Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

Riding the Arkansas River Loop

The other day I went on a bike ride on the RiverParks Trails around the Arkansas River in Tulsa.

I always check my weather app to check the prevailing winds. I like to go against the wind on the outbound leg and with the wind on the inbound leg. So today I started on the south end because the wind was from the northwest. I crossed the 71st bridge. It is always nice when the river has water in it.

Got across the bridge and hung a right onto Elwood to pass through Turkey Mountain.

I love riding the west side trails. I haven’t done it too much since the last several years since some of the trails have been closed for construction of the new Zink Lake Dam.

This fully enclosed bridge over Mooser Creek always tickles me. Why is it enclosed?

I got up to the soccer fields and checked out the detour map. The trails are opening back up on Labor Day Weekend. They are having a Big Dam Party to celebrate the completion of the Zink Lake Dam, construction of the new Pedestrian Bridge, and reopening of the closed west side trails. I’ll be celebrating, at home, and I’ll check out everything when the hubbub dies down. That’s how I roll.

Oh, yeah, I found a geocache near the sign.

And a guy passed by on this recumbent three wheeler complete with flags. Thankfully, they were right side up.

I deadheaded up the trail past the old PSO Power Plant. I love old infrastructure, even when it doesn’t run.

And go to the sign, “No Public Access” one sign says, the other says “No Bicycles or Scooter.” If you look to the right of the gate, it is propped open and there is a well worn trail there.

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I had been wondering how these folks were getting to the river to go fishing. Now I know!! I don’t have a problem with it. These people have had to walk about a mile to get there and by gum. They deserve to fish!! (I am not being sarcastic. I love it when rules are bent to the will of the people, unless it is an insurrection of course.)

So I turned my bike around and headed back down to the soccer field and headed out on the trail detour.

This part used to be scary on southwest boulevard. The road was all torn up and with gravel and such. Plus they had four lanes which made for a tight bike lane especially with tanker trucks going to and from the refinery, dump trucks and other big vehicles that are part of Tulsa’s industrial west side. Then they had a long construction project to redo the road. That was a disaster. No bike lanes, no nothing. The one time I rode it I had to ride on the west side business parking lots cuz I didn’t dare get on the road. I drove the section last week and noticed construction was over and that is why I was riding the bike lane today. I felt pretty comfortable in the bike lane.

So I got up to Route 66 and went across the bridge.

And headed back down south to the car. Didn’t take too many photos. I took some photos of some critters and you can check those out on my post Saturday.

Anyway, almost 18 miles, going slow, stopping and taking photos plus found one geocache. My longest ride in a while.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Skywatch Friday – Sapulpa Drone Show

I’ve heard about drone shows that use drones instead of fireworks and I have been fascinated by the idea for some time. On July 3rd we headed to the Tulsa suburb of Sapulpa to check out their drone show. They advertise it as an alternative to fireworks and suitable for small children, dogs, and people who don’t like loud noises.

Hear is a local news clip about the show

And the following are some video images of the show I captured with my phone. Sorry about the dim images. At the end of this post I have a youtube video of last year’s show as shot from a drone and has lots better video than what I captured.

Of course you have to have a flag. My videos don’t give the right impression of how big these displays are. They used 400 drones and they were pretty high up. I’ve looked at other drone shows on youtube, some of them use thousands. Most of the videos are speeded up way too much.

USA! USA!!

I’m thinking this is in honor of Chief Sapulpa, who is buried in Sapulpa.

A giant pinwheel

Ok you have to squint really hard to see this. The drones are simulating a fireworks show.

And so this is last year’s show as shot from a drone.

However you enjoy the Fourth, be safe and be nice.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday – Father’s Day at the Tulsa Botanic Garden

For Father’s Day early this month, Heather and Logan treated me to an outing at the Tulsa Botanic Garden.

I see where taking photos at an angle is artistic, so here we are.

I loaded up my macro lens and off we went. I love taking photos of the blooms as wells as the whole plant. I know very little about flowers but I love the colors.

I loved the colorful yarrow

And all the other flowers

Daylillies were putting on a show.

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I couldn’t get enough of them.

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Zinnias are always a favorite.

The garden arranged for several sports cars at a local museum to be on display as well. I love the Jaguar E type. Who doesn’t love a twelve cylinder engine.

Vintage Corvette’s are the best.

And an MG-TC. A beautiful car.

I posted this photo on my of my blog entries last week. I didn’t know what the deal was. I called the Garden’s office on Wednesday and they told me that these bison are moved down to the gardens as part of their Christmas light show. So I will have to check it out later this year. Mystery solved.

