Tag Archives: Volunteering

Working the Tulsa Ironman Triathlon

We had a major sports event here in Tulsa Sunday. The North American Ironman race. A triathlon race covering over 2 miles of open water swimming in a lake starting a dark thirty in the morning, a 112 mile bike ride through the Osage Hills and finishing with a marathon distance run up and down Tulsa’s RiverParks trails. And no I didn’t participate in the race. I helped out an aid station on Sunday afternoon on the marathon course.

It seemed like most of the racers were from out of state. I was told it cost about $900 to enter the race. It’s like what!!!! Oh well. The organizers really had their act together on this. They can bring a lot of resources to bear. From my point of view as a volunteer they made it very easy to sign up and they broke the tasks down so even I could understand it.

I was in charge of Gatorade. I didn’t have a lot of takers. For one thing they had lots of aid stations so it wasn’t like they were famished when they got to us. I think another thing is that runners would rather have salty type foods or even pickle juice than Gatorade. Back in the day when I was running longer distances Gatorade didn’t sit too well with me. But hey, anybody that wanted some, I was ready! We never really got swarmed during the race. By the time the racers got to the running event, they were pretty well spaced out.

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I was amazed by the racers. You have to be very dedicated to do this. You can’t really fake it to make it on a triathlon. The early front runners were running like there was no stress. When I left Sunday night at 7:30 there were still lots of runners just starting their second loop. I was thinking oh wow, are they going to make it another 13 miles or so. Out of all the people I saw I observed only a handful that were what some might call overweight. I saw a lot of people my age or older, probably the majority of them were women who looked very fit.

I was getting kind of hungry and the race organizers got pizza for the volunteers. Sign me up!!

I think the Ironman is coming back to Tulsa for two more years. I’ll be there, volunteering.

I’m linking with Our World Tuesday, come and check it out.

Our World – Turkey Mountain Work Day

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Getting directions and instructions

Early Saturday morning a couple dozen volunteers gathered at Turkey Mountain for a joint project between the RiverParks Authority, who administers the Mountain, the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition, and the Herman and Kate Kaiser YMCA located at the far northwest reaches of Turkey Mountain.

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Off we went to the work site. We had to pack all the tools about a mile to the new trail. Kudos to the guys who pushed the wheel barrows.

The YMCA has shut down to totally renovate their facility and are opening up this summer. It’s going to be great and one of the things they wanted was more defined and easier to hike trails to connect their property with the rest of Turkey Mountain. The existing trails are badly eroded and unmarked and many of their day campers who go off hiking get lost.

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We broke up into three groups or so. Somebody had taken a gas powered blower and blew the leaves off the proposed trail route, earlier the route had been flagged. The people who made the route did a good job. There was very little confusion about what we were supposed to be doing.

So the Riverparks staff and a few of the officers from the Wilderness Coalition mapped out a new trail that should make everybody happy. Y daycampers, and the many hikers and mountain bikers that use the trail. It features some switchbacks which should reduce erosion problems.

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No trees were sacrificed for the new trail! Some saplings and brush got removed.

Everybody grabbed shovels, picks, saws, loppers and got to work and we got the new trail pretty much done in a few hours. People started using the new trail while we were in the middle of building it.

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A mystery. We found this whole with a dryer duct snaking out and a ladder going down. Apparently pretty deep. An old meth lab? Maybe, moonshiners used to be active on the mountain back in the day.

It’ll take some finishing touches but they started putting up my trail markers right away.

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Blocking off the old trail using the materials at hand.

And we spent some time closing off the old badly eroded trail with fallen branches. It needs to heal.

We celebrated our work with a few adult beverages in the parking lot afterward. Everybody was very proud of the work done. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

So this is me working on the trail. I stole the photo from the Urban Wilderness Coalition’s facebook page. Hopefully I won’t go to jail.

And up pops a map on a facebook page showing the old and closed routes. I am stealing this map also. I am leading quite the life of crime lately. Anyway you can see the new route is longer, not near as steep, and with switchbacks. Hopefully erosion will be more easily controlled on the new route.

New Trail Route on Turkey Mountain

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – Pavement and Totem Poles Edition

Miles and miles to go!!

The past week I’ve been walking the paved trails in Tulsa and suburbs checking out the condition of the pavement. INCOG (“Indian Nations Council of Governments”) asked trail users to participate so they can determine the condition of the various trails. INCOG is an agency that works with the various city and country governments on infrastructure planning and coordination.

This section has it all, transverse, longitudinal and alligator cracking.

They gave us a cool GIS (“Geographical Information System”) app on our phones to report what we find. Plus we got some materials on what to look for. So I have found out about longitrudinal, transverse, and net cracking along with skreveling and other technical terms.

Easy to find, hard to open. Bring Deet and don’t come if you allergic to poison ivy. Pro tip, if you don’t know if allergic to poison ivy, just assume that you are.

I’ve taken the opportunity to chase after a few geocaches in the adjacent woods. This one is a “gadget cache”. Easy to find but hard to get into. I pondered this one for a several minutes before I figured out what to do then about 20 minutes to open it up, sign the log, and put it back together.

Here is another one that I found. Unfortunately it has been vandalized by somebody so it didn’t work right. Gadget caches are all the rage now in geocaching.

I also found this deer feeder deep in the woods on public land.

And I did a daily good deed in helping this little old turtle across the road like a good former boy scout.

So far I have only done about 4 miles. That takes 8 miles of walking because I have to walk back to my car. Not too many loops of reasonable distance. There were about fifty volunteers I am guestimating but it doesn’t look like very many of them are actually doing anything. There is about 200 miles of trails all told, I think.

