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Log 2015033101

This is advice to the hiking public...

All points mentioned are from the Whipple Section map and guide, October 2010 edition.

Whipple's maintenance was digitally cataloged and as per the most recent off-road inspection, and at the moment, I know exactly where we need work from the desk.  But as always, I'm open to receiving reports about its condition.  The following is just advice.. Overall in for the average speed to hike the section's roughly 15 miles of off-road from the trailhead at C9 to Brooks Road, Whipple scores about average at the moment. However, the advice is that for about the next two weeks (from March 31st, 2015). if you're on the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail, I recommend that you hike faster between Pts. 02 - 03, which is 3.2 miles.  You might be able to sustain between 2.7 - 3.2MPH there.

I'm not sure that I've done this from Whipple's point of view yet.  But it regards public transit in the area.  In Washington County, we have the "Community Action Bus Lines," or just "CABL."  The Whipple Section of the Buckeye Trail (North Country Concurrent) has a New Matamoras/ Macksburg bus that runs on Thursdays only.  It's doesn't have enough of a schedule to be much good for lodging.  But it can help you resupply.

Now, the Village of New Matamoras is what I call "out of range" because it's more than 4.0 miles from BT/ NCT.  However, it is in range at Leith Run via the Scenic River Trail, and Archer's Fork Rd/ C14 & OH-07.  In this area, this bus runs along OH-07 and there are no formal stops, so you when you see something like a white Ford Econoline cut-a-way bus (they actually drive the GM equivalent), just waive your hand in the air and signal the on-coming driver that you'd like to board the vehicle.

From New Matamoras, this bus will make it's scheduled stop at the Washington County Courthouse in Marietta before turning north and going to Macksburg.  In Macksburg, there is a bus shelter on the west side of Main Street that's about 1/3rd of a mile north of the BT/ NCTC.  You have to board and disembark there because this bus uses I-77 on the coming to and from Marietta/ New Matamoras.

There might be a way to use transit in Macksburg to get to a camping amenity  If one hiked clockwise from Road Fork Section, they could overnight in the forest and meet the bus at Archer's Fork Rd near Pt. 2 the next morning on a Thursday and take it all the way to Macksburg.   From there on that day, begin hiking from near Whipple 18 heading counter clockwise (CCW).  Normally, it's only a 4 day hike to reach Archer's Fork Road again.   But this hike has to be precisely timed out and it needs 7 in order to catch the bus and take it back to Macksburg on the next Thursday for a clockwise (CW) hike to the Stockport Section, or take the short cut to the Village of Belle Valley in Noble County.

CABL also has daily fixed route bus routes.  It too is probably a cut-a-way type vehicle, but it runs a regular weekday schedule like a city amenity, except on holidays.  It's one of their Marietta City Routes and it terminates at the Social Security Administration on OH-26, which is about 3 miles away from Whipple 09.  This route can do both re-supply and lodging.  So if your unassisted and you've had your fill with dispersed camping in the forest and your looking forward to a pizza, Marietta awaits you ;-).


Log 2015032901

Today, I moved several items to my relatives house and finally got my 3T jack over to my brothers.  My 2008 Chevy HHR LS is only 1.55T, but the 2T jacks don't always lift it high enough for certain projects.  My other 3T jack has an attachment with adjustable arms and pads that can lift two wheels off of the ground at once.  When the tires need to be rotated on the HHR, they go back to front and front to back.  And the only way to change them safely (that I know of) is either with a garage lift, or a jack with this attachment. The Chevy has limited places to lift it and the "T" attachment barely does the job.

The Cramper's shell, expandable floor and twin size memory foam mattress is also at a relatives house and need to be moved.  But I discovered that the garage bay that I've been doing my recent automotive work is unoccupied.  After I had my alignment and balances done on the wheels, I discovered that the HHR is still pulling to the left.  Today, I discovered that isn't always true, which leads me to believe that the problem isn't the tension on the front brakes, but that one of the brake disc pads has come unseated and may need some replacement hardware.

That will give me some space and time to perform an electrical diagnostic on the rear tailgate release system.  I have a theory on where it's problems might be.  When I took out the backseats, there were several conduits running the top of the underside buckets.  I may not have taken into account that the heavy gear that I load on top of it all might damage the wiring.  And since the tailgate release motor isn't throwing fuses when activated, my guess is that I have a partially severed wire that is not making contact with any metal.  And since electricity would be flowing along a diminished channel, it could turn the motor on, but not give it enough power to totally pop the tailgate.

