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Log 2016122901

Years ago, I contributed my Full Generic Gear Inventory for end user download on the Buckeye Trail website.  It allows the prospective hiker do something like print this list and use a blank sheet of paper over it to devise a packing list line by line.  And I'd boast it's so good that they won't forget anything.

But I know a few more things now than I did then and one of those is Google Docs.  I figure that I could make it an even better list by using check boxes that when the prospective hiker clicks a "submit" button, it generates a list of what they selected only.  This gear list can also be used for the American Discovery Trail in the Spring, Summer and Fall, but also anywhere that isn't impassable in the winter.

The North Country Trail is similar, except that with snowshoes, or cross country skis, the trail that is official now doesn't have much in the way of impassibilities.  That might change when the trail opens up in the Adirondacks and Vermont.  My gear list doesn't account for coats rated to handle the winters in Upper Peninsula Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.  And that's because I don't have any experience with these conditions.

My list is hiking only.  If I could team up with distance cyclist and equestrian, I would give credit to their them on the new check list (in the "by" lines).  The cyclist list needs to be a standard all-terrain, multi-speed mountain bike with the capabilities of riding long distances on canal towpaths and former railroad right-of-ways that are now grass, bumpy and on relatively flat terrain.  Under the conditions I just stated, it is unlikely that the path will ever be plowed in the winter and the cyclist might easily find that they'll be the first ones on it since it snowed.  If there's too much, they'll have to by-pass on roads.

 What I'd need them to do, is take out all of their gear and lay it out.  Then write down all the pieces in their full inventory that must include the winter items as well.  They should make note of their temperature ratings if they know them. And they shouldn't be concerned about redundancy with my list because at this point, I'm not sure how, or if I'll edit that?


Log 2016122801

The distance to the Scenic River Trailhead in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest at present day Road Fork 31/ Whipple 01 - Buckeye/ North Country Trail from:

Cincinnati is 250 miles
Charleston, WV is 105 miles
Chillicothe, OH is 138 miles
Clarksburg, WV is 65.9mi
Cleveland is 187 miles
Columbus, OH is 147 miles
Dayton, OH is 217
Toledo, OH is 287 miles
Wheeling, WV is 63.7 miles


Log 2016122701

To the left of the keyboard is my new Razer Tartarus Chroma, a 25 re-mapable keypad.  It's installed in The Robot, but I haven't re-maped any of them to simplify Google Earth's keystrokes yet.  That will have to wait for another day.


Log 2016122601

I reinstalled the operating system on The Robot and some of it's applications.  This time, I went a little slower.  Last time, I multi-tasked and tried to use more of the system's processing power.

I'm a little late, in getting some of my electrical gear out of the motorhome.  But so far, it looks as if nothing's damaged.


Log 2016122501

The Robot is a piece of equipment that I use in my distance hiking volunteerism. And this log's title establishes the parameters of what can be posted here.  But the logistics of that (such as the motorhome, or hiking gear) are also apart of this.

The Robot's operating system needs to be freshly re-installed.  Diagnostics on the Windows Update functions failed today.  That's alright because it really doesn't take too much time to do that and there really isn't very much in way of software installed on it anyways.  I don't think that Windows is going to wipe every hard disk drive, but just in case, I'll dismount the 4th one's data cable as the operating system is reinstalling.  It contains documents, movies, music, videos, etc...

With the hard disks data cables being attached to an expansion SATA RAID card, I could all four hard disks to function as one and I believe that's called an "array."  It distributes the load of the software evenly amongst the hard disks.  But that would entail wiping the 4th hard disk.  So lately, I've been performing a manual array.  That means that I've been keeping track of what's to be, or is installed in the system and assigning each one to strategic locations.  For instance, Google Earth, Picasa, and GPSBabel are installed on three separate hard disks.  In the even that all 3 applications are running, they won't be using the same hard disk at the same time.  Each disk can do one thing and run as optimally as possible.  Switching to a true array is a possible future upgrade.

With all that being said, I have most of the applications and where they go already written down.  So there's no need to stop, think and scratch my head over what I have to install next.  At this rate, I can multi - task their installations and get it done much faster.

I believe I ran into trouble when I changed a key in the registry when I was altering the location of the user files (such as documents and videos). There were other problems, too.  One was my expansion Wi-Fi card.  It stopped being recognized by the operating system and nothing that I tried to do could do to affect it.  That's just one that I could remember.

Log 2016122501

I got a 25 key reprogrammable, keypad today (from Santa).  I have systems maintenance scheduled for this week, so I'll probably connect it after that's done.  This is a gamers pad and I'm hoping to use it for Google Earth.  Ordinarily, to make a placemark, I have to use Ctrl + Shift + P.  But now I should be able to remap those strokes on the new pad so that I only have to press one key.  And since it's built for gamers, they always have their right hand on the mouse, so this is designed to be stationed left of my typical keyboard (which I think will work out).  The trick will be remapping the keys conveniently and memorizing them.  Anyways things here at the desk are so spread out that I might have to get a USB 2.0 extention to get it to plug into The Robot.


Log 2016122301

I just went to the doctors today.  It was a surprise to find that I lost 16lbs.  Officially, I'm wintering now and there's been a lot of snow here at Home Port over the past few weeks.  I don't remember having changed my diet much.  But 16lbs is good news considering that I plan to resume hiking soon.

The Robot is having issues installing updates.  But that's nothing new.  It's The Robot being The Robot.  I've got a system maintenance day scheduled for next week.

I've got an idea for somebody out there.  This could be an opportunity for somebody with a lot of free time who's not as mobile.  This is a "voluntarism from behind the desk" idea.  As distance hiking trails go, they often times don't have the manpower to spare.  But having a program on the trail might be a good thing.  On low manpower, if someone could like, friend or subscribe on social media or e-mail to every community organization, convention and visitors bureau, they could listen in for relevant events and forward them to a master trail community calendar that others can subscribe to.  It's a sign up for everything, stay at home and surf the web type of thing.

Another thing that this person might do is take over the agency's events page and convert it into a subscribable calendar as well.  Over time, he, or she could ask that other components of the agency and other outside organizations convert to a similar public and live calendar.  That way if the main calendar is subscribed to theirs and they update it, it will automatically update the main one with no further work needed of this new volunteer.

If this is done, the hiker, or prospective one could have access to information regarding an event they might like to attend, or one where they're already down trail and may be coming up on, or know what day to avoid something that's on, or near trail because they'd rather not get caught up in a crowd.


Log 2016122101

Offically, I'm wintering in NE Ohio.  And if all goes well, I'll be hiking next week.


Log 2016121802

I've decided that I'm going to divert my time from the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail to hiking until May.  I have about 180 miles or so until I complete the Buckeye Trail's 1,440 mile circuit, North Country Trail in Ohio and American Discovery Trail (ADT) in Ohio & Kentucky.  Because of their concurrency, all three will happen in the same location.  I still have yet to do parts of the Scioto Trail, West Union, Shawnee and all of the Sinking Spring Sections in South Central Ohio.

Aside from the base and maybe a completion patch, the ADT doesn't have any individual state ones yet.  So, I'm purchasing mine 3rd party.  12 years ago I was in the Army and purchased an Ohio patch at the Pentagon City Mall.  Today, I ordered a similarly shaped Kentucky patch.

On my primary convertible coat, I arranged my sleeve patches in a way that's Army inspired.  On my left sleeve, my unit patch is my Buckeye Trail base patch with my section supervisor rockers on top and a "Whipple" banner below.  Then my various base patches go down my sleeve.  The right sleeve is empty.  In the Army, that's reserved for combat patches.  For me, I'm labeling them as "conquest patches."  The Buckeye Trail circuit hike, both the Ohio and Kentucky patches will testify as ADT - OH & KY.  Then my NCT Pa and Ohio will be placed there as well.

Moving on... I plan is to make my first payment on a Household Lifetime Membership from the Buckeye Trail Association this week.  The last that I knew, it was a $600 purchase price.  I plan to do it in 10 installments using money orders.  Walmart is the only store that I know of that will allow me to purchase money orders on debit.  So, I'm willing to stand in potentially long lines for it at the customer service desk.

That's done by purchasing the money order, making it out to the BTA right there on site, tearing off it's stub, putting it in the trash and walking away.  At that point, the money order can't be returned and it's only going in one direction.  I'm going with 10 installments in 10 months, the reason being is as follows:

- Money orders are only good for one year before the issuing company docks a monthly fee and devalues them.

- At the 10th month, it will take 2 - 3 business days to mail.  I have a practice of generally disbursing funds 6 days after I'm paid. So, if I'm on the ball and do it the same day that I get the final installment, that will leave the treasurer at least 45 days to cash them.

Now for some of you out there, you might just be able to put those installments into a savings account and hold on to it.  But what you could also do is if you don't make many on-line purchases, you could make those installments to your PayPal.  That is not time dependent.  But I'm not sure if it has a monthly fee.  The BTA is on PayPal. I'm a little foggy, but I believe that it already takes membership dues, so it'd be just a matter of transferring the funds when you get the purchase price.

In any event, it's fair to mention that you should be prepared in case the purchase price increases while your making installments.  You'll have to increase your contributions to meet the new price at that point.

Log 2016121801

It's up.  But the interally mounted Wi-Fi expansion card isn't working.  It's showing up in the device manager as not being able to load it's driver. I have a USB Wi-Fi device around, so I just put in it The Robot.  Meanwhile, I changed some settings in the Binary Operating System recently, so maybe that had something to do with it.  Otherwise, the expansion card is supported by the current Windows operating system.

