Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Cooling Tuesday Breeze With Flies & Snakes At Lake Wichita Dam


Today's weather forecast is once again rain and thunderstorms. The current condition, sporting a mostly clear blue sky, makes such seem a tad unlikely.

On this first Tuesday of June it was to the Lake Wichita Dam I ventured for some nature communing with no shade from trees, but with a nice cooling breeze blowing in from across the lake.

In the above photo documentation we are on the Lake Wichita Boardwalk, looking northwest across the lake, with Mount Wichita being that little pimple you see slightly rising above the horizon.

It does not look like the water level of Lake Wichita has gained any depth from the downpour two night's ago.

When I looked down on the murky lake water from the end of the Boardwalk I saw something in the water I'd never seen before in Lake Wichita.

A snake.

Was it a Water Moccasin? I don't know. I was not successful at getting a photo of the water slitherer.

I think it has been well over a year since any water has spilled over Lake Wichita dam's spillway. 

In the above view we are at the end of the boardwalk, looking at the lake side view of the dam's spillway. It has been so long since water has reached the dam's spillway that green foliage has sprouted up.

The floating fishing dock is no longer floating. It is resting on the lake bed.

When I walked out on the dock I was attacked by a nasty swarm of small flies. This was unpleasant. I hightailed it out of there, back to the top of the dam, which was fly-free...

Monday, June 5, 2023

Sikes Lake Water Falling After Last Night's Wet Thunderstorm

Yesterday I lamented that day after day after day the weather forecast's prediction of rain and thunderstorms never happens, not a drip, not a boom.

And then last night, around 3 in the morning, rain began dripping in copious amounts, so copious that the downpour created a roaring sound effect. 

About a half hour into the downpour there was a super bright white flash, and instaneous explosive, concussive boom, followed soon thereafter by another super bright white flash, and instaneous explosive concussive boom.

By dawn's early light no evidence was found that the close encounters with lightning strikes did any damage.

By dawn's early light it was quickly seen the last night's downpour had created a deep moat at my usual abode exit location. This neccessitated taking a detour to get to my vehicle do drive to Sikes Lake to walk with the geese and goslings.

As you can see via the photo documention, today water is roaring over the Sikes Lake dam's spillway.

The forecast for today's daylight hours is again for rain and thunderstorms. Once again that does not seem to be happening, what with a mostly clear blue sky.

I hear the tornado sirens going off right now. This test of the tornado warning system happens every Monday at noon.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Hot Humid First June Sunday In Lucy Park

On this balmy, hot, humid first Sunday of June it was back to Lucy Park I trekked to join the throngs of fellow sun worshippers.

Day after day after day rain and thunderstorms are in the weather forecast. But, the weather predictor's predictions have not been delivering.

The above photo documentation of the Lucy Park shade shows a clear blue sky peeking through the leaves, no rain or thunder threatening clouds.

Lucy Park has had some more musical instruments added to the line of musical instruments that showed up a year, or two, ago.

The new musical instruments make a variety of noises, including the ladybug looking musical instrument which made a percussive drum-like sound when struck...

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Talking About Monkey Girl Takes Us To Bobo, Fifi & Ivan The Gorilla

A couple days ago one of my old, longtime friends, and I, were talking about something and the subject of her cute daughter came up. The cute daughter was nicknamed Monkey Girl due to more than one person remarking that "she's as cute as a monkey".

Well, that aforementioned old, longtime friend sometimes took umbrage to her daughter being known as Monkey Girl.

The latest iteration of umbrage somehow morphed into the subject of Bobo the Gorilla.

Bobo was the most famous Washingtonian for many years. And Seattle's top tourist attraction til other attractions came along. I remember the highlight of a visit to Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo was seeing Bobo, and later, after Bobo got married, his wife, Fifi.

Bobo first came to fame in the early 1950s, he was adopted as an infant by a family in Anacortes. Anacortes is a town in Skagit County, on Fidalgo Island. Eventually Bobo grew too big to be living in a house.

So, Woodland Park Zoo became Bobo's new home. His adopted humans visited Bobo frequently, and he was always real happy to see them.

