I just finished reading “Cuba, An American History” by Ada Ferrer.
What an outstanding book that reads like a novel. It tells the history of Cuba from and it’s relationship to America. It starts from Christopher Columbus’s voyages to the “New World” and goes right up to the Biden Administration. (Fun fact, Christopher Columbus never set foot on any part of what is now, the United States of America.)
Some things have always interested me such as why are the United States and Cuba been so much at odds with each other. Also why does Cuba that seemed to love Fidel Castro so much have hundreds of thousands of people who will risk their lives to leave the island given the slightest chance.
Ferrer asserts that our founding fathers had their sights on Cuba as a natural extension of the USA. She also writes that the Monroe Doctrine was more directed at Cuba than Latin America. The US was concerned about Britain trying to take over the island nation.
This is a history book that reads like a novel. I couldn’t put it down as Ms. Ferrer discusses the huge role slavery played in building up their sugar industry and the USA Banks who provided financing for the slave ships that went to Africa to bring enslaved people to Cuba. She writes how after a ten year battle to win their independence from Spain, the USA came in at the last minute and took over Cuba for ten years after the Spanish American War.
I could go on and on but this book is one great read.
So last week I talked about our first day at Beavers Bend State Park in southeast Oklahoma. The second day we did a couple of hikes including the Friends Trail along the Mountain Fork River. This section comes off the bottom of the Broken Bow lake. The water is very cool and the state stocks it with trout.
Several fly fisherman were on the water with their waders and long rods.
I have done a little fly fishing but I was wishing I had a simple Zebco rod and reel, some worms, and a bobber.
This guy was the smoothest fly fisherman I have ever seen. Hopping from rock to rock doing all sorts of casts into various pools. My late Father-in-law was a great fly fisherman. He could put a fly on one side of a rock or on the other side of the rock. Me, I was just lucky to get it out in front of me somewhere.
It is a very peaceful river and the day we were there were not many people.
We went to the park’s Forestry Heritage Center which has exhibits on the timber industry and culture of southeast Oklahoma. It’s a fun place with a 1960’s type vibe about it. They had a geocache there and Heather found it!! It had stymied us on previous trips.
I love this sculpture dedicated to Woodland Firefighters. It reminds me of my late father who fought forest fires early in his career in the forest service. He had the aluminum hard hat and a Pulaski, the combination axe and hoe the guy is holding.
We took my father to the museum years ago and I remember him showing us how these various chain saws and other tools were used in logging. I remember asking him why the yellow chainsaw had the saw blade horizontal. The answer was that early day carburetors couldn’t work work on the side so you had to hold the engine up straight while cutting trees or the motor would quit. So now you know!!
Later we went back to the cabin, drank a few beers, played some games, started a fire in the fire pit, made some smores and tried out the hot tub again. We had a grand time.
It was great for the three of us get away for a few days.
I don’t do too many races these days. For one thing I don’t run hardly at all and for a second, I got out of the habit during covid. I have a soft spot in my heart for trail races though. Big secret is that many people on trail races, and in fact in all races, walk the route. It is not frowned on at all. Last Saturday I ventured to the Herman & Kate Kaiser YMCA on the northwest side of Turkey Mountain for their Tulsa Backyard Blaze 5K.
The race started at the Y and then headed south with an outgoing veer to the east, at the far southern end it looped around and around and then headed pretty much straight back to the Y.
Here is the race director Mitch giving us instructions. Trail races are pretty easy, just follow everybody else is my motto. I’ve actually gone off the course on a couple of trail races.
We had a countdown and then we were off. I started way at the back and I thought I would be able to trot a hundred yards or so but my twingey knee said no way Jose! You are walking, so I walked the whole thing.
About 3/4 of the course, which is all beautiful forestland as threatened a few years ago by Simon Malls wanting to put an outlet mall on the property. The community was outraged and Simon moved somewhere else in the Tulsa area, a totally more appropriate site, cleared off the land put in the first concrete pad and then stopped construction. Can you imagine the above being an abandoned parking lot? It almost happened!!
