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Log 2014013003

I checked in at the Hueston Woods Lodge & Confrence Center at about 1745hrs today. And on the way in, I spotted a hunter in artic camo, who was carrying a compound bow, which was also camouflaged. And I didn't bring my orange vest... that is in storage.  So, I took a trip to Super Walmart today and got a 47L orange rucksack and some hardware to help me mount my snow shoes in case I have to take them off in mid-hike tomorrow.
When I got back, I got my Hueston Woods State Park map and and "got the itch." I'm down here because I'm on a mapping mission. I own the American Discovery Trail's GPS Data for Ohio & Kentucky. But it's only waypoint data and it didn't give me enough to write a track for its route in Hueston Woods SP.
The trails depicted in Ohio State Park maps are sometimes imprecise.  So, I knew that this was going to be an adventure. Well my adventure started with parking the HHR in an icy, downhill parking lot.  Because I knew that I'd never get it out of there, so I put my hazard lights one and parked on a spot of visable pavement on a kola-sac in a way that would give me enough traction and a straight enough shot to get back up hill (also on a slick) and out there.
On foot, it was night.  And my last optometry exam came up a perfect 20/20 for the first time since I was 15 years old. I didn't use a flash light, but my natural night vision was just as perfect.  But American Discovery isn't marked like the Buckeye, or North Country Trails.  They don't use painted blazes.  Instead, they use their logo, which is shaped like an arrowhead and it points you where to go from one intersection to another.
Well, some of those stickers are old.  And one did not point correctly.  Also, the trail is routed through a birding area and I was following a lot of dead ends, looking to see if it continued on, but was lesser maintained?  My goal was to map the ADT from Hueston's archery range to the trail's last known (to me) on-road position at the state highway to the south of the park. I now have enough data to start writing the GPS track when I get back home. Tomorrow, I'll map the remaining trail.
Meanwhile, a passing hiker called my car in as suspicious.  When the ranger got there, they also found it suspicious.  And they called in back-up from the local police department to help look for me in the forest.  Also, meanwhile, they put a call in to the Lake County Sheriff's Department, who apparently told my parents that I might be missing.
To those who read this... the one thing you should never, ever, ever do is give your family any more reason to worry than they already do.  When the ranger told me that they got the deputy in Lake County to knock on their door, I thought "OMG... I just confirmed somebodies worst hypothetical scenario regarding me."
I can prevent this next time by leaving a letter in a plastic Ziploc bag pinned to my windshield that explains what I was doing and why the car was there.  Normally, this procedure is only necessary when parking on-road. With the hazard light and the slippery, unmaintained state park road, I'd of thought it'd be natural that it looked like I was going to attempt to make it back up the hill again.  The ice is so thick in that parking lot along the hill side, that I would have needed studded tires to get out of it.
But the ranger and officers seemed like they were following sensible, and probably standard procedures. When was approaching my car, there were 3 cars parked.  And there were flashlights beaming around the woods.  When I got closer, I could see that they were police interceptors and that's when I realized that they were looking for me. 
I think there was a time before the flashlights that I thought that I arrived just in time for them to tow the Chevy to the impound??? Considering what happened today, I think I wish they did. A 20 mile hike and $193 later, I'd have my car back and I'd be back in Lake County like nothing happened. What happens in Oxford, stays in Oxford. But apparently not.
Out of everything that I've ever been taught in the last 4 years, my experience could not have made this better. This type of lesson is so exceptional. I've never heard of this happening, but I've never heard of anybody having to park like I did.  And this is probably my 4th encounter with law enforcement so far. In fact, I think that a buddy of mine has used one of them in his trail presentations that he gives before the public.
On another note, I will say this... this lodge is the nicest lodging establishment that I've ever stayed in.  I got it for $78 a night. It's on the 2nd floor with a balcony overlooking Acton Lake, which is completely frozen right now.