So I had a great Father’s Day.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World

Skywatch Friday – Geocaching, Baseball, and a Mystery

Nowdays I do my geocaching on Sunday mornings. Nobody else is up for hours so I am not missed when I leave. I was chasing one at a children’s playground. I love the tree I found on the way.

The playground was a no go. I think I know where it is but I am not going to look for it when there is even one kid anywhere close to the playground. Time was, when my son was little I would turn him loose in the park and look for the cache. He’s 26 y/o, hates geocaching, loves sleeping in, and doesn’t like playgrounds any longer.

I went to the County Fairgrounds and found a cache associated with this train engine. It was my third try.

I found another one at a church where they had multiple “Little Free Libraries.” They were not just about book but things like petfood, snacks, toys, etc. I thought the concept was pretty cool. Pro hint, the cache was close to these but not in any of them.

And I found a cache associated with this Little Free Library. I have never seen a Midcentury Modern Little Library before. Have you. It was in a section of Tulsa dominated by MCM houses.

And hey, we had Flag Day recently so I got up early and flew my flag. There was only one other person in the ‘hood who flew his flag and it was upside down, on purpose and he flies it every day. I am not sure what that honors.

And for Father’s Day Heather and Logan took me to a baseball game. I am down with that any time.

Nothing better than live baseball. Nothing worse than televised baseball. Do you see a baseball and Civil Rights legend out in left field?

I’ll make it easier on you! That’s Jackie Robinson. One of the benefits of the Tulsa AA Minor League team being associated with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

And hey, I promised you a mystery!! Here it is. A herd of blue and grey plywood bison out grazing in the Osage Hills north of Tulsa. More on this to come.

That’s Skywatch Friday for this week!!

Skywatch Friday – Backyard Dronephotography

We’ve been having scattered cloudy days in Tulsa. Those potentially turn into decent sunset shots. So if I can try and be home then and launch my elderly mini drone up to about 150 feet or from my backyard and see what I can see.

Tulsa Sunset

Sometimes you luck out and get some color and texture.

I love those days. The color lasts only for a minute or two and then it is gone.

I’ve learned to turn the drone to look east as well to see the soft pink of the “reverse sunset.”

Sometimes you don’t get any pink but the reverse sunset is always worth looking checking out.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Skywatching and Other Watching

I launched my drone the other day and went up 50 meters over the back yard. We had a little color for the sunset, not much, but some great clouds.

Sunday morning I went geocaching up in the Tulsa suburb of Catoosa. Came across this ammonia plant. I’m a chemical engineer so I like this kind of thing plus they use lots of natural gas both as a feedstock and for fuel for their processes.

Also in Catoosa, there are lots of pecan orchards up there. People hide geocaches near them and deer like to graze in the grass underneath. That is all coming to a screeching halt soon. They are subdividing this huge orchard. Makes me want to cry.

Went on a walk around Tulsa’s Lafortune Park. A big sprawling park that incorporates a high school and their various ball fields, a regular and par three golf course, several little league baseball fields, an American Legion baseball field, this high school baseball field as well as a softball diamond for the women, a public library, some gardens, an indoor and outdoor tennis complex, a public swimming pool, some great picnic areas and wonderful playparks for kids, and a three mile long walking/running path winding around all these facilities. I love it. Great photo ops.

Still at Lafortune, I love construction equipment.

A pond,

And lastly at Lafortune. My favorite moose.

My wife and I took a 2.7 mile hike at Turkey Mountain. Went by the hub, the highest point on Turkey Mountain. It’s about 300 feet above the lowest point on Turkey Mountain but hey it has a great view.

Looking Happy at the Start!

I ran a 5K trail race on Turkey Mountain last Saturday. When I say I ran it, I meant I walked it although I did trot some of the flat slightly downhill segments. I started out in last place but I passed a lot of people during the course of the race. Funny thing is that when I finished the race there were people already there who I had passed. I didn’t care but that happens in these races sometimes. Nobody cares especially since it wasn’t anybody who was in contention to place. I’ll have a separate post about the race later. Maybe.

So that is about it for this week. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World

Beavers Bend State Park Getaway 2024

Last week we went to southeast Oklahoma’s Beavers Bend State Park for a few nights. So we had only two full days and we packed a lot of fun during that time. Two hikes, a kayak ride, several dog walks and lots of sitting by the fire, making smores, grilling burgers, playing cornhole, and sitting in the hot tub.

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The first hike was along the Mountain Fork River below the Broken Bow dam on what I think was an old logging road.

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It was kind of fun paralleling the river.

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The farther we went the smaller the trail became. It ends at about 1.5 miles in so it makes a good out and back route of about three miles.

