Tag Archives: Bicycling

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.

Saturday’s Critters – Arkansas River Critters

I went on a bike ride on Tulsa’s RiverParks trail system along the Arkansas River.

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I spotted this bale of turtles out basking in the hot sun. The interwebs tell me that bale is the collective noun for turtles.

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I focused in on the boss bale. At least it was the biggest one.

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Just a few white pelicans out and about. The interwebs say the collective noun is squadron, pouch, pod, or scoop. So I am calling these four a pouch of pelicans.

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And just below the Zink Dam there was this group fishing.

And here is my turnaround spot with the River Bears in the background. It was a hot day!!

I’m linking with Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Come over and join the party.

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.

Saturday’s Critters – Pelicans and More on the Arkansas River

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I went on a bike ride along Tulsa’s RiverParks trails the other day. I took my SuperZoom camera with me hoping that I would see something. It turns out that American White Pelicans were on the river that day. This is a group I spotted near where I started at 71st street. They were on a sandbar near the other side of the river.

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Here is a closeup of them. I find them kind of comical on land. They are very graceful in the water and flying.

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And here is five miles north at the newly reconstructed Zink Lake Dam. They were paddling around fishing.

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Another closeup.

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And maybe 50 yards downstream of the dam this group of pelicans and great blue herons were trying their luck in the shallows.

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The pelicans and herons seemed to tolerate each other’s presence pretty well.

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In the calm waters up stream of the dam a flotilla of geese were cruising.

I am linking with Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Go check it out.

Wildlife on the Arkansas River

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I went on a bike ride the other day. I saw this bald eagle. Very far away almost past the limit of my camera. Two years ago I was quite sure that I had never seen a bald eagle in the wild. Since then I have seen lots of them.

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And nearby a brief of White Pelicans. They are beautiful and comical at the same time.

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And one of the big loners of the world, a Great Blue Heron. In some places, like on a beach, they are almost social with people but usually they keep their distance.

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And I focused on a random pile of rocks and sure enough there were some basking turtles. They use up all the rocks and dead trees in the river.

And switching gears, our little Kodi, the Pomeranian graduated from puppy school!!

Here is what he was best at, the thirty foot treat run. He’s really been a good dog and we love him.

That’s about it this week. I am linking with Eileen’s Saturday’s Critters. Go check it out.

Circumnavigating the Arkansas River Trails

Way back on March 22nd, the wind and rain died down, the temperatures came up and I went on a bike ride. I wanted to to the Tulsa RiverParks loop of the Arkansas River which is a lot harder for now than it used to be because they have closed off part of the west bank trail due to construction of a new bridge and dam across the river. They divert the bike traffic out to Route 66 to share the road with dump trucks, oil haulers, and all sorts of other non-relaxing vehicles not to mention a crappy road surface. I’ve done it twice already since the construction started and it is not a nice ride on the detour. But hey, I wanted to do it anyway. So I strapped on my cheap gopro clone on my bicycle and headed out.

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About a mile into it I almost had a collision with these two unhomed guys. They were coming in fast on an ill-timed left turn. Luckily I saw them and stopped. I already had one collision on the riverparks trails a couple years ago and it took me months before I could get on a bike again. I wasn’t mad at these guys and they were apologetic, they just got themselves in a jam.

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I got on the west bank and started going south. My strategy was to ride into the wind on the outbound leg so I could return to the car inbound. You can see from the flag how stiff the wind was. So I didn’t fight the wind, I was just moseying south.

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And then had to leave the trail where it was blocked and head west on this sidewalk. Luckily there was nobody coming east. If there is someone has to give since there is not enough room for two bicycles or if a mom is coming with a stroller. I almost yield the right of way.

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So I got to Route 66 and was planning on riding the sidewalk south, but no go!! Big construction project going on. Oh well, I crossed to the other side of the road.

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They had four lanes of two way traffic squeezed down to two lanes and the bike lane is goine. See that truck. He’s in my space!! Luckily there was a decent sidewalk for a short ways.

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And then I was able ride on the business parking lots adjoining the road.

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I got south of the construction and crossed the highway and came upon my favorite part. The road that the oil tanks use going to and from the refinery. Share the road guys!!

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Another truck right going intot he refinery.

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I brought one of my good cameras along and got a picture of the refinery. I know a little about refineries, being a chemical engineer and all. Mainly what you are looking for here is TST’s. TST stands for “Tall Shiny Things.” Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Other parts of the refinery have LRO’s which stands for “Large Round Objects.” You keep following my blog you are likely to learn a lot.

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I always like this enclosed bridge over Mooser Creek.

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I stopped for a bit of geocaching here. I’ve looked for it before and and haven’t found it yet. The hint is “This cache rocks!!” Only chemical engineers have a worse sense of humor than geocachers.

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And then on past the sewage treatment plant.

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And then the long trudge up the trail to the lower parking lot of Turkey mountain.

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And then we get to coast across the river to the east bank.

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And then, flying north back to 21st street where I started. The wind was at my back and it felt like flying.

16 miles and change. It was a nice ride.

