Author Archives: Alan Bates

The Prayer Tower at Oral Roberts University

In pursuit of my geocaching hobby I paid a visit to the Prayer Tower at Tulsa’s Oral Roberts University. The tower is right in the middle of the campus and it is designed to be a three dimensional cross. It certainly is striking with a flame out the top and a bunch of bronzed glass covering it.

It is now back open to the public from 12PM to 4 PM Monday through Saturday. There is no charge. So I showed up and showed my ID and up the elevator I went to the observation deck.

They have several stations with quotes by Reverend Roberts around the deck. They also have a couple private prayer rooms and a larger room for groups. It was all tastefully done, quiet, and reverential. The quotes were all very commonsensical. Anyway I had to find another one of Robert’s quotes in order to complete a virtual cache, my 2000th.

The grounds immediately surrounding the tower have several sculptures, a topiary garden, and other things to look at. It has been years since I have been on the campus. Since the university has straightened out their governance to enhance credibility and accountability they appear to be thriving. The grounds are now well taken care of, the buildings have been revamped and updated and they are on another building campaign. It’s nice to see such an important part of Tulsa community on the upswing.

Meanwhile, in downtown Tulsa the world’s largest “Augmented Reality” mural was activated. Above is what the mural looks like without augmentation. It is really a nice mural and beats the big wall of beige they had.

To activate the installation you have to elbow your way to a spot and point your phone camera to the QR code above and then you wait, and then wait some more, and respond to some strange buttons that show up on your camera then the surrounds become alive. The murals become animated and butterflies and birds fly about. And it is in all directions not just at the murals. You see stuff to the sides, straight up in the air, down toward your feet. I’ve never been on LSD but it is quite a trip.

You can record a little bit of it but it won’t save on your phone. I was able to post 10 seconds on instagram but that’s it. I anticipated such a thing so I took along a point and shoot to a video of my phone screeen but there was too much reflections. If you are instagram check out my feed yogiab to look at it. It’s pretty amazing. The installation is called The Majestic. Hit the link to check out more of it. Here is an article from the Tulsa World discussing the project.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join me and bunch of other skywatching photobloggers.

Geocaching at Oklahoma City’s Bluff Creek Park

Son Logan came to visit for Fall Break the last several days. We loved having him and Monday it was time to take him back to college. So we loaded up his laundry, his groceries, and all his various devices. (He has lots of devices, and they are heavy) and flew on down the Turner Turnpike and then down south of Oklahoma City to his college. We got there at about noon, so we unloaded his stuff, and he put on his backpack and said bye Dad. Okay, bye son. He has class at one and pizza for lunch, I get it. So off I went.

Johnny's Hamburgers

I flew back up the turnpike to Oklahoma City to Johnnies Hamburgers. Oh my gosh, best hamburgers that I ever had. Texted this photo to my wife. That was NOT a smooth move. You would think after 32 years of marriage I would stop doing crap like that. She thinks so to.

Off I went to Bluff Creek Park in Oklahoma City. I geocached here years ago when it didn’t even have a name. I remember for it great trails and lots of deer and great geocaches. Guess what it still has great trails and deer. The trails are for mountain bikes and they have “directions” oh well, I was on foot like most other people and I’ve spent my whole life not following directions.

I was looking for five caches. You see, I have 1994 caches and I was looking for five to get to 1999 because I have a “milestone” cache in mind for Tulsa that I was going to get Tuesday.

Found this tortoise, but not the nearby geocache.

The geocaching gods had other ideas. I looked for six and found two. One doesn’t count because I could see it but it was way up in the air and I couldn’t reach it so it doesn’t count. The other one I found, and it counts so I stand at 1995 so I have to rethink my strategy. The geocaching gods punish hubris severely.

But hey, its all good. A great time outside wibble wobbling in the park in the sun under a great blue sky. I saw three deer and a bunch of squirrels and not very many people.

Here is a map of my wanderings. As you can guess the thick squiggles is where I was looking for something.

And my geocaching map. The frownies, are caches I didn’t find. The yellow smiley is one I did find. The green one is the cache I saw but couldn’t reach. The other two blue markers, dark and light, and different types of caches that I was not looking for. But hey, I found the one!!! One is better than none in my book. Best thing was a a great time in the woods.

Have you ever been geocaching?

October Shadows

I went walking around Tulsa’s Lafortune Park. Saw this tree, half in the sun, half shaded. I loved it. I did an edit with the iphone app ArtCard.

