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Log 2016013101

I got The Robot to boot to Windows, but only with my second hard disk drive unplugged.  Apparently the second one is has a hardware conflict. I have my USB diagnostic kit connecting it to my laptop. It reads it, so I'm transfered it.

But my software wouldn't wipe it's Master Boot Record or Track 0. I had to delete it's partition first.  So the battle with The Robot goes on...

Log 2016013101

The solid state drive that runs the system partition on The Robot was corrupted.  The operating system had to be reinstalled.


Log 2016022901

The new heatsink is installed and everything is plugged, or inserted in where they should be except for 2 chassis fans and another one tomorrow that need some power connection converters.  It took about 5 hours to do.  And even though everything was marked as to what port they originally came from, The Robot's nasty reputation for configuration took a turn for the worst.  Sometimes, I can't get it to boot up, or when it does, somehow Windows became corrupt.  If I have to re-install windows and reprogram the computer, you can find me purchasing a copy of Norton Ghost very soon.

Meanwhile, I just discovered "NOAA Weather Radio" for my Android Smartphone on Google Play and I'm experimenting with the app.  While it lists a "Marietta" station, it does not have any West Virginia ones at all.  Much of Marietta's broadcast is based on the weather station in Charleston, WV.  If it works, it will be a good tool to use down trail.  But I think it would be better in the car.

FM radio stations are sluggish to play the severe weather tone.  When the weather gets bad, I want to know what's going on immediately.  In order to get weather band in a car without a smartphone app, one has to purchase and install a marine stereo head unit.  And I'm just don't have the money for that.  And even if I was, I'd have to be assured that the unit will always lock on the closest of the seven channels broadcasting, no matter where I'm traveling, then interrupt all other stereo functions in the event of a weather alert.  Otherwise, I could just take a small hand held weather band radio, supply it power from the car and jack it into my stereo's auxiliary input.  But they usually have a big bulky antenna.


Log 2016012703

I wanted to write about volunteerism as I know it with the Buckeye Trail Association.  There are numerous types and I'm sure that I won't mention them all.  They range with having virtually no contact with people to others that are before the general public in mass.  And not all of the volunteers are hikers.  Some of them are simply there to support a good cause.

The Buckeye Trail Association is an IRS 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization.  It's operation is paid for by dues money, grants and sometimes the Americorps sends what they call a "volunteer," who's paid just about barely enough to live on.  The Buckeye is the state trail in Ohio, but it's by designation only.  That means that the BTA doesn't receive an annual stipend from the state.

In a "perfect world," it takes about one volunteer trail adopter per every 3 miles off-road and one per every 20 on-road to fully staff a BT section, which are between 45 - 65 miles long.  With the trail being somewhere around 1,441 miles in total length that's currently about 50% on-road and 50% off... well, you can do the math.

Sometimes, people in SE Ohio look at me funny when I tell them that I'm a volunteer.  But I have enough experience to determine a pattern.  I'm a 32 year old bachelor with no children.  Sometimes when I approach people like this, volunteering isn't what they were doing when they were my age.  Another thing might be something generational.

Now for those of you who've never volunteered before, this is an organization.  It has a hierarchy that ends with an Executive Director, 4 board officers and a number of trustees.  At present, they meet once a quarter in Columbus.  As a (volunteer) section supervisor, you can say that I'm like "middle management." I know the members, but my presence at these meetings has yet to be requested.  I might not even come into contact with one of these members in any given year.  But, the person who is immediately superior to me is the circuit wide (volunteer) Maintenance Supervisor and then the chair of the Trail Management Team then after.

Before this post, I was a trail adopter on another section. And I felt like I was the furthest thing away from the board :-)).  And that was alright.  The only thing that I had to do was contact the Section Supervisor and report on my segment once annually.  There's nothing like getting your own segment and driving over to it for the first time.  You get out of your car, breathe in and say, "this is mine."

Now there's another side of volunteering in the BTA that I don't have much experience with.  And that's manning a booth or table.  There's some volunteers in Southwest Ohio who do a great job of this.  They have a lot of experience and they have my admiration.  But the other volunteers are the ones that plan and execute the annual, multi-day, TrailFest for up to 300 people.  They volunteer nearly non-stop during these events.  And they have to secure a facility every year to suit the association's lodging, camping and classroom needs (it's not easy).  Then program 3 days worth of workshops and events.  Presently, as somebody who has to plan and execute, I'll go ahead and say that this one's out of my league.  But who knows... I could grow.

