Category Archives: Skywatch Friday

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.

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.

drone 15 nik

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

drone 14 nik

Looking almost straight west

drone 13 nik

Roughly a little north of southwest.

drone 12 nik

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

drone 10 nik

A little bit north of northwest.

drone 11 nik

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.

2021 Tulsa State Fair

_DSC0073
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.

_DSC0063

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

_DSC0083

A lot of younger kids were showing off their livestock.

_DSC0082

And some older kids as well.

_DSC0079

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!!

DJI_0290-adjust

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

Route 66 Skywatching, Channeling Paul McCartney

Son Logan visited us over the weekend and on Monday I took him back to college. Our little 6′ 3″, 250 pound son is in his final semester (he better be in his final semester) and graduates this Fall. We are really proud of him! Anyway, dropped him and his stuff off, made a visit with the bursar and paid his tuition and fees and headed back to Tulsa.

I took the scenic route on part of it on Route 66. I was hunting down geocaches and doing a ten state Adventure Lab geocache at the same time. Hit the links to find out more about what I’m talking about. First stop was Pops on Route 66. They have a gas station and a huge selection of pop. I got me a selfie cuz I am 66 years old this year on Route 66.

Pops is a stop on the Adventure Lab and it also has a real geocache that I had found previously. Nearby there was another one.

A little bit down the road is the Round Barn of Arcadia, another stop on the Adventure Lab. With an Adventure Lab you don’t find a physical container, you have to answer questions about the stop.

And nearby is minor attraction in Arcadia. Tutons Drug Store. I think it has been closed very years but I love the rock work.

And another stop is an “Auto Trim Museum.” It was closed but I got the information I needed from the gate.

Paul McCartney Sighting

And then this find. Paul McCartney, on his 66th birthday, drove Route 66 with his girlfriend back in 2011. Not being a geocacher the former Beatle got lost and had to stop at a house and ask if if he was still on the Old Road (as Route 66 is called by some.) This was on an “alternate alignment” of Route 66 and I never would have found it if were not for geocaching. I guess great minds think alike.

Washington Irving Camp Site

Another stop was at this marker commemorating a stop Washing Irving made on his travels in Oklahoma way back when. Another bit of info I would have never known if hadn’t been for my sport.

It was close to here while looking for another cache that a couple of sheriff deputies stopped and asked me if I knew that my car tag was almost two years expired. I said no I didn’t. We chatted about that for a while and then they asked what I was doing and I told him all about it. So they said to get the tag renewed cuz they don’t care about it but you get a highway patrolman in a bad mood they have been known to impound your car and leave you standing by the road. (I took care of the tag the next day.)

And then a little later, I stopped at this old gas station from the early in 20 the century. Anyway I had earned the Adventure Labs cache and was a little unnerved by the thought of encountering a highway patrolman in a bad mood so I went on home.

So thanks for sticking with me. Here’s a photo from our vacation looking out the back side of the condo we were staying in. I took my drone but didn’t fly it. We were on the 15th floor so it was kind of like a stationary drone.

I hope everybody is well. I got my third jab yesterday and a flu shot. I’m still being careful and avoiding crowds as much as I can.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday, come join the fun!!

Skywatch Friday – Stormy Weather on the Drive Home

We drove home last Saturday from our vacation on the Gulf Coast. My wife and I shared the driving duties and so she drove the middle third of the distance, much of it in the delta country of Mississippi and Arkansas. There was lots of weather during much of the drive especially early on in Alabama. The rest of the time we dodged the rain and got see some great clouds.

So Heather drove and I snapped pics of the sky and country. The above two are in Mississippi.

I snapped this as we crossed the Mississippi River.

And this was in Arkansas.

And so was this. I am not sure just where but I really liked it. And no, we didn’t drive into that storm. I’m not sure where it went.

And this is Oklahoma. I was driving and I confess I took the photo while driving. Lock me up officer, throw away the key!!!

Anyway we got back safe and sound from a great vacation.

I hope that everybody is being safe, while also enjoying life. Please find that balance.

Come join the fun at Skywatch Friday

Stormy Weather

We are down in Orange Beach, Alabama on vacation. The weather has been okay. Sunny, Cloudy, Rainy. Today it is kind of stormy. I guess that it is related to Tropical Storm Nicholas which isn’t here yet.

