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2014/12/21

Log 2014122101

A replacement power adapter for an Acer Iconia A200 needs to be set to 12V and  tip positive.

2014/11/29

Log 2014112901

This post was in my drafts and was written prior to this date.

I installed No Signal Alert Pro and Voice Recorder by First75 on my Android smartphone this evening.  While the only place to test this is down trail at this point, I'm feeling confident that the "signal lost" and "signal regained" with me being the voice of the computer will work and give me auditory notifications of such events, especially when I'm looping to, or back on bicycle. Also, I'll be able to turn the smartphone on just before an anticipated area of coverage to make updates to Facebook and family. The new voice recorder app now lets me record in .amr format, which is needed for the computer to pick them up as notification sounds in the directory: mnt\sdcard\sounds and make them available in the No Signal Alert Pro's properties menu.

There's been problems trying to get this to work right.  So far, I tested those sounds and everything seems to work as it should.  Also, the signal lost sound with also be simultaneous with the "red alert" klaxon that I have as a part of my ST: Red Alert, or Star Trek wallpaper.  This and the app are necessary to facilitate my custom signal alerts.

I went shopping at Century Cycles in Peninsula of Summit County today.  That's where I dropped off the 30 year old refurbished road bike that I recently purchased to get a new rear rack and grip tape installed.  I managed to purchase a new 750 lumen head lamp with an internal and rechargeable Lithium ion battery.  At 750, I'm at a loss for words.  I'm not sure that I can properly comprehend how much light that is?  The best thing that I have is only about a 140 lumen hand flash light and I think that thing impressive. To use a religious metaphor, a 750 might open a gateway to God.

2014/11/19

Log 2014111901


This is a picture of me in my "Virginia is for Lovers" tuff guy shirt.  I secured my smartphone to my goose neck windshield mount and told the folks on Facebook that I was taking a "selfie with no hands."  What you can see somewhat in the back is my 2008 Chevy HHR LS with the back seats removed.  Taking them out was very simple, it only involves removing four nuts.  Since the car hauls "The Cramper," or my improvised pop-out camper, regardless of whether it's assembled or collapsed in transport mode, I removed the back seats for extra luggage capacity.

For those of you who navigated here from a search engine, The Cramper employs a 20ft tarp that I place over the outer shell in the back.  With bungee cords and 45° like folds going downward folds towards the back seat doors, I'm able secure it to the holes in my rear rims and the bars in my after market roof rack.  The roof bars have unused holes that pertain to different width roofs that the product can mount to.  I looped some paracord through outermost available holes so I'd have something to hook a bungee cord to that wouldn't slide across the bar in high winds, which is unlike looping the bungee cord around the pole and hooking it to itself.

Each side uses three bungees and then another 3 in the back.  I use two short red bungee cords and secure them to my trailer hitch.  Then I use a long yellow one with a red plastic end to secure the tarp from side to side under The Cramper's expansion floor.  It's a bungee cord where one end passes through a circular opening in the red plastic on the other end, then fits into a narrow channel along it, grips the cord and secures it in it's hold.  Most tarps looping holes will buckle and tear under the stress.  They need to be repaired from time to time and you can find replacements at a home improvement store, maybe even a hardware store (I haven't tried to find this there yet).

2014/11/14

Log 2014111401

I'm abandoning an addition idea that I had hoped to put on the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  It's a fuel to transit cost comparison and the problem is getting fuel economy to match up exactly with the US federally rated MPG's. Since, they are split into city and highway, I would have to measure each starting to each ending point separately and then subtract the city mileage (which I would have to guess what's under 55MPH).  The truth is that I just don't have enough information to produce this document.

2014/11/12

Log 2014111202

www.usbfever.com sent me a headlamp along with my bicycle rim USB generator.  So, I picked it up and pushed its power button on the back side, which seems to made of white rubber.  Well, the bad news is that when I went to push the button again, it didn't make any clicking sound.

At that point, I plugged it's USB type A connection into The Robot (my large media center computer) and the headlamp came on.  I dismounted the USB and removed the white rubber cap on the switch and didn't see anything that looked like it was broken.  At this time, I don't have any use for it anyways, all I wanted was the generator.  I don't have any interest in returning the lamp to Hong Kong at this point.  And the generator has not been installed yet.

Log 2014111201

My bicycle rim driven USB Generator arrived from usbfever.com in Hong Kong via the US Postal Service today, as well as the bicycle GPS mount for my Garmin eTrex 20.  That came from Guangzhou, a city in the Guangdong providene in the People's Republic of China, which also arrived via USPS.  As noted in this log previously, my former chain driven USB generator also came from Hong Kong.

Before the chain generator started to cease, it would only generate power when the chain was in motion. That was enough to prolong my smartphone's battery, but it wasn't always enough to stabilize it's pre-ride level.  Anyways, it only had a 1350mAh generator on it. I also had the cellphone battery and the chain generator connected on a parallel circuit (they were both directly connected to a 4 USB port hub).

In the past, the bike battery would shut off after about 10 minutes in that configuration when supplying power to both the hand GPS and smartphone.  I'm hoping that when I configure them next time to be in a series circuit, that I can generate enough power to feed them both and stay on.  But I'll say this for the new rim generator... it did not come shipped with any installation or operational instructions all.  But I think that will be alright because there's really not much to it.  Just the generator with mounting forks, two holes, two bolts with butterfly nuts and some rubber gaskets.

On new NiMH AA batteries, the eTrex 20 can stay on for 26 - 39 continuous hours without having to recharge.  Unfortunately, the device itself can not recharge the batteries. That must take place in a separate AC to DC wall charger.  And I don't see myself as needing power from the bike battery, or the rim generator unless the field GPS is out of power and I'm out of charged batteries, or the temperature dips down to less than 37°F.

2014/11/03

Log 2014110301


The last time I had this system hooked up on my bicycle, I was using a chain driven USB generator.  But the generator's gear started to make noise and cause some resistance.  I was on the road at the time, so I had to cut it free and throw it in the trash.

At the moment, I'm waiting for a new rim contact driven USB bicycle generator.  Today, I picked up a couple cables at Micro Center in Mayfield Heights of Cuyahoga County.  I was getting help finding them from an associate who was informing me that the generator and battery could cause feedback and burn out one of my hubs USB ports.  That's when I came to the solution that I'll just hook them up in series instead of making the battery a branch off of the hub.

Since the USB bicycle rim generator is on order at the moment, in this picture it is represented by the cookie (in the package).  From the generator, it will go into the external cell phone battery's micro USB port (which is what it would use when charging).  The from the battery, the series will connect to the USB hub (that doesn't require additional power (like from a wall plug for instance).  I used a spare USB conversion bit and some all weather electrical tape to plug the empty port on top.  And from here, power from the generator and battery should feed into the GPS and smartphone.

I have the battery stationed at the top rear corner of my bicycle's frame (under the seat).  Either this or one of my other cables that I have lying around should be able to reach the generator.  But the battery to the hub will require an extension, which at the moment, I believe that I have.  Finally, I'll have to plug the bottom port of the hub considering that I'll no longer be using it for the bike battery.

I found out that the chain generator was only producing about 1300mAH of electricity.  My smartphone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with a 7" screen.  It's power hungry and the battery runs on about 2700mAh.  For anyone reading this, your battery's power output will be printed on it (except for some of you folks using Apple).

Prior to this, I drove to the Medina Section, TP 17B - Abbeyville & Fenn Rd on the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource's map and guide.  When I was routing this from the computer, knowing the area, I know that the traffic on Fenn can be aggressive and fast.  So, I was driving through at 1830hours and have made the determination to pull the unmarked transit spur and replace its waypoint icon with a warning one.  And rewrite the guide to warn all OTHR transit hikers that they shouldn't use Fenn Rd as a spur.

2014/11/02

Log 2014110201

These days, I moved back to my hometown of Painesville of Lake County for the time being.  I asked about sharp declines and inclines in the immediate vicinity of streams to members of the Buckeye Trail Association's (BTA) Facebook page for the Scioto Trail, Sinking Spring and Shawnee Sections of the Buckeye Trail (BT) [North Country (NCT) & American Discovery Trails (ADT) concurrent].  The inquiry was in regards to snowshoeing.  And the information that I got back was that this effect was not isolated to the Whipple Section, but I've determined that it may not be safe to hike when there's snow, or ice on the ground.  Therefore, hiking in January and half of February might be out of the question with out re-routing on to the road.  I could move my end point, which is currently in the Village of Mount Orab of Brown County at the West Union Section, Pt. 32 to Shawnee Section, Pt. 23 of the current map, I could possibly eliminate that section in the winter because it's almost all on-road.

Tentatively, I'm planning to hike between Scioto Trail Section, Pt. 21 to Sinking Springs Section, Pt. 23 in early December.  This is because the Village of Waverly in Pike County is near ST 21 and Village of Peebles in Adams County is at SS 23 are both linked by the regional Greyhound affiliate "GoBus.'  Pike County has a local rural transit agency offering shared/ dial-a-ride/ curb-to-curb type services who cater to the general public.  The GoBus stop is actually in the nearby Village of Piketon in the same county.

