Author Archives: Alan Bates

Tulsa Ironman Triathlon – 2022

Last Sunday afternoon I spent six hours helping out with a local Triathlon, the Ironman Tulsa. The racers swam over two miles in open water on a lake, over a hundred miles on a bicycle, and then finished up with a 26 mile run. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

The organizers had a bunch of aid stations all along the length of the course. I was at an aid station on the marathon run segment. The racers ran two loops on the Tulsa Riverparks Trail System so I saw everybody potentially four times.

I handed out gatorade. Gatorade is not too popular with athletes. It’s just colored sugar water. So I didn’t have a whole lot of takers. Water was the most popular drink. Pepsi for some reason was popular. Cups of ice were very popular.

The most asked about beverage was chicken broth. It was brewed up in the late afternoon and the back of pack runners were going for it.

So it was interesting. You see a lot of very tired people. The people at the front of the race were pretty bouncy for just getting off a hundred mile bicycle ride.

Here is the lead man of the race.

And the lead woman. Both these are just cruising along like they are jogging around the block.

Anyway a great time was had by all!!

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, come check it out.

Weekend Critters – Oxley Nature Center and More

Earlier this week I spent the morning at Oxley Nature Center here in Tulsa. I was hoping to see some deer but I went too late for that I think. I did find some mosquitos, or rather they they found me!! Thanks to slathering on my 40% DEET repellant and I emerged unscathed from them but they followed me everywhere.

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While still on the boardwalk off the visitor center I spotted this gray squirrel and their friend. They are very shy.

Just off the boardwalk I found these. INaturalist says they may be a wild iris. I loved the color.

Where a Green Heron had been just a minute or two earlier.

I walked on down to Coal Creek and stopped at this swampy area. There was a guy there with a huge camera and one of those gigantic grey colored lens on it. He said there was a green heron. He told me where to go to see it which was just a few steps from where I was standing. So I went over and looked and looked, he eventually wandered back and tried to help me find it but he couldn’t find it either. He showed me one of photos he captured and then left. So I stayed for a while and two other people showed up making lots of noise and then the heron sprang up from right where I had been looking and went into the tree canopy and I lost sight of it. I just got a glimpse of it. I’d never seen one before.

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And then I walked along Coal Creek hoping to see the otters that live there but again, too late in the day. These turtles were all over the place.

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I was walking along one of the muddy trails and saw this snake wriggling its way along the same trail. It slithered into the brush so I went and found it. I think it is a rat snake. Lots of them at Oxley.

And here is a Relive Video of my first hike at Oxley.

I went back to the Visitor Center and drove to a remote section of Oxley called the North Woods and hiked their loop. I saw no wildlife at all except the mosquitos were really out. I was hiking along and I heard this sound like some critter was really in distress. What in the world I thought and I came up on this group of four guys with big huge cameras and they had an electronic device that was making very loud bird calls. All the birds in the area were responding to it and the guys were scoping the trees with binoculars. When they saw me they acted a little sheepish, and told me they were trying to call warblers. I said okay and walked on and they took their device and moved on elsewhere. Anyway I enjoyed the rest of my hike without the racket they were making.

Here is the Relive Video of my second hike.

On the home front, we put out a hummingbird feeder and within a day we saw a hummingbird feeding at it. I put up my trailcam and no hummingbird’s on it yet. We got this squirrel checking it out.

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The only bird I’ve captured is this hawk (I think it’s a hawk) high in the air.

Speaking of squirrels, here is an action shot of me mowing the yard.

I’m linking Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Check it out!

Skywatch Friday – Droning On

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We finally got a break in the windy spring weather and I launched my drone. I generally just go straight up 50 meters or so from my back yard and look around.

Not much to see if the skies are clear but if there are clouds things get a lot more interesting.

Another day we had some rain, that makes for dramatic skies.

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And I finally got this jigsaw puzzle finished on my ipad. I had been working on it for several weeks. I love doing them.

I’m linking up with Skywatch Friday. Lots of talented bloggers there, go check it out.

2022 PGA Championship – Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Monday morning I used my trusty stubhub app to purchase a deeply discounted grounds pass to the day’s practice round at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills here in Tulsa.

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This is the third major championship I have seen at the club. My first major was the 1994 PGA and then the 2007 US Open that Tiger Woods won. I also volunteered for several rounds in 2007 as a marshall.