You can read a comprehensive Bobo the Gorilla article in Wikipedia.

Bobo and Fifi were not Washington's only famous gorillas. Ivan the Gorilla was both famous and eventually infamous.

Ivan the Gorilla lived in a small enclosure inside Tacoma's B & I Circus store. Ivan eventually became a cause celebre. Wikipedia also has a comprehensive article about Ivan the Gorilla.

Bobo died before Woodland Park Zoo was rebuilt, with a new natural large gorilla habitat. Bobo and Fifi never successfully mated. I do not know if Fifi remarried after Bobo died.


Friday, June 2, 2023

Nature Communing In Lucy Park With Giant Orange Wildflowers

Already we are at day two of June. With Summer arriving in 20 days. On this balmy warm humid Friday it was back to Lucy Park I ventured to commune with nature in a natural sauna bath.

I do not know what those orange wildflowers you see above are known as. They look sort of like oranges.

I could not park at my regular Lucy Park parking spot today, due to it being full of all sorts of vehicles, including a fire truck.

The above view is south of that aforementioned full parking lot. That is the Lucy Park log cabin you see on the right. The log cabin was open today, with a lot of youngsters inside.

And more youngsters outside checking out a collection of booths which were imparting information of various sorts. This is some sort of city run day camp for kids.

Today it was only in the mid 70s, with a nice breeze blowing. And it still seemed HOT. I do not think I am ready for what is coming, day after day after day over 100 degrees....

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Deception Pass Ship Sailing Not Something Seen In Texas

No. That which you see here is not an artist's rendering of what it might one day look like seeing a ship sail under one of Fort Worth's pitiful little bridges which took seven years to build, and which are now waiting for a cement lined ditch to deliver Trinity River water under them.

What you are looking at here is what is known as the Deception Pass bridge, which would make that Deception Pass that the ship is sailing on.

The Deception Pass bridge was built in less than one year, almost a century ago, during the Great Depression.

Built over actual water. Deep fast moving water.

My abode in Mount Vernon in Washington was a short distance from Deception Pass. There is nothing remotely like Deception Pass a short distance from my current Texas abode...

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Hot Humid Lucy Park Last Day Of May

No, that is not the Lucy Park backwoods jungle zone you see here. The Lucy Park backwoods jungle zone is about a 1/4 mile further north, which is the direction we are looking at in the photo documentation.

Due to this last day of May being HOT and HUMID, I did not want to go into the Lucy Park backwoods jungle, even if it is shadier, and thus cooler, than the non-jungle areas of Lucy Park, because HOT and HUMID gets the cold-blooded critters active.

As in snakes.

The biggest snake I have seen, since I have been in Texas, I saw in the Lucy Park backwoods jungle zone. I have no idea what type snake this was. It was long, and thick, like a boa constrictor.

I know boa constrictors are not native to Texas.

By the time I got my camera turned on that giant snake had slithered out of sight. I then quickly skedaddled in the opposite direction, getting out of the jungle as quickly as possible.

I don't think I have seen a snake since that below deep freeze a couple winters ago. Maybe the slithering monsters did not survive that deep freeze...

Monday, May 29, 2023

Seattle Waterfront Vision Nears Completion With No End In Sight For Fort Worth River Vision

I saw that which you see here this Memorial Day Monday morning, via a Seattle Times Can a new bike path on Seattle’s waterfront work for cyclists and cruise ships? article.

Seeing this brought to mind the fact that I've not heard anything of late about that Fort Worth embarrassment known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision. Or simply, as The Boondoggle.

The only thing I recollect hearing about The Boondoggle, after the completion of those three pitiful little bridges built over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, is that Fort Worth finally finagled some funding, via the Biden Infrastructure bill, to help pay for the cement lined ditch that would divert Trinity River water under those three pitiful bridges.

Fort Worth's infamous Boondoggle began boondoggling near the start of the current century. I forget what year it was that construction began on those three pitiful bridges. I do remember it took an astonishing seven years to build those bridges.

Over dry land.