When I was in the Binary Operating System, I had the external video card working, so I disabled all of the redundant hardware.  They were things like video and sound card that had an external card inserted in the motherboard.  Before I did that, I have 16GB of memory (RAM) on-board now and the Control Panel was reading it as 15.9GB.  The redundant hardware was taking about 100MB of my RAM.  When I shut them off, I got all 16 available.

Google Earth is now maxed out on cache memory. And the back-up for my maps is ready to be loaded.  My documents and movies have been transferred over.  My media is being added to the library.

The monitor is connected to the video card with a VGA (analog) cable.  I might change that over to DVI (digital), but my monitor isn't all that great.  My TV connects to it via HDMI and I usually set it to clone so that both displays show the same picture.  I use this mostly watch Star Trek before I go to bed.  Other than that, I use it with Google Earth when I need to get out from behind the computer, get something to eat and look at the map on something bigger.

This is it, this motherboard ought to last another 8 years.  I can upgrade it's RAM and CPU once.  I'm thinking about getting a projector for trail presentations.  If I do, I have an 80 watt speaker and a 20 watt PA amp.  With the projector, all I'll need is a wireless microphone and a presenter and I'll be good to go.


Log 2016121701

The Robot is up and running using the motherboard's graphics unit. It's displaying an Intel Core i5 quad running 3.2GHz with 16GB of memory and 15.9GB of that is usable. I'm transferring my user files backup now.  I just got done installing drivers and in a bit, I'll be on to applications.

Once everything is in place, I'll insert it's expansion video card in and turn off all of the redundant components on the motherboard  (that saves on memory).


Log 2016121601

I got The Robots new motherboard replaced today, but have yet to install it. There isn't any scorching on the CPU, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any problems with it.  Scorching marks would indicate that my heats ink wasn't making proper contact, which could ultimately cause the CPU to overheat and no longer work. But the clerk at the computer store told me that the chances for a new one to have those internal problems is very low.

The motherboard is an MSi and it only has two jumpers for the PWR LED. This is where the chassis power light's wires mount to the motherboard. My chassis has two wires in a three jumper harness where the middle port is empty. If I want to get it working, I'm going have to squeeze out one of the wires and it's metal connector and slide it in to that middle port.


Log 2016121502

I purchased a power supply tester today. There's nothing wrong with its power supply unit, in fact it powered the old motherboard. It got it to turn on today... somehow (???). Tomorrow, I plan to extract the new motherboard and perform a "post mortem."

Log 2016121501

If your a hiker and you come from another distance trail agency, what you should know is that they're all different non-profit (perhaps not for profits, too) corporations. Usually, they've been up and running for decades. And despite some of their connections to the Appalachian Trail, they've been mostly evolving on their own. Even the conditions on the ground can dictate how this is.

On the Buckeye Trail, some of you can expect there to be less navigational aides available. Also, a "section" is a defined unit and the Buckeye Trail Association's 26 map & guide combination documents are split and labeled by them.  They also define the jurisdiction of their section supervisors and trail adopters.

On the map & guides, the latter portion might be a bit brief compared to what your use to. But Buckeye's trail alerts and map updates change frequently and those webpages must be consulted before every adventure. The good news is that these alerts and updates are a very active program and are generally well kept.

The North Country Trail Association is missing a several maps in its online store. For starters, since North Country is a National Scenic Trail, some of the reasons for this are political. And in the case of NW Ohio, I don't know what it's story is?

Now their GIS does a little better. It has NW Ohio.  And their maps are 2003 edition the last time I checked. I know of  three changes in Pennsylvania and Ohio since then.

American Discovery Trail doesn't have maps. It uses waypoints and a turn-by-turn guide. I'm working on drawing an amatur GPS track based on them. Unfortunately, I can't data generated by other users for some reservations because they're not publicly available for download somewhere else.  And since I don't have it done, I don't know what GPS gaps I have?  But I have nearly complete tracks for Delaware through Indiana, minus the Dolly Sods in West Virginia now.


Log 2016121402

This morning the re-built Robot booted up and while I while I was attempting to install Windows, I was prompted for a driver to help the system run the hard disks. Well, for the life of me, I can't find it. So, I downloaded them on to a flash drive.

In order to get it to recognize the newly inserted flash drive, I powered the system down.  When I went to reboot it, there wasn't a single sign of life coming from the machine.

The old motherboard has its own power switch soddered to it, so I hooked it back up to the power supply and it wasn't turning on.  This power supply unit was only purchased about 2 months or so ago. And while it has a warranty, the prospect of it's failure still bothers me.

Log 2016121401

The Robot's new motherboard, memory, CPU and Blu-Ray optical drive was installed today.  The hardware end of it took about 4 hours to assemble.  There are jumpers on the motherboard that have to be set just right.  The CPU has to get enough thermal paste in order to interface correctly with the heat sink.  Should it be too much, the paste could squeeze over the top of the CPU and get into it's contacts,  And then there's the chassis (the computer's case) where all the zip ties redirecting a mess of cables away from it's 11 cooling fans had to be cut, then reassembled and redirected.  It's always a delicate procedure because everything in the chassis has to get stripped almost all the down.

The power LED light couldn't be connected to the motherboard.  The motherboard uses 2 jumpers for that and the chassis has 2 wires, but it's plugged into a 3 jumper harness.  I'm hoping that I can get a converter for it soon.  The old mother board had a digital display that I could see through The Robot's transparent door.  It read the CPU temperature, but also it sent me error codes if the computer wouldn't boot up.  I regret that the new motherboard doesn't have this, but I might be able to get something aftermarket for it?

Right now, I'm working on the software end of things.  To my surprise, Windows is actually working.  But it's doing that with the previous 32-bit version.  The Robot was upgraded today to a 64-bit system, so Windows has to be reinstalled after I make a back-up of my personal documents, map repository, TV shows and movies.  It's a big transfer.

When I installed the Blu-Ray drive, I removed a DVD-RW drive so it could take it's place.  So far, the Blu-Ray isn't working, but that's because I forgot to connect power to it.  I then took the DVD-RW drive and tried to connect it to my external kit and connect it to my laptop.  It's getting power as I can open and close the drawer, but the IDE data connection isn't reading and I haven't got a sound from the operating system indicating that it knows it's there, but won't install the device's driver.

What The Robot got today was what I'd refer to as a "re-build."  Some people can field strip Chevy's.  I do computers.



I actually walked out the door of Micro Center today spending less than I orginally planned to.  I made my order on-line to be purchased and picked up and paid for at the customer service desk.  I believe that they have this program because it's usually the quick way compared to waiting in line to check out.  So, I ended up purchasing an expansion graphics processing unit, internal Blu-Ray drive, 39in of SATA data cable and some heat sink compound for when I attach the heat sink with the new CPU.  Here in my office, I come to find that I already have enough of that compound, but Micro Center isn't around the corner and I wasn't sure when I was in the store.  So, I didn't feel like going back tomorrow.

But I also have a new motherboard and 16GB of memory now.  The only things that aren't making this a new computer are several expansion cards, the 4 hard disks and 1 of the DVD drives.  Those are minor expenses compared to the motherboard, RAM and CPU.  It's like it's getting a new heart, but the brain stays the same.

This was all brought to me by old hardware and a Windows 10 upgrade.  If all goes well, maybe later this week, I'll get to see how Google Earth runs.  I want to see how much cache memory it allots and how the NCTA GIS Repository performs.

When it comes to CPU's, there's AMD and Intel.  AMD's are cheaper, but when I had them, they'd lag sometimes.  Gamer's like them, but I'm more clerical.  My laptop has ran AMD for years and there hasn't been a problem with how it runs.  My information on that lag could be years out of date, so I'm at the very least, I'm just an Intel guy out of loyalty.

About that Windows 10 upgrade on old hardware, recently, the operating system has been reporting my available RAM, or memory as being much lower than what's physically installed.  As per the diagnostic method, my conclusion just came to be that the motherboard can no longer process it's memory under the new operating system.  And my previous Windows Vista was no longer supporting certain things.  That's what caused that reluctant upgrade.

The bright side of this is that I'm also upgrading from a 32 to a 64bit system.  In theory, that should speed things up.  With that, my current CPU is an Intel Core 2 Quad on the old LGA 775 pin.  That socket was used for some of the Pentium 4 CPU's.  So, 8 years ago, I purchased the slow quad core.  Now Intel i5 quad core is mid grade and the motherboard can upgrade to the faster i7.  Whereas my current motherboard was "locked in," as in it was the fastest CPU that it could handle.

If I can get by 8 years and not had to upgrade these until now... well, it's not exactly the 90's where something goes obsolete the moment you buy a part.  But, I was a computer repairman and I've kept this machine running really well, despite it's bloated and former Windows Vista operating system.  But it's also has one whole hard disk almost committed exclusively to it.

"Bloated" refers to the file sizes in the Windows directory of the main hard disk.  If they're bigger, then those larger file sizes would have to come off the drive (a lesser limited resource), through the memory (a limited resource) and into the CPU (also a limited resource).  Windows XP came out at about 1.5GB.  It's Service Pack 2 is somewhere over 3GB.  Vista was about 6Gb.  When Vista came out, the price of RAM sticks skyrocketed.  Windows 8 and 10 are supposed to have a lesser footprint because first, they finally answered their critics and second, they're based on Microsoft's smartphone operating system.