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The second hike was alongside the Broken Bow Lake formed by the dam. It was also fun.

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Toe Cam!!

And we went for a short kayak paddle on the Mountain Fork River just below the dam. I’m not much a kayaker but I was able to handle the little rapids they had right at first (most would call those rapids a ripple). It was calm water and there were not many people.

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It was a very calm time.

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It made for some great reflections.

You may notice however that I blew out the sky on these photos. Sorry excuse for Skywatch Friday, right! I have the technology to put whatever sky I want on but that seems like cheating. And you know here at Skywatch Friday, we are very inclusive our various skies, even the ones blown out by untalented amateurs.

Gray skies and all we had a great time.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday and My Corner of the World.

Skywatch Friday – Mountain Fork River

The family went on a little mini-vacation to Oklahoma’s beautiful Beavers Bend State Park where we went hiking, kayaking, and other fun activities. Above was from a kayak outing down the Mountain Fork River in the park. It may not fit what your idea of Oklahoma is. It’s not all cows, wheatfields, and windmills.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

No Northern Lights for Me!!

Our family flat out missed the northern lights extravaganza last week. We tried but there was too much light here. I had lots of photos from our backyard to the northern sky but none of them showed anything. Oh well, I think there was just too much ambient light to show anything.

I launched my drone and I got some late sunset photos. The drone’s controller was squawking at me the whole time about not enough light, blah, blah, blah. I thought we were masters of our technology but it seems to have a mind of its own sometimes. So the above is the sky to our west.

And this is to the northwest. Waayyy too much light.

We have had lots of weather here. Here is a storm cloud to the east from our gym parking lot. Generally we don’t have to worry about the storm when it is to the east but we do worry about the people who are in its path.

After we went home I launched the drone. It was kind of windy and the drone controller was telling me to get it back because the wind is about to carry it off. That has only happened to me once and I had to do the mission abort thing. It worked it brought the drone back home back against a strong wind. It is almost panic inducing. Anyway, turns out that the storm under the clouds was just rain, no rotation, no damage. Which is good.

So I was hoping for some northern light photos. I saw lots on social media and I feel kind of left out. Some wags who also didn’t have any luck posted their plain pics with some colors obviously added. I thought that was funny the first couple hundred times I saw it.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday.

Skywatch Friday – Biking in Bixby

Monday I went on a bike ride. I wanted to check out a new (to me) bike trail Bixby put in.

The new trail section didn’t have a trailhead with parking or anything. It starts at a neighborhood entrance with no parking anything so I went into the neighborhood and parked at their association play park and swimming pool just so I wouldn’t be in anybody’s way.

So I rode 15 miles on Bixby’s bike trail system. It’s oriented three segments: northeast, northwest and southern. The new leg is the northeast segment. I started at the very northern end and moved over to the northwest and then backtracked down to do the southern segment. I’ve been on the northwest and southern segments several times before.

The northeast segment cuts in behind a subdivsion and a grass farm. Bixby grows a lot of grass sod. There is less of it all the time because the farmers are selling out to builders who are building lots of subdivisions.

The bike path goes close to several strip shopping centers.

Much of it is in big spacious green belts bordering creeks and drainage ditches.

Here is the very northern end of the northwest leg. Somebody had mowed a path through the grass so I had to go check it out.

End of the Trail

It looks like a homeowner put a gate in on his back fence and uses his mown path to access the trail. I’m hoping that Bixby and Tulsa get together and connect Bixby’s trail system with Tulsa extensive system. They only have two miles to go.

The southern leg goes in back of Joe’s Farm. The last truck farm in Bixby. It’s an amazing place and they do a great business.

The southern leg goes by the Bixby Police Department gun range. I’ve been by when they are shooting with their AR15 type rifles. They are not loud. They make an airy pew, pew, pew sound.

And then we are into Washington Irving Park.

I revisited Mr. Irving. He camped overnight here on October 12, 1832 during his tour of Oklahoma accompanied by U.S. Rangers back then. He wrote “A Tour on the Prairies” about his travels.

We have had rain so the river is up but not near flooding.

There is a map of the Arkansas River set in concrete. It is a really long river. It originates in the Rocky Mountains near Leadville, Colorado which is only 85 miles from where my sister lives in Colorado Springs.

The old bridge across the Arkansas is now a pedestrian bridge called the Harmony Bridge. A fun area with seating, shade, and entertaining things for kids and childish adults, like me, to do.

And the turn around is this cool play park.

And doubling back to the car, this was my only stop. On Harmony Bridge looking upriver.

So that was my fun little adventure.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday.