Category Archives: Our World Tuesday

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!

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!

Our World – My Toes in the Water…

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Here’s my toes during our recent vacation. I didn’t actually get a photo of them actually in the water.

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Here’s a beer in my hand, cans only, no glass allowed on the beach.

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How do you like my waterproof Kindle? 11 years old, hundreds of books and still going strong.

We just got back from ten days at the beach. Orange Beach, Alabama. We spent almost every day on the beach. A couple rainy days we read in our condo and went shopping and stuff. We had a really good time and got recharged. I got hundreds of photos. Most of them skywatch type, sky and water photos so I’ll be posting lots of those as time goes by.

This song is like twelve years old or so but I noticed just this year. Best lyrics ever.

Come join the fun over at Our World Tuesday. Lots of great bloggers linking up over there.

Our World – Beaching Good Times

Heather and I are on vacation this week. We are down in Orange Beach on the Alabama Gulf Coast. It’s our happy place.

Here’s my bride during our bicycling adventure at Gulf State Park. We rode 16 miles and it was great. Hardly any other people and some great trails.

It has three really nice lakes with marshes and it is incredibly gorgeous.

It’s also a great alligator habitat. We saw this momma and two babies chilling out by the trail. There are also “several” types of venomous snakes according to Park. Two years ago I went geocaching at the park while wife and son went parasailing. I had a great time but my head was on a swivel looking around.

We are right next to a beach bar. No bull, they had a rodeo last weekend. The condo was full of cowboys. They are the most polite people you will ever meet. They also like to party hard.

Saturday the beach was hopping between the cowboys with their hats on in the water and a bunch of happy, good natured people celebrating their football teams, LSU and Alabama seemed to be the most popular and playing incredibly loud tunes on their speakers that they actually rolled out across the beach on wheels. They also were celebrating their favorite presidential candidate.

Sunday, we basically had the place to ourselves. The cowboys went on to their next rodeo and the partiers went back to work and school.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday. Join in the fun.

Our World – Union Pacific’s Big Boy Goes on Tour

One day earlier this month my friend Tom asked if I wanted to go see Union Pacific’s Big Boy locomotive. It was on a ten state tour and was going through Oklahoma on August 12. So the next day Tom and I went up to the little town of Vinita where the Big Boy was scheduled to appear.

Turns out about half the population of Oklahoma was there as well. Train fans of all ages were there. It’s nice to see that people still get all excited about trains.

The locomotive pulling this train is special. It is the biggest and most powerful operating steam locomotive in the world. With its tender, it weighs 1,951,000 pounds, it is 133 feet long and over sixteen feet tall. Twenty five of these monsters were built during World War II to pull freight trains over the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.

They were in service up until 1959 when they were replaced by cheaper to run diesel locomotives. There are only eight left. Seven are static displays in museums. The one we saw, number 4014 is the only one operational. Union Pacific reacquired it in 2019 and brought it back to working condition. The originals burned coal, 4014 is converted to burning used motor oil. It is used for promotional purposes by UP now.

It is very impressive and very loud and everybody was excited to see it including me.

It is still on tour, so you can still see it if you wish. They are touring ten states and it ends September 7 at UP’s station in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Check here for details on the schedule and stops.

Hey everybody else was getting a selfie why not me?

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It stayed in Vinita for an hour or so while the crews fussed over the locomotive adjusting this and that and asking hundreds of questions.

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The crew and the other UP employees were obviously proud of the engine. I was proud also. I worked for an oil and gas subsidiary of UP back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They didn’t let me near a train but I still get their yearly train calendar.

And then it came time for it to go to the next stop.

There goes almost two million pounds of steel.

Tom and I got a few miles ahead of it so we could capture some motion. Locomotives are all about motion.

And so that was a good day back earlier this month.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday. Check it out!!

Here are some other good links

Big Boy’s Wikipedia Page

Facts and Figures on 4014

UP’s Press Release on the Tour

Schedule and Map of the Tour

Our World – Hiking at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

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On the last day of our recent mini-vacation to Missouri we stopped for a visit at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park. 10,000 acres of wilderness set in a beautiful canyon in southwest Missouri. It was founded by Johnny Williams of Bass Pro fame and is a non-profit outfit.

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One can walk the three miles of trails, or ride a bike, or take a guided tour in a pickup pulled trail. We like walking so we walked or rather Heather walked, and I sauntered behind taking lots of photos and Logan was in front of me and behind her. We kind of do our own thing.

I love the trail markers. Johnny Morris really works on branding on his Bass Pro properties and you can see his influence on a number of things at Dogwood Canyon.

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There is a creek that runs the length of the property. It has a bunch of pools separated by waterfalls. The pools were full of big fat trout. Did I say that you could go fishing there?