To test that, what needs to be done first is an inline fuse of the right amperage would need to be crimped into wire of a similar gauge.  One end would be attached directly to the battery's positive terminal, where the other would crimp into the electronic hand release pad.  Then a temporary ground wire of similar gauge would have to be attached to the body and then to the release pad's negative wire.  This is because you always power things up + then -.  And the existing ground probably leads to the body (and not to the battery), it needs to be by-passed as well.

If the tailgate latch pops with the vigor that it should, then there is no doubt that I have a wiring problem elsewhere.  If the tailgate release does not pop with such vigor, then wiring is bad between the release pad and the motor.  I'm certain that it is not the motor or the pad because I had them both replaced with new units and the symptoms still persisted.

- My 1/2" socket driver is missing

Log 2015032801

Today, I went to my brother's house and hitched my Harbor Freight & Tools 4x8 Utility Hauling Trailer.  Since I had the car's side of the wiring harness uncapped and exposed to the elements since October, one of it's ports was corroded and I was afraid that it would not make contact with one of the trailer's connections.  But it did and everything works just like it should.

I drove over to Storage B today and started moving things over to my new storage location at in a relative's shed.  Considering that I'll be on the road with most of that equipment, there won't be too much that will be stored there.  And that which remains shouldn't be there too long.

One of the first things that I plan on doing once I'm in the Marietta area is getting another storage unit, this time smaller.  All I need it for is to stage my gear so that I don't have to transport all of it, which all of that really taxes the weight capacities (in cab and the hitch) on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS.  My plan is to sleep in The Cramper for at least a month before I rent a house or apartment in the area.

I now have a 30.3gal (121.1qt) Yeti Tundra 125 bear resistant cooler that I purchased from Cabellas in Tridelphia, West Virginia for $582 out the door.  I've always known that I've needed this, but it's price has always been cost prohibitive.  Nonetheless, I believe that it's a 20qt improvement over my previous Coleman cooler, which frequently ran out of space, it never sealed right, the screws stripped days after I bought it and it was never bear proof.

Years ago, the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail was off-road between Cow Run Road and the Hills - Hildreth Covered Bridge.  But enough property was purchased by one owner to necessitate shutting down a township road in the final leg that the trail was dependent on.  As a result, the BT was re-routed to the north and according to Whipple's map, North Country remains rated on a truncated path to the Lane Farm Campground in the Wayne National Forest - Marietta Unit via a ford across the Little Muskingum River.  I now have authorization to reestablish that footpath and white blaze it's route.

When you look at a national forest on a map, that which I call the "green blob" is it's administrative boundary.  What most people don't know is that there's private property in there.  But I have Global Imaging System (GIS) shapefile data displaying what the federal government actually owns.  Without a guide, the spur to Lane Farm (as displayed on the map) is about 2 1/2 miles long.  We have federal property well before that where hikers can disperse camp.  This is where in the forest, camping is permitted 150 feet from the trail.  So, with the BT/ NCT going in a new direction, the only thing I could see Lane being much good for is parking and campers.

But the problem with the ford is that governmental agencies aren't probing the Little Muskingum's water temperatures and publishing them in real time to Internet.  But the nearest information that I can currently find on water temperature is the RECR8 Ohio River Report for the Meldahl Segment near Cincinnati.  The more local reports only cover things like the flood stage, which I'm not too particularly concerned with considering that the river can be seen from multiple point on the spur and rather early along it.  In person, it's the first thing that I'd recommend looking at. 2 1/2 miles is a long way to go to find out that it's not safe to ford.  And this really only affects hikers in the clockwise/ westbound direction.  According to Whipple's 10/2010 map, they're routed on the edge of that river about 5 miles prior to the Lane Spur (unofficial, that's my own name for it).  On this map, the spur is marked in red diamonds.


Log 2015032801

Onn model: ONA12WI070 that is a 100 - 240V, 0.3A converter to a automotive 12V  lighter socket will not handle the load of a automotive Craftsman Mini Air Compressor. The Onn will work with my car lighter's aftermarket 3 way splitter, but the units blue led light shuts off if I try to use the mini air compressor. Looks like I'm going to have to go with something better.


Log 2015032101

I believe that one of the hard disks failed in The Robot? It's not responding and it's hard to say if the others were damaged until I perform a Scandisk operation on them. But My Computer is missing the 4th and weakest one. That disk contains the back-ups for the smartphone and tablet.