Meanwhile, up in the Pacific Northwest, in Seattle, about the same time Fort Worth had a TNT exploding ceremony to mark the start of the building of those pitiful bridges, Seattle began a massive project to rebuild the Seattle Waterfront.

This Seattle project was not given a pretentious name, like Seattle Waterfront Vision. 

The first part of that project was boring a tunnel under downtown Seattle. When that was completed the Alaskan Way Viaduct was removed, with its traffic now going through the new tunnel.

With the viaduct removed the rebuild of the waterfront could begin. Now nearing completion.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth. Crickets.

How can two American cities be so different? Such began baffling me soon after the move to Texas.

One thing I know for certain is that if Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision is ever something one can see, one will never see HUGE cruise ships docking on the little lake that is part of the vision...

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Memorial Day Weekend At Lake Wichita Veterans Memorial Plaza With Space Force

Years in the making, the Lake Wichita Revitalization Project's Veterans Memorial Plaza was scheduled to be complete by the 2023 Memorial Day Weekend. There is still some finishing work to be done, but the Veterans Memorial Plaza is now open, with the construction fence removed.

The Memorial was seeing a lot of visitors this final Sunday of May. The statue you see above is a memorial to those who served during the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War statue part of the Memorial Plaza has been in place for a couple years.

A World War II statue has been added, saluting toward the Vietnam War soldiers.

An homage to Gold Star Families and Relatives.

The backside of the homage to Gold Star Families. Homeland, Family, Patriot. Sacrifice.

Surrounding the homage to Gold Star Families were plaques representing each branch of the armed service. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and one that sort of surprised me.

I had not heard mention made of the Space Force for quite some time. I thought it'd gone the way of much of the Trump nonsense. But, apparently Space Force is still in force.

One would think that the outhouse that had been at the Memorial Plaza location during its construction would have been removed by the opening of the Memorial Plaza.

Instead, the outhouse is laying on its side. The victim of vandals, or, more likely, a strong wind gust.

The parking lot and road to the parking lot remains a rutted, potholed obstacle course. Some time back it was announced that the parking lot and road to the parking lot were to be re-built. One would have thought that that might have taken place by the time the Veterans Memorial Plaza was completed.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Cloudy Lucy Park Jungle Walk With Mini-Alligators

Since I needed to be in downtown Wichita Falls this morning, and was in the neighborhood, it was to Lucy Park I eventually arrived for some cloudy nature communing.

Day after day after day the weather prediction has been predicting thunderstorms and rain. But, hardly any drips have dropped. And I have only heard a couple thunder booms in the past many days.

As you can see via the look at the Lucy Park suspension bridge across the roaring waters of the Wichita River, the foliage of Lucy Park is getting increasingly jungle-like.

Another Lucy Park jungle view.

Today I had a lizard walk with me for about 100 feet. Cute little lizard which looked like a midget alligator.

The little lizard was way too furtive to allow for taking a photo of it.

I have yet to see a snake this year. I hope that trend continues...

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

United Supermarkets Grand Opening Before Sikes Lake Nature Communing

The photo I took of the entry to United Supermarkets does not give any indication as to how packed the store was with shoppers on the store's grand opening day. The store has a huge parking lot, with most parking spaces occupied.

I will go back later today and do some buying. I saw there is a do it yourself grind peanut butter option. 

This new store is a short distance from my abode. Much closer than Walmart. I could easily walk to this store if I wanted to.

After checking out the new United Supermarkets it was the short distance to Sikes Lake I drove. 

The Sikes Lake Green Lagoon, at the west end of the lake, was looking serene and peaceful today.

No wind rippling the surface.

With no wind chill happening, the temperature, nearing 80, felt HOT.

The bloom of wildflowers you see here is at the north end of the lake.

That structure you see above the wildflowers is known as Priddy Pavilion.

Soon once a week a music event will be taking place at Priddy Pavilion. I do not remember if this happens on Thursday or Saturday. The music events draw a big crowd.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Discovering Neglected Wichita County Eastlawn Memorial Cemetery

This morning I drove north of Wichita Falls, halfway to Oklahoma, to visit a graveyard known as Eastlawn Memorial Cemetery.