Since the BT's is a 1,426mi circle within the four corners of Ohio, the BTA Store sells pocket size map and guide combos on one document.  The trail can be hiked in both directions and there is mileages for both, but it only fits the guide in the clockwise (CW) direction.  Even with a GPS, I personally prefer to hike CW when ever I can.  Because the BT's maps are digital and look great these days, but in navigating odd intersections off-road, or having to turn on to something unsigned on the on-road can be little harder when reading the CW directions, then reversing the mileages mentioned (for instance) while heading counter clockwise (CCW).  So, I see myself starting this trip from ST 21 on foot, hiking.  It's a 73 mile trip that should take roughly 5 days to complete.

But at the moment, I'm staying in a 15' x 20' room.  Space is in short supply here, so I acquired some of the hardware to lift my queen size box spring and mattress.  I'll be using 4x4's to lift it about 3 to 4' off of the floor.  Then the framing will be built out of 2x6's and 2x4's all the way around.  It will be bolted, but I'm not sure with what yet.  And I'm not sure how much support the underside of the bed frame will need to support everything without having to rely on another support going to the floor.  And two sets of rails will be installed along the bottom and mid way to the bed frame underside.  But the left side of the structure can not have a mid brace due to the fact that the underside of the bed will be used for storage and it needs unobstructed access.

When I had my last apartment, I'm a single guy, so I had two smaller marker boards mounted in the vertical position, and a larger unit next to them in the horizontal.  Today, I purchased the same type of boards from Wal-Mart in Chardon of Geauga County.  They'll be installed just like before with double sided adhesive tape. I got them today, because I needed the big one to draw out the plan for my new bed frame.  Otherwise, they'll be used for my projects, such as the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).

Right now, I'm waiting to receive a 'L" shaped desk.  I inherited it from a relative, but right now, it's in his condo.  It's going on the market soon, so they need to use it for photos.  In the meantime, I have a plastic table that I'm using as a temporary desk.  The laptop is on what I like to call the "wheelie desk," which is a raised platform on wheels just large enough for it with a small amount of space on the side.  So, I can still work on a project, but the setup in one corner of my new room hasn't been finalized yet.

2014/10/28

Weight Stastics [#1]

Weight
999
Body Fat
874
Muscle Mass
234
Water %
96


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2014/10/10

Log 2014101001

I think this is the 7th day that I've been working on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS's rear drum brakes. They just wouldn't stop making noise no matter how many times I disassembled, reassembled, and pressed the brake pedal to center the shoes... the noise just wouldn't stop! Every time that I'd apply the weight of a wheel to the studs, it's rotation would start to cease. Then it would get worse with each lug nut that I hand tighten on.

Finally, I realized something that wasn't there before. I had my parking brake cables detached from the shoes because one was previously broken. Well, I replaced the bad one, connected them to the system and tightened the system all the way down the adjustment stem of the parking break pedal.

So, I disassembled both wheels again, and separated the shoes from the parking brake cables. I then reassembled both sides and attached the parking brake cables as they were untensioned this time. Well, I got rid of the grinding noise, but right now, I need to tension them more.

2014/10/04

Log 2014100401

The new smartphone adapter for the USB hub works. It just read one of my flash drives.

2014/09/27

Log 2014092701

As the webmaster of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource with my own paid domain name, my e-mail address is @othr.info. Unfortunately, that also makes me the post master, who handles all the SPAM. Typically, a company with their own domain would have the resources to design filters to keep all the bad stuff out. Right now, I have neither the time or computer equipment to experiment with such things.

In these cases, I learned that if you set such an e-mail address to forward to a Gmail account, their SPAM filters ought to do the trick. Then you set Gmail's outgoing to send as the email address on your domain and with luck, the people on the other end will never know that there was ever a change.

At the moment, I'm typing my old Outlook 2007 filters into Gmail. Downtrail, I don't want to get too bothered by my inbox, so I'm applying filters to sort and organize my email into folders. They both have their export and import features, but I don't trust that they'll match up on Google's side if it's anything like importing my address book was.

2014/09/25

Log 2014092501

Today, repaired electrical connections on my Harbor Freight 4 x 8 Utility Hauling Trailer. It seems that the last time that I folded the trailer, I took out all of my separation pins, but forgot to unplug my custom wiring harnesses.  When I went to fold the tongue down, I torqued the wiring system, causing the wiring at the right taillight and side marker light to come undone from their crimped connections. They're repaired as of today.

Originally,  I wasn't sure what today's repair was going to entail. Honestly, I thought that I'd be crawling under the trailer and undoing electrical tape to find the problem. But it turned out to be too easy. With that said, the former electrical job would have pulled wires apart from at least 3 places. But today, I found that the main wires stood their ground under the stress.

2014/09/24

Log 2014092403

Locus Free was installed on my smartphone. BT, map points and trail to transit points were imported on to it. I installed it on my tablet earlier and I was surprised that it let me keep the complimentary basemap on my smartphone without making an in app purchase. Well, it's nice to have it.

Log 2014092402

The mileage on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS is as pictured.

Took the HHR on the same drive as before with the three way interchange that has the 45MPH advisory ramps after I replaced the missing bolt. Performance on both turns are good enough to return to Southern Ohio, but the right turn still concerns me and I think it might have something to do with the stabilizer bar link that I installed months ago?

And when I brought it down from the jack today, I noticed the left side slouching. Well, it doesn't always do that and I didn't jack on the suspension either.

Log 2014092401

The mileage on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS is as pictured. Today, I replaced the missing bolt in my axle mount frame. There are a total of three and they mount the wheel bearing.

2014/09/23

Log 2014092304

I successfully ran a text to Facebook test a minute ago.

Log 2014092303

When this blog posts, it publishes notifications to Google+ and Facebook accounts.  Every so often, Facebook changes my Post By E-Mail address, which causes me to look up the address that they assign me and alter where the notifications go here in my Blogger settings.  Personally, I think it's rather annoying, but I guess it's what has to be done.

Log 2014092301

The Cramper (my converted Chevy HHR camper) does not have any external air conditioning.  Last year, without the awning that gets wrapped over the roof upon mounting, the summer's sun here in Ohio beat down on the Chevy's hull and caused it's temperature to rise to more than 130°F. That in turn caused interior temperature to be more than 90°F. I started to get to bed early because there were times that would not be able to sleep past 1000hrs.

But this year, I added a screen to the left rear window, which brings me up to a total of two. Also, I added a plastic luggage carrier and I use the awning more. Those two tend to deflect the effects of the sun quite a bit to the point that my greenhouse effect is no longer a concern. But one of the windows has to be up when I expect rain because the awning doesn't cover over it.

Additionally, I have a small AC fan.

As for the heat, I use a digital ceramic heater with a remote and sleep timer. The heating element is not exposed to air, so the manufacturer states that fires are either impossible from the heating element, or its resistant? And the remote's good for turning it on in the morning.

But my setup doesn't have enough insulation. And i designed it with the floor being the length of the ply, but the walls are the width of the tailgate door (which are wider). So, there are two triangular shaped holes that i just plug up with the outer shell tarp, but they bleed heat. Also, my floor is supported with 2x4's to support the system's 32" separation for transport mode. Well, there's a couple of channels down there that just lead straight outside with nothing to hinder it.

I just found out recently that i could install an AC to DC converter, Y branch it directly to the battery leads and supply external power to the car's internal system. If I knew how the heating system works, I might be able to install an electric heat alternative straight into the car's environmental system?

As it stands now, I have extention pipes that lead the exhaust away from the back of The Cramper.  This is in case the ceramic heater isn't doing the job, I can turn on the car and get some of that expensive heat. The car idles on about 3.25 gallons of 87 octane gasoline over 8 hours. This is also used for air conditioning if the cabin gets too hot.

Log 2014092301

Judging by the looks of it, I'd say that the rear disposition on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS has improved by 1-1/4" while resting after I replaced and upgraded the rear shocks.

Another thing about where the car is sitting in this photo is that about 5 of my cars have been regularly parked there in the easement. As a result, it has depressed wheel slots towards the rear. But the front is on a slight high. In the past, the car use to look like it was in more disrepair than it actually was when it was parked there.

2014/09/22

Log 2014092201

The mileage on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS is as shown in the picture. Today, I replaced the rear shocks. This means that the car now has new struts and shocks all the way around. The rear shocks are MacPherson style and are separate from their struts.

The job required jacking the car up in the the center of the rear axle. Because the lift on the car is only 6", I ended up having to jack up the rear driver's side area with a 2 Ton scissor jack, the get the center of the axle of the with the 3 Ton floor jack. The Chilton's manual for this model noted that there was a jacking spot in this area. Personally, I would have preferred the floor jack that they have at Harbor Freight Tools that has a plate on it. Because around the axle was a piece of angle iron. My round plate would never make contact with the axle, so I had to jack on the angle iron.

Once I got the jack stands in place, I dropped the axle enough to remove the lower mounting bolts for both rear struts. Then I released all the pressure from the floor jack and let the axle drop as low as it could go.