Around here, The Robot has been notoriously difficult to configure.  I'd say it's a real fight sometimes and that end of it never lets up.  But once settled, it's been a stable machine.  I've been satisfied with the current motherboard and CPU.  But after 8 years, the current CPU is reaching it's 10 year estimated end of life anyways.


Log 2016121101

I reseated all four of RAM DIMM's in their sockets on The Robot's motherboard.  It didn't do anything to fix available RAM as shown in the Control Panel.  My motherboard is 8 years old.  It's probably was on the market 9 - 10 years ago.  When it was, it was designed for Windows XP.  The manufacturer never updated it's drivers.  My operating system is much more advanced than XP.  I've notice that there are items that the device manager detects, but can't get a driver for.  It leads me to believe that it's time to replace the motherboard, CPU and memory.  If I go out and purchase it tomorrow, the upgrades are looking to be $426.36 out the door with a 74.99 rebate.

Log 2016121002

When hiking the Buckeye Trail's north, the winter is a beauty of a different kind.  Weather forecasters are pretty good these days, but you go there for a hike and realize that they made a mistake.  Or you forget to check it at all.  Here's what you should know...

Geauga County's northern border looks like a set of stairs.  Imagine that you have a pencil and ruler and draw a line across the outer edges of those stairs.  That's the Lake Effect Ridge.  Lake Erie is 568ft above sea level.  The ridge runs about 1000ft and is about 10 miles from the lake.  Right there on the apex is where progression of the weather fronts (ie snow storms) will nearly stall out over.

Now, most people in NEO will say that's it, but it doesn't end there.  From the edge of that west stair, a secondary effect of this will extend through Mayfield of Cuyahoga County and south to Downtown Akron of Summit County.

Both the Burton and Bedford Sections have segments that occur in Geauga County.  On Bedford as it clips the NW corner of Chester Township, it's in a lesser affected portion of it, but it's still Geauga.  As for Burton Section, the Buckeye Trail (as an entire circuit) is only impassable for 6 days a year in a bad winter.  And Burton is responsible for most of these.  White out conditions occur there 3 - 4 times a year on average.  Geauga County still uses the snow emergency level system.  When a level 3 is declared, everybody must get off the roads, including pedestrians.

I'm a native of this area.  So, lets say that you went hiking on Burton Section and on your drive home, you got caught in a Lake Effect snow storm in Geauga County.  In my opinion, there's never been much of an Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) presence there.  Every highway in the county will probably be bad to drive on... except OH-44.  It won't be great, but it's usually the best highway in the county.

In Lake County, I-90 is higher up along the side of the ridge.  In a lake effect snow storm, it's likely to be more affected.  But the OH-2 freeway that parallels it to the north is lower in elevation and isn't usually as bad.  But sometimes in an odd storm, such as a blizzard, the reverse can be true and lower areas in Lake County are more affected.


Log 2016121001

I installed the new SATA RAID expansion card in The Robot.  Now all four hard disk drives run from it. However, one thing that was predictable was that I had to re-install my operating system again.  It probably took the change as if I installed a new motherboard (always have to reinstall for one of those).  I use what's known as the "address" field on my task bar.  It can also be used to search.  The default search engine for it is in Internet Explorer and I'm unable to open that application to make the change.

Getting those four drives unplugged from the motherboard and into the new SATA RAID did nothing for my RAM (memory) problem.  The new hardware with the drives plugged in it should have allieviated the system's RAM usage.  It needed a new RAID anyways, but the next step is to take each memory stick out their sockets and firmly re-insert them one at a time.  When I go to boot up the machine, that might do the trick.


Log 2016120901

My offline digital movie collection should increase by about 20 movies this week.


Log 2016120801

The Robot was dug out from the clutter in the room and is now on top of a two drawer file cabinet where it should be. It is now ready to have it's new 4 port SATA RAID expansion card and an additional 5.25" drawer installed.  The motherboard supports 8 SATA drives, which most of mine are currently mounted to.  But I've come to find that four hard disks are probably taking up a lot of it's RAM, or memory.  In order to alleviate that, I'm installing an expansion card into one of the motherboard's slots.

The drawer is just for storage.  The Robot's chassis is tall and has three CD/DVD drive bays that I'll never use.  Two of them already have storage drawers and I currently have the upgrade to install the final one.

My graphics are running off of what's soldered on the motherboard.  Unfortunately, to run it, that's also using memory.  I don't have the money yet to get another expansion graphics processing unit, but I think I can tell what made the prior one that I had go bad.  These days, graphics cards come with their own down facing cooling fans.  Well there wasn't much space between it and the card below it, so it's airflow was being blocked.  When I was playing movies, it would crash The Robot.  My theory was that the card was overheating and had done that so much that it damaged the graphics processing unit (GPU).

Not all of the lower cards are the same size and shape.  So, I think that if I reorder the cards from top to bottom, with the thinest being at the top, I can create a space for better air flow should I insert another expansion graphics card into The Robot.

Doing these things might help to allocate more cache memory to Google Earth.  And this is essential to working with the North Country Trail Association's GIS Repository. Even when just working with Michigan's tracks as I've recently modified it to do.

Log 2016120801

I've withdrawn from possibly purchasing a new Jeep Wrangler 4x4.  It would have been an ideal vehicle to use to search the backcountry roads surrounding the Road Fork Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail's off-road area in the Wayne National Forest - Marietta Unit for parking opportunities.  I supervise the Whipple Section and I don't know that part of the forest that well.

From what I do know of it is that it's gravel roads are steep and that there's multiple primitive fords back there.  My 2008 Chevy HHR LS barely made it through there.  But the Wrangler would do in it's sleep.  My original plan for that area was to use a 49cc motor on a bicycle.

But, I might sit back and wait a few months on buying another vehicle so I can get a bigger down payment.  I might go for one of the newer, fuel efficient cargo vans.  The trouble is that some of the subcompact ones don't have enough depth in their cargo holds.  I might build a custom camper out of one?  If I do, I'm 6'6, or 78 - 1/3in tall.  The cargo hold has to be at least 80in deep to install a bed frame.

I have a new means to backup The Robot and laptop.  But right now, one of my hard disk drives on The Robot isn't reading.  I think that's because I attached it's data cable to a port on my SATA RAID expansion card that isn't working.  So, in order to get a full back-up, I purchased a new 4 port SATA RAID expansion card from Micro Center.

I had to clean out and vacate Storage B.  So everything from there is here in my living space.  When I can finally get to The Robot, I'll have it installed.  Right now, running the drives on the motherboard is taking a lot of RAM (memory) that Google Earth very much needs.

I also recently purchased a new ink jet all-in-one printer/scanner with a document feeder on top.  When I get around to it, that should make backing up the obsolete Hutchinson Guide Books for the North Country Trail (NCT) easier.  I'd like to destroy those because they're taking up space.  But at the same time, I'd like to use them to track the historical route of the NCT.


Log 2016112902

All of the GIS and GPS tracks for the North Country Trail in Michigan have been numbered in order in the westbound direction.  The next step is to change the color of every other one so I can determine what direction they're in and make sure that the beginnings and terminators barely overlap.

Log 2016112901

Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore Chapter of the North Country Trail Association accounts for 134 of the GIS Repository.  I haven't yet tried to overtake smaller tracks with anything stock yet. So far, at the moment, that's a lot and there's not enough of anything on Google Maps or Earth to overtake it with, either.


Log 2016112701

The hard part is over.  The majority of the tracks for the North Country Trail in Michigan are now organized by chapter.  I made some mistakes in the Upper Peninsula tracks, so I started consulting the chapter spans from their individual web pages.

What's left with Michigan's tracks:

Changing every chapter's track color to NCT blue
Transplanting some missing tracks from my copy of the NCTA GIS Repository.  It's tracks are usually red.
After transplanting, turn all tracks in chapter folders to NCT blue

Numbering the tracks in westbound order.
Having Google Earth resort them in numeric order
Changing the track colors so that every other one is red or yellow.
Find smaller tracks and overtake them with a neighboring track (this lowers the track listing)
Adjust the track beginning and terminators to that one is directly on top of the other.
Determine what direction each track is facing and note it (Eb or Wb)
Reverse the eastbound tracks and integrate the new westbound tracks in their place
Merge chapter by chapter
Note each chapters mileage, high and low points
Report my findings to the North Country Trail's Facebook group.

That might seem like a lot, but it's just another day's volunteerism.  Right now, about 1,000 miles of trail is organized the way it should be.  And for today, that's good enough for me.  Wisconsin and Minnesota aren't going to be nearly as hard.  North Dakota's modified tracks just need to be cut down, or merged by chapter and reported on.


Log 2016112601

I finished merging the GPS track for the North Country Trail - Pennsylvania.  In the short run, it's results are located on it's Facebook group.  Where the content of this group is more "static" and hits on various search engines, their Facebook group is closed to members only (you might become one).  I'm going to support the group.  In the meantime, I still have three states that need merging.  I've already reported on the statewide highs and lows for Ohio and North Dakota.  But the current format is that I also do it for every chapter, partner and affiliate.  I haven't done those with those states yet.  So, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota need the real work.  I plan to split Michigan between the LP and UP.  Otherwise, it's about 1,000 miles of tracks to deal with as one state.

But I think I'm going to get on to other things in the time being.  My motorhome needs a new high pressure, in-line fuel pump installed soon.  After my final data is digested by North Country's Facebook group, I'll probably add my final data for the trail entirely here on Blogger.