Log 2014013002

The odometer reads at 132,370 miles.  I'm at Bob Evans in Eaton of Preble having dinner now. The trip so far has been 258 miles.  And my Chevy HHR drove that on about 10 gallons of gasoline. The odometer was reading about 29.5 miles per gallon, but that was after I reset the computer just after I-70 & the Columbus Outerbelt.

The drive here while on I-71 was rough. There were motorist who weren't doing the same speeds and the truckers were aggressive out there.  And I think the computer was reading about 26.5 MPG.  I'll also bet that I-71 from Cleveland to Columbus is mostly uphill.

Log 2014013001

Leaving Concord for Hueston Woods SP.


Log 2014012901

I acquired a new 57 piece first aid kit.  But the manufacturer stated that at the time of production, that they were out of sunscreen lotion and gave me a phone number to call to get some.  Then I got a second whistle/ compass/ thermometer combo unit.  Finally, I picked up a set of 3 nylon men's dress socks.  But their not smooth, rather their lined and I'm not certain these are going to work like the others have.

Nylon mens dress socks can be used as a layer.  They'd be donned over my boot socks in the event that I already have my polypro thicks on.


Log 2014012201

I just checked the cans that were made on 09 January 2014. The chili is still holding up with no popped lids. I ate one a couple days ago and there wasn't any loss in quality that I can tell. On that batch, I used Mexican peppers and should have cut off the stems.
Today, I'm canning pork. This is my second attempt, but the first with the pressure cooker. The water bathed ones didn't last. Between that and chicken, I believe that I lost 11 cans to contamination?


Log 2014012101

I merged the track segments for 3 of Buckeye's 26 sections.  It took 10 hours, but that was with errors and learning.  But also, these are northern sections.  There are a lot more track segments in the southern ones. I recorded this to help me plan my addenda for the next couple weeks.  Informs you/ keeps my records... one log does it all.

And I experimented with the pen tablet today.  It has some customizable controls that I should probably configure some more.  The pad's intensity should probably be decreased.  And I've been using my new wireless keyboard/ touchpad.  I discovered that the table that I'm using for the pen tablet puts me at considerable distance from the laptop.  The only problem is that the right shift key is small and is to the right of the up key.  When I go to type a file name in a "Save As" dialogue, I reach for the shift, but press the up.  And since I work with similar file names, one of the other files comes up and I have to stop myself from pressing "enter" and overtaking another file.  It's not my favorite keyboard.


Log 2014012001

A Logitech K400r wireless keyboard and touchpad was purchased yesterday from Micro Center in Mayfield Heights of Cuyahoga County and installed to my laptop today.  It replaces the former wireless keyboard that was believed to have gone missing at Mary Jane Thurston State Park on the previous project. 

Now that I just got my record keeping done, I can tell everyone else that a wireless keyboard is used as a remote control.  Often, my head and the laptop are at opposite ends of The Cramper's 2nd - 4th compartments.

When you look at The Cramper from the side, it has four compartments.  1st is the Drive Compartment with the front seats.  The second is where the back doors are, with the third being at the rear windows.  And the fourth is only used when The Cramper is in "camping mode" and that is where the expansion floor is exposed from the car, as well as the walls and canvas cover.


Log 2014011901

Pork chops started brining and were placed in the refrigerator at 2120hrs. Instructions state that they a should marinade for 24 to 36 hours.


Log 2014011601

I was supposed to get some brining supplies and meat today for canning tomorrow. But, I'll have to reschedule that for Sunday.
I'm performing maintenance on my laptop, so I don't think I'll be doing any mapping today.  Yesterday, I procured maps for the Ohio to Erie Trail for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource, but I'm not sure when I'll ever get to cover that in person?
A new AAA app was installed on my smartphone. I've been a AAA member for about the last 4 years now. Recently, they sent me a member services guide on paper.  I attempted to look for on offline PDF copy, but I couldn't find one... So, I settled for the app even though it won't work in remote areas.


