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Log 2014092701

As the webmaster of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource with my own paid domain name, my e-mail address is 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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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...