And there's other things one could do to volunteer that haven't even been invented yet.  Some of those tasks could be something from behind a desk at home for instance.  And sometimes, there's something that the trail's not doing that one could fill a need, or niche for.

So, if your interested in volunteering for the Buckeye Trail Association, I recommend that you send an email to Barry Unger, who is currently the Volunteer Coordinator.  And if there's something in this log that interests you, be sure to let him know.  If not, the BTA has a more complete list of volunteer opportunities.

Log 2016012703

-This entry is the 400th published for the "Treeman's Adventures & Volunteerism" log, which includes topics on necessary equipment for what I do.

In order to mount the new heatsink on my media center computer, "The Robot," it's motherboard will need to be dismounted to install a backing plate.  That entails much more work than I originally intended.  This computer is difficult to configure.  So, in order to do it, every USB cable currently connected will need to be labled and mapped back to where it was inserted.  I have my label maker standing by. There are 20 USB ports on this machine.  But I might be able to lift out the 6 expansion cards (like video, sound, Wi-Fi, more USB ports) while they're still inserted in the motherboard.

I could just plug them back in anywhere, but I risk it looking for drivers if the cables aren't plugged in where they were before.  And this computer takes some "manipulation" to configure.  So, it would actually be worth my while if I took the time to label them to prevent unforeseeable problems.

Log 2016012702

For the record, the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail's (North Country concurrent) 14.89mi of off-road, which is in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest, only has 3 fir trees.  I mention this because it's unusual for a Buckeye Trail section to be without a pine forest.

Log 2016012701

The weather was clear today, so I drove to Micro Center and purchased a new heatsink.  This one is bigger, so it should dissipate the CPU's heat better. But I'm not sure when I'll get to install it because I really want to work on the guide for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource.


Log 2016012603

I donned my rubber kitchen gloves today.  They were necessary so I could handle it's CPU.  I got inside there and wiped the interfacing compound off of it and the heatsink with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol and a static free cloth.  The heatsink and cooling fan are a combination that's sold as a single unit.  The heatsink is like a hunk of metal that helps disapate heat from the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Unfortunately, the mounting gear for the heatsink broke, probably with age because it's been in there for 8 years.  They good news is that a replacement isn't costly.  The bad news is that my car isn't working right and it looks like Friday will be the best day that I can get it replaced.

Log 2016012602

There's a potential for a unusual night hike, particularly on the Pemberville Section - Buckeye Trail.  It involves hiking that section's on-road trail in the greater Bowling Green of Wood County area during the Harvest Moon.  That area has the largest farms along the Buckeye Trail and it might be quite an experience.

I wrote "particularly" because the Norwalk Section could do well, but it's farms aren't as big.  And the problem with Western Ohio is that it's usually within a thin treeline on the Miami & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.  This area of the Pemberville Section is wide open and is the best vista for this hike.

At the moment, I don't have data for the right-of-way widths that the roads happen to sit on.  So, if you go according to the data that I have (available for download on the BTA's Facebook groups "Files" section), it uses metroparks and wildlife areas there.  If you plan on using them, just make sure that you call and get permission so that the rangers know that your vehicles are supposed to be there past their operating hours.

Log 2016012601

So, I've got an idea for Cub Scouts and younger girl scouts.  I know that with Cub Scouts that they have a small hiking requirement for their Weblos scouts patch.  And I know a way to get them 2 other patches in the process.  The Buckeye Trail in Ohio sells a 5k patch for those that are qualified to have it.  If you do it like I do, then all they need is to cover 5km, or 3.1mi down trail.  And they're entitled to wear their Buckeye Trail base patch for having even stepped on it to begin with at all.

Assuming that you have 5 scouts, you can use two minivans and park one at Point B.  Once done, the other driver gets in the other van and it parks at Point A.  Everybody then hikes to Point B, gets in the other van and drive back to Point A, where they retrieve the other van and drive home, or somewhere else.

The Buckeye Trail could be described as being like a giant "roundabout" in the system of North American distance trails.  And it's within 50 miles of other areas in the surrounding states.  It's not known for being overly difficult. Those miles could be done while the trail is on-road, too.


Log 2016012501

I installed the new 5.25" drive bay drawers on The Robot yesterday. The top one now holds the tools, while the bottom one is holding my cleaning cloths.  Today, I purchased a syringe of Arctic Silver 5 High Density Photosynthetic Silver Thermal Compound for it's CPU.  Since it's stable at lower temperatures and the the mapping of TARTA's call-a-rides and fixed routes isn't a priority, I'm going to postpone reapplying this heatsink compound for the time being.  In the meantime, think I can rely on the laptop more to work on editing the guide for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  But when it comes to uploading it's maps, I'm going to have to do it from Google Earth first and that might heat up the CPU?