Log 2016112401

I finished up the tracks for the Clarion Chapter of the North Country Trail Association and the concurrent portion of the Rachel Carson Trails Conservancy's Baker Trail.  One of the tracks marked as belonging to the conservancy occurred in an area where Clarion Chapter's NCTA tracks surrounded it.  I'm patched for Pennsylvania, so I just merged it into Clarion.

When things don't go right during the merging process, I have a methodical diagnostic procedure.  I don't always have to use it, but today I did on Clarion.  1/3rd of the chapter merged, but wasn't displaying the "measurements" tab when it was opened in Google Earth.  Well, it had a lot of eastbound tracks that needed to be reversed.  Apparently the final track, number 26, was westbound (in the correct direction to begin with) When everything else reversed the right way, number 26 was flipped heading eastbound.

I had to go back and verify the direction of every track to discover that 26 was wrong and then correct it.  Clarion was easier because some of it's off-road route was on Google Maps and I was able to make single tracks for them.  But, I started and finished Butler's.  I started off with 64 tracks for that chapter, all of which are the NCTA originals.  I had to get the track listing down by overtaking several short segments.

I'm not a GIS operator, but I think that the tracks facing the ways that they do is because that's the direction that they were recorded in.  Even on the longest distance trails, most of these had to be made with the GIS on foot, making various measurements with the device along the way.  I think that they're in different directions because it was just more advantageous to do those tracks that way at the time.  It may have had to do with parking or camping?


Log 2016112301

I have a merged GPS track for the North Country Trail - Pennsylvania in the Allegheny National Forest.  It's coming in at 96.1 miles long with a working elevation track.  Google Earth has the track in one of it's layers.  But pedestrian directions on either The Robot or the laptop aren't working.  And they're not on Google My Maps at all.  But I find it on Google Maps when I zoomed in to 200ft scale.

What I did was break up the task into 6 parts.  Then I used coordinates from Google Earth and the location of each parts terminator, dragging the route on Google Maps to the correct track.  After each part, I copied the URL of the web page and performed a GPX conversion on GPSVisualizer using it.  I saved it to the hard drive and opened it in Google Earth as I go.

I made sure that all of the terminators were touching each other except the outside two of the whole project.  Then I saved the folder with the modified tracks.  In Google Maps, I did everything in the same direction, so I didn't have to worry about reversing anything.  I then went to convert that file to GPX and merged everything together in GPSVisualizer and that's how I came up with the master modified track.

There were times when Google's track and the North Country Trail Association's differed.  Was there a re-route?  The NCTA's data might be more accurate?  But then again, it's been a while since those tracks were released.  Since I'm not there in person, I pretty much just had to pick one.

Now I've been contributing my high and low point data on the North Country Trail Association's Facebook group.


Log 2016112202

My tracks for Central New York Chapter of the North Country Trail Association is going to be easy to merge and I have it high and low elevations anyways.  So, I moved ahead and got the NCT GIS Repository tracks for Pennsylvania organized by chapter.  Then I started working on the Allegheny National Forest.  I went out on a limb and tried to merge it's 95 miles at once, but the GPX file came back with errors.

I always work in the westbound direction, so I started numbering it's tracks 00 - 54 at that point.  I had changed GPSVisualizer's settings so that it would convert to GPX and not merge.  This time, the reordered tracks showed the correct mileage on the output.  But when I went to merge, there were still errors.

Like I mentioned, it's on a limb.  The proper proceedure at that point is to determine what direction the tracks are heading in and edit their names with Eb or Wb.  Once I get done with that, I'll choose whether its easier to merge eastbound or westbound, put one in a folder and save to the hard drive.  The use GPSVisualizer's "reverse tracks" feature for GPX output to get them all facing the same direction.

Afterwards, I'll import them to Google Earth and replace the tracks that are in the wrong direction, save that file and run the GPX conversion set to "connect all segments" and "merge tracks."  Usually that does it.  But if it still gets errors, I'll need to go back over the raw track segments again to confirm that they're in the correct direction.

If they aren't, then I'll have to reverse the affected segment and repeat the process.  But if they're right, then that means that there is a bad track somewhere.  The fix to this is to overtake and trace the track by hand, extending the terminators of one of it's neighbors... then delete the bad track.  Once that's done, go back through the GPSVisualizer GPX merging process.

Log 2016112201

The GIS tracks from tge Finger Lakes Trail Conference were extremely easy to merge.  GPSVisualizer merged about 430 miles worth successfully. That's not always possible.  But, GPSVisualizer did it easily.


Log 2016111801

- This logs pageviews are at 8,750 today.  I know that I got just over 3,000 of them last year and I think I may have started writing about the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent) on December 14th, 2014 at about 2,000, but I'm not sure?

- My tracks for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota are almost ready to be merged according to chapter.  Each track will have to be numbered in order from east to west.  Then I'll have to determine what direction their heading in.  They all have to be westbound.  Any eastbound tracks will have to be reversed.  And any bad tracks will have to be traced by hand as an extension of the previous one.

There were some differences between the NCTA GIS Repository and their on-line maps.  In some cases, I'm not sure which is the correct route?  Nonetheless, I'm probably a lot further on this than most people.  It might be kind of novel for the chapters to have their high and low points.

Ohio's was already done.  It was a part of a separate project where I did the high's and low's for the Buckeye, North Country and American Discovery Trails in Ohio & Kentucky (are run as one unit by the ADTS).


Log 2016111702

The new 4th hard disk started giving me the same problems. It would partition, format, transfer files and read them briefly. But then it would seem to currupt it's data and shoe folders with nothing in them.
At that rate, I suspected the motherboard's SATA RAID controller. I was in the device manager and I saw that my expansion SATA RAID was working, so I swapped the data cable over to it. It picked up my previously transferred data and is now transferring more.
I don't think I'll be going through the trouble of returning the new drive.

Log 2016111701

The Robot's previous 4th hard disk, a 1.0 terabyte Western Digital WD10EZEX was replaced with a 2 terabyte Toshiba P300.  While that helps me store map images to overlay in Google Earth in the short run, it does not alleviate the math co-processor driver problem with working with the North Country Trail tracks.  The co-processor is a chip on the motherboard that performs complex math.

I just testing dragging the tracks on my laptop, which doesn't not have a co-processor driver problem.  And while it was working, Google Earth was very sluggish at moving them.  When I moved it up to the new folder, it lingered there and dropped about 15 seconds later.  At that rate, I could get the task done faster using copy and paste on The Robot (even with it's problems).


Log 2016111501

I recently purchased nearly a set of obsolete Buckeye Trail (North Country and American Discovery Trails concurrent in parts) maps for $50.  I'm missing a 2005 or 2008 copy of the Old Man's Cave Section.  I use to own all of these, but I was replacing and discarding them over the years.  This winter, I think I'm going to begin a Buckeye Trail evolution project on Google Earth.  Over time, I think I can track where the trail was and it's deleted amenities.  For volunteer trail promoters, adopters and perhaps the BTA could make use of it?  For instance, a trail adopter might encounter somebody who believes that the trail is on their road.  But if it was, it happened prior to date that the section supervisor or their adopters started volunteering there.

~ Unfortunately, the result of this project will not be open to the public. ~

~ The inaugural maps for the Road Fork and Whipple Sections (North Country concurrent) were the January 2005 edition for both. ~


Log 2016111201

I'm estimating that the traditional hiking (which is unofficial) season on The Wilderness Loop is 35 weeks long.


Log 2016110701

I just discovered that the driver is missing for The Robot's math co-processor and another component. Along with not being able to get sound out of my connected TV, the lack of a math co-processor might be the cause of my Google Earth crashing problems when working with the North Country Trail Association's GIS data?
The problem is that my motherboard went on the market about 9 years ago and they don't make Windows 10 drivers for it.  That means I need a new motherboard, RAM and CPU.


Log 2016111601

I replaced the 700W power supply unit in The Robot.  While it seems to have fixed the drive problems in my forth hard disk.  But I didn't do anything for working with the GIS data from the North Country Trail Assocition (NCTA).  I renamed most of the tracks by state and proceeded to try and move them by click, highlight and drag.  But Google Earth always crashes even if the NCTA tracks are unchecked (not displayed).  They will move by cut and paste, but that's going to drag out my project.  However, at this time, I don't see much else I can do about that.  From what I can tell, the NCTA tracks are loaded with GIS information in the properties and I think that might be the cause?

And my single track for the North Country Trail (NCT) in North Dakota is nowhere to be found.  I previously merged that to determine its low and high points.  I plan to perform trail maintenance on the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail for four days next week.  Maybe when I get back, I can start a better search for this file?


Log 2016102701

I sent an e-mail requesting OEM part, or product numbers pertaining to the sending unit and transfer pump for the motorhome's 38 gallon tank.  What I should have asked is what tanks were available for the 1988 Ford Econoline 350?  On occasion, I see sending units and transfer pumps for 36 gallon tanks.  Since I didn't buy the motorhome new 28 years ago and my measurements could still be off, it's possible that it could be 36 and not 38.


Link to the American Discovery Trail Facebook Group

The American Discovery Trail as of the date of this blog entry has two different kinds of Facebook accounts.  First is the more traditional style, or "page" which in my opinion, is better for the American Discovery Trail Society itself to communicate to the outside world, either by it's posts, or ones that it forwards.  Any posts made by other users here will go a "Posts by Others" area that has to be clicked on to be seen.