Log 2014010801

This is what I have left in Ohio.

dark blue- This is what's been done on the Buckeye circuit and North Country Trails in Ohio since 28 October 2009.  I don't know for sure what my total mileage is in state so far, but I'd estimate that I'm at 1,290 miles, with an additional 625 more miles done out of state.

red- These are the independent stems of the multipurpose, cross country American Discovery Trail, which I have yet to traverse and plan on doing them on my mountain bike.  I'm estimating that they'll take about 2 days to complete. 

LIGHT BLUE-  This is what I have remaining of the Buckeye Trail

All together, I estimate my remaining trail distance to be about 470 accredited miles, with 129 of it on bicycle. By accredited, I mean mileage that I can claim towards a patch, or completion, and does not include loops that I must take to get back to my car, or bicycle... those are additional.

Usually, I schedule for 20 mile days.  But my 56 mile hike and bike last October (I guess) reveled my true talents and I should be able to push my daily limit up towards 30 miles per day with up to an additional 20 miles on bicycle.  I still have to get up in the next morning and perform.  In other words, I might be able to hike 30 and bike 20, but it might not get me back to The Cramper in time to get enough sleep?

Independent of the Buckeye Trail, the American Discovery in Ohio takes place on improved surfaces, most of those are roads, except in Hueston Woods State Park.  In the southeast, the ride from Parkersburg, WV to Chesterhill of Morgan County travels through Appalachia. I'm anticipating that it will be a difficult day.  Anytime you start at the flats on the Ohio River and head inland always is. And the elevation profile states that if I did the trip in reverse, that it wouldn't make much difference.


Log 2014010701

What I'm about to write is not exactly Facebook worthy.  It's difficult to describe what I'm doing these days.  And it's all a part of my "master plan." Basically, things change with transit in Ohio and I'm usually not aware of it until I scan through their websites.  The Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource should be updated once annually.  This year, I have a special treat. now has an option to merge track segments.  Also, Google Maps - MyMaps has been redesigned.

Then, the Buckeye Trail Association released their centerline track data, but it comes in hundreds of track segments and my GPS's operating system will only reads about 25.  So, I'm working on merging as much as I can to get the number of track segments down.  But this merging isn't without it's problems.  Sometimes a mysterious track connects with another track, causing a triangle.  My best guess is that one of the affected segments is was recorded in the opposite order and it needs to have the coordinates in its XML language flipped around?  Another possibility that comes to mind is that the web page that I'm using just has certain limitations?

There's the impending hiking trip coming up.  There's no telling what condition it will be in.  If the blazing isn't perfect, I learned on my last hike that having a good GPS track will help out a lot.  And so, I come full circle on needing those tracks.

So basically, there's 1700 miles of major hiking trails in Ohio and it's going to take a long time to get them just right. 

So, the master plan goes like this...

1. Settle in to my new living arrangement (check, it's done)
2. Save money
3. Update the transit hiking website (in progress)
4. Prepare my gear and make retrofits if necessary (the utility hauling trailer needs to be re-wired)
5. depart for Stockport Section, Pt. 3, which is Campground H of the American Electric Power"s ReCreation Land and start my hike when the weather breaks.

The problem with hiking now is The Cramper.  It's heating systems have never been tested in the cold, let alone a polar vortex.  And even though I just replaced the rear struts, they were cheap.  And even the slightest load in the tailgate makes the back end dip.  Which makes the front look higher and the HHR is front wheel drive.  Another thing is what if it snows?  I may have to camp somewhere on an unimproved road.  Some of those are dirt, gravel, 1 1/2 lanes wide with edges for which there are no metal barriers.  Sometimes the HHR drives like the Cobalt, while others its more like the Tahoe.  There's no telling what it might be like if I was trying to brake down hill while pulling an extra 40% of the Chevy's weight.

With that being said, while parking near state highways might be an option, I still have to pre-position the bicycle, or retrieve it from somewhere.

