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Log 2016022902

My Skype number for the Whipple Section expired last month or so.  And I wasn't really pleased with it considering that it was in the (614) area code and the section is in (740) and the (220) overlay.  The problem is that I can't get a custom number with a WHIP or WPPL in any exchange where the trail is on it, or Google Voice.  Maybe if I order a land line with AT&T, they might have more exchanges with one of them available?

Log 2016022901

In the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource, an "amenity spur" is a route from the trail to something else that is unmaintained by signage or in-person labor myself.  Today was the first time that I needed to clarify one of these with a hand GPS set to record my movement.  At current day Bedford 24, the hiker could walk north on OH-306 and reach the LAKETRAN [coded T LTA (LT)] transfer point at the Lakeland Community College.  The problem is when the highway rapidly changes names, it inclines/ declines on a two lane road at 40 MPH with heavy traffic near an exit with Interstate 90.  It's not safe to be a pedistrian on that incline/ decline.

So I changed the spur to leave the Bedford Section - Buckeye Trail at a maintenance drive that leads to Kritland - Chardon Road.  Then the OTHR has the transit hiker reach the transfer point by way of Lakeland's back (east) entrance.


Log 2016022802

The guide for the 2016 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR) is about half way proofread. It has another two volunteer days until I'm done, then about another day to input the corrections. This time about a month from now, these logs are going to be about Whipple (Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail) this and Whipple that.

Log 2016022801

In OTHR's maps, there are places where multiple fixed route city buses run on the same portion of road. When these agencies don't submit their systems to Google Transit, I generally supply the GPS tracks for them.

Lets say that instead of a airplane, or interstate bus, they took a magic teleporter instead and it dropped them in some Canton neighborhood and it made them dizzy. After they regain their senses, they take out their GPS with my transit tracks already loaded in and, start walking and see that they're approaching a line.

But the road that it's on actually has 4 bus lines. On the map, the reader can't see it because they're stacked on top of each other (Google Maps Engine, what I wrote them with took the exact same path over the road). And even though the users "Track Manager" in their GPS is ordered nearest to farthest, they might not put 2 & 2 together and realize that they're all on the same stretch of the road that they're approaching because the distance numbers on the device are awfully small?

So, when I'm drawing these tracks now, I'm taking concurrent portions and I'm just drawing one track. It's pretty much block by block in these cases. But the title which will appear in normal font on their Track Manager will read every bus line that that's routed over it. For those of you who use OTHR, converting the existing fixed route tracks to suit this is going to take a couple years.


Log 2016022701

In building the system map for the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority, I've got to be concerned with what the display will look like on the track manager in their GPS.  After, it orders by distance and this will be what the end user sees when their on any given block in Lucas County.  So, I started tracking their concurrent routes in Google Earth block by block.  That way, if there's three buses on one road between three streets, there will only be one track, but it's title will read (AGENCY) FR 01, 02 & 04.  Otherwise, 01, 02 & 04 would have separate tracks and I think that the user only needs to see one.


Log 2016022502

Just because it's a part of my volunteer equipment and these logs hit on a Google Search fast, I have a 20 year old HP Laserjet 4000TN commercial, black & white printer. On a high yield cartridge, I can get up to a 15,000 sheet yield out of one toner cartilage.  The last time I had it refilled, it cost about $43.  Installing it to Windows Vista was no problem.  But installing it to Windows 10 was a little tricky.  HP doesn't support past Windows 7 for this printer.  So what I did was manually install the driver right from it's file listing in Windows Explorer, right clicking on its .inf file and installing it that way.  Then I did a manual installation in Devices and Printers app and it picked it right up.

However, I had to cancel a print of OTHR's guide because it was spitting out blank sheets after Page 3.  Bi Directional Support on the printer port on the laptop is greyed out.  So, I installed Open Office on The Robot and opened the guide's rough draft from the cloud.  And it seems to be printing correctly now.

- One new chassis fan was mounted today, with a total of three that were connected to The Robot's power system.  That brings The Robot back up to a grand total of 11.

- A few modifications were made to the guide.  I had to write about newly found transit in the Oxford of Butler County and Macksburg of Washington Counties.