This job eluded me when I was at home port last. For some reason, I was unable to lift the springs out. But this time, I figured it out. The spring in question has to be grabbed down at the top. The upper shock tower is sitting on a peg and needs to clear it for disassembly.  Well, with the brake line in place, it makes is hard to do that. In fact, I've heard of some disassembly instructions call for removing the brake lines. If I ever get anything bigger in there, I certain that I'll have to.

I was concerned when I compared my old shocks with their replacements.  The coils on the old ones wrapped around the upper shock towers. The new ones dont come so close. And the new ones are longer. I consulted with a friend on Facebook about whether they'll coil around the towers in time and he says no. That's ok, it's merely consistent with having bought heavy duty shocks and struts. Which now means that my rear shocks now have an extra coil. And that's excellent for hauling my trailer.

I did the work in my brother's driveway. After I was done, I put the car on the ground and immediately coupled my Harbor Freight 4x8 Utility Hauling Trailer.  And I was disappointed to note that the trailer is well below the HHR's 1,000lb towing capacity and the car still sunk down like it always had before today's servicing :-(. At least I know now that it's normal.

After I got the trailer to home port and uncoupled it, I took the car for a drive and noticed that my previous issues of driving around curves that hook with 20 & 25MPH advisories didn't feel like I was going to flip the car anymore. I'm glad to say that I solved that problem today. I can't wait to see its improvements in Southern Ohio on 03 October when I leave for Basecamp F at Scioto Trail State Park.

Lastly, the driver's side rear drum that I had to mount tightly is whistling and burning the shoes to the point that I can smell it. I expected this and hope that since the shoes are newer, that they'll just burn themselves free. The next time that I replace those, I'll just replace the shoes and rotary (again).

2014/09/21

Log 2014092101

This is the back side of the frame on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS, which mounts the front left wheel bearing. If you notice that there's a hole, that's because there's a 3" long bolt missing. This is something that has to be replaced at the Parts Department of a Chevrolet dealership.  And if I want it that day, it will probably have to be a department if a dealership that has a body shop.

2014/09/20

Log 2014092001

I put my 2008 Chevy HHR LS on the freeway today. Yesterday, I tightened a bolt that mounts the top of my rear passenger's side strut to the frame. It came loose, probably because I didn't tighten it according to the torque specification last time.  So, I took it on the freeway to an interchange that has advisory 45MPH. One curves left and the other is right.

The HHR took the left curve as good as it ought to. The right is satisfactory, but it still concerns me. I have two theories... one is that my rear drum brakes need calibration so that the distance between the shoes and drums are the same. The other is that there really is a hair line fracture in one of my springs and they need changed.


The mileage on my HHR is as shown. 

2014/09/19

Log 2014091901

The current mileage on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS is as pictured.

I had cause to check the rear drum brakes for fallen hardware. Turns out the the spring in the rear driver's side drum did fall, but the rear passenger's side remained mounted. But I have reason to believe that the drums are warped. That's because neither side would re-mount with out an excessive amount of coaxing. Tensioning too little will make the spring's hook too loose to stay in its hole, causing it to come unmounted, then the tension rod drops to the bottom of the brake shoes and starts rubbing on the drum as it rotates when the car's in motion.

If it's too tight, the tensioner is too far out and the drum won't mount. And I think that my rotary are warped because I'm unable to find the "happy medium" that mounts the drum and keeps the spring tensioned at the same time.

On the rear driver's side, I was able to get it on, but wasn't able to rotate the drum. But the car rolled down the driveway and down the street afterwards. As for the passenger's side rear tensioning spring... last time when I serviced the brakes, I cheated mounted it's hook further on another hole. I wonder what the implications of that will be?

Log 2014082101

I reported that the Stockport was my 18th section. After review, I've determined that to be incorrect... it has to be my 20th.

2014/09/14

Log 2014091401

New Straitsville Section - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail was my 21st completed section of the Buckeye.  About one day later, I finished the Old Man's Cave Section as my 22nd.  Currently, I'm in the Scioto Trail Section and I have as far as Pt. 6 done.  Basecamp E was set up at the Tar Hollow SP main campground.

Portions of Scioto Trail Pts. 2 - 5 were closed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).  Considering that my basecamp was in the electric camp ground and the only spur trail to the BT/ NCT/ ADT was included in the trail closures, also take in to account that when I arrived and started hiking said section, a trail alert had not been issued by the Buckeye Trail Association (BTA) at the time, so I performed a legal by-pass around said area at my discretion and claimed it as credit toward the BTA's Circuit Hike Patch.

I also made a by-passes on the New Straitsville Section between Points 14 - 15 and 23 - 24.  They were due to not being able to find a trail aperture and the other was because of overgrowth.

The clip that holds my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is made by Otter Box.  This is the second belt clip that I've owned in the last 9 months and as of two days ago, I've managed to snap the securing tab on the replacement unit.  I'm not happy with the performance of that plate.

I purchased a waist pack hoping that I could modify it so that it's belt could be set to loop through mounts on my slack pack's shoulder straps and transport it over my sternum.  But I determined that I would have to sew the mesh on the waist pack strap in place and I didn't want to do that right now.  So, I just wear it on my hip and it doesn't get in the way of my range of motion when I'm hiking.  It's good for maps and the smartphone.

2014/09/09

Log 2014090901

Today, I hiked about 8 miles clockwise on the New Straitsville Section - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail from the Village of Murray City in Hocking County to just south of the Tecumseh Park in an area outside of the Village of Shawnee in Perry County.  Once I was done, I intercepted my pre-positioned bicycle and rode roughly the same mileage back, but on a slightly different course.  I had difficulty determining where the trail progressed on about three different occasions.  But I also know the maintainer and I'm certain he's busy at the moment.

On the way back, I had dinner at Ma N Pa's Pizza in the Village of New Straitsville of Perry County.  I had my car and trailer parked at the village park in Murray City.  Because New Straitsville Section, Pt. 27's status is unclear, I decided not to camp there.  Anyways, I have auto parts to pick up in the City of Athens tomorrow, so I'm here for another night at the motel.

The good news is that tomorrow's route is only about 11.5mi long.  The bike will be in Tecumseh Park at pt. 22 and the car will be parked at pt. 27.  This will be a CCW, or counter clockwise hike.  Because of local maintenance, I don't anticipate a flawless hike, but I think it will be quicker than the ones before it.

I intend on performing maintenance on the Chevy's rear brakes at pt. 27 when I get done, then I'll drive south to the Class A campground at Tar Hollow State Park afterwards where Basecamp E will be.  This basecamp will be about 23mi from the City of Chillicothe in Ross County, which is the nearest city with a full range of services.  And it will put me in range of the next hike, which is Old Man's Cave Section, pt. 26 through Scioto Trail Section, Pt. 5.  OMC 26 is the Southwest Lawn of the Pretty Run Property and ST 05 is Tar Hollow.

If everything goes as planned, the New Straitsville Section will be my 21st and the Old Man's Cave will be my 22nd out of 26 sections completed.  Currently, the New Straitsville, Old Man's Cave and West Union Sections are in progress.

2014/09/08

Log 2014090802

This Duracell ion Speed 8000 Model CEF15NA refused to charge two AAA battery cells. Well thats good looking out by Duracell because they were alkaline batteries. Alkalines can catch fire in the recharger. Seems that this smart device detected my mistake.

Log 2014090801

I'm at Days Inn in the City of Athens for a night. I still have yet to complete New Straitsville Section - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail, Pts. 19 - 27. The place where I intended to road side camp is a designated parking area in the Athens Unit of the Wayne National Forest, which may be construed as a "trailhead." Road side camping is prohibited within 150' of trailheads and I don't know of another suitable spot around there.
Anyways, I really needed a NiMH battery recharger. My previous unit was lost and I was getting low on charged AA's and AAA's. These batteries power the flashlights and hand GPS and I didn't want to risk loosing both on the next route. I lost my paper map on the previous route and the only thing that would back me up would be navigation by waypoints only on the smartphone.
The smartphone can eat batteries when navigating. The phone's aftermarket application wouldn't take my Buckeye Trail tracks (the line you follow). But it was good with the waypoints, which is a custom file that i wrote corresponding with the points in a Buckeye Trail map. Those points have a descriptive guide that without digital copies from the Buckeye Trail Association, would have taken a considerable amount of time to transcribe myself. And there was no promise that the text would have shown up on either app, or the hand GPS (since i haven't experimented with it yet, I felt that the project was too risky to undergo considering the fixed amount of time I was under to prepare other things.
The track on the hand GPS is based on the the BTA's GPS/ GIS Depository. They are somewhat beta and work as well as displayed on Google Earth. I've only been lost once and that was on an off-road portion where there was a 5-way intersection and for some reason, the trail wasn't blazed there and I had to guess. Well, I guessed wrong. But it didn't take long to know that I wasn't traveling the same course as the track and I promptly fixed that. These days, my hand GPS is my primary means of navigation, even with a map.

2014/09/03

Log 2014090301

I was in Lancaster of Fairfield County resupplying and overnighting at a hotel.  My Nishiki Colorado mountain bike has new handle grips, road bike grip tape on my extension handles and a battery bag that mounts within the top back corner of my frame.  The new bag carries my external cell phone battery.