A few days ago I was told that this cemetery had become a shameful neglected place in dire need of some care. And that a step towards that end will be happening this coming Saturday.

What I saw today looked like it would take more than one day to fix this mess. 

This cemetery is in Wichita County. I was told that it is the responsibility of the county to attend to the upkeep of the county's cemeteries. I have no way of knowing if that is true.

A forlorn, muddy road, one of several, in the cemetery. I was told there have been incidents of vehicles getting stuck in the mud on these roads.

Headstones, like that above, are expensive. I would think it would aggravate someone to see their loved ones final resting place in such shabby condition.

Headstones sticking up through the grass and weeds. You can see them into the distance.

Here we see Jesus rising above the grass and weeds.

Here we see an angel praying above the grass and weeds.

Another expensive looking headstone, surrounded by that aforementioned grass and weeds.

Clearly this cemetery gets visitors, as evidenced by the multiple instances of flowers.

There are many American flags rising above the grass and weeds of headstones of veterans. The one closest marked the grave of a World War II army soldier.

I thought when one buys a gravesite plot part of what you are paying for is upkeep of the gravesite.

Seems like someone, somewhere, somehow should be held responsible for the current condition of this cemetery...

Monday, May 22, 2023

Sikes Lake Trail Goose Blockade

The Sikes Lake geese were in trail blocking mode on this next to last Monday of May.

One must tread carefully in getting past the goose blockade, lest one gets goosed.

Clouds are still blocking the sun. The cold front which arrived a couple days ago has not yet been replaced by a warm front from the south.

Which is why it was an almost chilly 72 degrees whilst in the outer world this morning.

Rain and thunderstorms are on the weather menu all week long...

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday Karen-Free At Chilly Cloudy Lucy Park

It was back to Lucy Park I drove on this morning on this third Sunday of May, to do some nature communing, with zero sun, in the Lucy Park backwoods jungle zone.

What you are looking at above is the remains of the Lucy Park Pagoda. Inside the remains, looking up at the gray sky. 

Someone has pitched a tent near the remains of the Pagoda. No one appeared to be in the tent.

I don't think campsites are one of the amenities offered in Lucy Park.

Deeper in the jungle I saw a young guy with a big backpack. He may have been the tent dweller. The guy with the backpack was off the trail, heading to the edge of the Wichita River.

What you see above I did not see in Lucy Park.

I Googled for a Karen image, and this was the best one I found.

I have decided to take a social media break due to being tired of Facebook Karens, primarily one I call Delores Dakota.

Delores is a humorless troll, adept at misunderstanding what she reads, and then deciding to do some scolding. Delores Dakota was the worst of the Facebook Karens, so I blocked her. 

Rather than block all the lesser Karens I decided just to take a break from Facebook for awhile. This should be peaceful...

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Perfectly Chilly Sikes Lake Walk With The Gosling Lawn Mowers

Yesterday, the day known as Friday, it was back to Lucy Park's backwoods jungle I ventured to for some salubrious nature communing via high speed walking whilst being on high alert for slithering snakes in the grass.

Today, the day known as Saturday, the third such day in May, it was back to nearby Sikes Lake I ventured for some high speed walking with no worry about snakes in the grass, just goslings in the grass being not too worrisome.

The above photo is looking east from the west end of Sikes Lake, at one of the two bridges which cross the lake.

Yesterday's predicted severe thunderstorms did not happen. Not even on drop of rain, let alone any loud booming. Today has had a cold front blow in, lowering the temperature to 75 at the time I was lake walking. 

Back when I lived in Washington, 75 degrees seemed hot, almost too hot. Now I am so acclimated to heat that 75 degrees feels chilly. A pleasant type of chilly.

75 degrees is cooler than what I have my A/C set to.

Sikes Lake's biggest gosling flock was pretty much at the same location I saw them at two days ago.

You can see what a good job the geese do at keeping the lawn clipped short... 

Friday, May 19, 2023

Thunderstorms Are On The Weather Menu Along With Collapsing Sikes Lake Dam-Lake Structure

More storming is on the weather menu for this third Friday of May. Currently the outer world is not looking too stormy.