But it's "group" ( is much more like a semi open forum on the topic of anything ADT related, such as the trail. gear, food, water, support and maybe even some things about the society itself.  One needs to have a Facebook profile and be a member of this group in order to read, or submit posts.  If you haven't already, you can click on the link above, or copy it into your browser's address bar, press enter and it will take you to the group.  Then click on the "join" button.  This group is monitored for SPAM, so it may take time before your request to join is approved, or not.

My name is MD Edmonds.  I'm an ADTS member from Ohio.  But this blog is 3rd party to any trail agency.


Log 2016102201

The 100 & 200 mile polygon zones for my AAA towing areas have been drawn and I now have copies of those files and are now ready for transfer to my tablet.  They're not perfect and that's especially so for some of the outer edges of my 200 mile polygon.  I'll have to estimate whether those areas are actually in when and if the time comes.  The 200 took 102 routes drawn in Google My Maps and imported to Google Earth to build it's polygon.  The 100 mile polygon only needed the ends of 27 to form it.

It's an off-line file, which is what is needed because I'll never know where I'll break down and won't have any signal.  If I don't, it's GPS antenna will still work and with off-line maps, it will still show my position.  These polygons overlay those base maps.  There might be a situation I might be able to run the motorhome a few more miles so I can get into one of the zones.  That's what it's really about.

Log 2016102201

Yesterday, I purchased two in-line fuel pumps, but the store only had one.  So, today I picked up the other unit from another one of their stores, but I forgot to ask if they had any fuel line clips?  Last time, I had another one and right now, I think it came in the replacement pump's box.

It's a shot in the dark to see if this will work or not?  When I turn the key to the accessory position in the motorhome, I hear something electrical come on, the starter kicks on one click later, but the engine doesn't take over.  But the transfer pump has never worked and I drove it for 40 miles on the freeway recently, so I'm running on a theory that I had been overtaxing the high pressure in-line pump.


Log 2016102001

- Two 9V batteries were purchased today.  One is for the carbon monoxide/ smoke detector and the other is a spare.


Log 2016101901

- My AAA Roadside Assistance Reimbursement paper is printed out as my original invoice from the motorhome's last tow was scanned yesterday, or the day before.

- My ink printer/ scanner here at Home Port fell off my desk yesterday.  I put it up on 12 - 6in bed stands, lifting it 8".  I thought that went hit the ground, that was going to be the end of it.  Well, it wasn't.  Only the USB port was damaged.  I was still able to get it to work over the Wi-Fi.  With that being said, using the scanner bed, I backed up the Wayne National Forest Hiking, Backpacking and Mountain Bike map, as well as the obsolete paper maps for their Marietta Unit.  The goal is to waypoint all of their stated facilities and track their trails in Google Earth either by tracing, or downloading them from AllTrails.

The maps were scanned in at 200dpi, or dots per square inch.  When overlaying them in Google Earth, zooming in might be necessary in order to correctly position them.  There's 35 images to over lay and I hope that I did them right?  On the big, fold out Hiking, Backpacking and Mountain Bike map, I only needed the area surrounding the Whipple Section, but I just backed up almost everything.

What I'd like is to see the "big picture" of what's going on around the trail.  The position and route of the Kinderhook Horse Trail is hard to imagine sometimes in comparison with my records.


Log 2016101601

There was the question of how long the hi pressure inline fuel pump in my motorhome could go for without taking a break on the freeway?  I just recently confirmed that it can handle those roads.  It wasn't a matter of the wind, but the pressure in the tires at the time.  And I was wondering if it would fare better at a constant 55MPH instead of 55, 45, 35 & 25 on the country highways that I was driving before.  Turns out, it's inconclusive.

The motorhome ran fine for 45 miles and there wasn't a sign of hesitation until I got off the freeway to try and re-enter going the other direction.  It was as if the engine had enough fuel to barely stay on.  And pressing on the accelerator only revved the engine a little while it was still rolling.  I had just enough momentum to pull into a gas station, stop, turn the engine off and give it a break like I've been doing.

Well, it wouldn't start again.  In the accessory position, I get the noise like the fuel pump's turning on.  But when I try to start it, the starter cranks, but the compression cycle doesn't start.  Right now, my guess is that the mechanical portions of the electric pump are damaged.  And the driving that I've done prior has damaged it little by little before this.  In weeks past, I had be concerned about the quality of the engine's idle sound.  And the fact that when I did the last 90 minute test, I pulled into a campground, stayed for 2 nights and while it got me home the next day, the quality of the engine's sound wasn't as good as it was.

I have AAA Premier RV+, so I called them and they didn't have anyone who could get it and offered to reimburse me if I could find someone.  Well, the gas station that I was at was very easy going about me staying there until the morning and that's what I did.  I called AAA again and they still couldn't get me.  So, I made arrangements myself and now I have to submit for reimbursement my $475 bill for about a 48 mile trip and some labor.

When the tow truck operator lifted the front end, he had to do something at the rear axle.  And apparently, one of my U joints came loose from the drive shaft.  It's OEM from 28 years ago and I had never seen it before, but he was unable to get these little rods that line the inside of it back right because neither one of us had any grease.  But if it was that easy, I'd rather replace it.  He said that they could have come loose and the drive axle could have dropped when I was driving?

Well, if the high pressure pump is immediately the culprit, installing a new high pressure in line pump is easy.  The problem is that I have a driveway that I can install in the gas tank and peripherals. The best date to do that is coming up soon and I'm really out of money.  If I decide to go through with it, it's not just one fuel pump, but two to move it and get the full repair perfect.


Log 2016091301

The Robot is definately not getting enough power.  It's USB 3.0 expansion card is barely supporting the tablet being the only thing tethered to it.  And my smartphone (which is a USB 3.0 device) had to be plugged into one of the on-board 2.0 ports so I could transfer some pictures between the devices.  One of those pictures is the driver's side door panel of the motorhome's cab which has the weight limits, VIN and model numbers printed on them.

When I checked my Kill-A-Watt meter, it said that The Robot was drawing 95 watts.  I'm pretty sure now that it's time for a new power supply unit.


Log 2016091201

I just got back from the Whipple Section and it's surrounding area.  The one thing I couldn't do was paint because I didn't bring the proper clothing.  But I did get some North Country Trail tack-ons up and some reconnaissance done for the upcoming Buckeye Trail Data Book.

One thing that it's authors spotted was a couple benches and picnic tables.  How they made out there being a pavilion, benches and a water well from satellite imagery is beyond me?  I have it up in Google Earth now and I even tried street view on Google Earth and I'm unable to get that much defination.  For those of us on the ground, it's kinda sunk back and it's brick tends to blend in with the foliage.   And they're aren't any signs for it.  Well, the property is on Tittle Run/ T43 near Pleasant Ridge Rd/ County Rd 17 in Lawrence Township, Washington County just inside of the Wayne National Forest's proclamation boundary.  It was once a church pavilion that is now privately owned.

One other thing, I got GPS waypoints on a monument mentioned in the section's guide.  For the last 17 months, I've been unable to find it up until this week.  It's a monument to the Tittle Family who first settled the area it's on Kohl Rd/ T391 about 200ft NW of Nichols Rd/ T329 in Fearing Township of Washington County.

Lastly, I got a recommendation regarding the Liberty Grocery at 105 South Main Street in Belle Valley of Noble County.  Two days ago, I went inside and found that there is a small selection, but enough food for resupply on for any direction.  This location is on The Wilderness and main loops, Belle Valley Section - Buckeye Trail (BT, without a concurrency, also referred to here as the "30 mile redundancy") about 800ft SW/ W of the 3-way intersection with the Road Fork Section - BT/ North Country Trail Connector (NCTC).


Log 2016100701

I got a few things done today.

- Spare tire cover installed
The stock one was plastic with a wider outer diameter and it interfered with my hitch mounted bicycle rack.

- Frayed 12 gauge wire repaired temporarily
It's brown and I found out that was the main wire to my brake and running lights.  I realized during the repair that I didn't have any extra 12 gauge wire.  But I pulled it taunt enough to connect it with a blue cylinder.

- I purchased a laptop safe today, but in placing it in the motorhome, it ended up being larger than I wanted and wouldn't fit between the seats.

- A new sewer hose was cut to fit the motorhome's outside carrier compartment.  I didn't measure it when I did it, but I believe that it was cut down from 10ft to 6ft.  It's low priority at this point, but there's a lot of space behind there and I probably could upgrade the carrier and maybe install a second one?

As soon as I diagnose the reverse lights, I can get a piece of strip steel installed on the spare tire mount.  If I drill the holes right and lengthen the spare tire's bolts, I can JB Weld Steel Stick them together.  Then install a 90° angle at the top and mount the reverse camera to it.  The camera has to be taller than my biggest bicycle on the hitch rack.  And the hitch rack has an arm that extends about 30" up.

But in all actuality, I think I'd rather have it on more than just in reverse.  So, I might wire it straight to the battery via a switch?  One already exists in the cab for the lighter port power socket.  That already supplies power to the three way splitter and the tablet which will connect to the camera via Bluetooth.

Log 2016100601

It's like somebody at the scrap yard asking me: "is it aluminum or steel?"  I often wish I'd respond: "if it's not rusted, how in the hell do I know?"  Is the roof of the motorhome rubber?  I think so.  Everything I've read says it is.