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I generally avoid the practice events, but I changed my mind this year. The crowds are a lot less than during the competition phase and you can take photos which they don’t really want you doing during competition. (And I’m a rule follower on such things.

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So Monday I just took off on a tour of the course. As a side note that everybody has forgotten. A Trump owned course, Bedminster was slated to host the 2022 PGA but the PGA pulled it from the club after the January 6, 2021 riot at our nations capitol. This year’s tournament is Southern Hills fifth PGA championship. The most of any golf course in the country.

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With the actual tournament it is easy to know who you are looking at on the course. They have somebody carrying a signboard with the group and there are event apps and leaderboards. During practice it seems like the players team up informally and go at their own pace. They may hit several balls and when they get on the green they will putt from various locations on the green and try chipping from different places as well. It’s booorrrring.

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In this pic you see a glimpse of what drives the PGA and really all professional sports. See the white buildings in the back. Those are the hospitality chalets paid for by various companies and organizations to host their customers. Those chalets are all over the course. Back when I worked my employer would have one and I would take my customers there for refreshments and food and maybe some merchandise. Lots of fun, but a lot of work as well.

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I call this tree “dog leg left.” Lots of big, huge, beautiful trees on the course.

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The players of course have perfect form. The tournament invites the best of the best golfers and some distinguished older golfers. In 1994 I saw Arnold Palmer play at the course. He wasn’t competitive any longer but the fans loved him.

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There are lots of big houses fronting the course.

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The course is about 7500 yards in length or about four miles. I ended up walking about 4 miles. The course is built on the side of a hills so there is lots of up and down.

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On the practice rounds all sorts of people walk with the golfers like their wives. (I like to think they are the wives!!)

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Somebody built this gigantic building right on the course. I don’t know if it is a club facility or a private house but it sure is nice.

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And a parting shot before I headed to the shuttle bus.

I got a solid four mile walk in. I don’t know yet if I’m going back for the tournament.

Skywatch Friday – Outside Time!

I got it all on this week’s post, Gardening, Hiking, Bicycling, A Plea for Help, and a Musical Finale! Are you ready? Lets get started!!

Earlier this week I went to Turkey Mountain. We’ve had a lot of rain and they want people to stay off the trails when its muddy. Kind of like your Great Aunt Grace telling you to stay on the plastic runners. Or at least that’s what my Great Aunt Grace would tell me. Anyway I first checked the Monarch Waystation. Lots of green stuff there and few blooms.

I’m no butterfly but if I were I guess I would be digging into whatever these flowers had to offer. My botanical ID skills are woeful. I do know that these are yellow blooms. Enough Gardening, and now Hiking!!

And then I got back in my car and drove up to the upper parking lot. Ordinarily the I would have gone up the trail but I was rationing my energy because the temperature was over 90F and the head index was almost 110F. Anyway, I started down the Snake Trail to go explore the NW side and see if there were any new trails out that way.

The Snake Trail is pretty decent. When I take first time visitors to Turkey Mountain, before the new trails were started, I took them on Snake because it was relatively flat and not very technical (in other words breaking your ankle was unlikely). Turkey is going to have a mixture of old and new trails. The terrible erosion prone, non sustainable trails will be blocked off to allow the ground to heal.

I got up close to the YMCA and headed east and soon came to some new trail that I had not seen yet. So I jumped on it and went a couple hundred yards or so and saw that it was not yet open. I thought it looked a little rough. Anyway I got off it and got on a parallel old trail.

I emerged on what is called the Powerline Trail and went back to the parking lot. Powerline is difficult. It gets kind of technical and really steep and has several false ridges. I guess you could call it Heartbreaker as well. It is in full sun which makes it extra fun on a hot sunny day. But hey I made it. I guess you already figured that out because I wrote this post.

And now the Bicycling Segment!!

Thursday morning, I got up, skipped yoga and took my bike out on the other side of the Arkansas River to ride the paved trails. That hill you see on the other side of the river is Turkey Mountain. Don’t be giggling or laughing at the Mountain. We don’t have too many in Tulsa.

On the south end of the RiverParks trails is a Native American Tribal owned casino. The trail squeezes in betweenn casino and the river. Somebody, maybe the tribe has been doing some “Riparian Mitigation” on the riverbank and it is bearing fruit. I never noticed these trees before. I love it.