Meanwhile an interesting development at Sikes Lake.

For reasons not known by me there is a dam type structure across the north end of Sikes Lake. The dam which actually makes the lake is at another location. 

A year or two ago I read that Midwestern State University was wanting to get rid of this dam-like structure, but the estimated cost to do so was too high.

And now, it seems Mother Nature is doing the demolition job for free.

A long section of the dam-like structure has collapsed, revealing that the dam-like structure is dirt, covered with concrete slabs. This makes it look like it would not be all that difficult, or expensive, to remove this dam-like structure.

It will be interesting to see what happens next, if anything...

Thursday, May 18, 2023

CBS Sunday Morning With Nephew Jason Takes Us To The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival & Roozengaarde

Incoming email from FNJ (Favorite Nephew Jason) with a link to a CBS Sunday Morning look at Skagit Valley Tulips in Bloom.

Click the link to watch the video for a look at my old home zone when the Skagit Valley is in ultra colorful mode.

What you see above and below are a couple screenshots from the video.

The above photo is at the Roozengaarde location.

In the video you get to see what a HUGE operation Roozengaarde is, along with seeing the complex automated way tulips are processed for shipping.

The Skagit Valley Jones Family Compound is close to Roozengaarde. 

When I lived in West Mount Vernon the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival time of the year, lasting a month, was a bit of a nuisance, traffic-wise.

Much has been improved over the years by spacing out various attractions, like adding Tulip Town, turning some roads into one-way only. Helicopters monitoring traffic flow. Busses bussing Tulip Tourists to the Tulip Zone.

And directing tourists heading north or south on Interstate 5 to use any of the Skagit Valley's exits from I-5, then follow the directional signs to the Tulips. Prior to pointing out the multiple exits, most incoming Tulip Tourists would exit the freeway into downtown Mount Vernon. This created massive traffic jams.

I think the last time I was at Roozengaarde was with my mom and dad. They talked me into going to an Easter morning sunrise service at Roozengaarde.

The last time I was in the Skagit Valley during the Tulip blooming time of the year was in April of 2006, when I was in Washington to attend nephew Jason's wedding to his first wife. I do not recollect seeing any tulips at that point in time..

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Clear Blue Sikes Lake Sky With Gosling Flocks

No thunder or rain on the weather menu for this third Wednesday of May, for the first time in several days. 

A clear blue sky with the air heated into the mid 70s. Perfect conditions for a walk with the Sikes Lake goslings.

And now the time has arrived for lunch...

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Getting Away From Doris Doolittle At Lucy Park With Wildflowers

 After too much verbal abuse from Doris Doolittle, this third Tuesday morning of May, I was in the mood for some peaceful nature communing.

And so I drove to Lucy Park for some fast walking in the Lucy Park backwoods jungle, under a cloudy sky and a temperature in the pleasant 70s, with a slight wind blowing a slightly chilly breeze.

In other words, perfect conditions for a mind clearing walk, erasing Doris Doolittle's verbal abuse from memory.

As you can see via the above photo documentation, April showers have brought more May wildflowers.

I do not know what the yellow flowers with orange centers are called, but they sort of look like daisies.

Possible rain and thunder is on the weather menu today, again, and, again, so far today, nothing...

Monday, May 15, 2023

Monday Morning Sikes Lake Reptile & Gosling Encounters

On this third Monday of May it was back to Sikes Lake I ventured this morning for salubrious nature communing.

We have had four days in a row with the weather prediction predicting thunderstorms and rain, including today. But each day ends up being mostly dry and free of loud booms.

The baby geese, also known as goslings, population seems to be of record breaking size this year. I suppose it may be a post COVID baby boom.

I had a reptile encounter of the non-snake sort today.

A turtle was lounging among the pink evening primroses. Why do I find turtles to be cute, whilst I find snakes to be anything but cute?

Years ago I was swimming in Lake Grapevine, in the DFW zone, when a reptilian head suddenly popped up in front of me. I thought water moccasin and did not know I was able to swim as fast as I swam to get out of the water.