I went to another RV store today.  I can tell that they're very knowledgeable and deal with mostly men.  The ladder I can tell because when I don't know something, they keep trying to drive the hell out of it.  And they don't know how deal with DIY'ers.  Well, I was after covers for my outdoor electrical sockets and cable ports and didn't get them.  But I did get a hand crank for the outdoor antenna and a retrofit replacement for that because the present one is analog.  The current outdoor covers have a layer between them and the outer hull of the chassis.  When I go to replace those coaxial cables, I'm not sure that I can save the shims.  If not, I have squares of 1/16ths rubber and I can make a replacement for, but I'd rather have something that was manufactured for it just to be absolutely sure.

Looks like I'm going to have ascend to their level?  And my mechanical upbringing was cut short when my family and I made like The Jeffersons and we "moved on up."  Mechanical aptitude was where I was my weakest subject in the Armed Forces Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).  But, I started repairing my own car in the Hobby Shop on post afterwards.  And with the hands on experience since then and with this motorhome, I'm improving.

For the last 5 months, the motorhome's engine has been the priority.  I've been almost single minded about it.  The chassis is planned for the spring because it needs the entire cost to do it at once.  So, I've really stayed away from it lately.  Q: Will I become more experienced??? A: When I start working on it.

One of the reasons that I purchased the antenna is that I believe that there's a way to mount two TV's in it.  I might just do the one in the bedroom.  If I can get to mount to the cabinetry with a 3ft swing arm, I can watch it in front of the bedroom curtains and then lock it by the overhead cabinetry near it's passenger side window during transport.

It might be possible to use something like 2x6's to build a brace across the interior side of the overhead cab area,  I think I can wedge and temporary mount it?  But the size of the television will depend on what the new between the seats center console for the cab will look like?  I might want to add steps to the overhead cab there?

There's a big area between the drivers and passengers seats that's built so that the occupants can move to the chassis without going outside.  But I usually drive with the overhead bed folded out because I'm 6'6 and it's not very easy for me to get back there.  Meanwhile, there's storage potential there.


Log 2016100501

I was wrong about needing a special fuse from Radio Shack to force a current down to 1 amp.  Auto Zone sold me one today that will fit into the nose of my cigarette lighter plug, which in my portable battery jump box will produce a 12V signal.  It's positive will be attached to the positive wire of the sending unit starting at a location as close to it as I can get.

The way things look, I should be able to put the duallies on the ramps and lift my motorhome to get the best approach to those wires.  But I'll have to watch the public utility wires in doing it because they get low as they attach to the first storey of the house.  The way things look, I'll have have to lift the back axle going into the driveway nose first.

Additionally, I purchased a 1/4th" socket driver and extensions today.  I was thinking that I might need them for when I go to replace it's old stereo unit.  I should now have enough RG6 coax cable to replace the analog ones.  An employee at the home improvement store said that they're should be no difference in couplers, so I don't have to replace those.  Yesterday, I bought another sewage tube and connector because my previous one wouldn't fit in it's mounted container and I ended up using it to purge the sewage tank.  There wasn't anywhere safe to store it.  Next time, I need to cut it down to fit the mounted container.


Log 2016100301

I just received my 3/8ths pneumatic socket sets for both metric and SAE.  Also, I now have two replacements for my plastic Otterbox belt clip plates that fit my anti-shock protector for my Samsung Note 3 smartphone.

I took the motorhome out to camp about 25 miles away. And I noticed that it started a little better when I turned the key into the accessory position and allowed the high pressure fuel pump to come entirely on before turning over the engine. But as I was leaving, I was driving about 15MPH through the campground area and I did not like the way it was running at that speed.


Log 2016093003

I chatted on-line with a salesman from JC Whitney today and while they sold a replacement for my motorhome's 38 gallon fuel tank, I was told that they sell neither the transfer pump or fuel sending unit.  But right now, Summit Racing is looking like they might carry a universal sending unit.  And from what I know of my last visit, they might be able to get me a transfer pump as well?  Right now, they're the the lead.  But that's getting ahead of myself.  The first things to do is to test the ground and positive wires with a low amperage lighter plug in my portable battery jump box first.

If the the new, temporarily rerouted ground, or positive signal makes makes the gas gauge rise, I'll know that the stock wiring wiring works.  If it doesn't, I'll need to trace and test it heading towards the cab.  The same goes for the transfer pump.  My method will by-pass it's fuse and relay, so if it's good, it should just come on.

In all actuality, I could get the motorhome down towards 21.5 gallons of gas if the my car's 16.5 gallon tank was near empty.  Since I drive it more, that's not too much to ask.  And at that point, my 5 gallon jerry can is already empty now.

Log 2016093002

- I was getting ready to replace the hood vents in the motorhome when I took my battery powered tools out of storage.  They're in a bag and I took them out only to find that they're moist and one of my batteries corroded.  If I didn't know better, I'm probably out a full wireless tool kit because I might not be able to get the moisture out of my current ones.

- According to the most recent weather forecast and the fact that my RV caulking dries in 24 hours, it looks like I won't get to replace the motorhome's roof vents until Tuesday.  About 6 running lights and the overhead cab also need to be caulked at that time.

- Two plates for the otter box that fits my Samsung Note 3 smartphone are on order.  I just hope that their belt clips don't swivel without locking.  Usually when you turn them, they click from one setting to another.  But having swivel without locking on my waist down trail is no good.  It's asking for it to get snagged on something.

Log 2016092901

I'm assembling a pneumatic tool kit (air tools).  This past weekend, I purchased a set of metric and SAE (English measurement) 1/2 drive deep well sockets.  While I already have a Craftsman Damaged Nut/ Bolt Set, they're in a 3/8ths drive and a converter socket will snap if I try to use it.

So today, I purchased both a 1/2 and 3/8th drive pneumatic impact guns as well as an air wrench.  Then I just ordered a set of metric and SAE standard length pneumatic sockets.  The bolts on the motorhome's gas tank are rather clean, but I'm not taking any chances.

I've owned a 4ft tall air compressor for years now.  And when I was working on my car with it at the time, I was borrowing tools for it.  So, this kit has been a long time coming.

Log 2016093001

Finding a pepper spray canister holder for hiking can be difficult.  But I wanted to show you what I use.  These photos were taken in the tool aisle at my local Home Depot store.

This clip is very good becase of the way it wraps.  But i carry mine on the shoulder straps of ruck sacks and it can be very difficult to fix to them.

As you can see, this is designed for flashlights.

This has elastic sides and is open on the top and bottom.  But my canister has never fell out.  Also, the pepper spray comes with a round ball key link on the bottom, which is low profile and makes it easy to draw from the holder.

This is where it was on the top shelf and all the way to the right.

Some hikers might tell you that this isn't necessary.  But many hikers are good at rules and not necessarily exceptions. On most trails in North America, there's not enough people on the trail to where you can rely on some kind"herd immunity."  10% of the population is immune to it's effects. But I was certified to use this in the Army and it took me from 6'6/ 230lbs down to a sobbing 4 year old child when they sprayed me. At that point, any 5'4/ 120lb woman could have flung me to the ground and beat me relentlessly.


Log 2016092801

Several of the motorhome's 14 running lights were replaced today.  Since my storage facility's liability insurance doesn't cover working on vehicles, getting on a ladder meant that I had to use an alternate site.  My current energy level is just about where it usually is.  But a friend of the family does roofing on houses and he was telling me about how getting up and down ladders all day wears him out.  I only did a half day and my hamstrings can feel it.  As of now, only two driver's side markers don't work.  That's because one is Ford OEM and the other is a 4" red marker with a bulb that doesn't stick and spin, but has a port much like the Ford OEM front orange one.  I've never seen a 4" side marker light with that socket before.

I got the top lights done in just enough time to drive back across town so I could secure the tarp to the overhead cab sleeping area before the storage facility closed.  I probably covered that over cab area at lightning speed because I was cutting it close.

With rain in the forcast this week, I wasn't able to caulk the new marker lights.  But I didn't know this at first, but the plugs on the back of the new orange ones weren't in the same places as their predecessors.  Their predecessors used a four screw mounting system where the new ones were only a two.  Being unprepared for this, I used a sharper point Phillips screwdriver and hammered the new holes in with my palm.  It worked.

Anyways that saves the only tube of RV caulking that I purchased from Camping World (which is 50 miles away) to do the new marker lights and roof vents after I install them.  I can caulk those when it's not raining, then use something recycled plastic grocery bags and Gorilla Tape to keep them dry while their curing for 24 hours.  I know that it is illegal to drive without any of the marker lights when it rains or at night.  But I don't know so much about the day and I don't want to tempt it either.

When I purchased the motorhome on May 5th, I took it on the freeway and noticed that the slightest gust of wind was causing me to overcompensate for it.  Today, I took it on under similar conditions and found that it handled fine.  Before I was suspecting that the suspension might have been the problem.  Last night, I saw that it would probably cost about $500 just to have the rear leaf springs replaced.  Mechanically, it's suspension is something I could easily repair.

The difference between this time and last is tire pressure.  When the previous owner told me that he checked the levels and filled up anything that was low, either he didn't read the sidewalls, or didn't didn't do them at all?  I filled them up from 50psi.  It's LT215/85/R16 tires are rated for 80psi, which I filled them about a month or so ago.  It drove on the freeway much better today.

- Prior to this entry, my Treeman's Adventures & Volunteerism Logs exceeded 8,000 pageviews.