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The canyon is full of features for photographers. Lots of beautiful scenery and the stream provides lots of opportunities for reflections. I would love to be here during the fall color.

I love all the little touches on the trail.

These markers on the various bridges are all works of art.

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There are just so many things to look at.

A huge building is the entry to the park and has displays on early American and Native American relics from the area.

We’ll be back.

This is the second visit here for us. Check out our first visit to the Canyon three years ago. I’m linking with Our World Tuesday, check it out.

New Trails Coming to Turkey Mountain

Big News out today in Tulsa for those of us who love the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. The RiverParks Authority has announced that it is beginning the first phase of the Turkey Mountain Master Plan. Construction on thirteen miles of trail will begin this Fall. The trails are being designed by Progressive Trail Design who designs and build trails all over the country.

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This is huge news for Tulsa. Six years ago a company announced plans to build an outlet mall on the mountain. It seemed like an unstoppable force but a small group of citizens (the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition) organized opposition to the outlet mall and guess what, the mall decided to go somewhere else in town. And further, that somewhere else, the company scraped off a bunch of dirt and started construction and then quit (they say only temporarily) leaving kind of a big muddy mess. (Thank goodness they didn’t do that on Turkey Mountain is what I say.)

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Two years ago the RiverParks Authority got funding to develop a master plan. As part of the process input was provided by thousands of Tulsans on what they wanted Turkey Mountain to look like. What they came up with was wonderful. Check it out here. A great plan but an unfunded plan.

Wagon Wheel Lake

So now they have enough funding for the design and construction of thirteen miles of trail. Professionally designed trail rather than overgrown deer trails.

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Lots of races are run on Turkey Mountain every year.

The existing trails on Turkey, although we love them were not designed. They just kind of happened. We have trails that go straight up hillsides and those trails are eroded rocky boulder fields now. The trails are not sustainable and get very muddy after rains where the water puddles up.

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Several work days per year on Turkey Mountain

The new trails will be more accessible to a wider population segment. I’m pretty comfortable on Turkey Mountain now but it took me years to get that way. I know which trails are almost impossible to traverse. As new trails are built, many of the older trails are going to blocked off and retired to let the land rest. All this is exciting news.

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Want to learn more? Listen to the Official Turkey Mountain podcast. Ryan Howell of the RiverParks Authority talks about the problems with the existing trails and the promise of the new. He also talked about restoring the bulk of Turkey Mountain to an Oak Savanna via the use of prescribed burns and removal of non-native species. He also discusses the history of Turkey Mountain including tales of buried gold and Viking explorers.

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A new trail being built

Consider joining the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. It’s a nominal cost and you will find out about work days, which are a lot of fun. TUWC’s scope is all the urban wilderness spaces in Tulsa, not just Turkey Mountain. They have become a resource for other organizations in the Tulsa area. (Full disclosure, I am am member, and all opinions on this blog are my own.) Check out and like their facebook page.

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Sunset on the mountain

If you are on instagram follow the Turkey Mountain account. (more full disclosure, I post photos to that account once or twice a week.)

Follow the Turkey Mountain Facebook Account and their Public Trail User Forum also on facebook.

Monarch Way Station on Turkey Mountain built last year as part of Monarchs on the Mountain event last year. The event will be be September 17 to 19 this year. Check out their web page for the details.

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You can only legally camp one night a year on Turkey Mountain during an event called Base Camp. It is a fun camping and music festival. This year on October 2 and 3.

It is exciting to see the results of a small group of people who stood up to big corporations and City Hall and won. (Just to be clear, I was not one of those people, but I was cheering them on.)

Linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World – On the Trail and the Road

Sunday morning after dropping the kid off at work I headed to Turkey Mountain for a little hiking.

Virginia Creeper?

I’ve been reading the novel, The Overstory by Richard Powers and it is blowing me away with its talk of how trees in a forest are all interconnected and they exchange nutrients with one another and with other plants via a network of fungal hyphae, miles and miles of tubular fungus that exchange minerals with trees for sugar. I already read the book and then I started reading it again. It’s pretty amazing.

Hairy Ruellia?

The woods on Turkey Mountain are very new. It used to be small farms and ranches but oil was discovered and what trees that were there were cut down for fuel for the boilers that powered the pumps.

Headache!!! I’m afraid some poor mountain biker hit his noggin.

So the trees that are there now are pretty new and mostly skinny. There are a few older ones that are bigger and are more spread out. I find the whole life cycle of tree thing to be fascinating.

American Trumpet Vine maybe

I know that Sunday I pretty much had the place to myself. Most people on Turkey Mountain stick to the more established east side with its overlooks of the Arkansas River and well developed trails. The west side is a little wilder and the trails less established and mapped.

