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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.

Bike Ride on the RiverParks

Monday morning I took my bike for a ride on the RiverParks Trails here in Tulsa. It was about 15 miles which is a good ride for me. I have found if I start around 9 am or so then I avoid all the idiots on the E-scooters and E-bikes. I hate those things. They cause a lot of problems but that ship has sailed. They are here to stay

. The Gathering Place was all lit up with wildflowers. I think they are grooming things better now. Previously it looked unkempt and they got a lot of complaints. I like the new balance. I think it is still low maintenance and low water usage.

Stopped to take a phone call. Nobody on the trails but me!

I had a great time!! It’s like a moving meditation to me.

Skywatch Friday – Route 66 Rising

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A few nights ago we had the Full Pink Moon on a clear evening. I love taking moon photographs.

Howard Park west Tulsa

This is Howard Park in Tulsa. A funky little park, bounded on the west by a Freeway and to the north and south by decrepit commercial properties and to the east, right across Route 66, a refinery. There are no houses anywhere close with children to play in its playground but you know I like the park. You can see the refinery storage tanks on the left side of the photo.

Speaking of Route 66, this is the “Route 66 Rising” in east Tulsa, where Route 66 enters the city. It is in the middle of a traffic circle so to get a decent photo you have to park on private property and cross a busy street but you know, it’s my bloggers duty to do so. I don’t think one person in a hundred in Tulsa know about it.

I’m linking to Skywatch Friday. Come join the fun!!

Skywatch Friday – Wichita Mountains Getaway

We took a few days off last week and headed to southwest Oklahoma to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge just north of Lawton, Oklahoma.

We stayed in a beautiful spacious cabin on top of a hill just a little ways out of town.

Talk about dark skies. We were able to track satellites as they passed overhead including the International Space Station. It really flew. Our Cabin was about a half mile from Fort Sill, on of the Army’s major training sites. They shot artillery all day long (big echoing booms) and at night hell really broke out. Some sort of big automatic gunfire and helicopters. We couldn’t see anything because of the mountains but we could sure here it. They keep those 20,000 stationed there busy, it sounded like.

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We drove to the top of Mount Scott and made a shadow selfie.

We saw lots of longhorn cattle.

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And grumpy looking bison. This was with a telephoto. We are not tourons when it comes to critters.

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This critter wasn’t too happy about it. I have a strict no handouts policy.

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We even saw some wild turkeys.

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The Ferguson house, rebuilt by the Friends of the Wichitas.

We looked at a recently preserved homesteaders house that burned down to the walls about ten years ago.

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We checked out the Holy City of the Wichitas, home of a long running passion play.

Bird Houses of Medicine Park II

In nearby Medicine Park, OK we saw some birdhouse cottages going up right by a lake. Aren’t they the cutest things? Or maybe they are the most darling things? You tell me.

We did lots of hiking. Some of was kind of rocky. This is not a spoof. See the trail marker by my wife’s left hand? This was the route.

But we were rewarded with some great views.

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And magnificent vistas. Have to tell you though, on our last full day Heather tripped twice on our last trail and is feeling it. She’s an exercise instructor so she has cancelled her more demanding classes.

And now a blast from the past. I took my father down here in 2007. He’d always wanted to see the refuge and we did. He’s an old Forest Service guy and the refuge was started by the Forest Service and he made sure to set the record straight with the volunteer at the visitor center.

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Anyways we visited the Holy City as part of our trip and I found a geocache in a boat they had as part of their set. Dad was pretty amazing. His mentor when Dad was a young Forest Ranger used to be Supervisor of the National Forest that included what is now the refuge. Dad knew the whole history. He could also look at woods miles off and spot old forest fires and guess at how long ago they ocurred.

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And here I am fourteen years later, older, older, a bit plumper, and still geocaching!! The one they had in the boat is gone though. I think the boat used to represent the Ark and now is the boat that the disciples were in during the storm and Jesus walked across the water to them.

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Here is another photo from our trip. We got into Fort Sill and got lost looking for Geronimo’s grave. Went down lots of back roads with ominous military warning signs saying we were off limits. but hey we got there. Geronimo’s grave is out in the middle of nowhere. It was a virtual geocache so at least I could use my GPS, I just couldn’t figure out the roads. Dad’s been gone a few years now and I sure do miss him. We had a good time on our little road trip.

So anyway we had a great time, my wife and I. One thing I’ll leave you with is: Oklahoma is no Colorado or Montana, but…

Mount Scott Sunset

Don’t let anybody tell you that Oklahoma doesn’t have mountains.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Our World – Geocaching at Lake Keystone

Saturday afternoon my wife went to visit her friends and I drove out to Lake Keystone, northwest of Tulsa to find five geocaches that I had noticed earlier

The place I was going to was an almost island on the lake called Appalachia Bay. Little did I know that it was a designated area for dirt bikes and All Terrain Vehicles.

