Sunday, November 17, 2013

Money, And A Place To Put It?

Sunday morning fog hangs over the reservoir. Cloudy skies will prevail for today, leading to rain.

Visit #830, Saturday 16 November 13, 10:00AM-12:20PM, 5.8 miles. Return visit 1:45-2:30PM.
Temps in the mid-50's, sunny.

Visit #831, Sunday 17 November 13, 7:05-7:20AM.
Temps in the 40's, fog.

A sincere thanks to Paul Bernier, who joined me this weekend in keeping the park clean.

A couple weeks ago I found a long, slender tree had fallen across a trail up at West Peak. Today, Paul and I were to walk the road from the park all the way up to West Peak to remove it from the trail.

We started at the Soap Box Derby track, with Paul cleaning up the right side of the road while I took the left.

Along the way we ran into park regulars George, and his German Shepherd "Tess". George sadly reported of some ugly graffiti on a jersey barrier at the north end of Merimere Reservoir, which clearly angered him. The graffiti was painted in the past week because I walked the road last Saturday and it was not there then. George and Tess parted ways with us; Paul and I soon found out how ugly it was.

Now it was festering in my mind how to deal with this.

Just before Paul and I reached the parking lot at West Peak, Paul found this brand new PAIR of gloves. Usually I only find orphans. Not children, GLOVES! Since they were colored Hunter Orange, I get the impression a hunter may have been scoping the area for deer because deer season opens next week. This is common practice with many hunters. While I know hunting in Hubbard Park is forbidden, I've heard stories of it being done.

I had brought the come-along with me to remove the fallen tree but with Paul's assistance we didn't need any tools, and we cleared the trail quickly.

We made our way down from West Peak and back to the park via the Halfway House and the south end of Merimere Reservoir. After we reentered the park proper, I found this thong, which Paul proudly displayed. Oh, if only this thong could speak, the story it could tell!

For our 2 hours + of work, we collected 2 bags of trash.

But what of the graffiti?

Yeah; it was still festering in my brain. With the warm, sunny weather, a rarity for November, I had to seize the opportunity to cover the graffiti. To be fair and give credit where credit is due, after my last report of covering graffiti 2 weeks ago, Mark Zebora offered the Meriden Parks Department's services telling me they have a heated pressure washer which is supposed to be the bee's knees for removing graffiti. I was tempted to take him up on the offer, but rationalized that hey; they're pretty busy putting up the Christmas lights (one account says there's 500,000 of the twinklers), so they may not get to it for some time, and every day the graffiti is there means the artist gets to enjoy their work, which could be construed as a victory for them. I took this personally, and felt like I'd be losing the battle (but I'll never lose the war!).

I may take Mark Zebora up on his offer some other time; it's a good arrow to have in the quiver.

So I drove home, packed my paint kit and loaded my mountain bike on the car. Riding the mountain bike from the parking lot to the scene would expedite operations.

At the north end of Merimere I parked the bike, donned my painter's duds, and went to work.

Thanks to Bob, a cyclist from Berlin, who was passing by on his bike at the time and graciously took the photos.

Here comes the kicker: While I'm painting, a guy whose name I regrettably forget, came up to me and said "Thanks for covering up the graffiti." AND HE GAVE ME TEN BUCKS!

I tried to return the gift but he said "No; go buy yourself more paint!" Little did he know that covering this artwork would drain my paint can matzo ball dry, so his timing couldn't have been more perfect. After leaving Hubbard Park I headed straight to the Sherwin Williams store in Wallingford. The sawbuck came in handy as my gallon cost a whopping fifty bucks! Life's too short for cheap paint!

A sincere thanks to whoever you are.

Which got me to thinking: Maybe I should wear the thong I found whenever I'm doing my Hubbard Park duties, then perhaps more passersby would give me tips since I would then have a place for them to slip their Hamiltons! Makes sense to me!

But wait; there's more.

When I painted over the graffiti, I failed to notice the metal railing was painted as well. At that point it didn't really matter because I was out of paint anyway, but still I felt the job was incomplete. More festering ensued. What to do?

Sunday morning I suited up for a bike ride and rather than schlep a 12lb. gallon of paint and other gear to the north end of the reservoir, I came up with a lightweight solution, but would it work?

The railing is metal, so rather than paint over the graffiti, why not try and sand it off? I packed a selection of sandpaper, some scissors, and gloves, and off I went.

I love it when a plan works. 60 grit sandpaper was so quick and thorough I was giddy with laughter.

I rinsed the area with a little water from my waterbottle and it was practically mint!

I could only wish ALL my plans would come together as well as this one did.

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