I went all the over the the YMCA and took a pic. Not much going on there.

Shining Sumac perhaps

Just 3 miles but hey I was refreshed.

In the afternoon I checked out Route 66 for some geocaching. I stopped one of my favorites. The Blue Whale of Catoosa.

Right next to it was this. Apparently it is supposed to be an Ark as part of a journey through the Bible attraction but it didn’t really take off.

I found this museum in Catoosa. It was closed but it has a great mural out back.

And this is an old bridge on Route 66 that has been relocated. So I am continuing my turning 66 on Route 66 thing that I have going on.

I hope your Sunday was as fun as mine!!

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Our World – Hanging out in Okmulgee

Monday morning, I drove 43 miles south of Tulsa to the little burg of Okmulgee, Oklahoma in order to pursue my geocaching hobby. First up on the list is an Adventure Lab geocache at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology. Adventure Lab caches don’t involve finding a physical object, instead you have to navigate to various places and then answer questions about what you find. You use an app on your phone to navigate and it has technology that makes sure you are physically there where you say you are. It discourages “armchair geocachers.”

So it had me go all over the campus finding information. I learned that the campus started out as an Army Hospital during World War II and then later a hospital for German POWs. After the war the USA sold the campus to what is now Oklahoma State University for a dollar.

OSU loves the color orange, they put it on everything. Even their flowers are orange.

It is an applied technology school. You don’t go here to think the big thoughts. You go here to learn nursing, engine repair, cooking and a bunch of other fields. It has a 100% placement rate for their graduates.

This is a solar pond that helps reduce the campus heating and cooling costs. The water is circulated through a heat pump is how it works.

This is OSU’s mascot, Pistol Pete. He’s based on a real person, Frank Eaton. At eight years old, he witnessed his father’s murder by six vigilantes. Young Frank practiced shooting until he was fifteen years old and then spent the next six years hunting down and killing his father’s murderers. He later served as a US Marshall for Oklahoma under the Hanging Judge, Isaac Parker. He became the mascot for OSU after he died in 1958. You can’t make this stuff up!! I love stories like this.

Nothing to do with the cache but this is the Natural Gas Compression Technology building. I spent about 40 years messing with natural gas compressors in various capacities. Compressors are what is used to move the natural gas all the way from the wellhead to industrial and home use. It is hard to get into this program. For years all of the graduates have had jobs before they graduate.

And then shifting gears to downtown Okmulgee. It was an oilfield boom town way back when and then went into a long slow decline as the production in the area waned. There is a new spirit in town. People are moving in buying and renovating the many beautiful old buildings that were decaying. They are also commissioning murals such as the one above by famed Native American Muralist, Yatika Starr Fields. The mural above may be the most beautiful mural I have ever seen, (and I have seen a lot of them.)

Even OSU Tech got in on the action converting the above building to an off campus dorm.

So with this cache I went to a lot different murals. It was fun.

With a Where I Go geocache, you eventually have to find a physical object and I did. I don’t want to spoil it for anybody but it is a nanocache which makes it tiny. Lots smaller than the tip of my pinkie fingers.

Anyway, a good morning. It took me a little more than an hour to log both caches and then headed home.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

To find out more about Geocaching

Our World – Tess 5K Trail Run on Turkey Mountain

Saturday I raced my second race since the pandemic started. It was the Tess 5K Trail Run. It was on Turkey Mountain and was a fund and awareness raiser for the Tristesse Grief Center a local Tulsa non-profit that provides grief services such as counseling. The event also included a 10K run.

I did the race with my race friend Paula. We basically walked it and trotted it when we found non-rocky relatively flat places which on Turkey Mountain are not many.

I told everybody that I finished first in my age group, and I did and I was also dead last of the 13 men who ran the race. I was there though and finished vertically.

Got this nice medal. Truth be told, I am not a fan of the medals. They don’t really fit into my wife’s decorating scheme for the house.

Here’s the route. We started at the south parking lot (bottom of page) and went straight up the mountain (hill really) and did a loop, and came back down. The course was marked enough to where we didn’t get lost. Apparently somebody on a bicycle messed up the markers for the 10K so it’s results were in chaos. I am not knocking cyclists. They way outnumber the trail runners when it comes to cleanup days at the local trails.

So a good time was had by all. We each got a beer to go with the medal so that was an unexpected bonus.

The event was a win/win/win.

Challenging well marked course, check!

Unflappable course timers, I got the wrong tag number but the timer guy figured it out quickly without a lot of drama, check!

Nice tee shirt, check!

Beer, check!

Friendly race director and well organized volunteers, check.

I had a good time, I will be back!!

Our World Tuesday