On another note, last week after I went to the Will Rogers Fly-In I drove over to Ed Galway’s Totem Pole Park near the small town of Foyil. I had been there before but this time I took my drone so I could take a better look.

It is right off US 66 and is a must see stop if you are touring the highway.

It was built by a guy, Ed Galway. The main totem pole was built by him between 1937 and 1948. The park has other totems but on this trip I was just interested in the main pole. I think this is my third trip to the park. Here are some links of previous posts.

Ed Galways’s Park is one of my favorite Route 66 Stops. It is so over the top and unique. And it is free!! I like free. They have a gift shop. Go get a cap or something.

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Ginger, RIP

And finally, our beloved Ginger went to the big puppy park in the sky yesterday. She was fourteen years old and had multiple issues. She is in a much better place now. Our critters just don’t live long enough.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday, come join the fun.

Tulsa Sign Abatement Training

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I got up early Saturday morning and attended volunteer training put on the by City of Tulsa for those citizens who want to help the city control temporary signs on city streets. Tulsa has regulations for such signs and they are wanting help for the one city employee who does that. That guy was the one doing the training and he was very engaging during his two hour talk.

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They don’t really want volunteers pulling signs such as these. They may or may not be legal as it is possible that they could have a permit plus there is a due process where business owners can appeal. They want us volunteers solving problems not creating them. So if we have questions we are to take a photo of the sign and send it to the city employee and he will deal with it. We are not engage business owners or individuals, leave that up to city employees.

They also do not want us messing with signs inside neighborhoods. The main emphasis is going to be the “litter on a stick” signs on main thoroughfares not associated with nearby businesses. You have seen those signs advertising lawn mowing, leaf raking, and such. He talked about signs posted near schools advertising “Now hiring students” with no business name or description just a phone number. He said sometimes those are entries into human trafficking for witless teenagers.

He also emphasized discretion, so please don’t pull signs posted by people who have lost pets and other such things. “If in doubt, leave it out” is to be our motto. And he talked about political signs. Close to election time lots of candidates will be putting their little crap signs out on the rights of way and medians. He said we can pull those but we can’t just pull them for candidates we don’t like, we have to pull everybody’s signs.

So anyway the next step is that we pass the background check and get issued city ID’s, reflective vests, gloves,  and then we get to start. So I am king of looking forward to helping clean up our city of “litter on sticks.” In the meantime I am driving Heather crazy as we drive the city streets. I am saying that’s legal, legal, not legal, etc

Taking Care of the Kitties

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One of the things we do as a family is a couple times a month we go the Broken Arrow Petsmart and take care of the rescue cats. This is through an organization called Partnering for Pets. We started  on it because son, Logan, needs volunteer hours as part his college requirements but it turns out we really like doing it.

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It only takes a couple of hours to tidy up their crates, clean out the litter boxes and give them fresh food and water plus spend some time with each of them.

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The cats of are such hoots. We love our dogs but we like cats also. Cats have such different personalities and temperments and of course they take everything we do for them as their due. That is part of the reason we love it so much.

I’m linking with Eileen’s Saturday;s Critters

Turkey N Taturs 2015 – Taking Care of the Grill

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Sunday Morning was the annual running of the Turkey N TATURS 10K-25K-50K trail race on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain. I have run the 10K segment a couple times in previous years but not this year because I am still rehabbing my knee. I wanted to participate somehow so I volunteered to man the grill cooking burgers and hot dogs.

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The grill was right by the finish line literally about ten feet off the trail so I had a great view of the goings on. The race was put on by TATUR, “Tulsa Area Trail and Ultra Runners.”  They specialize in putting on fun races of all sorts. They also make it fun to volunteer for them. They not only put on races, they build community.

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Their were some people flying off the mountain in great times. I never get to see them except at the beginning of the race. Usually by the time I get to the end, the leaders have finished, downed a hamburger or two and a couple of beers, talked with their friends and get in the care and are gone.

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This guy finished the 50K. That is over 30 miles folks. Amazing stuff.

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I’ll never win one of these awards but I can sure take pics of them.

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Did somebody say Ginger Snaps. I can’t keep them around the house. Once the box is opened, the cookies are gone. Best not to have them around.

I love the low key supportive atmosphere of the event. Here is an 11 second video of a typical finish. No crowding and pushing. Just encouragement at the end.

I had a great time. If you run, or walk, really, try a local trail race sometime. You’ll like it.

Turkey Mountain Cleanup Day with Anheuser Busch and Friends

Saturday morning Logan and I headed out to Turkey Mountain and met up with some other people who love Turkey Mountain.

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Not my photo, Logan and I are are the far right. Notice my special bug proof pants I’m wearing.

The local Anheuser Busch office had an employee volunteer day where about 30 to 40 their folks and spouses, and kids, and grandkids in some cases helped us repair trails and reseed some bare areas.

Logan and I went with a couple down the Red Trail with shovels and rakes. Tell you what, even though it wasn’t that hot, we were all sweating in no time. It was humid. Still, even though Red is not very long we spent a couple areas working on about four or five bad spots so we did some good I think. We were all worn out. We finished a little early and I thought Logan and I could help with the reseeding but nope, I was worn out and so was Logan.

#BudLight #VideoGame Trailer kudos to the employees of #Budweiser for volunteering to clean up the trails of #TurkeyMountain #Tulsa #Oklahoma

The Anheuser Busch all worked very hard. They know how to have fun also. They had a trailer set up with video games. They coolers of water and I’m sure beer and were cooking up hamburgers and were playing games. We helped ourselves to some water but felt the need to get to some air conditioning and a shower.

We were worn out but it was worth it.