The guy at the gate good naturedly said you better be careful these guys will run you over. So I said okay then. Cost me $5 to get access.

It was like a Mad Max movie. The vehicles going this way and that way and making a heck of a racket. I just stayed out of their way. You have to look real close at the photo above. There is some deer hidden in there. Just steps away from one of the trails. I don’t know how they stand it. I saw two other groups of deer during my outing. I guess they get used to the racket.

After I got used to the racket, I had a pretty good time. The woods were clear so I was able to bushwhack without too much difficulty. Many of the trails were deeply rutted and so I avoided those in case someone came over a hill or around a corner too fast. People were pretty good natured and courteous toward me.

There were five caches. The smileys are ones I found, the frownie is one I didn’t find, the green one I saw but it was up in a tree and I was not in a climbing mood.

Above is a video of one my finds.

And above in another one of my finds.

And my relive app video showing the route from the first cache to the others and then back to the parking lot.

I had a good time. I didn’t know that dirt bikes and ATVs had designated areas. My attitude was that I was in their territory so I watched out for myself. Not a place I would recommend for a peaceful hike. I’m told that it is actually quite nice during the week. If you like geocaches that you can hike to I strongly recommend this but don’t go on the weekend.

I am linking to Our World Tuesday.

Weekend Reflections – Downtown Tulsa

Downtown Tulsa as I was headed to my car after getting released from Jury Duty. We had lots of breaks and so I got to wander around downtown. I worked there for twenty eight years and walked almost every working day at lunch. I was always looking for something I never saw before and almost succeeded. I knew people that worked there there whole careers and didn’t know where the post office was and had the impression that downtown was dangerous.

How can people be so uncurious?

I’m linking with Weekend Reflections. Those people are curious!! Almost all photobloggers are I think.

Our World – Perpetual Motion Machine

A little bit more from my trip to the Oklahoma History Center last week.

Kimray Pump

I graduated from Engineering school back in the 1970’s and took a job with Mobil Oil Corporation at a big oilfield they operated called the West Ranch Field right near the Gulf Coast of Texas. First thing new engineers find out is that when they start work, they don’t know the first thing about how engineering is actually done. You don’t spend time solving equations, you spend your time solving problems or building stuff. There is a lot of technology these days and you don’t learn anything about the technology in school. You learn about it when you start work.

The piece of equipment above is a Kimray Pump by a company called Kimray. And what it does is pumps a liquid from low pressure to high pressure for processes where you need a recirculating liquid, which there are lots such processes in industry. It does not require any additional energy such as electricity or an electric motor or anything else.

So how does that work I wondered. Such a thing is impossible and yes it is. What happens is it used for dehydrating natural gas with a chemical. The chemical gets pumped up to the pressure of the natural gas, mixes with the gas and then is run back through the machine to low pressure, where the liquid is heated up releasing the water vapor, and then cooled off then pumped to high pressure again. The secret is that a small amount of gas is absorbed in the liquid and is also released at low pressure. That small amount of gas going from high pressure to low pressure is what keeps thing going. It took me forever to make sense of it!!

Inventor of Kimray Pump

So this is Garman Kimmaell, the guy who invented it. I think he is a genius. How in the world did he figure it out? The Kimray pump is still in use today. There are modifications. For one the gas released is no longer just vented to atmosphere. It contains methane which is a lot worse actor in global warming than carbon dioxide by a factor of 40 to 50 and the process also emits lots of Benzene, Toluene, and Xylene (known as BTX) which are really bad cancer causing agents. So the emitted gases are burned in fuel system for the remainder of the process.

So, I am sure that this is more than what you cared to know. I’m linking with Our World Tuesday, came check it out.

Our World – Back on the Trails

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So Sunday afternoon was great, temp in the low 50’s, sunny, a little breezy, no football. So I decided to go running on the Tulsa’s Riverparks trails on the Arkansas River. I prefer trail running but with all the snow they are going to be a bloody mess for a week or so.

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Almost all the snow is gone. Better hurry if you want to see some.

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Turkey Mountain across the river. I’ll be there Sunday morning for a hike with some people I know.

My run went pretty well. It has been a while since I ran-ran, if you know what I mean. So this was a walk run. I’d trot a little bit and then walk a little. Did that for about three miles. I had forgotten how nice it was and I was thankful that the other aerobic stuff I had been doing on the stationary bikes and elliptical machines left me with some aerobic fitness.

I had a bike wreck back in the early Fall which made it hard to do anything but hike and the machines. Things seem all better now. I did about three miles the slow way but that is okay.

Son Logan is doing better also from his ankle sprain. We have been doing the “RICE” thing (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) with him. So he is king for a day or few. Heather is taking him to orthopedic doctor today. He has classes but they are online. So until about Wednesday or so we are waiting on him. Bringing him food, doing his laundry, all that stuff.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join the fun!!