And then later on my walk encountered this big ole thing the parking lot. It looks very official.

And this is from my back yard yesterday morning. It looks warm and sunny and it was 44F. Not warm in my book.

I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2 by the Magical Mystery Teacher. Check it out!!

“Come From Away” Touring Production

Here we are masked up, socially distant and my best smile ever in a photo.

Saturday afternoon, Heather and I masked up and headed downtown to the Performing Arts Center to see the touring production of “Come From Away.” It’s a musical based on the real life events immediately after the 9/11 attack on America when thirty eight passenger aircraft were told to land at Gander Newfoundland. The nine thousand local residents found themselves with seven thousand visitors for several days. The story is about how the residents took care of the people who “Come From Away” and the bonds that formed that last to this day.

This is a really good production. It lasts about an hour and forty four minutes with no intermission and the time flies. A very talented cast who all play multiple roles and the action is continuous. I highly recommend seeing this show. More info here.

Skywatch Friday – The Skies of October

I’ve been enjoying my October so far. The weather has been good and I have been doing a lot of hiking and wandering. Above is the sky over Lake Bixhoma south of Tulsa about ten miles. I love it there during the week because nobody else is there.

This is a photo taken by “cousin-in-law” in western Oklahoma of Angus cattle on their ranch.

And this is at Martin Nature Center in Oklahoma City. I stopped there for a short hike on my way to pick up son at his college.

I’ve shown these chairs before. The City of Bixby repurposed the old auto bridge across the Arkansas River to a pedestrian bridge and added all sorts of extras such as these recliners.

And of course I had to try them out.

Here is the view I had.

History Marker

The bridge ties into Washington Irving Park in Bixby where the man camped during his tour of what is now Oklahoma back in 1832.

And here is sculpture of the man. This is part of an outdoor amphitheater. The park is another good place to go during the work week cuz of hardly anybody else being there.

And this always makes me think and ponder. This is one of the girders from the World Trade Center that were destroyed on the attack on America.

So I’m really enjoying the moderate weather. How about you?

Come join me and and bunch of other photobloggers at Skywatch Friday

Late night bonus content – I flew my drone for a little while this evening.

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Roughly a little south of northwest. All these were taken at about 150 feet elevation.

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Looking almost straight west

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Roughly a little north of southwest.

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A really big cloud was passing over Tulsa. This is looking almost straight south.

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A little bit north of northwest.

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Almost straight north.

I flew the drone in “periscope mode” in other words I launched it straight up from my back yard and just rotated it and snapped a few pics.

Mosaic Monday – Butterflies & More at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

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Butterflies from the Tulsa Botanic Garden. My very first mosaic made in photoshop. I promise I will get better.

Saturday Heather and I decided to go up to the Tulsa Botanic Garden. It has been at least a couple years since we have been which nowadays is like a lifetime.

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Nucklehead pumpkins at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

The previous day, we were overwhelmed by what happened on the way home. In fact, about a block from where we live.

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They had a scarecrow contest. Heather and I both voted for this one.

Almost home and we came upon a scene that was hard to compute. Cars stopped in the road. People out and about and a man down on the ground.

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More knucklehead pumpkins.

We stopped, got out of the car to see what is going on. The man down on the ground threw himself out of the car his wife said. She had a grandson on the spectrum in her car. Heather went to check him out and calm him down.

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A persimmon grove. Over 100 years old, all these trees are connected via their roots. In other words, all these trees are the same tree.

So I stayed with the woman who was trying to calm her husband down. He was moving here and there, wanting to know what happened and begging for help. Two different cars of people were stopped, calling 911, reporting the incident.

A giant Oak tree. there is Heather off to the left.

Most people were just sliding by in their cars. Not stopping but getting a good look.

Heather on the trail. We both love the trails out in the woods.

The lady told me that he fell out of the car. I didn’t know why, I didn’t really care. He had a sharp crease on his scalp and was bleeding profusely. Also it looked to me like he broke a couple fingers. I kept trying to calm him, telling him help was on its way.

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Lots of butterflies!

I knew help was coming, but it seemed like it took forever. Meanwhile the guy was inconsolable and moving here and there. His wife was talking to him and I kept telling him that help is on its way. I felt like yelling at him, but you know, people in this situation don’t suffer from hearing loss.

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They had a scarecrow contest.

