Category Archives: Signs

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 (top left), 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 left) had also seen a rejected first effort.

Signs: Heavy water

This sign guards what is presumably Hawaii’s heavy water plant, though why such a plant would be halfway up the side of Mauna Kea is a mystery. Or perhaps the sign is just a warning that it would not be a good idea to pick up the large water tank behind the sign. Either way, the sign made me smile.

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.

Signs: Graffiti

A few years back, a joint project by the county and kids from local schools, sought to address erosion along the coastline below Upolu Airport. The county laid straw barriers (that looked like long sausages) to control water runoff. The kids put in plants that would help stabilize areas of bare dirt and put up signs identifying these plants. At either end of the area where this project took place, two large signs were erected, with a bit of information about the project and some colorful artwork by the kids.

Within a year, one of the large signs fell down, a victim of high winds and one of the posts breaking. The plant identification signs followed, one by one, for various reasons. Some of the plants began to take hold and the sausages did their bit in reducing runoff, but the project seemed to have lost its impetus.

Last year, it sputtered to life again with a few more signs and some tape asking people not to drive in certain areas. Most of these were gone within weeks.

A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking in the area, I noticed that the remaining large sign had been graffitied (top photo). It seemed like an unfortunate, but somehow fitting epitaph for the project.

A few days later, approaching the graffitied sign from the other direction, I was surprised to notice the kids’ original artwork. It was upside down on the back of the sign (bottom photo). Whoever had graffitied the sign had taken the trouble to unscrew the board, turn it around, and refasten it. This took some thought and planning since the board was held in place by Torx or star screws (photo at right).

The sign is still graffitied and the project still on life support or dead, but this concern for the artwork on the board somehow made me feel that, perhaps not all hope is gone.

Signs: No parking

I was going to title this, ‘Unclear on the concept,’ but decided not to comment in that way. It’s possible the two drivers didn’t see the sign, or saw it and didn’t care. Either way, they have a reasonable chance of getting away with it. This isn’t a heavily policed area, and even if a cop goes by, there’s a fair chance they’d simply ignore the transgression. The most likely case for something happening is if one of the people who lives in the vicinity complains.

The sign is at the top of a busy trail down to the Captain Cook Monument. A redesign of the road junction nearby created new parking opportunities and this has resulted in a surge in people using the trail. With more use, word gets out and soon the trail will be overused, the shoreline around the monument littered with trash, and the waters and coral in the bay damaged and degraded.

Not that this is the fault of these two drivers, but since they’re clearly breaking the law, let’s blame them for everything anyway.