After my family reunion in South Dakota, I loaded up the car again and headed back out west to Albuquerque, New Mexico for my second 50th high school reunion this summer. The first was in Eagar, Arizona with the class I would have graduated from if my family had stayed there but we moved to Albuquerque in the middle of my sophomore year. But I had maintained connections with several of the Arizona bunch and they invited me to their celebration and off I went. Hey how could I miss riding on a trailer with my classmates in the city 4th of July parade.
The High School in Arizona was small but close knit, maybe like 30 something people of whom maybe 25 showed up. Enough to see everyone. In Albuquerque I was one of 760 some graduates most of whom I didn’t know. I remember that for graduation they seated us in alphabetical order and I could swear that I had never seen the people on either side of me . I think about 150 of my fellow graduates showed up. They had several events over the weekend. No sitting on hay bales in a parade though. I went anyway.
I know that going to two reunions in the same year is a little extravagant but you know it’s not like there was going to be a makeup session next summer for those losers who couldn’t go this summer. My wife, Heather was very understanding about the situation and I appreciated her generosity. I am not a pick an A or B kind of guy. Sometimes I want A and B, and then sometimes C, D, through Z and all covered up with chocolate syrup and yes, supersize the fries
So I went to the Albuquerque events and I enjoyed them although most of my peeps either didn’t show up or were honored on the “In Memoriam” board with a candle burning alongside, but I had a good time visiting with the people I did know and more than a few that I had no remembrances of way back when.
Interesting thing was that we got to visit the old high school but the whole school except for the gym had been razed and a new school built with half the capacity. The other thing is that the neighborhoods that fed the school had transitioned from middle class to working class in the fifty years and the school had changed the way they did things. They spent a lot of time, money, and effort addressing the issues of why kids from poor families don’t go to school. It was very interesting and the professional educators in our class loved what they were doing. One interesting thing was they were discouraging homework and really encouraging the kids to get their assignments done during the school day. (I did very well in school but hated homework, to me it was just busy work.)
From the photo above, one could step thirty feet and view this view of the Sandias. I had no idea how much I missed them until I came back.
So the Albuquerque event was much different than the Arizona event but both were great. But it was time to head back home.
I was on a constrained time schedule so I didn’t have much time for other adventures but I did stop and check out some of the old obsolete grain elevators alongside interstate 40 in the Texas panhandle. I think these old structures are beautiful and we’ll be losing them over time.
I love old obsolete infrastructure. Why? I don’t know, I just do.
I saw lots of new infrastructure as well. Wind turbines for instance. I used to think they were very ugly. I still do but they are here to stay. For some reason it has turned into a political issue and I don’t know why. I’m an “all of the above guy” on energy and think that wind energy can play an important part in our domestic energy mix.
Moving up to present day, or at least a week ago, we had some storms move through Tulsa. I launched my drone but the winds picked up so I played chicken and kept the drone altitude low. We had wind, lightning, and not a whole lot of rain.
You can see how low I was, I was below the power lines. I’m a real chicken little with my drone. I had it get away from me once and I hit the emergency return buttons and they worked but that was stressful. I don’t like stress.
And for tonight (September 28) here is the Full Harvest Moon. I love the moon! Who doesn’t?
Way back on March 22nd, the wind and rain died down, the temperatures came up and I went on a bike ride. I wanted to to the Tulsa RiverParks loop of the Arkansas River which is a lot harder for now than it used to be because they have closed off part of the west bank trail due to construction of a new bridge and dam across the river. They divert the bike traffic out to Route 66 to share the road with dump trucks, oil haulers, and all sorts of other non-relaxing vehicles not to mention a crappy road surface. I’ve done it twice already since the construction started and it is not a nice ride on the detour. But hey, I wanted to do it anyway. So I strapped on my cheap gopro clone on my bicycle and headed out.
About a mile into it I almost had a collision with these two unhomed guys. They were coming in fast on an ill-timed left turn. Luckily I saw them and stopped. I already had one collision on the riverparks trails a couple years ago and it took me months before I could get on a bike again. I wasn’t mad at these guys and they were apologetic, they just got themselves in a jam.
I got on the west bank and started going south. My strategy was to ride into the wind on the outbound leg so I could return to the car inbound. You can see from the flag how stiff the wind was. So I didn’t fight the wind, I was just moseying south.
And then had to leave the trail where it was blocked and head west on this sidewalk. Luckily there was nobody coming east. If there is someone has to give since there is not enough room for two bicycles or if a mom is coming with a stroller. I almost yield the right of way.
So I got to Route 66 and was planning on riding the sidewalk south, but no go!! Big construction project going on. Oh well, I crossed to the other side of the road.
They had four lanes of two way traffic squeezed down to two lanes and the bike lane is goine. See that truck. He’s in my space!! Luckily there was a decent sidewalk for a short ways.
And then I was able ride on the business parking lots adjoining the road.
I got south of the construction and crossed the highway and came upon my favorite part. The road that the oil tanks use going to and from the refinery. Share the road guys!!
Another truck right going intot he refinery.
I brought one of my good cameras along and got a picture of the refinery. I know a little about refineries, being a chemical engineer and all. Mainly what you are looking for here is TST’s. TST stands for “Tall Shiny Things.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Other parts of the refinery have LRO’s which stands for “Large Round Objects.” You keep following my blog you are likely to learn a lot.
I always like this enclosed bridge over Mooser Creek.
I stopped for a bit of geocaching here. I’ve looked for it before and and haven’t found it yet. The hint is “This cache rocks!!” Only chemical engineers have a worse sense of humor than geocachers.
And then on past the sewage treatment plant.
