Shadowy Beach Sightings

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From our recent vacation. Shadows from a fence protecting the dunes.

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And Heather and I during one of our walks. We walked on the beach barefoot twenty five miles total. I kind of miss it. I love how skinny I am in this photo, and tall!!

I’m linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2 – come join the fun!!

Skywatch Friday – Stormy Weather on the Drive Home

We drove home last Saturday from our vacation on the Gulf Coast. My wife and I shared the driving duties and so she drove the middle third of the distance, much of it in the delta country of Mississippi and Arkansas. There was lots of weather during much of the drive especially early on in Alabama. The rest of the time we dodged the rain and got see some great clouds.

So Heather drove and I snapped pics of the sky and country. The above two are in Mississippi.

I snapped this as we crossed the Mississippi River.

And this was in Arkansas.

And so was this. I am not sure just where but I really liked it. And no, we didn’t drive into that storm. I’m not sure where it went.

And this is Oklahoma. I was driving and I confess I took the photo while driving. Lock me up officer, throw away the key!!!

Anyway we got back safe and sound from a great vacation.

I hope that everybody is being safe, while also enjoying life. Please find that balance.

Come join the fun at Skywatch Friday

Our World – My Toes in the Water…

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Here’s my toes during our recent vacation. I didn’t actually get a photo of them actually in the water.

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Here’s a beer in my hand, cans only, no glass allowed on the beach.

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How do you like my waterproof Kindle? 11 years old, hundreds of books and still going strong.

We just got back from ten days at the beach. Orange Beach, Alabama. We spent almost every day on the beach. A couple rainy days we read in our condo and went shopping and stuff. We had a really good time and got recharged. I got hundreds of photos. Most of them skywatch type, sky and water photos so I’ll be posting lots of those as time goes by.

This song is like twelve years old or so but I noticed just this year. Best lyrics ever.

Come join the fun over at Our World Tuesday. Lots of great bloggers linking up over there.

Stormy Weather

We are down in Orange Beach, Alabama on vacation. The weather has been okay. Sunny, Cloudy, Rainy. Today it is kind of stormy. I guess that it is related to Tropical Storm Nicholas which isn’t here yet.

I woke up this early this morning, put my wide angle lens on the ole Nikon and started to go outside but then it started to rain. I’m kind of protective of the ole Nikon so I used the iphone.

So the wind is blowing and it is raining and we got a flash flood watch so it is going to be a reading day for us. The condo has an exercise room with dreadmills and such but I doubt I’ll do that. We have been walking on the beach two or three miles a day and we’ll see if that happens.

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This and the next couple pics and videos are from yesterday’s beach walk. I just love walking in the surf. Didn’t get to do that much growing up in the intermountain west. Don’t get to do it too much in Oklahoma either.

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So I make the most of it here.

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I don’t mind bad weather. The thing that drives me inside is lightning. I personally know somebody who died from a lightning strike.

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Here is a shot from when we first got here. The sun was out and the water was clear. We could see dozens of squadrons of cow nose rays. Check the link for more information. I had never heard of them before but they are graceful swimmers. They look like butterflies of the sea even though they are about two or three feet wide. They swim with their mouths wide open hoovering anything in their path. They swam around people. Check the link above for more information.

Who knows what the day holds for us. We might walk to the beach bar next door and drink a couple of bushwhackers and listen to live music.

I hope your day is going well.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday – come join in!!

Our World – Beaching Good Times

Heather and I are on vacation this week. We are down in Orange Beach on the Alabama Gulf Coast. It’s our happy place.

Here’s my bride during our bicycling adventure at Gulf State Park. We rode 16 miles and it was great. Hardly any other people and some great trails.

It has three really nice lakes with marshes and it is incredibly gorgeous.

It’s also a great alligator habitat. We saw this momma and two babies chilling out by the trail. There are also “several” types of venomous snakes according to Park. Two years ago I went geocaching at the park while wife and son went parasailing. I had a great time but my head was on a swivel looking around.

We are right next to a beach bar. No bull, they had a rodeo last weekend. The condo was full of cowboys. They are the most polite people you will ever meet. They also like to party hard.

Saturday the beach was hopping between the cowboys with their hats on in the water and a bunch of happy, good natured people celebrating their football teams, LSU and Alabama seemed to be the most popular and playing incredibly loud tunes on their speakers that they actually rolled out across the beach on wheels. They also were celebrating their favorite presidential candidate.

Sunday, we basically had the place to ourselves. The cowboys went on to their next rodeo and the partiers went back to work and school.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Join in the fun.

Thirty Second Anniversary Skywatch

Wednesday morning, Heather and I, left the house at around 5 am, already prepacked the night before and headed for the Gulf of Mexico.

We were ready, it has been two years since we had a vacation and its our thirty second anniversary. So off we went childless. Son Logan is at college.

So we are staying about a week or so. If you are thinking about robbing our house know that we have a full time house sitter and they are kind of mean and ornery but they take good care of the dogs.

So we got there in about 13 hours stopping only for restroom breaks and gasoline. We unloaded our stuff, got dinner, and sat out on the balcony for a while.

First thing on the agenda was a three mile out and back walk to lifeguard station number one. Then reading on the beach, lunch and cocktails.

A good time is being had by all. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday but I may not return all comments right away.

