have been going to movies and enjoying our son’s company until we take him back to school early Monday afternoon. When we come back I’ll celebrate by mowing our yard. It has been a couple weeks and I might need to hire a haying crew to come out and cut and bale it.

Have a great holiday, if you are celebrating it. I found a few quotes about labor on Al Gore’s interwebs that he invented.

  • My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
    Indira Gandhi
  • No labor, however humble, is dishonoring.
    The Talmud
  • All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
    Martin Luther King Jr.

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