On the north end I stopped at the south end of the Gathering Place. With better weather people are taking their toddlers there and they let the kids migrate into the bike lanes. I don’t blame them, they are new to the trails and don’t understand. Anyway, when the new people I just cut my ride short and go back. Better than risking hitting somebody. But I stopped and smelled the roses

Do I look like I need help? Well I do!! Come volunteer at the Tulsa Ironman race on May 22nd.

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Last year I volunteered on the running segement on Sunday afternoon. It was fun and easy. I just handed out water and gatorade to the racers for several hours. These men and women are amazing athletes. The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition gets paid for the volunteer hours they provide to the event. Check here to get more info if you are interested.

And the musical section of this mess of a post. Featuring a hot mess herself, Miranda Lambert. I got her new album Palomino and am loving it. She is a good singer and has quite the sense of humor.

That’s about it folks. I guess I had some sky photos in here somewhere. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Shadowy Critters

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I put my trailcam out last night for the first time in a long time. I checked it this morning and we had a mystery cat snooping around at 1:30 in the morning.

I haven’t been able to go hiking in the woods for a while because of all the rain we’ve had so I have been walking around Lafortune Park here in Tulsa a lot. I followed this squirrel down the trail for a 25 yards or so and he finally climbed up this pole and was looking at me chattering and flagging his tail. It was like he was saying “What!!”

I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday and Saturdays’ Critters. Come join in the fun!!

Skywatch Friday – Cinco de Mayo

Big news is that last week I took my brother Bob out for another outing. This time we grabbed some burgers and headed to the RiverParks trails to have a picnic.

And then we wheeled him up and down the trail for a mile. He’s a former marathoner who participates in his sport by riding his chair in the halls of where he lives. About 16 laps to a mile so 48 to do a 5K. He loves entering virtual runs and has finished a bunch of them. He is one amazing guy.

I don’t run any longer but I walk and ride my bike quite a bit. This is at Lafortune Park which has a nice 3 mile path around it. I prefer trails but it has been raining too much to walk on dirt.

My favorite tree at Lafortune Park.

Heather and I went on a bike ride earlier this week on a rail to trail route north of Tulsa. It was beautiful and we covered 15 miles or so.

And I had to stop at the Rexall Drug Store in Sperry that was a movie scene in The Outsiders movie filmed in the early 1980’s in Tulsa. I love finding and checking out old movie scenes (and new movie scenes as well.)

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It has been a windy spring so I have not been flying my drone. It weighs only 249 grams and I could just see it heading to Arkansas in the high winds. The other day the winds died down and I launched the drone and caught an ok but not great sunset at about 50 meters.

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And here is the view looking straight down. Our home has the four blue chairs.

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And a drone selfie of yours truly.

A day or two ago we had big thunderboomers in Tulsa and a Tornado Watch. So time to go outside and take a video right?

Wednesday night was more of the same. This was later in the afternoon.

Sorry for the scattered nature of the post. Too many photos and not enough posts.

I hope everybody is having a peaceful time. Lots of drama going on both nationally and internationally. Everybody just breathe okay.

I’m linking Skywatch Friday come join in. Let me know of other great memes you have seen. Don’t be shy if you are the host of one!!

Star Wars and Tequila 2022

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As I write this post, it is May 4th, Star Wars Day!! Why, because “May the Fourth be with you!” If you don’t get it, I’m sorry. The local baseball AA team , the Tulsa Drillers has a Star Wars day on the 4th, if they are playing a game, and lots of people show up in costume.

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Star Wars and Baseball! Can’t beat that.

Heather's special #margaritas

Thursday is May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday celebrating their victory over France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In the US, it is mainly an excuse to dring margaritas. That’s okay isn’t it? I will now have a musical interlude on one of my favorite country songs: “Tequila a Little Time” by Jon Pardi. The video is filmed at my wife and I’s favorite beach bar, Florabama, on the border of Florida and Alabama.

If you don’t get the play on words, then I can’t help you.

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We’ve spent a lot of time at Florabama. We don’t drink too much tequila.

Our beverage of choice are bushwhackers, kind of a rum and ice cream concoction. Our limit is two and we always stay within walking distance.

Anyway, you enjoy both holidays, responsibly!!