Category Archives: bartlesville

Biplane Expo

2009 Bartlesville Biplane Expo.

2009 Bartlesville Biplane Expo.

I remember being in the backyard when I was a kid and watching the colorful biplanes start to migrate to Bartlesville. First there would be just one or two, then it would be like the sky had undergone some sort of time shift and modern aviation had not yet been invented. That meant that it was time for the annual Biplane Expo.

Red biplane.

Red biplane.

So when I happened to be in Bartlesville for the final Biplane Expo, we picked a cool, but sunny morning to go out to the little airport and see the planes land and take off on the grass runway.

Biplane fueling.

Biplane fueling.

I guess that most of the pilots are getting older and that is why 2009 was the final year for the Expo. But they couldn’t have picked a more perfect weekend to go out on. Every few minutes a plane would take off into the nearly cloudless sky and the announcer would identify it to the crowd of wandering pilots, aficionados, and visitors like me.

Blue and yellow biplanes.

Blue and yellow biplanes.

I imagine it would be amazing to fly in a biplane and have nothing above your head except air, to look all around you with no glass between you and the earth. Then again, I might get vertigo. Because of this, I probably shouldn’t be the pilot.

Biplane flying.

Biplane flying.

A pilot there had one of the best names I’ve ever heard: Joe Champagne. And he was flying a biplane apparently owned by Roy Clark. But there were more than just biplanes, and there were a few experimental and small planes there as well.

Biplane landing.

Biplane landing.

Most of the planes were from out of state, and it’s pretty cool that biplanes were flown from opposite coasts and corners of the country. Despite their age, they seemed to be in impeccable condition, probably better than most commercial planes.

Biplane taxiing.

Biplane taxiing.

In addition to the biplanes, there were also some classic cars being shown off that were in town for Sunfest that was taking place in the park. We went by the festival later for some fried green tomatoes (a guilty, once-every-few-years pleasure).

Biplane flying in to the Expo.

Biplane flying in to the Expo.

I have a few more Biplane Expo photos on my flickr if you want to check it out. I got a little carried away with my photography, but there were just so many colors against the sky that I couldn’t resist.

Norman-Dallas-Bartlesville

Crimson flowers at the University of Oklahoma.

Crimson flowers at the University of Oklahoma.

My first days back in the States were spent in Norman with my brother, mostly readjusting to the time zone. I kept thinking that it felt like I hadn’t left. The weather was mild, about how it was when I left for France in September, and Norman looked the same. I kept seeing people that were in Norman when I was a student at OU. But I knew I’d been gone for months; I have the photos and blog entries to prove it. Even now, I feel like France was a dream.

Roadside Rooster.

Roadside Rooster.

At the end of the week, I drove down to Dallas for my friend Amanda’s wedding. On the way, I stopped at the Fried Pie Shoppe and saw the above rooster. I’d seen the fried pie sign many times, but had never stopped. Although guilt-inducing, the apricot pie I got was delicious.

The wedding was fun, and I stayed with my friend Elizabeth (who I’ll soon be living near in New York!). We also saw a firework show and symphony concert for Memorial Day.

Trash-eating buffalo.

Trash-eating buffalo.

After about a week in Dallas, I drove back to Norman, spent the night, and then drove to my hometown: Bartlesville. It was nice to finally not be sleeping on a couch or in a guest bedroom. And to finally unpack some clothes from boxes and wear something that I didn’t bring back from France. During my stay in Bartlesville, I visited Woolaroc with my mom (where you can feed trash to the taxidermy buffalo above).

Goat on a fence at Woolaroc.

Goat on a fence at Woolaroc.

Woolaroc was oilman Frank Phillip’s ranch, and now it’s an animal preserve with an American Indian art museum. I went there almost every week when I was a kid, so it was fun to go down memory lane. And also see the animals, like the above goat, who was jealous of the attention I was give to a baby Highland Cattle.

That’s a quick overview of quite a few days. But I must catch up before August 15. Because that’s the day I fly to New York!