And then the long trudge up the trail to the lower parking lot of Turkey mountain.
And then we get to coast across the river to the east bank.
And then, flying north back to 21st street where I started. The wind was at my back and it felt like flying.
Back when I used to run a lot the Jingle Bell Run was a must do. They had the best tshirts!! Big thick shirts with bold graphics. I think the fastest 5K I ever ran was during Jingle Bell Run. I think the temperature was 9 degrees F. I was motivated!!
Years ago, they used to have the run adjacent to a large inside space so you could stay inside where it was warm and when you finished you could go inside and warm up.
None of that nowadays! The race started in a big open field with a cold wind bearing down direct from the north pole.
Don’t feel sorry for me though. I volunteered to run the race and brought my heated vest that Heather got me for Christmas last year.
It worked great. Not only does it warm the body but it also warms your neck and has heated pockets!! So I was warm.
In fact as the race went on, I turned the heating elements on my vest off.
The race went up and down the Arkansas River using the River Parks trail system. I am up for a fast walk up and down the riverparks. I always see something new there.
I finished out of the money but I got a very nice participation medal. I don’t know exactly how I finished in relation to others in my age group for some reason they don’t have a link to the timing company on their web page. I’ve sent an email asking about it.
And the tee shirt. Still a very nice, thick tee shirt.
So I walked the whole way. Nowdays my fast walking pace is only a bit slower than my trotting pace so I just took it easy. Enjoyed myself immensely. I’ll be back next year.
This past Sunday a bunch of trailrunners and walkers congregated at the Herman and Kaiser YMCA on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain to run the Backyard Bonanza series of races (5K, 12.5K, and 25K). It kind of takes the place of the old Turkey n Taturs races that took place at the Y a few years ago. This race was created and operated by RunnersWorld Racing. Runners World was involved in the Turkey n Tatur Races as well. This is not the biggest race in town but it is lots of fun. I think this is the second year of the race and I think they had a 30% growth in participants from last year. It takes time to build up a race.
Just as I got there, the 12.5K and 25K contestants were were getting pre-race instructions. Pretty simple really, follow the pink ribbons, don’t cross the yellow ribbons, be nice to other people on the mountain cuz the course is still open to the public, have fun. With the Turkey n Taturs races I did the 8K a bunch of times and the 25K once. I have also cooked hamburgers maybe three times, and helped out at the aid station once or twice. This year I did the 5K event.
So stationed myself at the first turn of the race and got a video of the “peloton” of runners/walkers. And then I waited a half hour or so for the 5K to start.
I started at the back of the pack as usual and pretty much just power walked up the hills on the outward bound part of the course. We ran legacy trails on this segment, pretty hard up and downs.
And then things flattened out a little bit and I found I could trot pretty well without much difficulty. I can’t tell how long it has been since I could run.
We ran on a segment of new trail that was unfamiliar to me. I could have sworn that I have been on all the new trails except the downhill bicycle only Zingo but I was wrong. Not the first time I’ve been wrong.
We ran into what I call the cloverleaf. It is kind of a mix master where you end up running in a bunch of different directions. If you scroll down you will see it on the route maps at the lower left hand (southwest corner of the maps). Still flat and I was still trotting. I ended up doing negative splits and the final mile was 15 minutes, 30 seconds which is close to my “peak” when I ran a lot.
So at the finish, they had bottle openers instead of medals. Suited me fine. Medals have taken over the races and lots of people covet them.
They also had freshly made pancakes. Sign me up for a pancake anytime. They had pumpkin butter to put on them in addition to syrup. That was delicious.
And finished off with a silver bullet on the terrace of the Lodge. The Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA is deluxe. The powers that be had been gathering donations for some time and when they had to shut down for covid they hired some contractors and got to work and they had a brand new facility when the reopened. In fact they had a race on opening day in June, 2021 and I participated in it.
And of course the tee shirt was deluxe.
I ended up winning my age group!! So that was nice even though I was the only one in my age group.
I’m running late on all my posts. Life has been busy lately which is a great thing!! I’m not a fan of being busy busy busy but I am a fan of enjoying life and spending time outdoors instead of glued to a computer. So these are wildlife pics from our trip to Orange Beach, Alabama a few weeks
We saw several great blue herons. This one started out on the beach in front of our condo and it slowly walked to the barrier dune in front of our condo. It looked like he was following a lizard or something. We thought he was going to dart down and grab the lizard and eat but he never did. He flew down the beach after a while. We have these herons in Oklahoma and they hardly ever move a muscle unless they are spooked off. (By the way, if I miss an ID feel free to let me know. I welcome corrections.)
This is a different heron hanging out by the beach. We encountered standing next to somebody surf fishing. One guy said that the bird was his best buddy. Waiting for a treat.
This guy/gal was hunkered down in the grass at a state park.
Even in October, there were lots of sea gulls.
I’m not sure what this one is but there were lots of them as well, and other birds.
One day we ventured off to Pensacola and walked on the pier. There was this brown pelican there. I think it is a teenager as it was kind of small and some downy feathers. It didn’t move much. A couple of nearby fishermen would toss it something every now and then.
We had a great time on the beach. We had enough warm weather for four days of laying on the beach and we found something to do the other days. We love talking walks on the beach and we did plenty of that.
I’m linking with Saturday’s Critters. Go check it out. Lots of good photobloggers link up there.
I went for a little hike the other day at a local park. I noticed a little used trail and decided to see where it went. It turns out that it went to some property owned by a local private school. The property was not posted and there were no students or anybody else out and about so I explored some more and found their football field. You can tell it is not a big school. It is a school with a very good reputation. I’ve met the headmaster and he is a fellow geocacher.