Honorable Mentioned

In between all the bad news, rotten weather and lack of electricity this week there were a few bits of good news.

  • PSO claims our power will be back on this evening.
  • Tulsa Overground selected one of my films.
  • My blog was mentioned in a national newsletter.

Hopefully our juice will be on soon, before we spend a sixth night without lights or heat. The neighborhood has been awash in work trucks and linemen as power is slowly being restored. Last night the temperature finally dropped to the point we had to give up and spend the night with friends.

This year I submitted a few short films to the Tulsa Overground Film Festival. Since this is their 10th year I hoped they might find one of my entries worthwhile. In 2005 they selected Zen and the Art of Lawn Maintenance and What Happens in Tunica. This year they chose the spoof commercial Because We’re Dix. All of these are available online from the films page at maduko.com.

Last but not least, the latest newsletter from the Recent Past Preservation Network had a brief mention of my Oklahoma Modern blog. They included a photo of the concrete turret house near Sand Springs.

But I still wish our lights were on.

Fun at C-Store Trade Show

Time for my annual tongue-in-cheek video tour of the NACS Show. Here’s another year’s worth of zany products from the huge exposition held by the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Once again the hall was awash in energy drinks. The latest trend is to ditch the espresso-style tiny little cans and go for the gut buster Tall Boy. Yet even more energy. Candy looks to be just as gross as always and the merchandise appears to be fully embracing the China Express, with yet more crap that makes a dollar store look upscale.


This year I enlisted the help of co-worker Tena Wooldridge, who did an excellent job. The video was shot with my JVC DV-800 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The exterior scenes were shot on the opening day and we roamed the floor on the third and final day of the trade show.

More of my videos & short films…

Winding Down the Drive

My BMW R1150R at the tourist info center on the west end of the Drive.Brad and I made a run down to the Talimena Drive this weekend.

We unknowingly picked a great weekend to go— cooler weather and less traffic. In a week or so the leaves will start turning and the twisties will be crowded with Land Yachts full of gawkers. It was almost like we had the place to ourselves!

We headed down with cameras and gear to start collecting some video to eventually find it’s way on to Places 2 Ride TV. The plan is to begin enhancing the content available there with video segments about the places to ride and roadside attractions along the way. The Talimena seems like a perfect place to start this project. Eventually we hope this would grow to become a standalone site, then shortly followed by fame and fortune. Ahem.

It's no Rocky Mountains. But the Ouchita National Forest is pretty cool just the same.After setting up the tent at a campsite on Lake Wister and a bite to eat in Poteau, we made a quick loop around Heavener and a portion of the Talimena Scenic Drive, or just “drive” as the locals call it. At one scenic turnout we marveled at the rolling hills stretching from one row of mountains to the next. The once majestic mountains of Southeastern Oklahoma have been beaten down by the millennium, but to my eye, still offer a view worth an oh-ah.

The ride back to Wister was purdy as a pitcher. As the sun set I tried to keep my mind off the threat of deer darting across the road (a constant threat but multiplied during the twilight hours). We cruised along and enjoyed the ride.

Brad plays locomotive engineer. But safely.At the Queen Wilamena Lodge we ran into several other motorcyclists. Some of them were from Dallas and stood shivering as the wind howled through their light mesh jackets. I remarked how different this landscape must seem from than anything near the Metroplex. They heartily agreed.

It reminded me how great it is to live only a couple of hours away from such a great place.

Here’s a couple more photos from the trip (click to enlarge)…

Cushmans in Kinta
On the ride down we “discovered” this gathering of Cushman scooter owners in Kinta, Oklahoma.

Stateline Tavern on US-270
Since Mena, Arkansas is in a dry county this is the closest place to the Queen Wilamena Lodge to buy a beer.

Bottle Caps in front of the Stateline Tavern
The parking lot of the Stateline Tavern is carpeted with bottle caps…

Outhouse behind the Stateline Tavern
and the ladies room is well ventilated.

Click here...

Morning Fall

This short film is a submission from the 2006 Moving Pictures Short Film Contest.

Just came across this short on Google Video and thought it was worth passing along. And yes, I’ll admit it initially caught my attention because it involves a motorcycle. Speaking of… I hope they found the Norton in that condition and didn’t waste it for the film!


Click here...

Show Me MO

May 18— Four days of motorcycles, twisty roads and great weather.