The reptilian head had followed me to shore, which is when I realized it was a turtle that was chasing me, not a snake.

This incident became the last time I have been in a Texas lake...

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Surprising 10 Best States In The United States

I seem to be being amused day after day by MSN (Microsoft News) articles which purport to rank this that or the other thing. 

Today's is The 10 Best States in the U.S. According to Americans

The explanatory text at the entry to the photo gallery of the 10 Best States...

The United States is vast and diverse, with each state offering unique qualities and attractions. Some states are known for their natural beauty, while others boast bustling cities and a thriving economy. However, which state is truly the best? On an online platform, many travelers and locals shared their views. Let’s see what’s their best...

Well, I do agree with #8 on the list...

The explanatory text...

US News and World Report consider Washington as the finest state to call home, and a passionate explorer firmly believes it. They deeply appreciate the state’s progressive politics and diverse populace, making it stand out from the rest. Moreover, they attribute the state’s awe-inspiring natural beauty, flourishing tech industry, and abundance of outdoor pursuits as factors that make it an exceptional state to live in.

The full list of 10 Supposed Best States in the U.S....

North Dakota
New Hampshire

North Dakota? I have never been to North Dakota, but I have been to that state's sister, South Dakota. South Dakota has the Black Hills, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, Wall Drug, Badlands National Park, and more.

It makes sense to me to have California and Hawaii on this list, along with Washington. But how is North Dakota one of the 10 Best, instead of states like Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and, even, New Mexico. 

I was born in Oregon. Oregon is like Washington with the progressive politics. And scenery, such as the Oregon coast, Crater Lake National Park, Mount Hood, Multnomah Falls, Portland, and more.

I like New Mexico. I have had some of my most mighty fine times in New Mexico.

Utah is just about my favorite of the states I have visited. The five national parks, Lake Powell, Salt Lake, and more.

Colorado has a boom town called Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Pike's Peak, Royal Gorge, Vale, Aspen, and more.

Arizona has such diverse scenery, from cactus covered deserts to the Grand Canyon.

Wyoming is where you find Yellowstone National Park and Devil's Tower among many other scenic wonders.

And, what about Alaska, another state I have been to. And Montana.

Not that I have anything against North Dakota, but methinks having that state on this list of the 10 Best sort of invalidates the legitimacy of the list. 

The list would have been even more goofy if Texas was counted in the Top 10...

Friday, May 12, 2023

Why Is Dallas A City People Refuse To Visit Again?

This morning, via MSN (Microsoft News) I scrolled through an article titled Avoid These 10 Cities People Refuse to Visit Again.

One of the ten cities people refuse to visit again surprised me.

Dallas, Texas

The ten cities listed...

Cairo, Egypt
Marrakesh, Morocco
Miami, Florida
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Dallas, Texas
Hollywood, California
Las Vegas, Nevada
San Francisco, California
New Orleans, Louisiana

Well, Dallas is in some good company of other cities people refuse to visit again. 

The explanatory blurb about Dallas...

Texans say that megachurches, strip malls, subdivisions, and little else populate Dallas. Another person claims the city combines every bad part of Texas and markets it as a city. 

Well. I have visited Dallas multiple times and have never had it cross my mind that I never wanted to visit again. I've always enjoyed visiting Dallas. Fair Park, Deep Ellum, Dealey PlazaFarmers Market, White Rock Lake, and more, like Pioneer Plaza.

I've been to some of the other cities on this list of cities people refuse to visit again. Hollywood, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

I've been to all three multiple times, so I am not one of those visitors who refuse to visit again.

Well, I really don't think I'd bother visiting Hollywood again. There is not a lot to see in Hollywood. Grauman's Chinese Theater, or whatever it is currently called, and the Walk of Fame. That's about all I remember about Hollywood.

Las Vegas wears me out after about four days, but, I always seem to return. 

San Francisco is a fun town. Just riding the cable cars makes the town special. And San Francisco's Chinatown is the best Chinatown I have seen. Plus the famous iconic bridges, the waterfront, and more. I don't get why anyone would say they refuse to visit San Francisco again.