Tag Archives: Skywatch Friday

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.

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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.

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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.

Skywatch Friday – In Like a Kitten Out Like Lamb

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The Blue Rose Cafe on the River. I love it. Not in the cards today though.

I still can’t run and today I was planning on getting on a cycling machine but the forecasted rain had ended and temps were moderate so I decided to get outside and walk a few miles instead of getting on the cycling machine. I don’t know about you but exercise machines are a necessary evil. So I went walking in the windy, gusty, cloudy weather (I love that kind of weather.)

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I had to go check out progress on a high rise condo/apartment complex going up. I enjoyed my time out on the river. I went a total of about 3.2 miles.

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This is in my employer’s parking lot. We are all about checking, double checking, and rechecking. We have protocols for everything and used to be March was a big month for snow. In like a Lion, out like a Lamb is what they say about March in Oklahoma. With our climate change, February is the new March. So soon I expect we’ll be outfitting the parking lot security vehicle for snow in late January instead of March.

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After work, I drove home, and this sky greeted me just before I got to the house.

Here in Oklahoma, we have our issues but we do have great skies. How are the skies where you live?

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – What Has Been Edition

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I am like zero for zero on sky photos the last week. No excuses, I mean the sky is always there right? Sure, but you need something in the sky to make it interesting. Not to worry, I dug into my archives. So this was taken in June 2010 in downtown Tulsa. I had to have been working late and that is not like me? So I didn’t wake up at work in time to go home after work.

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I remember this photo well. Our family had gone to eat Mexican food with another family at a restaurant in a not very good part of town. After we ate we were talking and I noticed the sun set across the old vacant lot. I pulled out my old trusty Android clone and took a photo through the chain link fence and loved the sun flare, which of course I accentuated with snapseed and posted on Instagram. Speaking of instagram, are we instagram following each other on Instagram. Check my side panel, lets be followers. I love instagram but there are a lot of dishonest people on it and it took me a while to figure out how to deal with them. But I digress.

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This is a blast from the way past. This is my mother in front of the house she and dad had at Happy Jack, Arizona when he had his first job as a junior ranger for the US Forest Service. I love the beautiful blue northern Arizona sky peaking through the trees.  I think they lived there before any of us kids were born.

And now an optional digression.

Mom talked one time that Dad was gone for an extended period of time and she was snowed in and got so bored she read through his college forestry textbooks. Another time, when we lived in a better house in Coyote, New Mexico she accidentally put a sewing machine needle through her thumb. Nobody was around so she pulled it out herself with a pair of pliers. She said I was around but I was about two or three years old and have no memory of that gruesome event. Mom was a copper miners daughter, and a Forest Service wife and  one tough lady. She loved her children fiercely and you didn’t really want to mess with her, or her kids. We lived in a succession of close knit small towns in the southwest and almost everybody was very nice but especially at school there might be some teacher or administrator who tried to lean on  one of us kids. If we were wrong, we would pay, if they were trying to twist things, she would twist them. It never took more than one encounter with her to straighten them out. 

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Wintertime on Turkey Mountain

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A few weeks ago I took a walk on Turkey Mountain. I came onto the recently cleared and regraded pipeline and I noticed that one could view the entire west side of Turkey Mountain and if you look really closely you can vaguely see the tall buildings of downtown Tulsa in the distance. We love our urban wilderness here in Tulsa.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday