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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Graffiti Weekend Part III


It was a beautifully dry and cool morning in Hubbard Park. The flag was at half mast in memory of the Marines and sailor shot in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Visit #964, Saturday 25 July 15, 6:45-8:15AM, 4.9 miles.
Temps in the high 60's, dry and comfortable.

Last week, while covering over graffiti I found, I walked right by some graffiti and completely failed to notice it. One of the park "regulars" told me about it, and it became my mission this week to put the last of the tagging to bed.


You can see from the gray paint that I'd previously painted over other graffiti. Gotta get my eyeglasses checked...


I thought I'd be able to complete this task early in the morning while everyone else was in bed, but it turns out there are other early risers taking to walking the road. As one couple walked by they thanked me for my work and suggested I should be eligible for a "volunteer pension". I like that idea!

Done with the painting, I returned to my truck, unloaded the paint tools, and turned around.

I was on-call so I stuck nearby, covering just the trails below Castle Craig.

I picked up the Soap Box Derby track and discovered Len is back at work, blocking the trails.


I haven't decided whether to use the chainsaw or comealong on this. Either way, it's on next week's agenda.

On one of the lower sections of the Yellow Trail I encountered a small tree which has been bent over for quite a few weeks, poking into the trail. It's the reason I brought my bow saw.



I cut it at the base and dragged it away.

 I made my way over I-691 via the walkbridge and to the trailhead at West Main Street, where I came upon my Find of the Week.


Room temp, but intact. No, I didn't drink it because I don't drink but even if I did, a beer at 8AM?! I don't think so.

Speaking of early morning imbibing, earlier this week I got on my mountain bike and rode through Hubbard Park at 6AM. On the return trip home, I rounded the corner from Perkins Square onto East Main Street and watched a young woman, at 6:30AM, sitting on a doorstep ROLLING A JOINT. I'm told this is called a "wake and bake". Supposedly smoking pot makes some people more alert. Okay...I'm hard pressed to buy that.

Anyway, walking back to Hubbard Park I picked up the remnants of some hopefully discreet entertainment-


I dropped off my trash for the week.


But my entertainment wasn't over yet. Just as I was leaving in my vehicle, driving past Mirror Lake, I watched a young angler having trouble landing a fish. Intrigued, I pulled over and watched the fight.

I didn't get the young man's name, but he landed a verified 13-14lb. carp. He released it to feed and fight another day.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Graffiti Weekend, Part II


Even at 6AM, you couldn't avoid the heat and humidity.

Visit #963, Sunday 19 July 15, 6:10-10:15AM, 6.75 miles.
Temps in the mid-80's, with humidity that could wilt Tammy Fae Bakker's hair!

Last week's post saw me tackling some graffiti in Hubbard Park, and finding more. This week I planned on addressing all the graffiti I found.

For the former, I received an e-mail requesting I leave alone the stone marker in the future, no doubt due to the aesthetic sensitivity of the marker.

I did however, received the go-ahead to tackle the latter. You see, the City of Meriden has a high pressure water-based graffiti removal tool which should take care of graffiti.

I just so happened to take a bike ride through the park mid-week and discovered the parks department tried to use the device on both locations, with mixed results.

While I didn't photograph the stone marker after it was treated, I did capture the graffiti on the spillway after the parks department tried to remove what I found last week. I don't think the results were as attractive as when I painted over other graffiti.


During that mid-week ride through the park, I also discovered some new graffiti on the water tank at the south end of Merimere Reservoir. Credit is due to the Meriden Water Department because they painted over it before the weekend, when I could capture a "before" photo. The last time I painted over graffiti on the water tank, the water department must not have liked my choice of color because they promptly painted over MY work with their color of choice. This time I was going to give the water department a couple weeks to tend to this before I took matters into my own hands, but I didn't have to and it saved me some work.



The top photo shows the paint covering the earlier work, on the left, and the newly covered recent graffiti, on the right. The lower photo gives you an idea how large the new tagging was.

My agenda was to walk the road from the park all the way to West Peak, where my mid-week ride discovered a lot of trash, then hike back to the park.