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Bicycles, Bridges, and Skies

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I went on a ride on Tulsa’s Riverparks trails the other day. It was hot but I had lots of water and you know when you ride you make your wind. I stopped at the Gathering Place and checked out the new pedestrian bridge under construction. It is going to be done sometime next spring. I’m looking forward to it. It has it’s own web site here.

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Here’s the old bridge from the other side of the river here. It was a railroad bridge up until the 60’s or so and then was later converted to pedestrian bridge. When the Gathering Place was done, the city suddenly decided the old bridge was unsafe and proceeded to tear it down. Many of us felt a little played but I’m not too upset. I think the real reason was that the low water dam just downstream was obsolete and was being replaced. I think the construction of the new dam would destabilize the old bridge. So that is why I’m okay with the new bridge plus it will tie-in better, than trying to make the old bridge work, to the Gathering Place on the east side of the river.

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Also looking across the river is Tulsa Power Station. An old natural gas powered electric generating plant still in service. It hardly ever runs.

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From the other side of the river looking downtown here is where I worked for years before I retired.

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And of course I have to take pictures of construction equipment. This is working on the riverbed. It looks like they are putting up structures in the river. The construction site is protected by a huge cofferdam as the bridge and the new dam are built.

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And about a mile upstream is one of my favorite views, looking at the arches on the 21st street bridge.

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And five or six miles downstream photos of some of my fellow bicyclers. This woman has an ebike. They are pretty popular. I know people of average fitness that can go 50 or 60 miles on them. They’d be nice to have but I like something that doesn’t plug in.

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And a conventional road bike. Lots of really in-shape people on the river!

And here is my bike. A hybrid type with a big soft seat and big tires. I’m looking for a smooth ride.

I’m linking to Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!

Skywatch Friday – Outside Time!

I got it all on this week’s post, Gardening, Hiking, Bicycling, A Plea for Help, and a Musical Finale! Are you ready? Lets get started!!

Earlier this week I went to Turkey Mountain. We’ve had a lot of rain and they want people to stay off the trails when its muddy. Kind of like your Great Aunt Grace telling you to stay on the plastic runners. Or at least that’s what my Great Aunt Grace would tell me. Anyway I first checked the Monarch Waystation. Lots of green stuff there and few blooms.

I’m no butterfly but if I were I guess I would be digging into whatever these flowers had to offer. My botanical ID skills are woeful. I do know that these are yellow blooms. Enough Gardening, and now Hiking!!

And then I got back in my car and drove up to the upper parking lot. Ordinarily the I would have gone up the trail but I was rationing my energy because the temperature was over 90F and the head index was almost 110F. Anyway, I started down the Snake Trail to go explore the NW side and see if there were any new trails out that way.

The Snake Trail is pretty decent. When I take first time visitors to Turkey Mountain, before the new trails were started, I took them on Snake because it was relatively flat and not very technical (in other words breaking your ankle was unlikely). Turkey is going to have a mixture of old and new trails. The terrible erosion prone, non sustainable trails will be blocked off to allow the ground to heal.

I got up close to the YMCA and headed east and soon came to some new trail that I had not seen yet. So I jumped on it and went a couple hundred yards or so and saw that it was not yet open. I thought it looked a little rough. Anyway I got off it and got on a parallel old trail.

I emerged on what is called the Powerline Trail and went back to the parking lot. Powerline is difficult. It gets kind of technical and really steep and has several false ridges. I guess you could call it Heartbreaker as well. It is in full sun which makes it extra fun on a hot sunny day. But hey I made it. I guess you already figured that out because I wrote this post.

And now the Bicycling Segment!!

Thursday morning, I got up, skipped yoga and took my bike out on the other side of the Arkansas River to ride the paved trails. That hill you see on the other side of the river is Turkey Mountain. Don’t be giggling or laughing at the Mountain. We don’t have too many in Tulsa.

On the south end of the RiverParks trails is a Native American Tribal owned casino. The trail squeezes in betweenn casino and the river. Somebody, maybe the tribe has been doing some “Riparian Mitigation” on the riverbank and it is bearing fruit. I never noticed these trees before. I love it.

On the north end I stopped at the south end of the Gathering Place. With better weather people are taking their toddlers there and they let the kids migrate into the bike lanes. I don’t blame them, they are new to the trails and don’t understand. Anyway, when the new people I just cut my ride short and go back. Better than risking hitting somebody. But I stopped and smelled the roses

Do I look like I need help? Well I do!! Come volunteer at the Tulsa Ironman race on May 22nd.

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Last year I volunteered on the running segement on Sunday afternoon. It was fun and easy. I just handed out water and gatorade to the racers for several hours. These men and women are amazing athletes. The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition gets paid for the volunteer hours they provide to the event. Check here to get more info if you are interested.

And the musical section of this mess of a post. Featuring a hot mess herself, Miranda Lambert. I got her new album Palomino and am loving it. She is a good singer and has quite the sense of humor.

That’s about it folks. I guess I had some sky photos in here somewhere. I’m linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join in!!