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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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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


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.


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.