On another note, my back seems to be getting better.  Today is day 62.  I flared it up just a little bit while taking my brother's dog for a walk a couple days ago.


Log 2014010901

The Pressure canner needs to have it's #8 O-ring replaced before each canning session. I tried to re-use one, but it was warped and was leaking pressure from the pressure guage hole.
Today, I made chili with 3.77lbs of ground beef.  Right now, I'm trying to hold 10psi of pressure and it's doing that with a 4 setting on the flat range top.


Log 2014010601

I received a letter in the snail mail today from my cellular provider.  And in it, they stated that they performed an account review and had noticed that I was exceeding my data roaming limit.  Considering that I've been at home port in Painesville of Lake County for the last 67 days with regular voice service and 4G data and in that time, I only put about 1,000 miles on my 2008 Chevy HHR, I would have to conclude that they were in reference to my extended time while on hiking/ maintenance for the Buckeye Trail.  And I could only imagine that this excessive data roaming was accrued while using Google Maps and my turn-by-turn navigation moving from one place to another and finding amenities.  I tried to get in contact with their Roaming Compliance Department in their last operating hour today, but there was no response. 

On my smartphone, there's five bars that indicate regular voice service.  When the unit goes in to voice roaming, there's a little icon and the bars start over for that.  As for 4G, I only get that signal in major markets, like the Cleveland area.  The rest is 3G service.  But when the unit goes into data roaming, there isn't an icon.  You would have to roughly assume that the data roaming service area is similar to the voice roaming area.  But I know for a fact that they are not exact.  Sprint has online maps that detail these areas, but I would have to download an offline copy for what I do, but I don't believe that is available.  If I had an offline copy, I could upload it to Google Earth on the laptop that I carry on these trips to reference and know when I need to get paper directions.

So, I'm starting to formulate alternatives.  One is getting paper directions like I mentioned.

- Purchase a automotive GPS, which would work with satellites instead of cell phone towers and be more reliable in more places.

- Purchase and install a smaller a CDMA repeater in the car so my smartphone can get regular data services in more places.

- Change my cellphone carrier to Verizon if their services suit my needs in regards to data roaming.

But what I'm really hoping for is a special package that I can add on.  What does a cross country trucker do?

So far today, the air temperature was -13°F at home port.  At -7°F, my 2008 Chevy HHR had a difficult time starting.  It rained yesterday and froze on what was already hard packed snow... So, the Chevy did not move at all today.  And the already weak tailgate release would not power up when actuated.

This morning was the first in last 64 days that I didn't notice my back ache.  And considering that I tried pushing the HHR into a place where it might get some traction today, I still don't notice it.  Depending on how I sit, I can still feel, but barely.

My personal task list is dwindling down as I've completed a bunch of items.  The biggest hurdle now is I need to get about 45 days worth of pressure canning done before I can sit down and work on the 2014 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource.  That's January's main task.  In February, I need to start getting The Cramper's materials ready for when the weather breaks in Southern Ohio.

The next recreational series will tentatively start in the City of Parkersburg, West Virginia.  The plan is to bicycle to the Village of Chesterhill in Morgan County on the American Discovery Trail (ADT) in Southeast Ohio.  It's about a 31 mile ride.  At Chesterhill, the ADT will run concurrent with the Buckeye/ North Country Trail across the south.  I have the BT/ NCT/ ADT already completed from the Village of Mount Orab in Brown County to Eden Park in the City of Cincinnati. 

After the ride from Parkersburg to Chesterhill, I'll need to drive across the state to Cincinnati.  The 6,800 mile ADT is kind of peculiar in that it's mostly a straight line... until it reaches Greater Cincinnati.  That's when the trail splits into a loop.  The south side goes to Saint Louis, Missouri and the north goes to Chicago, Ill.  They rejoin near Denver, Colorado. 

