Category Archives: Signs

Signs: Blind man driving

I was driving home from work when I slowed to a halt behind a van waiting in line at a junction. My attention was immediately drawn to the line above. It was only then that I took in the rest of the vehicle and saw how apropos the line was.

Signs: Practice makes perfect

I was hiking in Kalopa Native Forest State Park when I came across the trail sign above. Nothing too remarkable about that, but I happened to notice the back side of the sign (middle), which showed that getting the sign right took a bit of practice.

On a subsequent visit, I noticed that the back of sign at the other end of the trail (bottom) had also seen a rejected first effort.

Signs: Cardboard only

For a good many years, the Big Island has had a fairly standard recycling program. Glass, cardboard, paper, aluminum and other metals, and many types of plastic were collected for recycling.

Last week, the plastic and paper part of that program was tossed into the trash. The reason, according to officials, is that the market for those kinds of materials has gone in the tank. China stopped buying those materials last year. Since then, other countries in that business have been overwhelmed and shut up shop.

But the economics of the program weren’t the only problem. A lot of those recyclable products couldn’t actually be recycled because they had so much trash mixed in with them they were essentially garbage. People didn’t pay attention to what they could and couldn’t recycle and didn’t put the appropriate, clean materials in the proper place. ‘Recycling’ used pizza boxes with bits of three cheese pizza stuck all over them didn’t help, and I’ve seen plenty of things like that being recycled.

What will happen now is that more stuff will end up in the trash and that’s still a problem. The landfill on the east side of the island closed this year and now all trash from that side is trucked to the west side landfill. At some point that will become full. And then what. It’s not a situation that’s likely to get better any time soon.

Signs: Do not miss this, whatever it is

Driving toward Hawi recently, I noticed this sign. The speed limit in this area is 45 mph and I was actually traveling at around that speed, but by the time the sign registered and I looked at it, I was unable to see what it said.

Next time I drove by, I slowed down and focused on the sign. I still couldn’t read it. Today, I stopped, got out of the truck and walked over to the sign to see what it actually said. I had to get pretty close before I could read it. I doubt many passing drivers, the target of the sign, had any clue as to what it was about.

It’s one of those signs that might have looked good on a computer screen, capturing the rural feel of the area, but it’s a real world fail.

And what is the event being promoted? It’s the Kohala Country Fair and it’s happening today from 10 am to 5 pm. Better get your skates on.

Signs: Ka’awaloa Trail

The Ka’awaloa Trail starts near the top of Napoʻopoʻo Road, on the edge of Captain Cook – the town that is, not the person. The trail goes down to the water near the Captain Cook Monument on Kealakekua Bay.

As you can see, there are a lot of warnings on the sign. It could be greatly shortened to, “Abandon hope all ye who set foot on this trail.” But there are a couple of things to know about this sign. One is that most people won’t read it. I mean, who needs to waste time reading a dumb sign. The second is that quite a few people will end up in difficulty on the way back up, because the trail really is steep, hot, and exposed. Locals often take extra water with them to help out those in need, but if you don’t meet one of them on the trail, you’re on your own. An iced tea stand two-thirds of the way up could make a killing.

I also like that someone has taken the time to obliterate the word ‘vehicles’ in the ‘No vehicles’ admonishment. A car would never make it and even a trail bike might have a tough time. Perhaps it was just the principle of the thing that someone objected to.

Signs: Just ignore them

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Ignored.’ (See more responses here.) Mulling this over on my drive to work, I thought about speed limits. Like all of you (I’m sure!), I drive at or below the speed limit, but there are lots of people out there who don’t, who just ignore the signs.

For example, in these photos, in the space of a couple of hundred yards, the speed limit drops from 55 mph, at the top of the little hill, to 45 mph, and then 35 mph at the bottom of the hill. There are people who actually slow to 35 mph by that point, and they run the very real risk of being plowed under by all the other drivers who routinely go 45 mph all the way into Kawaihae, and out again on the other side.

The truth is, driving 5 mph over the speed limit is generally considered acceptable here and won’t get you pulled over. Exceed that leeway and you’re taking a chance. And in Hawaii, the police are hard to spot. Most police officers drive their own cars with no markings and only a little blue light on top. When the police car in the bottom photo sped into view there was a blaze of brake lights from the vehicles heading down the hill. But it was on the way to some other, more important situation.

After I took the photos, I got back into my truck and somehow, and I can’t explain it, by the time I got to the bottom of the hill I was going 45 mph. First time for everything I guess.