I also got a new machete. This one is curved and I think of it as a Arabic sword.  Two additional 946mL water bottles have been procured.  The reason is that I though I could save one of my 1L bottles, but it turns out that with the high humidity, higher temperatures in southern Ohio (as compared to NE Ohio) and the fact that some of the trails aren't very well maintained, I've determined that my consumption is going to be higher than I originally predicted.

With that being said, I've established myself at Basecamp C again because I did not want to attempt a roadside camp in the Athens Unit - Wayne National Forest when we had a storm 3 days ago.  I'm just not confident that I can park The Cramper in a way that won't get stuck in 3" of muddy top soil.  So the upcoming and remaining hikes on the New Straitsville Section - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail will have to be staged from the campground Burr Oak State Park instead.  And that means that my fuel consumption will go up a little.

I got reports last week that the portion of trail from Tom Jenkins Dam through Murray City area was overgrown.  Last year, I performed maintenance on the New Straitsville Section and based on experience, I think I know what I'm getting myself into.

High grasses can make a opportunity to get ambushed by a venomous snake.  I learned in years past that if I place my retractable hiking poles in one hand in an "X" formation, I can "blast" through those trouble areas, but that makes for an aggressive hike. And then there's the machete...

2014/08/30

Trail Angel on Old Man's Cave Section

-I hosted Greg K. at Basecamp D for a few days
We hiked Old Man's Cave Section from Pt. 19 - S to 26 - W, which I've designated as the ST Lawn in the Pretty Run property.

I took a waypoint for Pt. 26. The one that I had was an approximate location.
Afterwards, we met a friend there who is known to many in the BTA. Instead of riding back, I was grateful that he gave me a ride back to Basecamp D.

Correction regarding the name of the campground for Basecamp D. It is the "Old Man's Cave Campground" at Hocking Hills State Park in Benton Twp of Hocking County. 
Axles on my mountain bike need to be calibrated again. I have a quick releases on both wheels with disc braking system. The true on the rear wheel has been holding up, but I'm not sure how much longer?

The bicycle's tires have been deflated to 44psi to put more rubber down and handle more aggressive dirt roads. But when i came down hill around a turn at high speed on a paved road, the rear wheel folded over and i almost wiped out.

The USB generator as mounted on the bicycle's right rear fork was moved back about 1". This was done so that it would no longer knock into the right crank in gears 5 - 7 on the high sprocket. 

Nonetheless,  shifting into gears 5 & 6 high require that I over shift, then down shift into them. 6 high still requires that some torque be applied before it shifts at all. From what I'm told, it's probably a problem with the rear detailer, but it's nothing that needs fixed imeadately.  With all that being said, the gear cassette was just recently changed in Zanesville by a mechanic that i trust and have used in the past. And I'm confident that it's my bike and not their work. Frankly, they are some of the only two people who have ever got my bike right. The way i see it, you have to stick to what work.

My Minora truing stand lost a piece that secures a bicycle axle when the spokes are being serviced. I'm convinced that i might be able to use the other parts of the stand which might bend and reach up to the rim if i attempt to true it as still mounted to the bike using my double kickstand? It could work on both wheels if I place a load on the rear rack to bring up the front tire.

The accuracy of my Garmin eTrex 20 seems to be very good for a hand held GPS.

Some of my NiMH battery cells are bad. They'll have to be charged up one, or two at a time to weed out the bad ones.

The Cramper's awning is showing signs of stress.  During a hard rain, water will pelt through. This piece of canvas was waterproofed in July.

2014/08/23

Log 2014082301

Basecamp D was set up at Hocking Hills State Park near Old Man's Cave Section - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail today.

2014/08/18

Log 2014081801

I learned last night that some of the NiMH battery cells might be damaged.  And my head lamp might be having a difficult time holding each of its three cells.  I found this out on an off-road hike that spilled into last night.  The GPS needed a change as well.  With batteries that were recently recharged, the screen would flash, but it would fail to power on.

My boots are still giving me blisters and shouldn't be. I'm using my stock insoles to cover the top of my foot along with my Dr. Shoals CF-340's covering my ankles and part of my arches. What's different this year is the use of the stock insoles. I should probably replace those.

Yesterday, I hiked roughly 24 miles around Burr Oak Lake through Burr Oak State Park, Wayne National Forest, and the Army Corps of Engineers reservation at Tom Jenkins Dam.  With that being said, I covered about 12.4 miles of difficult terrain on the New Straitsville Section - Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail. It's difficult considering that I'm from NE Ohio, so I'm a flat lander.

On a separate note, I want to say "well done" to the maintainers on those segments. The trail surface was always clear. Otherwise, there were a couple of low ceilings and a broken board on a causeway. Other than that, the trail's surface was as efficient as the off-road gets under the circumstances.

2014/08/16

Log 2014081601

Posting here has been very difficult lately. I'm still at Basecamp C. So far, I have about 21 miles of the Stockport Section - Buckeye Trail done as per what was planned on this trip. Last year, I did about 25 of its miles then. So, I'm anticipate that I'll finish this and cross into the New Straitsville Section tomorrow.

Yesterday, I finished the American Discovery Trail - Ohio & Kentucky's east independent arm in SE Ohio. I am now ready for what I'd like to call the "3 trail sweep" in Ohio. To date, I've covered the Buckeye Trail from the Village of Mount Orab @ West Union Section, Pt. 32 to Stockport Section, Pt. 28 @ Shew's Orchard. I've also covered the independent arms of the North Country and American Discovery Trails.

In the east, North Country became concurrent with Buckeye's circuit at Massillon Section, Pt. 23 in Zoar of Tuscarawas County in NE Ohio. It leaves it in Liberty Township of Henry County in NY Ohio. American Discovery in the SE, joins the Buckeye Trail circuit at Stockport Section, Pt. 20 in Marion Township of Morgan County.  It leaves the concurrency in Cincinnati of Hamilton County at Loveland Section, Pt. 1.

Since I have the west, north and east done, and my rate of progress already exceeds the four intersections, the only thing I need to do is hike, or "sweep" across the 3 trail concurrency in the south of Ohio.

Recently, I've had inflammation of my feet which caused me to drive back to home port for about 36 hours.  Once there, I picked up a partial refill on a perscription.

The weather might not corporate with me this week. This might get rough?

2014/08/09

Log 2014080901

I finally made it into Basecamp C at Burr Oak State Park and got to sleep in the front seat of my car at about 0530hrs this morning.  Burr Oak doesn't have any sites where campers can arrive after hours, set up and camp for as long as they need.  Instead, they publish a list of vacant campsites and the user has to fill out their camper registration and, well... pray that nobody else is scheduled through that time.

I did that.  And 0830hrs this morning, I got a knock on my window from one of the park staff, telling me that I had to move.  She's so lucky that I awoke then as I was 5hrs from my required 8hrs of sleep.  I was in somewhat of a daze when I had to get up and couple the trailer.  I'd say it was barely in the relm of being a safe thing to do.

She told me to move about 4 sites over and I did.  But when I left, I remembered that she did not tag my new site.  So, I tried to contact the campground, but the only phone number that i have is for a collective of 3 state parks.  It was automated and I left a message.  So far, it's been about a few hours since I did that and nobody there has returned my call.  Burr Oak's west campground is popular and I know that there is a staff member there.

Today, I got some much needed shopping done.  I purchased some knobby tires because the I don't trust the chubby's on some of the backcountry dirt roads that I believe I'm going to put them on.  I want more traction to deal with thick, loose, pasty dirt with flood channels chiseled through them and small boulders embedded in the surface.

Days ago, I found that in the electric camps, I'll want to use the USB powered hub, which is located on the stem of the laptop mount in the front passenger's side of the car.  So far, I have a conventional 7ft indoor extention cord and an DC to AC converter.  But I forgot to get a universal AC adaptor for it.

- pouch for the external bike/ smartphone battery was procured.  When I use the USB generator, it only makes power when I pedal.  And the smartphone is so power intensive, that the best thing that I can do these days is slowly drain it, instead of keeping the power level the same, or charging more than I need.

2014/08/07

Corrupted Files on Garmin eTrex 20

It's possible that I only had corrupted files on my previous Garmin eTrex 20 and now I have two of these expensive gadgets. The box for the new one is gone, as is most of its contents. And the nearest Bass Pro Shop is probably hundreds of miles away.
Meanwhile, all of the batteries are charged.

Log 2014080701

This morning, the alarm clock malfunctioned and I was unable to perform my hike today.  My movie player on my laptop still repeats 2 videos on my play list twice, causing the battery to drain. At the moment, I've got the extension on the exhaust on and I'm running the car to charge the battery.

2014/08/05

Replacement Garmin eTrex 20

I purchased a replacement Garmin eTrex 20 today at Bass Pro Shops in Cincinnati of Hamilton County, but was did not get the replacement plan.

2014/07/31

Log 2014073101

I completed Trail Day 01, which consisted of cycling from Basecamp A to Richmond, Indiana on the American Discovery Trail - North Midwest Route. My guess is that it was about 58mi round trip??? I'm glad to finally get one done.