Log 2016012401

I cleaned The Robot's heatsink with a vacuum and a compressed air can.  And while I was working on the polygon for TARTA's #4 Call-a-Ride, it didn't crash.  But when I went to start working on the #8 - Maumee Call-a-Ride, then it powered down and I lost my work.  So, the heatsink compound is the last and final thing to try.


Log 2016012302

I cleaned out The Robot about a month ago and there doesn't seem to be much dust in it's fans or CPU heat sink.  But during movie playback when my display is cloned to my TV, the computer will expectantly shutdown.  And also when I'm working with my overlaid TARTA maps and I'm drawling polygons for their call-a-ride zones, if it's a particularly large one, then it will also shut down.  Since the fans are clean, I've heard that the heat sinking compound on my CPU might need to be cleaned and re-applied.  Well, that's possible considering that the computer has been running almost non-stop for six years.  Frankly, I'm surprised that the CPU has lasted this long at all.  Heat sinking compound is cheap.

Log 2016012301

This is an image of the Winter 2016 System Map from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) with a track that corresponds to their Route 29 - Waterville Call-a-Ride against the route of the Buckeye (BT) and North Country Trail's (NCT) overlaid. Because of their color, the BT and NCT are very difficult to see.  But NCT is in blue on the lower left, while the Defiance and Pemberville Section's of the BT are in light blue and it's a little left of center at the bottom.

If you look and find where the NCT meets the highway that travels east into Whitehouse of Lucas County, a walk to the Kroger grocery store (on the edge of the Waterville Call-a-Ride's zone) is 4.1mi and barely disqualified to be mentioned in the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  I downloaded TARTA's system map from their website, which comes in the PDF format.  I then used PDF to JPG online converter to convert it into a JPG image.  The reason is that Google Earth will only allow me to over lay images.

The conversion website allowed me to choose the outputs quality and since I have a powerful computer, I choose 300dpi (their maximum setting).  When I first overlaid the image on Google Earth, it had to be resized and repositioned.  To that, I lowered the opacity on each image so that they'd become more transparent.  And that allowed Google Map's main roads and highways to appear with TARTA's system map overlay that I used as a basis for the repositioning and resizing.

TARTA's system map is drawn to scale and that made things easier. But I wasn't able to get it to match perfectly.  That's OK, they seldom ever do anyway.  So what I'm going to do from here is it as a template to trace it's Call-a-Ride Zones using polygons, which are shapes of unlimited sides.  Once the polygon closes, Google Earth will assign a color and fill the shape with it.  I'll probably use whatever color TARTA has on their map just to make it match.

Last night, those two 300dpi images plus working on one polygon made my CPU overheat and crash my computer.


Log 2015012001

The guide rough draft for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR) has been edited.  And for the most part, there's something to change on all 64 of those pages.  The biggest revisions will be on the Medina and Whipple Sections - BT.  That's because the Medina Section was re-routed in a suburban area.  And month ago, I had the opportunity to board a bus route in the Marietta of Washington County area the reveled several more areas for transit along the Whipple Section.


Log 2016011901

The total distance that I have left to hike on the Buckeye Trail (BT) is 187 of 1,441 miles.  All of which that remain are concurrent with the American Discovery and North Country Trails.  As I mentioned before in a previous logs, in addition to the Buckeye Trail, I've also completed the independent arms of both of those in Ohio, as well as NCT's 11 mile bypass of the Caesar Creek Section - Buckeye Trail in Southwest Ohio.  Currently, my plan is to complete all three in the Village of Mount Orab of Brown County.

So far today, I managed to edit the first 13 of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource's 64 page guide rough draft.


Log 2016011703

I mention "my favorite coffee shop" in the Buckeye Trail Association's Facebook group because like I mentioned in the previous log, the rough draft for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource's (OTHR) guide is quite thick.  When editing it, I usually like to do it in some place that is comfortable because I'm anticipate being there for a while.

New editions to the OTHR should only happen about once every 2 years at most.  And because it commands so much of my regard when doing it, that I assign it to my winter tasks.  These are ones that don't necessarily have to be done during the traditional hiking season.

Log 2016011702

The Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource's (OTHR) guide rough draft, fresh from my laser printer came out at 64 pages and about a half inch thick.  When put to a clip board, I don't have an exact measure, but it's heavy to hold as it place some minor stress on the muscles surrounding my wrist.