I woke up this early this morning, put my wide angle lens on the ole Nikon and started to go outside but then it started to rain. I’m kind of protective of the ole Nikon so I used the iphone.

So the wind is blowing and it is raining and we got a flash flood watch so it is going to be a reading day for us. The condo has an exercise room with dreadmills and such but I doubt I’ll do that. We have been walking on the beach two or three miles a day and we’ll see if that happens.

surf-adjust

This and the next couple pics and videos are from yesterday’s beach walk. I just love walking in the surf. Didn’t get to do that much growing up in the intermountain west. Don’t get to do it too much in Oklahoma either.

surf 03-adjust

So I make the most of it here.

surf 02-adjust

I don’t mind bad weather. The thing that drives me inside is lightning. I personally know somebody who died from a lightning strike.

DSCF1025

Here is a shot from when we first got here. The sun was out and the water was clear. We could see dozens of squadrons of cow nose rays. Check the link for more information. I had never heard of them before but they are graceful swimmers. They look like butterflies of the sea even though they are about two or three feet wide. They swim with their mouths wide open hoovering anything in their path. They swam around people. Check the link above for more information.

Who knows what the day holds for us. We might walk to the beach bar next door and drink a couple of bushwhackers and listen to live music.

I hope your day is going well.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday – come join in!!

Skywatch Friday – Ida Skies

We had some nice skies for part of the week. I think they were offshoots of Hurricane Ida. The victims of the storm are in my thoughts. So many people had to leave their homes. It’s going to be a long time before they get the electricity turned on. The storm continued up to the east coast causing flooding and tornadoes. What a miserable storm Ida was.

I went looking for a geocache. The spoiler is that I didn’t find it but I found something else. I was looking at the these cottonwood trees and it looked kind of funny.

It’s hard to see it in this photo but there is a trail that starts out and goes down to the Arkansas River. I was checking it out and a guy with a fishing rod came by and we chatted a bit. Apparently you walk down the trail to the river, wade across part of the river and climb up on a sandbar and right there is a big hole that he says is full of catfish. You learn something new every day. I tried explaining geocaching to him and I could kind of tell the young man was worried about me. He was wondering if I was right in my head.

I wasn’t fishing, I was geocaching and the cache was hidden in the rip rap. I clambered around looking in all the nooks and crannies and couldn’t find it. Apparently nobody else could either. I got an email from the owners who said that they checked and it was missing and they are going to replace it soon.

On the way out I passed a tube bending company in an industrial area. They built this thing to show off their craft. Tube bending is useful in making chemical and refinery processing equipment, especially heaters and such. Tulsa has a lot of oilfield manufacturing companies and expertise.

The next day I went on a bike ride on the RiverParks trails along the Arkansas River here in Tulsa. I stopped to check out the construction of the new low water dam and pedestrian bridge. I think that it is going to be another two years or so before they are done. I’m looking forward to it. Click here for a look at the conceptual design.

And finished up at what I call the Bear Fountain near where I parked my care. The temp was in the low 90’s F but the heat index was about a 105 F. Time to go get cooled off. I was going to go geocaching again but didn’t want to get back out in the heat.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday – come join in!!

Table Rock Lake’s Moonshine Beach

During our recent mini-vacay to the Branson, Missouri area we were looking for outdoor stuff away from people and the standard Branson faire such as shows and shopping. We did kayaking, swimming, and walking. We found a beautiful little beach area on Table Rock Lake called Moonshine Beach.

DSCF0649

It’s a Corps of Engineers facility that has clean restrooms, a sizeable roped off swimming area, and a beautiful sand beach. It also has a boat launching area separate from the swimming area. It also has a geocache for those who are interested. (Yes, of course I found it). Check out the Corps Website for all the details.

DSCF0652

There is a $5 fee per car access fee, or the take Federal passes that some of us old retired guys have. It’s well worth it. The grounds are clean and picked up and the bathrooms are immaculate. We went on a weekday and there was enough people there to provide a good vibe but one could definitely socially distance at least 50 feet from people. Alcohol is not allowed which contributes to the vibe. It’s open until 8 pm. At 7:30 a very polite Park Ranger showed up and reminded us of the 8 pm closure.