Log 2016092701

I just looked into tires for the motorhome.  The bill just to purchase the replacements that I'd want is about $1,086 for 6 (it has duallies in the rear).  As for install, I'll have to find a place that it can pull in so I can get an alignment, too.  I may have to get the suspension done.  That's easy.  The trick might be in getting a spring compressor to remove and install the front shocks.  They're thick.

Today, I drove to Camping World and purchased two new roof vents.  One of them has a fan for the bathroom.  For that job, I purchased some caulking, too.  I also got orange front and red rear marker lights for the ones that are bad or damaged.


Log 2016092101

I think I found the wires to the transfer pump and sending unit on my motorhome inside of 1/2" black conduit. It's in the front, routed over that top corner and does not come back out the other side. It contains 3 wires. Two of them the same guage and a black that's about a 12.

So, I drove it for a bit and burned about 6 gallons of gasoline. I estimate that there 31 gallons left. I don't have the facility to store a 55 gallon drum, even empty. So if I drop the tank, it's all got to get burned.

But just in case I don't have to replace it, I've invented a new diagnostic proceedure for the wiring using a fused lighter plug in a portable battery jump box. This way I can get 12V DC while controlling the amperage and satisfying Olm's Law.

This part is hard to get because of the age and size tank that it has. The tank is bordered by steel beams all the way around. The other locations another one could install in are occupied by the motorhome's componentry.  Therefore, the replacement has to be the same width and length or less, but I could spare some height. With all that said, there's old wiring all around and a found could be bad for all I know. So, if the current pump can work, I'll pursue that avenue first.

While I was underneath, I spotted a wire to the trailer hitch lighting. It was in a plastic Y branch connector and the wiring at it was unshielded and fraying... barely holding on. This could be my reverse light that's not getting any power?


Log 2016091801

I purchased a new steel tool box to replace the plastic ones for the sockets, drivers and wrenches.  They 're purchased for The Cramper and the tools for my Chevy HHR were usually metric.  Now that I'm incorporating SAE, they're getting heavy and their top latches aren't holding, or they aren't holding their form between said top and bottom when picked up.  I'm afraid the latches will loose grip and my tools will go everywhere.

Since, I'm getting more sockets (the motorhome uses SAE), I also purchased two socket rails.  They're something that wouldn't fit in the plastic boxes, nor could I justify their weight them past.  With the HHR pulling up to 1,000lbs and having up to 500lbs in the cab, expenditures in weight had to be well justified.

But I had the trailer because I'm not just a hiker, but a maintainer and I planned on being down trail for extended periods of time where there might be places that AAA might not tow me out of.  For some of you, you might just be able to use your "wagon like" vehicle alone.  And if not, then a roof top luggage carrier might be the way to go.  Mine is fixed to aftermarket roof bars that I got from Walmart.  They were $29 at the time and use mesh straps with hook plates to secure to the body of my car under each doors rubber shielding.  I've been running this setup for 6 years and have only had water leakage once.  That was probably because I dismounted too much shielding?  These days, it doesn't leak at all.

I spent the rest of the day editing my Personal Section Supervisor's Page.  I explained how Washington County was a part of the Mid-Ohio Valley and the Parkersburg - Marietta - Vienna Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Log 2016091701

I spent a couple hours editing some addresses on the Friends of the Buckeye Trail's Meetup page.  As far as I know, Meetup won't take locations from global coordinates.  So, I was able to use the "What's Here" feature on Google Maps for most of the ones in question.  A couple I didn't know of, or didn't have data for and Tinker's Creek Gorge along the Bedford Section is on Gorge Parkway and it doesn't have an address system, or a street corner that I could reliably lock on to.

Log 2016091701

The Robot is still up and running, but I put off some tasks just to use Google Earth and Maps.  Now, I'm starting to catch up with them.  The lastest is moving all of my documents, videos and music from the orginal install directory to where it needs to be on another hard disk.  That means that my Map Repository is in the process of moving.

The Robot has a 4 hard disk system that is on two controller cards, one being the motherboard.  If they were on just one, I believe that I would be able to create something that would view them all as one hard disk and spread the load of the files evenly amongst them.  But since their on two, I'm doing the distribution manually to keep the system running faster.  Basically drive C is only used for the operating system and a number of essential applications.  This is so if needed, the system could run with the other three unplugged and still boot.  That's necessary because hard disk drives fail and chances are it won't be the main one.

The Robot is a custom built computer system that's taken a lot of static shock in the last 6 years.  When that happens, you can expect hardware failure to occur some time.

I've been in communication with a prospective Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail hiker the past two days.  We have a collapsed trail in between Pts. 02 - 03 that's unsafe to pass that BTA doesn't have a trail alert for.  The problem in getting to Pt. 03 is Big Run Rd that off of Archer's Fork Rd/ C14 in Independence Township of Washington County.

Coming from the North Country/ Buckeye Trailhead at C9 and Archer's Fork Rd, Big Run Rd is 2.3 miles NW.  As Archer's Fork (body of water) is along the west and south side of the road, Big Run will have the only concrete bridge crossing it, but it's unsigned.  Once across, there are immediately what looks three drives.  The one to the south is Big Run Rd, but it may not look like one.  And the hikers aren't able to see it enter the treeline from the bridge, so they may think that it's private property.  It's not.  They should follow it parallel to the south treeline and when they do, they'll see it enter the woods.  Once thing to note is that there's not much on Big Run Rd.  It's traffic consists of the immediate resident, NFS naturalists, NFS and BTA maintainers and perhaps one oil well that I'm not sure is even working?

That turn from Archer's Fork Rd to Big Run Rd is even tricky for me.  I've never done it without a GPS.  With that in mind, the hiker might want to proceed W on County Rd 9/ C9 and pick up where the the trail is temporarily on that road.


Log 2016091201

I toured part of my trail promotion, Route 1 discovery trip today that took me through places like Powhatan Point, Ohio, Moundsville, New Vrindaban, Littleton, Hastings, Reader and New Martinsville of West Virginia.  I use the Locus Pro app on my Android based smartphone.  And apparantely, it no longer supports maps from Map Quest.  So, I've had a difficult time finding something for the United States to take place of it's road map.  What I have won't allow me to download maps for offline use and most of the this trip was offline.  I had to rely on my GPS track that I made for these routes on a blank map.  I ended up missing a few turns because I couldn't distinguish between a curve and another road.  When the smartphone came back into cell service, the points around the map wouldn't zoom it.  So, I was lucky to see that someplace was a town.

Looks like I'll have to go with USGS Topo's now.  They're better for hiking. Meanwhile, I discovered that I can download maps in my Google Maps app that covers all the routes, but they expire in one month.  I can also use it to view a trail's track.  If this pertains to topographic maps then, Locus might be on it's way out?


Log 2016091101

I was on Part II of the Buckeye Trail Association's Circuit Hike program today.  It took place on the eastern portion of the Road Fork Section's on-road trail from west of the National Forest Service's Lamping Homsted to Ring Mill Campgrounds in the Marietta Unit.  I don't normall hike with others, but I had a good time.  Yesterday, I discovered that I didn't pack my 18L CamelBak backpack, but I had my 60L rucksack that I hadn't used in years.  So I filled it's 4L bladder up with water, come to find early in the hike that that the tube was brown it was contaminated.  I spit that water right out. I was content to make the 8 miles in 3 hours without water, but one of the event organizers gave me his reserve container.

The Circuit Hike program is for those that want to hike in a group for a day, or weekend at a time and eventually claim the entire circuit one day.  Road Fork has the best on-road on the circuit because by Buckeye standards, some feel that it might as well be off-road.  I've heard it likened to a "towpath."  I can't remember it very well, but I think that some of the roads are forested with patches of grass in them.  The section's on-road usually takes place on top of a ridge between two highways.  It's rough on my Chevy HHR to drive it.

The Road Fork Section is a part of The Wilderness Loop.  And I wanted to scout West Virginia east of this section for trail promotion reasons.  But I have somethings I have to attend to in NE Ohio on the 13th, so I'll have to leave the area tomorrow.


Log 2016090302

Buckeye Trail maps aren't just that, it's a combination document with a guide, too.  There was trouble recently with a hiker using just the map for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  And I'm sure somebody told them that they could get away with using that.  But every once in a while, the guide has to clairify the trail's route in ways that the map can't display when it can't have blazes as per regulation.  I apologize for being vague, but it has it's moments.

On the Buckeye Trail, blazes are forbidden on the Little Miami State Scenic Trail, as well as parts of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, one of the smaller off-road segments that are S of the City of Defiance and perhaps a few more areas.  If blazes are found on one of these, it could be because the property is owned by another agency (like a land conservancy)? Or they were left over from when Buckeye was permitted to pass through there, but something like a towpath wasn't formally build there yet.  For instance, the Buckeye Trail was permitted to pass on the land where the Little Miami State Scenic Trail is today before the paved multi-use trail was built there.