I'll have to find a parking spot for the car and use public transit.  Before hand, I'll have to get a bike box from Amtrak (because there's are better) and use it to board the Greyhound to Richmond, Indiana.  Richmond is on the Indiana/ Ohio State Line and I'd cycle south on ADT's north side, while managing to divert and pick up about 2.5 miles of the south side.  And then, I'll turn around and clip through Northern Kentucky before reentering Ohio in Downtown Cincinnati, end at Eden Park and then pick up my car.  That ride is about 45 miles long. 

Within Ohio, cleaning up the ADT independant of the Buckeye Trail, I'll line myself up to hike about 350 miles from Chesterhill of Morgan County to Mount Orab of Brown County.  When I finish at Mount Orab (which this location is tentative), I will have completed the Buckeye Trail and be eligible for the Circuit Hike Patch.  Also, I'll be eligible for the North Country Trail's "Ohio" state patch.  The ADT doesn't have a state patch, all I really want to say that I've completed every major trail in Ohio.  And should I wish to hike, or bike across it, I'll be well on my way with having Ohio completed.

In other words, cleaning up a few minor ends will allow me to clean up and finish everything on one course while the three trails are running concurrent with each other on the same route.  That's my "plan of attack."


Log 2014010501

So, I'm spending the winter back in home port. So far, I've been nursing a mild back injury for the last 66 days, or 9 weeks so far. In acclimating to life back home, I succumbed to a mild depression.
I purchased a Dean Exotica 4 string acoustic bass. Today, I purchased micro fiber cloths for it, my Yahama 6 string acoustic and my 12 string guitars. I'm not so sure, but I think I'll be bringing the bass with me next time.
A bottle fantastik Scrubbing Bubbles Heavy Duty All Purpose Cleaner was purchased today. It claims that it can kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria.  I need it because the kitchen sink here at home port is made of something black and I can't use bleach to clean it.  Its essential that the sink and counter tops get as close to sterilized as possible or I could have bacteria growth in my cans.

Most of my manuals are on some kind of computerized format on my tablet. Recently, the tablet bricked a 32GB microSD card.  And I wanted to replace it with today's maximum of a 256GB unit, but the 64GB was the highest capacity either in person in a store, or online... So, I purchased a 64GB microSDXC card. And chances are that a manual was stored on that bricked card and until I pack up for another trip, I probably won't know what I lost.

I'm performing a manual backup of documents and some media on my laptop, tablet and smartphone. This task has been added to my home port procedure.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) has been established on said devices.

One diversion that I have are my Star Trek video games. One was built for Windows 98 and the other was on XP. They play great on my server, which runs Vista and is in storage right now.  But, my laptop runs Windows 8 and its new Aero desktop doesn't like them. So, I have a full version of Windows XP Professional that I ordered. I'll have to install and dual boot the computer. Right now, I'm hoping that I won't have to install both operating systems.

Right now, I estimate that I have another 24 more days of hiking before I complete the Buckeye Trail and North Country and American Discovery Trails in Ohio. The goal is to be eligible for my patches in the Village of Mt. Orab in Brown County.  Its not a question of will I do it, but more a matter of how? This upcoming mission might not go like the last because there's another option. And I don't plan on choosing until sometime in the 3rd week of February. I don't see myself leaving for southern Ohio until about 2 weeks after the weather breaks.

Also, the nature of the upcoming program is different than the last.  For this coming up, I won't be volunteering for any trail maintenance. That was what consumed the vast majority of my 90-something days that I was out last time.  My hiking was actually quite productive and efficient. I set my 44/56 mile record out there in the most rugged place the Buckeye has in Southeast Ohio. In other words, I "destroyed" it. It shows that the south can't humble me.

At the moment, I'm standing by to make a bicycle donation on Cleveland's westside. Then get my prescriptions filled on the east side. Afterwards, I have oil to recycle and items to take to the landfill. Once that's done, I'll be putting my car in storage and relying on my bicycle and public transit until the weather breaks.