Our World – Bike Riding on the River Trails

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I went on a bike ride on Tulsa’s RiverParks Trails last week. It was mid 90’s temperature with heat index at about 105. So I kind of took it easy and stopped a few times in my 16 miles to drink water. I had my GoPro knockoff camera on the handlebars set to take a photo every ten seconds. So I get hundreds of photos and I only save a few. I get passed a lot when I ride. You can tell this dude is passing me because he’s on my left.

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I passed this guy several times. I’d pass him and I’d stop for a water break and then I take off and pass him again. You can tell that I’m passing him because he is on my right.

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And then here is another person. At least he is not coming at me head on. That is what a really old guy did to me last year about this time. Veered right into me. I’m glad that I didn’t have my camera on the bike then except I still remember all the details except thinking at first I was going to evade him and then he turned further into me while he was screaming. I was glad I had my helmet on because my head hit the pavement. I’m all good now except I am extra special vigilant when riders come my way.

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Another couple of innocent bystanders. I wish more people would wear helmets.

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And a walker

Couldn’t do the loop because part of the trail is closed due to new bridge construction. It’ll be open again in a couple years.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend. I have pre-prepared the next two Skywatch Friday posts. We are heading off on vacation and we are supposed to have internet connectivity but didn’t want to hang everybody out to dry just in case it didn’t work. This post, I am linking with Our World Tuesday.

Escape to Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett

Saturday afternoon, Heather and I ventured downtown to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and watched “Escape to Margaritaville” a touring Broadway production featuring the music of Jimmy Buffett in a musical with a romantic comedy production. It was a lot of fun listening the tunes. It turns out that other people can sing Buffett tunes besides Jimmy.

It was a lot of fun. Here is the schedule. They are going all over the country. Sioux Falls, South Dakota is next.

The Performing Arts Center in Tulsa required all attendees to wear masks and it looked to me like everybody was complying.

Skywatch Friday – Ida Skies

We had some nice skies for part of the week. I think they were offshoots of Hurricane Ida. The victims of the storm are in my thoughts. So many people had to leave their homes. It’s going to be a long time before they get the electricity turned on. The storm continued up to the east coast causing flooding and tornadoes. What a miserable storm Ida was.

I went looking for a geocache. The spoiler is that I didn’t find it but I found something else. I was looking at the these cottonwood trees and it looked kind of funny.

It’s hard to see it in this photo but there is a trail that starts out and goes down to the Arkansas River. I was checking it out and a guy with a fishing rod came by and we chatted a bit. Apparently you walk down the trail to the river, wade across part of the river and climb up on a sandbar and right there is a big hole that he says is full of catfish. You learn something new every day. I tried explaining geocaching to him and I could kind of tell the young man was worried about me. He was wondering if I was right in my head.

I wasn’t fishing, I was geocaching and the cache was hidden in the rip rap. I clambered around looking in all the nooks and crannies and couldn’t find it. Apparently nobody else could either. I got an email from the owners who said that they checked and it was missing and they are going to replace it soon.

On the way out I passed a tube bending company in an industrial area. They built this thing to show off their craft. Tube bending is useful in making chemical and refinery processing equipment, especially heaters and such. Tulsa has a lot of oilfield manufacturing companies and expertise.

The next day I went on a bike ride on the RiverParks trails along the Arkansas River here in Tulsa. I stopped to check out the construction of the new low water dam and pedestrian bridge. I think that it is going to be another two years or so before they are done. I’m looking forward to it. Click here for a look at the conceptual design.

And finished up at what I call the Bear Fountain near where I parked my care. The temp was in the low 90’s F but the heat index was about a 105 F. Time to go get cooled off. I was going to go geocaching again but didn’t want to get back out in the heat.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday – come join in!!

Our World – Union Pacific’s Big Boy Goes on Tour

One day earlier this month my friend Tom asked if I wanted to go see Union Pacific’s Big Boy locomotive. It was on a ten state tour and was going through Oklahoma on August 12. So the next day Tom and I went up to the little town of Vinita where the Big Boy was scheduled to appear.

Turns out about half the population of Oklahoma was there as well. Train fans of all ages were there. It’s nice to see that people still get all excited about trains.

The locomotive pulling this train is special. It is the biggest and most powerful operating steam locomotive in the world. With its tender, it weighs 1,951,000 pounds, it is 133 feet long and over sixteen feet tall. Twenty five of these monsters were built during World War II to pull freight trains over the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.

They were in service up until 1959 when they were replaced by cheaper to run diesel locomotives. There are only eight left. Seven are static displays in museums. The one we saw, number 4014 is the only one operational. Union Pacific reacquired it in 2019 and brought it back to working condition. The originals burned coal, 4014 is converted to burning used motor oil. It is used for promotional purposes by UP now.

It is very impressive and very loud and everybody was excited to see it including me.

It is still on tour, so you can still see it if you wish. They are touring ten states and it ends September 7 at UP’s station in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Check here for details on the schedule and stops.

Hey everybody else was getting a selfie why not me?

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It stayed in Vinita for an hour or so while the crews fussed over the locomotive adjusting this and that and asking hundreds of questions.

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The crew and the other UP employees were obviously proud of the engine. I was proud also. I worked for an oil and gas subsidiary of UP back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They didn’t let me near a train but I still get their yearly train calendar.

And then it came time for it to go to the next stop.

There goes almost two million pounds of steel.

Tom and I got a few miles ahead of it so we could capture some motion. Locomotives are all about motion.

And so that was a good day back earlier this month.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday. Check it out!!

Here are some other good links

Big Boy’s Wikipedia Page

Facts and Figures on 4014

UP’s Press Release on the Tour

Schedule and Map of the Tour