Log 2016011701

When it comes to OTHR new editions, I describe myself as "single minded."  Because this project is so large, it often takes from November to Valentine's Day where I put my "blinders" on, make it the only thing on my free time's addenda, get goin' and don't stop until it's done, or the traditional hiking/ maintaining season is so progressed that I can't possibly afford to continue and have to break off.


Log 2015011601

I'm contemplating recreating all 41 lines on the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority.  I'm not sure that I should because it might have to be maintained?  If I do, it's going to be a an off-year project to occur between editions only.  For those of you coming directly in from a search engine, if I were to recreate all 41 lines into GPS tracks, then others could download them (most notably on a smartphone) and use it to track their progress on a transit vehicle, or walk through Lucas County somewhere, wonder what the nearest bus line is, then tap and find out.  They can do all this with 3rd party apps.

On the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR), it's beneficial for somebody who's from out of town.  Right now, TARTA isn't on Google Transit, nor does it have it's own electronic, automated routing system.  In fact, its the only metro along the Buckeye and North Country Trail's route in Ohio that doesn't.

It's my assumption that OTHR caters to an audience that doesn't ordinarily use transit.  And they might find TARTA's system map to be intimidating.  There may come a time when they need to replace a piece of gear and it entails mounting a search that's system wide on TARTA.  But with the new campsites at Farnsworth Metropark, compared to previous editions, they now have less need to use transit for lodging.


Log 2016011401

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority has been difficult to cover in past years because of the routing of it's fixed Route 11 line.  But also, because 10 of it's lines pertain to the Troy Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail and most of them have different routines on one way streets in Downtown Dayton.  So in addition to what tracks that I already had made for them, I ended up having to write separate downtown tracks for them.  The problem comes if the end user tries to use their track manager on their GPS enabled device and it's set to "distance," they'll have to examine all four of these downtown routes to determine what they're options are if they don't board, or disembark at the Wright Stop Plaza.

The best thing for the end user to do is use Dayton's OTHR information for planning, or reaching the transit stop from the trail.  But since this transit authority has an automated, on-line scheduler, it would be best that they rely on it instead for everything else.


log 2016011201

I added map update and public parking links added links to the OTHR main page, but it's sitting on my laptop's desktop.  But, I just found out that it's in disrepair.


Log 2016011101

All of the Map Update blogs for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR) have been tested via e-mail and now work.  Some of their addresses needed to be added to my cloud driven address book.


Log 2016010801

Yesterday, I hiked 7.2 miles from Scioto Trail Section - Buckeye (BT)/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail, Points 20 - 15. I estimate that I have about 185 miles left on the BT circuit.

Right now, my 2008 Chevy HHR LS has a blown driver's side headlight.  In order to get to it, I have to cocktail the tires all the way to the right, then pull the fenders undersheilding partly off to insert my hand inside of the primary hull to twist and dismount it. It's not really my favorite thing to do.

And I'll have to replace the windshield wiper mechanism bars that go under the crawl.  I have them now.  I got them from Classic Chevrolet in Mentor of Lake County. And I was surprised they were in stock.


Log 2016010401

I performed a system test of OTHR's Map Updates via e-mail for Buckeye Trail only. And the following either failed, or I omitted to send a test message to them:

Stockport Section - BT
American Discovery Trail (ADT) Ohio & Kentucky (OHKY) East
ADT OHKY West [inclding the South Midwest Route (SMR)]
North Country Trail (NCT) Ohio Southwest and East

And these ones don't exist yet:
ADT OHKY North Midwest Route (NMR)
NCT Ohio West

At the moment, I can still publish to them from Blogger, but e-mail is preferred sometimes because if I don't have cellular data signal, it will sit in the "outbox" and wait to send until I do.

A joint in the bars that drive the windshield wipers on my 2008 Chevy HHR LS popped and now the driver's side doesn't work.  I popped it back in and it worked for a while until I turned up the speed to high.  Then it popped back out again.  I missed my last opportunity to go to a local dealership and see what my options are.  Now I have to go today with one day left before I depart for a hiking trip.  And I'm hoping that it's just a cap that the ball joint secures into.  Otherwise, I anticipate that the bars are not in stock that they'll have to order them.  If that's the case, I hope that the January 5th is a clear day, so that I catch up with them at a dealer that's down trail.

Right now, all but Smartphone Battery C has been charged.  And I'm waiting on whether I should mount my studded tires on my road bike.  I'm not sure if they'll accumulate mud on the backcountry roads in Southern Ohio that assume won't have any snow on them?