Don’t tell my mom this, but sometimes I run on that narrow stretch of road leading to Hendricks Park. You know, the one where Steve Prefontaine drunkenly flipped his car and died. It’s not that I have a death wish, there are just some awesome old houses up there.
As I ran down the hill yesterday afternoon, I caught a glimpse of red paint on a pipe near the ledge. The pipe is blocked by a chain link fence, but I followed it until it emerged from behind the barrier. That’s where I found “RED RUM,” an intriguing hint at the art that awaited me on the other side of the fence. Challenge accepted.
My friend Jenna and I returned late that evening and inched along the pipe, ducking under prickly branches and trying not to look over the edge. What was I saying about a death wish?
“COP!” said Jenna. We ducked beneath the barrier as the patrol car went by. Things were getting real.
A little ways along the pipe was a grassy expanse with a straight drop to Franklin Boulevard. Adjusting for vertigo, it looked something like this:
We stood for a moment, staring at the city lights to our right and left and a large black hole marking Alton Baker Park in the middle.
“We’re on top of the world!” yelled Jenna the daredevil. The taggers were apparently less impressed with the view:
“Nice ‘city,'” I read with a laugh. The jab was so full of petty angst that I started to imagine Red Rum as a band of restless Eugene teenagers.
Another tag- the one I’d seen on my run- was classically territorial. Scrawled over illegible white text were the words “RED RUM GOOOO.”
Is that a ThunderCats reference? These must be teenage boys. Or perma-adolescent man-boys.
Jenna and I took one last look at the “city” of Eugene and hopped over the fence. The tags turned out to be kind of lame, but the adventure was good. I have a special place in my heart for the Red Rum rascals. I just want to tweak their cheeks and give their whirly hats an appreciative spin.
Seriously, don’t tell my mom about this though.