Hockey and Basketball in Oklahoma City

A few thoughts on New Mexico, Giant Sloths and Oklahoma City Sports…

Welcome back.   I’ll start this week with the scoop. Want to see the Philmont Scout Ranch and Waite Phillips’ famous UUBar Ranch in New Mexico? Would you like to see the high country valleys, streams and wildlife but you just don’t have the time to travel right now? Well my friends the photographers at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) have just opened an exhibit of photographs taken in the area this past spring. The exhibit is in the Lyon Gallery at the Bartlesville Community Center and its free and open to the public whenever the building is open. You’ll see vistas of the country at 10,000 feet and images of wildlife that seem so close you can almost feel their breath. There are images of cowboys, long abandoned adobe houses and much more. One more note: every spring a photo workshop is held at the UUBar led by Jerry Poppenhouse and the instructors from OSUIT. The workshop is open to the public and all of the instruction is free.

This next story may send you to the library to find out what fossils look like. Have you seen a Mastodon or a Giant Ground Sloth lately? Along with wooly Mammoths and bison bigger than trucks they roamed this area once and now there’s proof that early humans were here as well. It was 8,000 years ago when a hunter looking for deer or buffalo shot or dropped his projectile point within what would eventually be within the Bartlesville City limits. The projectile has a medium to large stemmed point. The stem is broad and the base often has a lobed appearance. According to researcher Jerry Poppenhouse this type of point was probably used with an “atlatl” which was a type of throwing device used to propel the point, making a spear that could travel up to 90 miles per hour. This hunting tool was in use hundreds of years before the bow and arrow. It is not uncommon to find similar projectile points in southern Missouri and east of the Mississippi River but they are rarely, if ever, found here. I have been sworn to secrecy about the exact location so all I can say is that the artifact was found east of town. As we all know, 8,000 years after early man hunting within the city limits of Bartlesville is illegal but maybe it wouldn’t be if there were still Wooly Mammoths around.

Moving on, I have recently been working on a project in Oklahoma City which has given me the opportunity to learn more about the many attractions and entertainment venues there. One of the places I have particularly enjoyed is Myriad Gardens, the large botanical garden center in downtown OKC. In celebration of Halloween and the fall season, the gardens are hosting Pumpkin Village which includes over 3,000 pumpkins and features displays, games and activities for all ages. The Oklahoma History Center is another fascinating place to visit with permanent and rotating exhibits on the history of our state and an extensive research center. Of course the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial is a must visit, as sad as it is, the memorial is a beautiful and moving tribute to the victims of the bombing.

In sports of course there is the men’s professional basketball team, The Oklahoma City Thunder but you many not know that the Edmonton Oilers’ minor league ice hockey team, the Oklahoma City Barons are just opening their season. From the things listed on their website this looks to be a lot of fun and I’m sure to be reporting more about them soon.

Museums always capture my attention but Oklahoma City also offers first class hotels and restaurants, as well as shopping, concerts and lots of other exciting places to explore that are too numerous to mention here. Just a two and a half hour drive away; it’s a perfect weekend getaway. Traveling myself to keep you in touch.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road……………





Planes, Trains and Automobiles

My schedule will be unpredictable for the next 60 days or so but I’ll keep you posted.

Welcome back.   I often look back at the travel experiences I have enjoyed and shared with you through this column and my website.

I hope you have enjoyed these reports as I’ve found interesting places and people (both living and dead) all across the country. I’ve driven our national highways and spent the night in accommodations that ranged from camping on the south rim of the Grand Canyon to mom and pop roadside motels to luxury resorts like the Madison Beach Hotel in Connecticut. There’s been cross country train travel on AMTRAK and regional travel on the Metro North line into New York City. I’ve been hiking at 10,000 feet at the UUBAR Ranch in New Mexico and camping in many state and national parks. From the Thimble Islands off the East Coast to the Channel Islands in California, everywhere I’ve gone it’s been by car, rail, boat, horse or on foot.

You won’t find any articles about airplane travel or airport terminals. Flying is not my favorite thing and I’ve been able to avoid it. All that is about to change and in preparation I’ve been doing a little research. 2012 was the safest year on record for flying: almost 3 billion people flew on 37.5 million flights but there were only six crashes and 75 accidents. A total of 414 people died which apparently (according to Wikipedia) makes flying as dangerous as riding an elevator and 23 times safer than driving.

Denver is the country’s largest airport with a total of 34,000 acres but Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International is the single busiest serving 45,000,000+ passengers. Overall the combined activity of the 3 airports in the New York City area, JFK, LaGuardia and Newark make this airspace the busiest in the country and the 2nd busiest in the world with over 54,000,000 people flying in and out of the area in 2012.

With that said, get ready for my reports on the flying experience, convenience and airline safety in the coming weeks as I take you with me by air around the country, coast to coast, border to border.

Although wet for part of the time, the Western Heritage Days held in Dewey this past weekend was a tremendous advertisement for the community. The event showcased what a town can accomplish with the right leadership and a team of dedicated volunteers. From what I saw on Saturday it could snow a foot and their spirits wouldn’t be diminished! With near record attendance out at Prairie Song for the Wild West Show Tom  Mix would be happy.

Another area I want to mention this week is downtown Bartlesville. Just a few years ago many storefronts were empty and some of the buildings were in rough shape. Friends, that is no more and with the announcement that Hideaway Pizza is opening on the corner of Johnstone and Frank Phillips in Clyde Sare’s building (formerly May Brothers) I’m predicting that the few remaining empty buildings will fill up.

Haven’t been downtown lately? Now’s a good time to check it out.  From Mark Spencer’s new Indian Coffee Company and his latest restaurant The Painted Pony. (formerly Two Sisters Pub) to the well established favorite Frank & Lola’s there’s plenty of great food. There’s also one of a kind shopping at Lulu’s Boutique, McCoy’s Jewelry, Sweet P’s and the ITIO building just to name a few spots. In the morning there are always biscuits and gravy on hand at Weeze’s and the Bartlesville Farmers Market has a few more Saturdays left with wonderful produce and fresh baked goods from the rolling Pin.

Of course we also have world class attractions on hand downtown including the Price Tower Arts Center with its spectacular views of the city, the ConocoPhillips Museum, the Frank and Jane Phillips Home and the ongoing events at the Bartlesville Community Center. Yes I’ve seen historic sites, met intriguing people and visited places around the country where history has been made but I’m always proud to tell people about Bartlesville and Dewey and the many exciting opportunities they offer.

I’ll end this week with a museum update from Oklahoma City. The longtime Director of the Western Heritage Museum, has accepted a position in Nebraska heading up the new Rural Life Institute and is leaving December 1st.  The museum is truly a must visit when you are in Oklahoma City.  Remember, you get in free if you are a member of Woolaroc.

Till next week, I’ll see ya down the road….