DSCF0648

And on top of all this, you get great views of the lake especially as the sun was going down.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday, come check it out.

Skywatch Friday – Vacation Edition

This week I didn’t know if I was going to be able to post a Skywatch Friday post. Our son is going back to school soon and we wanted to give him some sort of vacation after his summer of taking Spanish classes online (three hours a day, four days a week of Zoom, ouch, I hate zoom), working hard at Loews Hardware, and socially isolating during this resurgence of Covid in a state that is not doing anything it about in order to maintain “freedom and justice for all.” (Yes, literally the state is doing nothing at all.)

So we said goodbye to our worthless cats and incredulous dogs.

Loaded up the car like the Okies we are and headed to Branson, Missouri. (Aka, the “Baptist Las Vegas”) to stay at a cabin for fun and social isolation. No shows, no, Silver Dollar City, no elbow to elbow jostling with anybody, cook most of our own meals and go at off times and eat outside when we do go out to eat.

This cabin had some strict rules. Most cabins have don’t type rules, this cabin had “do” rules. We liked these rules, what about you?

DSCF0641

The first day we went kayaking. It doesn’t get more socially distant than this.

DSCF0637

So we went here, there, and everywhere in the cove of the place we were staying.

DSCF0645

So we have done a ton of reading, hanging out at the swimming pool, and just kind of in general chillaxing.

We made one trip into the “Belly of the Beast” Branson Landing which is pretty much deserted. Taney County, which includes Branson has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the county, about 30% according to the state. I’m like wow! A city so dependent on outside visitors is doing everything they can to discourage travelers. Their brand new mayor is actually proud of their anti public health stance. What are we doing here!! We walked up and down the deserted area without entering any of the places that were open. Personally, I think they would be smart to get ahead of the issue instead of sticking their head in the sand.

Back in our bubble!! They skies are pretty cool. I tried to fly my drone but the cabin in in a no fly zone for some reason. Probably because we are so close to the lake.

Cabin internets are highly variable and I didn’t think that I would be able to post from there so I set Skywatch Friday up in advance and thought well I’ll just post when I get home but it turns out it is blazingly fast. So I am linking up with Skywatch Friday. Come join us!!

August Skies in Oklahoma

I have a mish-mash this week. Many of the photos are from my Go Pro Clone so the quality is not that great. I set it to take a photo every ten seconds during my bike rides so I get hundreds of photos and keep only a few per ride.

2021_0811_112854_560-3

I went riding on the Arkansas River Trails her in Tulsa. They have this huge flag at 61st street and I love it when the breeze makes it fly full. That happens a lot here in Oklahoma. Are you familiar with the musical Oklahoma! you may remember:

“where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain. And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet. When the wind comes right behind the rain.”

The wind blows here all the time, rain or no rain, wheat or no wheat.

2021_0811_111129_457-3

School is starting and so not very many people on the trails except old retired guys and moms with their babies.

2021_0811_102005_153-2

I always feel like I am in a cage going across this bridge. If I see somebody coming I stop and let them come across. After my head on bike collision last year, I know the unthinkable can happen.

2021_0811_103427_238-2

Went past one of the two Holly Frontier refineries here in Tulsa. I’m a chemical engineer by training and so I love the TST’s and LRO’s. (Tall Shiny Things and Large Round Objects). So you are now a chemical engineer also!!

Hey, here is a decent photo. I went on another trail south of Tulsa the other day. Only about 10 miles round trip but that is a decent length for me.

The same trail went across a revamped pedestrian bridge. It was so cool and up to date. I read that “Love Locks” are a pain for many places but here they have designed a couple Love Lock stations. I love responsive stuff like that.

They had seating and covered areas and built in musical instruments for kids. I thought the whole thing was marvelous.

Later I went to Mad Dog Liquors in east Tulsa. In addition to being a liquor store it is a graffiti permission zone. The liquor store part of it seems to be closed (again) but that doesn’t stop the taggers. I love this work. If you look closely you can see it has a pipeline motif. I am trained as a chemical engineer but I spent a bunch of my career designing, building, operating, and doing commercial things with natural gas pipelines. You know what they say, “Nothing finer than a pipeliner.” Actually only pipeliners say that. That doesn’t mean its not true though, right?

And so time to end this mish mash mess. I’m linking it up with Skywatch Friday