Day 02 has to wait until Monday because of weather and public transit. It's a 73mi route, my flatlander speed needs to be more consistent and there are more hills. With that being said, launching it tonight is outside my capabilities. I should take a day off tomorrow to see how my body handled today's ride?

2014/07/29

Log 2014072901

The weather patterns have been uncooperative. Lightning is forecasted for several days this week and I might have to pull swing shifts and ride in between the storm fronts.

2014/07/28

Log 2014072801

Basecamp A for 2014 is at Hueston Woods SP in Preble County. 

My rig is deficient in a few minor areas, but for the moment, everything is functioning fine. Any kind of signal at Basecamp A is very poor. But there is a wi-fi hotspot about 0.6mi from Basecamp at the nature center.

The camp office is supposed to have one, but a staff member tells me that the T1 line is down and will probably stay that way until later this season.

2014/07/21

Log 2014072101

- I just got the recessed D - hooks installed. They're rated for well in excess of what the trailer can haul.

- This morning, I called the VA medical center in Cleveland and found out that I have an appointment on the 25th. So, that will push my departure for my upcoming recreational trip back by about 22 hours.

2014/07/19

Log 2014071901

- At this time, it's difficult to write new log entries because the car and trailer are being prepped for departure for this upcoming recreational trip.

- As far as I can tell, my Nishiki Colorado mountain bike is running at peak efficiency.  The 3" wide chubbys are mounted on the rims at the moment.  Chubbys are tires that hardly have any tread.  So, they're like road (racing) bike tires, but they're as wide as traditional mountain bike all terrain tires.  The first three days of cycling on the American Discovery Trail in Ohio will be on improved surfaces.

- I just disposed of the rear tire that came stock with the bicycle about 2 years ago.  I damaged the sidewall using a screw driver to dismount the tire & tube. These days, I use two tire levers and they work so quickly and well that I swear by them.  Nonetheless, both front and back knobby (all terrain mountain bike) tires need to be replaced because I don't think that the chubbys have the traction to handle the backcountry roads in Southern Ohio.

- The rear left drum brake system in my 2008 Chevy HHR LS was giving me problems. After the tension bar fell out for a 3rd time, I got a new kit and put it back together.  The problem is that if you unscrew the brake shoe separator too much, the drum won't fit back on, or it will cease.  If you screw it in, the brakes will clear the drum, but a spring that spans from what I like to call the "ear" (which is mounted to the left brake shoe) to a hole on the right shoe.  If the hook of the spring merely sits (and is not tautly clipped inside) within the hole, it will eventually fall out. That in turn will cause the ear and brake separator to fall.  The system will then rely on the "W" clip to force the brake shoes and caliper back, but it's not good enough. Eventually, the contact on one of the brake shoes will come out of the caliper's groove, causing the "W" clip to bring it back cockeyed. The next time you press the brakes, one of the pistons is going to make contact with the misaligned shoe.  And with enough pressure from the master cylinder, it will cause it to come out, bend and break, spewing brake fluid inside the drum and causing the car to loose the ability to brake until the system is entirely out of fluid.

What I did this time was got one of the forks on the separator unscrewed as much as as the drum could handle with out ceasing.  Afterwards, I used the teeth that the tensioner uses with my fingers to expand the separater out more until the the hook in its hole pulled tight.  The drum mounted afterwards,  but the car failed it's next braking test on Seeley Road in LeRoy Township of Lake County while pumping them coming down a hill.  For those of you who don't know, Seeley Road has the steepest hill on a dirt road that also includes two 90° hairpin turns on it, plus a road surface that closely resembles that which the Chevy will be driving on in Southern Ohio in the upcoming weeks.

I was caused to remove the rear left wheel and remount the spring on the shoes in a trailhead before I turned and came back home.  The next day, I went back there to repeat the test, but this time, I didn't pump them.  The spring maintained its mount in the brake shoe hole. But I think I might have a potential problem with the tensioner while pumping the brakes.  Basically, take your left hand and cause your fingers to make the first two bends, but not the third.  Rest your thumb flat on top, but extend your pinky finger completely out.  This is what the tensioner looks like, but it's smaller.  The part that is your pinky finger is what makes contact with the gear teeth that affection the tension of the brake separator.  And the other end of this spring is connected to this "ear" piece somewhere above there.

- Electrical conduit has been installed on my Harbor Freight Tools 4' x 8' Utility Hauling Trailer around as many wires as was feasible.

- A new hole was drilled in the hull of the doughnut/ battery compartment.  I fed the wires for the new trailer lighting harness through them, wired them up and siliconed the remainder of the hole shut.

- A new mount was installed on the bar of my trailer hitch to keep my new outdoor trailer harness in place while I plug, unplug it and tow.

- And in the midst of everything else being done, I've been packing my own personal belonging here at Home Port, transporting them to Storage B and helping my family put my grandparents condo on the market and making runs to the landfill.

2014/07/08

Log 2014070801

I've successfully split the power coming out of my chain driven USB genator.  What i did was purchase a 4-way USB splitter that does not require a supplemental power source.  Then I attached two retractable USB cables and plugged the remaining ports with USB cable attachments (like the ones that come with the retractable cable in a kit).

I did that so the ports would be plugged with something inert (doesn't complete an electrical connection). Afterwards, I used all weather electrical tape and I sealed every connection and exposed metal ends.

The employee at Radio Shack in Mentor of Lake County told me today that the store is getting rid of the rest of their un-supplimentally powered USB hubs and that they plan on discontinuing their stocking of this type product. That's because they're not powerful enough to keep peripherals stable when trying to establish a data connection to a desktop or laptop computer. But when all you need is to split power to multiple devices, they'll do fine. I've used one in the car before.

My smartphone is mounted to my handlebars, whereas; my field GPS is mounted with 3 loose zip ties on the top bar of my bike. One of them is looped around the center column.  I use my belt clip where I secure through one of those, then I use a mesh strap with a spring loaded buckle to tie the bottom of the lower portion of the belt clip. The problem is that the USB retracting cable has an attachment that is placed on the end to make it fit into the field GPS's USB port. Unfortunately, it is way too long to fit between the backside of the GPS and the top bar of the bike. Either one of two things will have to happen. Either I'll find an "L" shaped attachment, or I'll have to cut a new field GPS mount from something like wood and mount it to 1" rubber foam pipe insulation using some zip ties that will allow access to the USB port.

2014/07/07

Log 2014070701

My guess is that about 5 different bike mechanics missed this rear brake cable routing and I found that it was loose just now. They shouldn't have done that. For the brakes and shifters to function at their peak, every cable should be securely fastened to every loop.

I experimented with inflating the tires using an air compressor today. Folks online stated that the tool pressure regulator needs to be set at the bike's desired pressure. And that pressure from gas station air machines are unregulated and are not recommended to fill bicycle tires. 

2014/07/05

Log 2014070502

The Internet with Time Warner Cable has been scheduled to be shut off today at my request.

Log 2014070501

All four new tires installed and an alignment done today at Firestone in Mentor of Lake County on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS. The odometer reads 137,154. One of the Tire Pressure Sensors on the left side was manually reset and the clerk told me that my dashboard warning should clear in a couple days.

But they did find a hair line crack in one of my rear springs. That's bad news. The rear springs were the upgrades that I planned to forego.

Otherwise, I purchased a new intertube to replace my spare.

2014/07/04

Log 2014070402

Fuel Economy Test

Distance: 65.3mi
30.0MPG average
Average speed: 58MPH

The gas gauge is 0.3gal too high. And the malfunction reported in the previous log was due to my 2008 Chevy HHR LS being parked uphill. It cleared and displayed a more correct reading after I drove it for about 8 minutes. When I filled up the car, according to the amount of gasoline I put in it, I determined that it had 4.2gal to begin with. Roughly estimaing, I can determine that the car's computer read-out is displaying the correct data.

Log 2014070401

Fuel Economy Test

Trip: 62.1mi
Estimated fuel usage: fuel gauge believed to be malfunctioning
30.5MPG average
Adverse speed: 58MPH

2014/07/02

Log 2014070201

The oil and it's filter have been changed.  And the milage on the odometer is 136,872mi and the Oil Life Indicator has been reset.

2014/07/01

Log 2014070101

So my E85 experiment was botched because I still have 5qts of dirty motor oil in the car.  But with that oil, I can say that at 65MPH, my 6 year old 2008 Chevy HHR LS was averaging 33MPG, which is right where it should be with regular 87 octane unleaded gasoline (what it's rated for).  I just got off the road about 20 minutes ago and the car is in the garage bay on ramps and cooling off before I attempt to drain the oil pan.

My day started with a 27mi trip to the VA medical center in Cleveland of Cuyahoga County.  Afterwards, I purchased a drill bit extension with a hex end and a 4 flat trailer lighting harness test connector from Harbor Freight in Eastlake of Lake County.  I then realized that I needed to replace all of my metal drill bits and drivers with one's that have hex bottoms.  Harbor Freight didn't have any that came with a case, so I drove down to Sears in Mentor of Lake County and picked some up there.