Rex, Brad and Chris begin their ultimate adventure.That was the recipe for our recent excursion into Central Missouri (aka the Precious Moments Tour). The Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, MO made a great HQ to begin and end our daily rides. Most of the roads throughout Missouri are well maintained and offer some great scenery. And our timing was perfect– we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

As usual, there is always the unexpected to deal with. This trip was no different. Even before we left Tulsa, the Suzuki Bandit that Chris was riding spat out its drain plug. A fortunate stop at a Quik Trip spared him of any serious engine damage, while soiling their parking lot with the Bandit’s last quart of oil. Amazingly a parts store across the street had a plug of the correct size (14mm x 1.25 if you’re curious).

Here’s a 30 second spot we shot at the resort…

Everything went great as we rolled along OK-20 into Missouri and stopped for lunch in Noel. After lunch we blasted off on to Highway 90. The weather was still perfect- sunny, no wind and temps in the mid seventies. Then the parades began.

We didn’t realize it, but Highway 90 must have been the Poker Run capital of Missouri on that particular Friday. Suddenly we found ourselves stuck behind long lines of American-made noisemakers, barely managing to maintain the speed limit. After several frustrating miles we were finally able to weave around them and resume “touring speeds” through the twists and turns of this legendary road.

Taking in some Americana at a roadside stop.

Turning north at Cassville finally put us into clear airspace, as we headed north for Osage Beach. Upon our arrival at the Tan-Tar-A Resort I was pretty wide-eyed. We passed the golf course, horse stables, turnoff to the long-term estates, swimming pool, another swimming pool.. it just kept going. The rates were comparable to condos in the vicinity (which look like giant apartment complexes to me), but the resort seemed huge and rambled up and around through the woods.

When we checked in we insisted on a room with a clear view of the parking area. It was a needless concern. The security seemed more than adequate. We parked all three bikes in the last parking space and began the trudge up seven flights of stairs to our room. I was wondering if the “parking lot view” we had requested was worth when I walked out on the balcony. Wow! It looked we had been issued the highest room in the whole complex— our door opened out on to the treetops with a beautiful view of resort and Lake of the Ozarks.

Rex and Brad get in touch with their native roots.

Each day we tried to set off in a different direction. Between glancing at maps and a little dead reckoning we tried to get ourselves lost in the middle of Missouri. On average we would ride about 200 miles a day.

One of the most exciting moments occured Saturday morning as we headed east. Earlier my GS had been running pretty half-ass. At one point accelerating uphill became a luxury I rarely experienced. This particular morning I had tweaked on it a bit and thought it might be running a little better. I lead the way as we meandored along one of the many “letter roads” in Missouri. After a few miles the poor acceleration seemed to return. But even worse now. As I struggled to maintain the speed limit, the big BMW seemed to dig in its heels. I didn’t realize just how right I was!

We’re rolling along past long rows of pickups and people walking around with shotguns. The pops of skeet shooters had caught my attention a mile or so back. When I realized it wasn’t my bike making the noise I returned to the task of struggling up hills. Moments later Brad pulls alongside and hollers something about “..rear.. on.. fire..” between the pop-pop of shotguns across the road. Even though I wasn’t quite sure what he said, I instinctively pulled in the clutch lever. The Bimmer immediately slowed as though… as though the brakes were on!

Now I’m beginning to realize what Brad was hollering about. I get parked on the non-existant shoulder, hop off and run around the back of the bike. The acrid smell of brake pad material is now heavily apparant. As I look down at the rear brake rotor I realized that Brad really had screamed, “Your rear brake’s on fire!”

I’m not sure, but I think I tried to blow the fire out. Only problem was my helmet was still on. Fortunately I remembered putting a bottle of water in my top box when we headed out that morning. I fumbled with the latch and dug out the precious half-bottle of agua to extinguish my burning bike. Disaster averted!

Turns out the locknut on the rear brake adjustment rod had loosened. I spent the rest of the morning rear-brake-less until we stopped at a local chopper barn (seriously, it was called Chopper Barn) and I bought some brake fluid and bled the rear system. But that’s an entire story in itself!

The next day we toured north toward the Missouri River. For lunch we made a quick stop at a local grocery store in Booneville for some homemade sandwiches. A local park provided the perfect break. Afterwards we followed the Lewis & Clark Trail back toward our HQ.

The rest of the trip was pretty much uneventful. Not one single fire. Other than that bit of excitement, we definitely plan to do it again.