Finally, the ambulance showed up and and a fire truck. I was really impressed with the teamwork between the two groups of guys. You could tell they knew they had a serious situation and they moved quickly and urgently but in control.

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This was Heather and I’s favorites.

The police showed up and and also moved quickly, efficiently, and calmly, finding out what happened. The firemen had a stuffed bear for the child in the car.

So Heather was with the child, who was on the spectrum, in the car. I went up there and hung out and let the wife talk to the police in private about what happened. There was a lady who was asked to stay because she saw the whole thing from the beginning.

So hug your kids close and pray for those who are not so lucky.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday and with Mosaic Monday. Come join the parties!

Calling the Hogs

Friday, my wife and I were in a parking lot and came across this bright spot. I was like, What!!

Somebody had an Arkansas Razorbacks plate and it reflected perfectly on the ground. I love it.

I’m helping take care of a monarch way station on Turkey mountain. The stake fence makes for some nice shadows.

I get bored while watering so I made a time lapse video of it.

And the other day while hiking on Turkey Mountain I came across a family of deer grazing including this one coming out of the shadows. I am glad the deer are returning. The mountain has become really popular but the hub bub has died down a little bit and the deer are coming back.

I’m linking with Magical Mystery Teacher’s Shadow Shot Sunday 2. Come join in.

2021 Tulsa State Fair

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Something about Ferris Wheels!

I was going to pass on the Tulsa State Fair because of the pandemic but I thought I go early on a weekday and stay outside as much as possible and wear a mask when I go indoors. So that’s what I did Wednesday. I got there early before the midway opened up the rides so I got to see a lot of things without being around too many people.

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They had a double decker merry-go-round. That is something you do not see every day.

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A lot of younger kids were showing off their livestock.

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And some older kids as well.

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Cows were well represented.

And for a brain teaser, how about table with chains for legs. The chain links are not welded together. They are just regular chains. And the table is pretty stable. I had to study on it a little bit.

And there were lots of awards for the various crafts they made.

So I spent a couple hours, walked three miles, saw lots of stuff, drank a couple of beers and went home. (I’m not into so called fair food.)

Do you to fairs where you live?

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Join us!

Special Bonus Photo!!

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A drone photo from over my house at sunset looking north. So its really kind of a reverse sunset.

Our World – Philbrook Flowers and Reflections

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The tempietto at Philbrook has to be the most photographed thing in town. I’ve taken a bunch myself. Back when the Waite Phillips family lived here way back when, the pond was a swimming pool and supposedly there was a changing room underneath the tempietto.

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The pond makes for some nice reflections.

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I love all the flowers at Philbrook.

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On another water body, Crow Creek, which winds through the property, there are lots of turtles.

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And another flowers.

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An invitation to look for a stone flower.

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There it is!!

Stumbled upon the secret garden. The restaurant at Philbrook uses it for growing herbs and such.

It was too early to catch the change of color in the trees. Almost as good is this installation. “Oklahoma Autumn” by Eric Baker. It’s my favorite sculpture in the garden. There are two other pieces of this off to the right.

They got a lot of stuff in the 25 acres of gardens. Over 1200 trees and fifteen sculptures. I wonder if somebody is in charge of the tree count?

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Give it a try!

Shadowy Philbrook Gardens

Friday, I visited the Philbrook Art Museum in Tulsa. My MIL buys us a membership every year and I love that she does that. I don’t need any more stuff, a museum membership is a gift that keeps on giving. This trip I spent it all outside. I walked two miles in the gardens. Pretty good workout. And of course I took lots of photographs in my wanderings.

I came upon this sculpture. I like the shadow pattern on it.

I love these blue chairs. They are at the top of the hill and have a grand view of the grounds.

They even have swings now.

I actually swang a little (or maybe I swinged). Do you like the tan I got on my legs from ten days sitting on the beach recently? It had been raining just before I got there and I didn’t notice that the seat was yet so my rear end was soaked after this. Oh well, things dry right?

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One of my favorite sculptures in the gardens is “Oklahoma Autumn” by Eric Baker. It was too early to catch leaves turning at Philbrook but I will be back.

I had the GPS on my watch turned on during my walking and here is my map. One hour to do two miles? Yep I was in major wibble wobbling mode. Do you know that they used to have a geocache on the grounds. Yes they did and I found it eleven years ago. Read about it.

I am linking with ShadowShot Sunday II – go check it out!!