Log 2015031801

I purchased a Roughneck plastic container for my truing stand.  It's twice as big for what I need it for and I'm not sure about where I'm store it yet?

Recently, I've had my lower back problem reemerge.  But I've noticed that it gets better when I hike or workout.  It's bizarre that this is the effect considering the stress that I have to put on it to do this.   My guess is that that my entire body has not been getting adequate exercise when I'm at home and I'm loosing muscle mass unevenly, causing some of the lessening strands to stretch around others that have yet to compensate.  All I know is that it works better than 800mg Tylenol.

On the 15th & 16th, I made my initial inspection of Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail's off-road (North Country National Scenic Trail concurrent).  I wanted to do it early next month, but I monitor the severe weather conditions from the desk and weeks of areal flood watches and warnings, coupled with National Forest Service (NFS) campground closures prompted me to do it early.

Whipple's low point is at 604ft along the Little Muskingum River at a position that is roughly 7 miles north of the Ohio River.  The river's level near the SE tip of Buckley Island is 584ft above sea level there and at the mouth of the Little Muskingum in Marietta of Washington County as well.  I wish that I knew how many miles upstream our low point it, but it could be about 7 or 8?  Considering how far in land the Little Muskingum goes before it reaches BT/ NCT, I'm surprised at just how little it gains in that short amount of distance.

The good news is that while along the Little Muskingum, Whipple's sand surface was on a top of a ledge, some 5 to 7ft from the bloated river.  And it would really take a lot for a flooded river to overtake it, like a 200 year flood or more.

Whipple is passable at the moment, in fact, most people can reach average speeds on it.  With that being said, I accounted for 145 deficiencies in Whipple's 13.59 miles of off-road in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest.  Most of them are downed trees of 18" of less that are resting entirely on the trail's surface.  We have a sawyer course coming up in May and I intend to be there.  But without a sawyer, it would take over 24 days per person to clear those obstructions with a hand saw.  However, my experience with a chainsaw suggests that it won't get much faster.


Log 2015031401

A new, Western Digital 2 terabyte external hard disk drive was purchased from Micro Center in Mayfield Heights of Cuyahoga County for about $105 out the door today.  I also went to Walmart in University Heights and purchased some ditty bags to encase my truing stand, but they were all too small.  My laundry is in the process of being done and because my heaping mound has been moved elsewhere. So the floor in my dwelling is now free to conduct an inventory.

But I do my car repairs at a relatives house and that space may be needed soon.  And these days, we've had highs in the 40°F's and 50°F's.  But I'm not like other people in NE Ohio and I'm erring on the side of caution... this is just a fluke.  There's a tear in the arm pit of my -20°F parka and my patches still have yet to be glued and sewn on my 12°F convertible coat, which has not been worn since it was washed last.  I'll need that convertible coat if the high temperature goes below 37°F.

I just received notice today that flooding on the Little Muskingum River has caused the National Forest Service to close the Lane Farm Campground in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest, which is off of an NCNST rated side trail, marked in Whipple Section's map.  Whipple's low point is close to there and without being there to know, it's possible that it might be flooded?


Log 2015031201

Some financial matters got "squared away" today.  I'm pleased to report that "the books" are in good shape so far.  Yesterday, I got the desk assembled.  Today, I worked on the laptop's arm, which clamps to the opposite end of the desk and elevates it off of the surface.  When the laptop is on the platform, I usually remove the battery so it doesn't keep charging (constant charging diminishes their life).  Then I used zip ties to mount a surge strip, seven port USB hub, the AC/DC box and power cables to the platform's arm.  I use a second set of AC/DC power cables when I take the laptop out of my dwelling.

At the moment, there's a pile of laundry on the floor that needs to get done and my old laptop tray on wheels needs to be taken out to storage.  A message was sent to NiteRider requesting an electronic copy of their user guide for my Lumina 750 bicycle headlights.  As of last week, I invested in a second unit that will mount opposite of the one already on there on the bicycle extension bars that I mounted.  I'm looking forward to seeing how those two work in concert with the 250 lumen unit that I mount to my helmet.  It also comes with a powerful rear taillight that I'm quite fond of and will match one that is already on there.  They have a pretty powerful "pulsing" mode, that when set to alternate from each other, seems to send a pretty clear signal that I'm unusual and don't belong there, or there's something definitely artificial happening ahead.