Log 2016090301

Hiking and the Carry of Firearms It's natural for some people to consider open or conceal carrying a gun as a hiker. But I can tell you that it would be difficult. Hiking attire is short and restrictive because it's meant to save space in a pack. With the pack on, the shoulder straps wrench down and a sternum strap connects them across the chest. If the pack is big enough, they'll come with a 6in wide foamy pad on both sides that buckle in the middle. Usually, there is no room to hook anything between the switching of the mesh to the buckle. If it's one of these packs, the foamy pad covers the belt line of the pants or shorts. As far as I can tell, the weapon would need to be mounted to a shoulder strap somehow. Otherwise, if a metal belt clip might be added to a leg mount holster to use on the waist of shorts (instead of using a belt loop), I don't know much about hand guns, but this might work with a lighter firearm if the draw string of the shorts can handle the weight? The best that I could come up with as far as concealed carry is if the weapon was stored in the head of the backpack. Since it unzips in the back of the pack, a piece of paracord could be attached to it's zipper and the other end tied down on the opposite shoulder strap. Then the weapon's handle would be tied to the other shoulder strap with another piece of cord. The problem with this idea is tying the excess cord down so that it doesn't snag while hiking on off-road footpaths. In some of the hiking presentations that I've given, the carrying of a firearm has come up before. In the hiking world, I have yet to hear if it being discussed. It might be taboo. In any case, this is my personal blog and this entry does not necessarily reflect on any trail agencies that I'm involved with.


Log 2016090201

I continue to work on the regional trail promotion plan.  And I think that I'm just about done with the map.  Along the Ohio River in Washington County, I'm much more with it's interior.  West Virginia's is just some place that I haven't gone yet.  To familiarize myself, I designated five routes to drive in my car that will probably take 7 days to complete.  They're based on post office locations  I intend to take one of them when I'm in the area next.

Meanwhile, I got a look at one of the Buckeye Trail's back drops for booths, tables and displays.  They really want me to use theirs for uniformity and branding purposes, but that won't work in the triad that I'm setting up because at these type events, the BT/ NCT and ADT need to be promoted at the same time.  So, I plan to build something very similar to it to suit our circumstances.  And it will have to be approved by the Buckeye Trail Association, and maybe the American Discovery Trail Society as well.


Log 2016090102

This is the electrical Y branch connector part that I mentioned in my previous log that I was going to test the motorhome's transfer pump wires with. I bought it at O'Reilly Autoparts in a box of about 10 or so.

To clairify, I'm going to bypass the ground to another location and see of that works. If not, I'm going to run 12V power from my portable battery jump box with an in line fuse to give the pump an external power source. With that and the bypassed ground, if that doesn't work, then the pump and sender are bad.

Log 2016090101

So, I've got an idea to test the functionality of the motorhome's sending unit and transfer pump.  With the reverse lights being out at the moment and it being 28 years old, I have to consider that it has bad grounds.  What I'm going to do is I've seen these Y branch wire connectors in my Chevy HHR's hitch wiring harness made by Reece.  They're blue and you feed a whole wire through one slot, then a terminated wire along another, bring down a plastic arm with a metal piece that snaps to the side and bridges the connection.  I'm hoping that I can find a box of these somewhere, but the search hasn't gone well.  Afterwards, I can take off the connector, tape the cut in the through wire and that's it... it's pretty clean.

But I got to thinking even more... what if the positive wire is broken, perhaps inside it's shielding somewhere?  Well, if I use my portable battery jump box, I could a lighter plug into it and get a 12v positive and negative wires out of it.  Wire the negative to a ground with a gator clip then place an in-line fuse on the postive wire on it's way to the component.  Now the fuse box is probably only going to have one fuse for both the high pressure and the transfer fuel pump.  I figure that to keep it on the safe side, I could start with the smallest fuse in the in-line first and work my way up to whatever's in the block.  If the temporary ground and the positive don't work, I'll know for sure that the unit is bad and then I'll go about dropping the fuel tank and possibly removing it.

I'm not getting a signal from the sending unit on my gas gauge either.  Hopefully this might "spark" some life into it.  It's all in the interest of doing the least invasive/ least costly thing first.

If I drop the tank, I will then know for sure if it's a combination sending unit/ transfer pump.  And would the transfer pump be electric, or mechanical?  After having it down, I should have enough information to go back to Summit Racing in-person and perhaps order a new one?

With replacing the high pressure pump recently and only getting it to go from 40 to 90 minutes without hesitating uphills, Then sending it into the shop and getting a Code 95 stating that the transfer pump has a bad ground, I'm pretty convinced that the transfer pump is it.  And thinking that, if that's out and the gas gauge is too, that it's very likely that this is electric and a combination unit (without even looking at it).

With the transfer pump on, it will be time to determine if the motorhome can dolly my car.  The motorhome has a V8 351 Windsor motor.  The length of the motorhome is 25ft and it's weight is 11,600lbs.  It has a Class III hitch.  The combined weight of the dolly, car and gear is 4,100lbs.  Without a manual, I'm unable to determine what's it's towing capacity is and it's door sticker doesn't state it's Gross Combined Weight Rating GCWR.  The weight rating sticker on the hitch is missing and the operators manual doesn't have it.

There's a nuclear option to all of this.  I'm a spend a holic.  And saving up for the motorhome and everything I've done so far to it, I'm not ready to give it up.  The nuclear option is to buy another Ford Econoline cutaway like this, use it's sender, then get a storage unit temporarily, chop it up and sell it on ebay.  That will be saving the engine and transmission for myself of course.  My current motorhome, it just has a 1988 70,000 engine in it.  It still has a good under body and I'd prefer to have those rebuilt.

The air pump check valve has separated from the right bank smog tube.  Some of these valves look like they had a pipe extending it that mounted to the smog tube.  The current tube has a hollow bolt ceased to it.  And I can't torque it out, or I'll twist up the smog tube.  I got to thinking that I could mount a replacement valve that I currently have and use pipe from the home improvement store, then JB Weld it to the bolt and seal it up?

I use gNotes on my Android based smartphone to record everything about my motorhome.  Including tires sizes, their age, light bulbs, size and number of exterior cabinet locks. gas tank dimensions, clearances, where all the keys go, what size are the marker lights, etc...  I just keep adding things to it.


Log 2016083001

I was at Summit Racing today inquiring about replacing the motorhome's gas tank, low pressure fuel pump and sending unit.  The clerk assured me that they won't be able to do anything about any one of those until I drop the tank that's in it and look.  That's the very situation that I've been trying to avoid.  I want all the parts before it comes down.  Apparently, that's not the way it's going to be.

Right now, the least invasive solution will be to try and find the ground for the low pressure fuel pump. Then use a Y branch connector to redirect it to a new ground and see if that works?  My theory is that since the fuel gauge doesn't work either, that it's a combination unit.  I think that if the fuel gauge reads correctly, then they'll both be on.  And for this, it would be better to have about 15 gallons of gas in the tank.  So, it's just a matter organizing what needs to be done, in what sequence and where?  I can't lift the motorhome at the storage unit.  It's forbidden.  Instead, I have a relatives house with a narrow driveway and about 12 hours to have the job done and get it out of there.  That's taking my ignorance and the unknown into account (I've never dropped a tank before, nor have I ever seen one done).

But the theory is that the ground on the reverse lights are out. with the Y branch and the multimeter, I'll have to test it's positive to confirm that.


Log 2016082901

I was getting ready for trail promotion.  And one of those means concerns where to place a flier?  I know from experience that post offices, public libraries, government buildings, coffee shops and some other places have community cork boards.  In order to devise a route and even consider where they'll be deployed, I started mapping the post office locations in 9 counties in Ohio and West Virginia.  Right as I got done, Google Earth crashed and I lost about 5 hours of volunteer work.

Log 2016082601

I've been a member of the Buckeye Trail (BTA) and North Country Trail Associations (NCTA).  Today, I joined the American Discovery Trail Society (ADTS).


Log 2016082801

I'm running a Kill A Watt EZ Power Monitor on The Robot. Even though it's power supply unit is rated for 750W, I'm running the computer now with one optical drive, 4 hard disk drives, USB 2.0, 3.0, 11 - 120mm chassis fans a large heat sink fan, Wi-Fi cards and a few minor peripherals on about 104 watts.  The next thing to do will be to insert the expansion graphics controller and see what it does.  Then, run the television on it's HDMI output and see what happens?  Before the crash and this current operating system, movies would make The Robot crash after about 20 minutes of play on that card.

I finished mapping the ADT in Colorado on-road and anything else that would snap in Google My Maps from Denver to the Utah Line.  Once again, the off-road tracks remain in error as I just let Google snap to something around it, but I have waypoints in place to indicate to me where to start and end modifying the track for them later.


Log 2016082603

The motorhome has a On-board Diagnostic (OBD) I.  It's a Ford Diagnostic Link No. 6 and mine was found with corroded wires and hanging near the front of the battery.  It looks like they had slots that slip on and off of a plastic part that was mounted somewhere?

I also found out today that the current tires were manufactured in the 16th week of 2005.  The wheels need balanced, but I'm 4 years beyond the recommended limit and I'll have to get them all replaced before I a shop can do that because their at risk for a blow out.  While I was in the storage unit, I found out that the bathroom exaust hat's cover blew off in the last rain storm.  I was able to pop it back on, but the metal part between the crank and the rail attached to the plastic lid has been missing, so I had to Gorilla Tape it shut until I could get a replacement.  Camping World in Akron of Summit County didn't have one with a fan in it.

I also used the same said tape to patch up cracks in the OEM front exhaust hat and air conditioner cover.  All of the plastic on the roof is sun bleached and fatigued.  When I was crawling around up there these past few months, I used them to try and stabilize my balance and that's usually a mistake.  Oh well, these are easily replaceable.

I adjusted the fuel range on my tablet's estimated fuel gauge for the loss of 2 gallons (because of what I thought the tank was).