A couple of days ago, I cut out 8 holes in the trailer's floor for some big recessed hooks that will secure the bins when their transported over the axle.  They're metal D-rings on a 5" square plate.  Well initially, I purchased four of them and forgot where I got them from.  So, I drove to Tractor Supply in Chardon of Geauga County and they didn't have them.  But I did get some steel strips that I plan on cutting down to help brace recessed hook mounts.  Because after cutting the floor, I realized that I made two rows of four holes and the only thing that supports them are little edges of 1" thick ply wood.

I then went to Auto Zone in the same city to see if they had my hooks... and they did not.  But one of their employees gave me a lead on a hardware in Montville Township of Geauga County.  I called them up and found that I had 55 minutes to get there before they closed, so I left Chardon immediately.

When I got to Hemly Hardware Store, I found that not only did they have my other four recessed hooks, but they sold the nuts, bolts and washers by weight.  And they had an assortment of steel, both plates and strips in what I estimate to be a 20' x 30' area.  I told people on Facebook that I "struck gold."  Tractor supply has some steal strips at retail, but this place has much more and at different widths, too.  The other thing that I liked about them is that they had a better selection of metal cutting reciprocating saw blades than Home Depot or Lowes.  They had a box of Diablo's there retailing at $85 on the shelf.  I really wonder what those could do???  As somebody who's still inexperienced with that saw, I was rather impressed with the Diablo's that I currently own that I used to saw through a 17mm bolt head which connected the stabilizer bar link to my front struts and stabilizer bar (itself).  Finally, there's a good assortment of trailer supplies there, too.

Hemly Tool Hardware Store
16445 GAR Hwy
Montville, OH 44064

(440) 968-3717

GAR stands for the Grand Army of the Republic and is routed as US-6.

2014/06/28

Log 2014062802

The DC jack on the Midland WR-100 is 12V and tip positive. I purchased a DC  car power adapter for this unit today and confirm that it works. It will be replacing my former weatherband radio which did not tune well. This one is digital and performs better.

The bad news is that I don't know if a marine head unit would perform better? It would need to have its own GPS, or actively scan for the nearest station and interrupt whatever I'm listening to when a weather emergency occurs. I just haven't found a head unit like this.

Today, I purchased an eyelet to screw in to the tailgate latch plate that will route my paracord so that I have an easier manual release. Also, I purchased some silicone.  The plan is to drill through the hull of the battery and spare tire compartment to run my trailer lighting cable out of the car so that I don't have to slam it in the tailgate door anymore. On the trailer hitch, I'll be installing a mount for it. I also purchased a small flashlight with a key ring small enough to to fit the loop hole on the HHR's manual tailgate release.

All of the trailer lighting connectors that I previously prepared for the tounge, separation point and lighting had to be replaced. I didn't keep track of the color coded wires that I snipped off and thought that they were irrelevant. 

Earlier, I found a set of orange side marker lights that have and actual ground wire.

The drilling is going to require lifting the back end of the car up. The only way to safely do without a lift that on my Chevy HHR LS is to back it up on ramps. So, I got those out of storage today, as well as some hiking gear. Once I get The Cramper's equipment out of there, Storage B will be pretty thin.

Log 2014062801

I did my very best and I hope that this works for others. I just took off the rear interior shielding on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS. The picks shown are of the tailgate release. My screwdriver is on the manual release.

My smartphone was having trouble with the light levels in making these photos. The manual release is a metal piece with an eyelet that is mounted on the driver's side of the tailgate release mechanism. It pushes toward the rear of the car to release the tailgate and is spring loaded. The side of the eyelet has a place, a cut out specifically designed for a flathead screwdriver that when it makes contact, you can push the screwdriver against it and it should pop the gate.

I took the crash shielding off today because I was unable to find it myself with the owner's manual, Haynes, or by help of any Internet forum. Speaking strictly in theory, the eyelet should be barely large enough to get a very small key chain ring on it. I plan on boaring another eyelet to the back of the tailgate release plate. Route some paracord from on eyelet, then through and around the new one so the tailgate releases on a pull string.

My tailgate release seems weak. In warmer weather, it takes about 3 consecutive pushes if the button to pop. In the winter, sometimes it won't come up at all.  It also has problems when I'm carring a heavy load in the back.

2014/06/21

Log 2014062101

The right rear brake was bled, then a new left front wheel bearing, left front shock/ strut assembly and right front fender was installed installed today. I forgot to take a mileage then, but the one I have now is at 136,251 miles on the odometer.  I did forget to rotate the wheels, but if I have to get the tire stems replaced, I might as well have those mechanics do it since they have a lift and are in the neighborhood.  My 2008 Chevy HHR LS requires that they be rotated front to back and back to front.  I did it last time and it can tip if the side on my CUV is jacked up too much.

So, I've done about the maintenance that I have to skills currently to do.  I took it out for about a 10 mile drive on the freeway this morning and everything seems to run as it should.  The brake pedal position seemed to improved and so far the car is taking well to the new DOT 4 brake fluid that I added prior to this drive, but still needs improvement.  If I had to, I'd say that it could handle the roads in southern Ohio, towing a loaded utility hauling trailer as it is.  But I'd like it to be better.

Right now, I have to go find my uncle who knows several mechanics.  They're all friends of the family and have worked on our vehicles many times.  I'll have to give him a list and would like to do that tomorrow.  But tomorrow is Saturday and I have a feeling that I know where he's going to be, which is at his camper in Sandusky of Erie County. He doesn't do text messages very well.  So, I anticipate my day tomorrow as consisting of doing a load of laundry and then spending the weekend out there.

One thing that I was not able to do while I was out was test the car to see if the new air filter would alleviate the problem that starts at 60MPH while trying to accelerate going slightly uphill.  It was raining this morning and was almost flash flood conditions on the freeway today.  So, I will test it some other time.

I don't think that this kind of information is on the web yet, but on the topic of building a teardrop camper on a Harbor Freight 4 x 8 Utility Hauling Trailer in Ohio... In the past, I have learned that there is a way to build a way to do it so that the living amenities slide off so you can still have use of your utility hauling trailer.  When I had my utility hauling trailer titled, I inquired about this and was informed by a Deputy Clerk of Court in Lake County that a "convertible" trailer like this would not be legal in Ohio because the trailer has to be registered one way, or the other... either a utility hauling trailer, or a camper and it can not be both.

2014/06/18

2014/06/17

Log 2014071701

I finished plotting and correcting waypoints for parking areas along the southern sections of the Buckeye Trail.  At this point, I believe that I have all the information necessary to plan the trail.

2014/06/16

Log 2014061602

My Delton X9 Thunder continued to cut out in the wind.  Also, I'm 6'6"/ 198cm and music streaming from two different smartphone's cut out every time I clip them to my belt.  But, they do tend to do better when i strap them to my right arm only, or when my smartphone is on the handlebars on my bicycle mount.

I bought these sometime prior to 13 November 2013 and yesterday, the right channel cut out.  At which time, I performed a power cycle and it still wouldn't come on.  So, in testing the theory that it might just be on a low battery, I charged the device last night and attempted to use it this afternoon with no success... the right channel was still out.  This headset will be discarded today and I'll use wire earbuds for the time being.

After walking to the local Mexican restaurant and drinking a margarita today, I decided that it was not a good idea to resume working on my car.  I don't drink alcohol very much, so I'm a bit of a "light weight."  So, I started working on my bicycle.  With the car on jacks in one bay of the garage and another car and things being moved around on the otherside, making my work space tight, I started working on my bicycle on the back porch instead.  But found at dusk that the lack of light was unfavorable to true my rear rim again.  So, I began to install my double kickstand from bikewagon.com.  But the mounting hardware was incorrect.

The bolts that they sent me were either too small, or too large for my Nishiki Colorado mountain bike.  And the bolt that i had on the previous kickstand was about 1/8" too big.  Lucky for me, I happen to have a spare steel plate handy.  With two pieces cut to a similar size, I'm quite sure that i can make it fit.  But as the stand is kicked up, both wheels retract to one side and that will make it a tight fit considering that it has to miss and ride next to the rear wheel with a knobby tire.  But I think it will mount.

I got the double kickstand because of the new improved, 110lb capasity rear rack.  Standard kickstands with the 25lb capasity rear rack like to tip the bike over.  This double kickstand should lift the rear wheel off of the ground when it's deployed.

Log 2014061601

Today, I broke through the second mounting bolt on the left side stabilizer bar link of my 2008 Chevy HHR LS.  The last time, I burned up a few Diablo blades on the Sawzall and so I was searching for alternatives today.  Yesterday, I mounted the new left side wheel bearing and in preparation to bleed the brakes, I re-mounted the left side caliper and pads.  So my angle to drill it from wasn't as open today as it was before.

I started using a butane torch today, but several minutes in, I remembed something about the stabilizer bar being made out of tempered steel and promptly quit.  Yesterday, I purchased a drill bit extension from Lowe's in Mentor of Lake County.  But to my chagrin, it only extends 3/8ths drill bits and I was very disappointed.  With the Diablo blades on the Sawzall, I was able cut most of the hex off of the bolt.  But because the blade was so wide, it left a sliver of the hex still on there.  So, I mounted a metal cutting blade of standard width and was able to slice it off without damaging the stabilizer bar.