- I'm unsure if the documentation for my Acer laptop is in my tablet's "library" folder?  If it's not, I should download it to that directory in the event that it's needed when I'm off-line.

- And I still have yet to read my smartphone's manual.  It may contain things that I don't know about it yet.

- Updated GIS/GPS files for the Buckeye Trail still need to be uploaded to the smartphone, tablet and laptop.

- I need to perform electrical diagnostics on my 2008 Chevy HHR's tailgate wiring.  It just doesn't sound like it has enough power to pop the tailgate?  If it were a short, it would be blowing fuses (and it's not)  So, I think that I'm looking a wire that is partially breached, but not coming in contact with anything metal.  With the backseats taken out, there are some harnesses that are exposed there and I think that the problem is probably there.  But proper diagnostics dictate that I start with a multimeter at the plastic plug on the tailgate release motor and measure the amperage along the wire going towards the fuse block.

Another way that I can do is with the HHR's rear battery.  Using an inline fuse, I can hard wire a positive lead to the corresponding wire just before and leading to the tailgate release's touch pad.  If the motor promptly releases the latch, then my problem is elsewhere.  If it doesn't, my problem is confined to the tailgate itself.

- Last week, I received a new truing stand for the bicycle's wheels.  My previous one is still in good shape, but one of it's knobs fell off when it was getting stuffed into the trailer and I've been unable to find a replacement.  This time, I need to procure some kind of tough container for it.  If it's knobs do fall off, I don't want them to go very far, like some unknown mile on Interstate 77.

- two adjustable lanyards were purchased at Staples in Mentor of Lake County two days ago.  I cut the mesh on one of them so that it only fits around my hand.  That lanyard will also tie down the digital camera and keep it from falling out of my car windshield mount and hitting the floor.

I have about 40% of the intersection's photographed and geotagged for the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail.  And I have about 20% of it on video.  The digital camera can geotag, but only if it's connected via Wi-Fi to the smartphone.  The plan is to install a second goose neck windshield mount inside of my Chevy.  Then use the digital camera to record the videos and the smartphone to take the geotagged photographs.  I'm not so sure about the video, but the geotagged photos will be uploaded into the Google application Picasa, which will sense the geotags.  From there, I'll use the option to upload them to Google Earth and incorporate them into my administration and maintenance folder for Whipple Section.  Once done, I plan on giving a copy to the Trail Management Team and the Buckeye Trail Association's Headquarters for their records.  Since their from various parts of the state, if they ever need to do anything on Whipple, they can study the sites that they're going to.  As for me, I would like to study these myself on occasion.


Log 2015030601

The first of two key fobs for my 2008 Chevy HHR LS was replaced today at 147,504 miles.  If I had to guess, they both went dead around 100k miles.  Each of them were to the point that the chips inside of them were damaged, so I had to get this one replaced at the Classic Chevy dealership in Mentor of Lake County for $136.59 out the door.

About 3 miles before this, I had the wheels balanced and the alignment done at Firestone, also of said city and county.  I took it on I-90 today today and found that my vibrations stopped.  Turns out that I did more damage on one of the Arc of Appalachia's eastern roads in Adams County than I thought.  But it's in good condition to take to the Buckeye Trail Association's board meeting in Dublin of Franklin County (outside of Columbus) tomorrow.


Log 2014030501

New front left shock was installed about 1.5mi prior to the odometer reading in the picture. I then mounted a new tailgate touch pad, bit found that it was still powering like before, but it wouldn't release. So I dismounted it and remounted the old one. Also at this time, I rotated the tires.


Hiking & Trail Agency Ical's

One suggestion that I have for trail agencies is that they switch their website calendars to something like Google, or Yahoo for instance that embeds to the webpage.  Then restrict access to a number of people who can post to it.  But with the services that I just mentioned, they can have Ical address.  And end users can subscribe to the trail agency's calendar and it will appear on their own.

The advantage to doing this is that instead of having to go to the agency's website to check for an event, this information comes to them.  Furthermore, those with smartphones can access this as well.  These are business devices and they are compelled to set up a service anyways.  If something goes wrong with the phone, they won't loose the dates that they programmed into the calendar.  But these apps can be set to synchronize with the calendar on-line at specified intervals.  So even if the hiker looses data cellular signal, they'll still probably have the event and maybe the opportunity to walk into it and participate.