I fell in behind this group of ladies. They were setting a good pace for me. They are a group of friends that race together and their camaraderie was fun to watch.
All the trails were legacy trails, twisty and turney.
For a post race treat, they had chocolate chip pancakes topped with peanut butter!! They were great!! I had to do a boarding house reach to get one. Sorry, but you do what you have to do at these things.
They had wooden medallions for all the finishers and little coasters for the age group winners. Being the only one in my age group I got one of these. They also had nice tshirts for everybody.
A nice well managed and run race. A good job by the Y for being a great host, Runners World Tulsa for managing the race including clearing and marking the trails and whoever did the timing did a great job as well.
I set my trailcam up on the back porch the other day. At 1 am we had a visitor.
I don’t know whether these are the same bandits or not. I think it is the reason we have had two bird feeders destroyed.
I took the camera down to Beavers Bend and set it up hoping to capture some deer but all I got was this ghostly image of a raccoon. At least I think it is a raccoon.
We have a hummingbird feeder. I have had the camera at it for multiple hours over multiple days and have captured exactly zero hummingbirds. We got a lot of critters in the background though.
Our bird feeders have lots of visitors.
I like the candid shots of them taking off or landing.
It would seem taking off or landing would be harder than flying.
I was hiking on Turkey Mountain the other day. I always keep a sharp eye out for copperheads. I didn’t see any that day but I saw this tiny critter hopping across the trail. At first I though it was a bug but I think it is the world’s smallest frog. Talk about good camo, when he quit moving, I couldn’t see him!
Early last week we packed up the ole Honda Pilot to head off on a little trip to southeast Oklahoma. We were not going to be gone long but for some reason the car was packed full.
On the way we stopped in Antlers, OK for gas. They had this memorial to the Cboctaw Code Talkers of both World Wars.
We rented a nice cabin for a couple days. Nice big decks, a hot tub, a pool table and a pretty sizable out door area.
It had a baby Sasquatich inside. I love the corny things people do to decorate their cabins.
Heather playing ladders. We also played cornhole, swung on the swings, and used the fire pit and the hot tub.
We brought along our elderly Pomeranian, Rascal and he seemed to have a great time as well. We went on daily one mile walks with him and he practiced going up and down the steps to the porch.
We grilled a lot of food and spent a lot of time together.
The next day, we loaded up for a hike (Rascal stayed at the cabin) and went for a three mile hike on the Mountain Fork River. A very nice trail that is relatively flat.
We didn’t see hardly anybody the whole time.
The weather was sunny and cool. That’s Logan in blue to the back.
At the end of hike we came across a collapsed old building with just the foundation remaining. I love mysteries like this? I’m gong to have to found out what the deal is.
Anyway, that was just the first 24 hours. I got more to tell later.
Sad news from Tulsa today. A gunman barged into a medical office building and killed four people before taking his own life. The Tulsa Police Department was on the scene three minutes after the call came in. They ran up to the second floor where the shots were coming from but they were too late.
Last Sunday afternoon I spent six hours helping out with a local Triathlon, the Ironman Tulsa. The racers swam over two miles in open water on a lake, over a hundred miles on a bicycle, and then finished up with a 26 mile run. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
The organizers had a bunch of aid stations all along the length of the course. I was at an aid station on the marathon run segment. The racers ran two loops on the Tulsa Riverparks Trail System so I saw everybody potentially four times.
I handed out gatorade. Gatorade is not too popular with athletes. It’s just colored sugar water. So I didn’t have a whole lot of takers. Water was the most popular drink. Pepsi for some reason was popular. Cups of ice were very popular.
The most asked about beverage was chicken broth. It was brewed up in the late afternoon and the back of pack runners were going for it.
So it was interesting. You see a lot of very tired people. The people at the front of the race were pretty bouncy for just getting off a hundred mile bicycle ride.
Here is the lead man of the race.
And the lead woman. Both these are just cruising along like they are jogging around the block.