Starting at the gate, I came upon my first Find of the Week.


Just past the south end of Merimere Reservoir, at the jersey barriers, was my first work site.


I laid out my tools and went to town.


Finished, I continued to pick up trash as I walked the road north to my second stop, at the spillway at the north end of the reservoir.


I think paint looks tidier than pressure washing; what do you think? I wouldn't be surprised if it's quicker, too. This took maybe 15 minutes, tops.


The only company I had this early in the morning were geese just slumming around.


I packed up and thought I was finished painting for the day when I noticed some new graffiti on the concrete blocks in the background of the photo above. Fortunately, I could reuse my plastic paint tray which I already resigned to my trash bag.


There was also some graffiti on concrete blocks further to the right, so I took care of everything in one shot.



I packed up my gear and marched up the road toward West Peak, collecting trash along the way.

I then ran into my second Find of the Week.


Remnants of a child's toy from the days when childrens' toys did not have touch screens and wi-fi connections.

By this time I had a full bag of trash so I left the bag and the child's toy on the roadside for the parks department to pick up.


I found a discarded bicycle tube which I took home, tested, and found to have a hole in it. As a cyclist myself, I find it unconscionable that a cyclist would litter like this.


At the fork in the road to East/West Peak, I sat down on the concrete blocks to take a break and drop some sweat between my feet. It was pretty brutal out there, even at 9AM.


While regaining my strength, I noticed more graffiti on the concrete blocks I was parked on. My roller wouldn't work well on the rough finish. Good thing I brought a brush as well.



Onward to the parking lot at West Peak, where I picked up trash around the parking lot and left a second bag.


I picked up the Blue Trail shortly thereafter and literally the "coolest" thing happened-on a trail surrounded by high rock walls, the temperature almost instantly dropped what felt like 20 degrees! It was incredible relief from the high heat and humidity.


Sadly, the cool section of trail quickly gave way to the high temps again.

Back at the park, I deposited my third and last bag of trash.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Graffiti Weekend

Visit #962, Saturday 11 July 15, 3:30-6:25PM, 5.6 miles.
Temps in the mid-80's, sunny and humid.


After the July 4th fireworks,  it's good to check on the Halfway House where the fireworks are launched to inspect the cleanup. Neither the Meriden Parks Department nor the fireworks vendor ever clean up after the event and they do the same for the Daffodil Festival fireworks.

I gave the parks department a full week after the event to prove me wrong. Didn't happen. How difficult would it be to bring a bagging mower up there to clean up?

Good thing I brought my rake. It's not as effective as a regular leaf rake but I made do.
Not only did they not clean up the remnants of the fireworks, they left over 100 feet of caution tape as well. If they're not going to clean up after the event, then maybe they should consider not launching fireworks from the Halfway House.



 I gathered up the tape and raked the area as best as I could.




I put the debris in a leaf bag and left it at the Halfway House. I'll contact the Meriden Parks Department to pick it up.

I had another task on my agenda of no less importance. I'd been told someone wrote in magic marker on the historical marker at Castle Craig. I would try to remove the graffiti.




If I have my way, Nay/NA4 and Yazmin won't be so immortalized in stone.

Well, I tried water, nail polish remove, and paint thinner, with little success. I tried a wire brush-no good. Then I covered over it by blocking it out with more black magic marker and vowed to return and try again.


Back at the park, I deposited my trash for the day.


After I dropped off my trash for the week, I got a drink at the water fountain by the playscape. Historically, this water fountain is a trickle at best. Hats off to the parks department however, for the water was flowing well and it was cold. Just the thing that's needed this time of year.




I returned via bike on Sunday morning and brought a different tool set, which included spray on graffiti remover, and sandpaper. The graffiti remover didn't touch it.


60 and 80 grit sandpaper gave the best results.




Sad to say, this wasn't the only graffiti I found. While riding up to Castle Craig on Sunday, I found some new graffiti painted on the spillway, over graffiti I previously covered up with paint.


This was an encore performance because the text was previously found on the wall in the background, and covered by me in April of 2014.


I guess you know where I'm working next week. Til' then...maintain.