Afterwards, I took off the right fender.  It was just a series of bolts.  But to my chagrin, the after market replacement fender came with it's own eye socket wielded to it.  Now, I have an extra.  But the replacement didn't come with any insulation.  I'm thinking that I might be able to reuse the one from the old fender.  As for installing, I've decided that I'm going to "sleep on it."  Considering the amount of bolts it and the under shielding has, I'm wondering if that is going to be a mistake?

I was about the bleed the left front caliper solo today, but didn't have a clear tube big enough to fit around the bleeding nut.  And I'm concerned about no doing it right, so either I need a vacuum bleeding kit, or I should just task it out to the mechanic?  I think I'm going to go with the latter. Because right now, I'm at a loss as to where the manual transaxle "check/fill" nut is.  I think its to the left of the fuse block and has a hex key that is identical to the drain plug.

With all that being said, there'a bald spot on the table where I layout all of my new auto parts now.

2014/06/13

Log 2014061301

I bled the right rear brake line today and moved to the front left wheel afterwards. The new shock & strut was mounted in the shock housing, but remains unfolded at this time as I'm working on that side's wheel bearing, too. I was able to dismount it, unlike last time where I gave up and had the mechanic do it. Basically, with the strut/ shock dismounted from the wheel bearing, I was able to push back the axle, turn it downward and I started beating it with a metal claw hammer until it fell out.

I just now discovered that the auto parts store sold me an ABS replacement wheel bearing. My car does not have ABS and the product that they gave me is not compatible with my car. So, I'll be making a return later today.

Right now, while I'm down there, just like the other side, I have to install another stabilizer bar link there, too. Well, just recently, I picked up some Diablo Steel Demon blades for my Sawzall.  And so far, they work impressively well. It cut through the stabilizer bar link "in no time flat." But I'm not done cutting the inside nut and bolt that is attached to the stabilizer bar.

There's not a lot of room to work with and things are kinda crampt working with the Sawzall in that wheel well.  In the future, I anticipate that this part of the job will take at least 45 minutes and 4 of the before mentioned Diablo blades.

Sawzall blades get really hot when cutting metal. I learned on the Internet to use a spray bottle of water to cool the blade and surface being cut. Bleeding the brakes and changing the manual tranmission still remain on my task list for this wheel. Other than that, work on the left rear wheel and front right wheels still remain as well as a tire rotation.

For the record... my touring tires that are on the car should last until it's at 204,000 miles.

2014/06/12

Log 2014061202

My Roswheel Rear carrier bag for my mountain bike came in today from Hong Kong via USPS.

Log 2014061201

So, my brother came over to assist me with bleeding my brakes. But as indicated in a previous log, I didn't have the right wrench to open the bleeding nut on my Chevy HHR's. So, I moved on to smaller items and replaced the air filter and the one in the cabin instead.

The current milage on the car today is 136,231mi.

I purchased two more wheel chalks for about $4 each at Walmart in Mentor of Lake County. 

I purchased new screws to bore into my manual transmission shaft and finally hold my after market T shifter in.

Earlier this evening, I cyphoned the old brake fluid out of the master cylinder and replaced it with new DOT 4 fluid. But at this time, the air in my brake lines has not been bled yet.

I purchased new clear hose that will fit around my brake caliper bleeder nuts. The other end of the hose will be inserted in a modified Gatorade bottle and I'm hoping that I'll be able to observe their stream by sticking my head out of the window or watching in my rear view mirrors as I pump the pedal from the driver's seat.

I have my repair strategy laid out in my "Construction" task list tomorrow because each brake caliper has to be bled one at a time, while some of the wheel sites have other tasks to perform there as well.

2014/06/11

Log 2014061101

The brake bleeder valve bolt on the rear drum brake caliper requires a 5/16ths wrench. The metric equivalent is not precise enough and will round it. So today, I purchased a new 1/4" and 5/16" SAE wrenches from Lowe's in Mentor of Lake County for about $5 each.

2014/06/10

Log 2014061001

I installed the new 5/8 trailer hitch pins in the rail mounts. They're snug and do the trick better than the 3/8 bolts that I was previously using.

At this time, I don't believe that the rails need to be redesigned. 

The company that sold me the rim for my full size spare, gave me one with a four hole pattern, instead of a five.  Today, they sent me a return label and I dropped it off at the UPS store for an exchange. They told me that as soon as they get confirmation of it being shipped, they'll send out the replacement. But the spare tire apparatus is mounted to the trailer now and is awaiting that wheel.

At this time,  I know that the castor wheels on the utility hauling trailer need to be replaced with larger ones.

Recently, a new Sawzall, jigsaw and 1/2" corded electric drill was procured. I was unable to get the previous nose off of my former corded drill so I could switch it from 3/8" to 1/2". After taking the Sawzall to it in attempt to destroy half of the nose,  I found that I couldn't break through the metal center to lop it off, so I ended up going to Lowe's in Mentor of Lake County and purchasing a superior Skil unit with a rotating second handle. It was necessary to support my new 5/8ths metal and wood drill bit that I needed to bore out the trailer hitch pin holes that mount the rails where it had used 3/8ths before.

Right now, there are a bunch of items being shipped that are late. The new rear rack bicycle bag is one of them. That part of the bike is already tore down and awaiting their arrivial.

Right now, the new detachable wiring harnasses for the trailer's underside deck  separation and rear lights quick wiring bypass are cut and ready to be installed.

Today, I ordered 2 sets of rubber trekking pole bottoms. I purchased them for about $7.50 a pair on Amazon.com.

2014/06/07

Log 2014060701

I repadded my cycling helmet today. And the SC Delco manual transaxle fluid for my car came in the mail today. Otherwise, I took my utility hauling trailer to my relatives house today and loaded up some yard waste, but with the license plate light still being out, it was too late to haul it to the recycler.

My automotive repair tasks have been prioritized. And I just started the list for the trailer rails upgrade. I found that the back door would have to be 48in tall to act as a ramp itself.  That is unacceptable because it would be taller than the car and act as a wall when the caravan is in motion.  I, instead, opted to build the rails to 3ft tall and install slots on the outsides so that they transport four ramps of 1" x 6" that are 6' long. They'll have slots on the back door and together, they should make a 6' ramp. The tool bay has wheels. And it's the heaviest thing that I transport. It's probably over 300lbs and is the hardest thing to load and unload.  Last year, I avoided doing it at all costs.

I wanted to get some front bars mounted like you would see on the front of a police interceptor.  If it's legal, I could mount a 5,000lb wench.  My Chevy HHR and trailer are about 4,600lbs together and if I ever got stuck, I could just get myself out. But finding this for a car, and not a truck is difficult. So, these items are not essential to me at the moment are a "would be nice" item.

2014/06/06

Log 2014070602

Last year, I mounted my large gear and tool bays along the front and side rails if my utility hauling trailer because I wanted their weight to rely more on the car's rear suspension. But in all that time, I questioned whether that was the right decision, especially since I've recently done some work on the car's springs and struts.

This year, I plan to relocate those bins so they sit directly over the trailer's axle.  Well, strapping them over the trailer width wise like I always have isn't a problem. But, doing it length wise is now.

There's two problems when mounting there. First is that I'd have to use towing steps over the top of the bins that would reach around and hook to the bottom of the frame. That would interfere with the proper packing of the trailer. 

The other thing is that I could install hooks, but since the back rails are being redesigned to function as a ramp, specifically for the bins (they're heavy and have wheels. Standard hooks would I'm peas the bind and defeat the purpose of the new rear door.

So, I purchased some new recessed hooks. Special holes in the trailer's floor will need to be cut out in order to mount them.

Log 2014060601

Last year, I did an adequate job wiring my 1195 Lb. Capacity Heavy Duty Folding Utility Trailer that I purchased from Harbor Freight Tools.  But I left it's wires drooping in anticipation that I was going to fold it someday.  Well, when I placed it in storage, while folding it, I taunt and stretched the wires.  With all of the wire shorting problems that I've had between the trailer and car, I don't dare trust them again.  So, the trailer needs to be rewired.
But I got to thinking this evening that there's no way to do this right when folding without having some kind of separation.  Last year, I probably played around with using some kind of bullets.  But as I understand, those are usually designed for wires typically used in model aircraft and small RC cars.  I never found one that could interface to a 6 gauge battery cable so that my marine battery on the trailer could charge on the trailer while it's in motion.

So, what purchased today from Walmart in Mentor of Lake County are 5 - trailer extension wiring that have both a male and female ends for a 4 flat connection.  I intend to use the first two at the midsection and the others at the trailer's taillights. That will give me the separation that I need.  And the midsection connections should be rugged enough to stay connected and not accidentally ground to the frame.

Since my floor is wood, I also purchased some mounting brackets that one would use in a house to pin coaxial cable to a base board.  I plan on tacking that up under the trailer to hold my wires so that they don't sag.  The connectors at the taillights are there for diagnostic and by-pass purposes.  If I'm down trail, I may not be readily able to diagnose, by-pass, or re-wire the main lines.  With these new connectors, I can run a temporary by-pass on top of the floor and have full running lights in the meantime.

On a seperate note... I applied this year's sticker on the trailer's license plate today.  The temporary by-pass lighting was mounted to the rear rails.  But I discovered that the left turn signal wasn't working.  I tested them two days ago and found that both worked.  Therefore, there is a short in the car at the location where the hitch wiring was installed.

Leaving the Storage B, there wasn't any issues with the trailer linking up to the car or while driving.  While at the gas station, they didn't have any alkaline AAA batteries, so I reluctantly purchased some lithium ion's instead.  With the main taillights out, they were for a headlamp that I wrapped around one of the taillights that serves as the license plate light as well.  The headlamp is for people who go in caves, or hikers.  But it has an elastic band that I mounted to the taillight so it would illuminate the license plate.

2014/06/05

Log 2014060502

My spare rim, tire and 8800mA laptop battery arrived one day ahead of schedule.

2014/05/14

Log 2014051401

I submitted a TXT file to the Buckeye Trail Association's Facebook group regarding Townships, villages and cities that are on the route of the circuit.  Much of the data was compiled using county maps that displayed townships and incorporated areas on the Wikipedia page for each county.  Those images were overlaid and resized to fit the county boundaries on Google Earth.

This project was completed because the OTHR's cost analysis relies on property ownership data in Putnam, Paulding and Defiance Counties that is unknown.  In order to get that information, I'll have to consult with the county engineer offices to make that determination.  Right now, as far as I can tell, nobody in the BTA is sure about where on the Miami & Erie Canal Heel & Towpath trailside camping is permitted?  And that's because Buckeye has the right to pass on some portions that the state doesn't have ownership of.  Where it doesn't, camping is up to the owner.

In these areas, if the hiker can not trailside camp, then there may not be any other commercial amenities in range.  And this is an area of the circuit that is without transit, probably it's biggest gap.  I predict that there will opportunities to trailside camp within OTHR's 24.9mi limit for distance hikers.  But right now, camping on this heel/ towpath outside of the designated limits for the Miami & Erie State Trail was brought up on Facebook over a year ago and there still isn't any resolution on it.  And that's probably because nobody's had the time to drive out there and consult those public records yet.  Looks like I'll be the first.

2014/05/12

Log 2014051201

I drove my car down to the Cuyahoga National Forest today to acquire a free map at Happy Days Camp.  On my way back, I stopped at a local gas station and just before I got out of the car, the emergency sound played on my smartphone Weatherbug Elite app, alerting me that I was in an area declared to be in a tornado warning.  The gas station clerks quickly shut down the station and reluctantly, I had to drive another 3 miles in to the nearby City of Hudson.  I stopped at a local McDonald's to prepare to take shelter.

The point that I want to make is that I was rather impressed with the way that app worked under the circumstances.  My AM/FM head unit wasn't on at the time.  Also, I got emergency text alerts from Verizon Wireless as well.  Weatherbug played the emergency weather sound again when the app changed over to another county.  That's something that the text alerts didn't do, but they probably work on a much wider area, whereas, the app goes from the nearest weather station to the next one based on my GPS position.

They are probably more frequent, but I'm not sure if that makes the text alerts inferior?  Right now, I'm going to reserve judgment on that.  Weatherbug is inferior to the text in the way that I won't get its updates if I don't have any data signal.  But the texts will come in if I have so much as one unstable bar of roaming.  As for today, it's good to see this get a test.  It wasn't even on my list of things to experiment with and I'm glad it happened.

My back sprain continues to become more minor

2014/05/08

Log 2014051801

I'm still learning how to use my "Keep Screen On Free" app on my smartphone that I downloaded from the Google Play store for Android.  It has a selectable feature that allows me to keep the screen jammed on until I turn it off (with the power button). Well, I've been having problems as the screen has been shutting off while I thought the jammer was engaged. But I think the problem is on its "OK" button.  It's there to confirm the setting and have it take effect, like an "Apply" button on an IBM Based PC.

What's confusing is that this is an Android smartphone and with other apps, this isn't done anywhere else.

So, I'm on my way to Waterville of Lucas County to get a set of coordinates for a bus stop on T LTA (TARTA) HFR 24 & FR 24X.

Log 2014050701

Two new rear struts were installed on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS. But, they didn't need to be replaced. So, I saved the old ones in case I need them in the future.  But the procedure to get the springs off required dismantling two brake lines and I don't know enough yet about bleeding the brakes to attempt that at the moment. Right now, I plan on adding the springs to my mechanic's list of things to do.

The new passenger's side eye was mounted. But due to my prior collision, the beam is way too low. So,  I know that I need a new eye, too.

The passenger's front side strut and shock was installed.  But, I forgot to remove and install the driver's side unit.

The mileage on the dashboard was 134,304 miles when I finished and bolted everything up. Then I took it for a drive.

The car tends to hold the road straighter by itself now. And the ride is quieter.  But pictured here is my aftermarket roof rack. I've never had it mounted so far forward before. Well, I got on the interstate and it started whistling right around 65MPH. So, I got off at a rest stop and cranked it's steps down more, got on the interstate and it started whistling again.  When I got back to home port and looked at it, it showed signs that the wind shear was going between the car and the cage. And the mounting struts looked like it was trying rip the cage right off the car. If it was further back, it wouldn't make this noise.

At the moment, there didn't appear to any noticeable drop in fuel economy, which I found to be odd.

2014/05/04

Log 2014050401

This is the second day that I've flared up a tendon in my right bicept while working on the car.  This time, I'm unable to ignore it.

Log 2014050401

My data usage with Verizon Wireless reset this morning.

Pictured here is one bolt and nuts that was snapped off one of the stabilizer bar link mounts. With the 17mm damaged nut socket freed of the previous bolt and nut, I just snapped this one off like I did the last.

The passenger's side strut/ shock mount installation was completed yesterday.  Everything went back together as it should.  The new headlamp harness was hard wired in and it works. But I noticed when working with the new eagle eye, that there was more damage to the outer hull than I previously estimated.  It looks like it will need an eye socket replacement.  The good news is that it's still a part of the outer hull. And there isn't any damage to the HHR's inner hull, or frame.

2014/05/02

Log 2014050201

The last week has been eventful.  I torqued off a bolt on the passenger's side stabilizer bar link with a 18mm wrench, breaker bar and 17mm damaged nut socket.  When I did the first one, I snapped the bolt and nut flesh against the stabilizer bar mount.  When that happened, the socket cut into the corroded nut and ceased inside, making its removal seem impossible.  Even a long screw driver and hammer wouldn't get it out. 

So, I took to drilling it and smoked the bit.  That barely took 1mm off the surface of it.  For the next one, I resorted to using the sawzall.  But either my speed was too high, or the blades I was using just weren't meant to cut through metal that dense?

Well, I bought a tool from Sears in Mentor of Lake County that popped that nut and bolt right out of the damaged nut socket.  So if it keeps this up, I'll just twist and snap those other three bolts.  That's fine with me.

This is how I see the rest of this suspension upgrade and light harness replacement going... The light harness is going to crimp on after I cut the old one out. The new eagle eye will bolt in, I know where one of them is at and have to find the other.  Tomorrow, I'll torque off the second bolt for the passenger's side stabilizer bar link.  Once that's out of the way, the new link can go on and the passenger's side strut  

The headphones that I got stock with my Samsung Note 3 smartphone started shocking me in the ear canal one day.  So, I purchased a new pair of Sony Stereo Headset DR-EX12iP for about $28 from Walmart in Mentor of Lake County today.  And I really like the way they sound.  I put down more money than usual on earphones because sometimes you can buy some that sound like your state of the art smartphone MP3 is an AM radio.  Anyways, I needed mine to have a built in microphone for when I make, or receive calls.  But Sony's built in volume control doesn't work with my Android device.

Yesterday, I dropped my Note 3 in a toilet full of feces while I was out shopping.  When I pulled it out, the back light came on and it seemed that it still worked.  So, I took it apart and washed it down with soap and small amounts of water. Put it back together and purchased some 91% isopropyl alcohol.  Where I got back to the place that I'm house sitting, took it back apart and rubbed it down with Q-Tips.  Then I put it all back together and realized that it didn't work anymore.

A couple hours later, I called Verizon asking what my options where and the operator put me through to my insurance provider, Asurion. I can't say for sure, but I've probably had insurance on my smartphones ever since 2009.  And Asurion has never been a bad company to deal with.  But this time they impressed me.  I order a lot of things on line and 5 - 7 days with shipping is fine with me.  But for my $99 deductible that I had to pay, they overnighted my replacement Note 3 to my doorstep, which I thought was very fast. It exceeded my expectations. The damaged phone will leave Lake County tomorrow via USPS. 

I spend much of today programming the new Note 3 so that the apps and screens looked something like it's predecessor. 

The bicycle now has a USB 3.0 cable attached to the generator.  I tested it for about a mile today and the warning that usually comes up when I plug a USB 2.0 cable into it stating that it's charging slowly no longer comes up.

In the past few days, I submitted KML data to the Buckeye Trail's Facebook Group Files on parking areas along The Emerald Necklace (Cleveland), Ohio & Erie Canal and Ohio to Erie Trails.