Log 2016022501

I'm done editing the guide's rough draft for the upcoming 2016 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  It now needs to be printed out again because the previous time that I only got 12 pages done, well it's obsolete now.  And I wanted to print it out double spaced this time, but I just realized that I can't do that because of some of the guide's necessary formatting pertaining to other transit that is accessible from from a local agency, like regional buses and everything affected by interagency transfers.  In this case, OTHR anticipates the maximum possibilities when there's multiple agencies that interconnect, or daisy chain.

I'll have to finish The Robot's repairs before I install the printers.  The hard disk that they're firmware is assigned to is online.   All I have to do is install one cooling fan on the chassis, plug some other ones in.  Then insert every last remaining USB cable into the system.

The new heatsink on The Robot's CPU is working well.  Since I don't game, it's hard to tell how well its working.  But with Google Earth and surfing the Internet, my PGA 775 low grade Intel Core 2 Quad chips usually operates at a steady 30°C.  With a traditional heatsink, it was at 37°C to 42°C

The 7 port USB Hub that's attached to the laptop, it's power is cutting in and out and I have yet to diagnose it.  I'm going to try switching out it's USB mini cable first.

Distance Hikers: Why You Should Volunteer

The truth is when hiking on Buckeye, or North Country Trails, there's going to be parts of them that are going to make a hiker stop and "scratch their heads."  That's because there's disconnect between the expectations of a hiker and the experience of the maintainer.  From what I know, if most maintainers have been hikers before (not all have), then most of those haven't been distance hikers.  So instead of doing what they believe is right without question, even if they could stop and "walk a mile" in the hiker's shoes, some of them might not have the experience to know what to anticipate.  It's kinda ingrained in our culture that all ignorance is bad and therefore, we shouldn't embrace it.  That's true and mostly for ignorance that we cling to.  But ignorance is the point from which we all start from on the path the knowledge.  And maintainers should stop from time to time and temporarily forget what they know to see the trail from the uninitiated's point of view.

With that being said, it wouldn't hurt for hikers to participate in trail maintenance or a work crew... even on road.  This because they should gain an insider's perspective in as little as 5 volunteer hours.  From that, the hiker can understand why the trail is routed, or engineered the way it is.  And will help keep them in motion down trail because they have the experience to get inside the mind of the maintainer.


Log 2016022401

There aren't many roads that lead into Marietta from the north and east that aren't, or weren't state, or federal highways.  And I wonder if the backcountry that surrounds the Whipple Section - BT/ NCT was isolated at some point in history?


Unsupported: How To Complete The Akron Section - Buckeye Trail

Hello folks, MD Edmonds here with a another hiker hack for you, this time concerning how to do an unassisted thru hike of the Buckeye Trail while covering the Akron Section and not having to walk back redundantly.  As I happen to be the author/ webmaster for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource and I'll tell you all about it.

- This can only be done on a weekday
- Make sure that you have exact change for your fare
- You might want to schedule a partial day of hiking for this because all of the routes and connections could take 6 hours.
- You can download the GPS data for this on the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource.  You'll at least need data for its coverage of the Bedford, Akron and Massillon Sections, which you can select individually if you'd like.  These files will work on most GPS enabled devices as well as desktop computer applications such as "Google Earth" and "ArcGIS Explorer."

If you do it the way that I prescribe, the redundancy in the north will only be 964ft on the Medina Section, barely west of the 3-way BT intersection in the Brecksville Reservation - Cleveland Metroparks.  Just west of the BT @ Meadows Drive, turn north on to BR3 (a bridle trail).  It will soon pick up a concurrency with the Deer Lick Cave Loop Trail.  Follow the Deer Lick Cave Loop Trail and turn north on the Hemlock Loop Trail and hike it until you get to the Chippewa Creek Gorge Scenic Overlook & Trailhead.  Exit the trailhead on to Chippewa Rd/ OH-82 westbound.  In 0.2mi, you'll reach the intersection with Brecksville Rd/ OH-21 in the center of the City of Brecksville.  This hiking route from the Medina Section - Buckeye Trail to the transit stop is 2.6 miles long.

On the west side of Brecksville Road, you should be able to locate a bus stop sign for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (known to locals as simply "RTA").  There, you'll need to board their Route 77F southbound.  It will shortly terminate near Katherine Blvd & Miller Rd in Brecksville.  When it does, this is an interagency transfer point with the Akron Metropolitan Regional Transit (known by locals as simply "Metro").  From here you have two choices.  Both go to the next step, which is arriving at the Robert K. Plaff Transit Center in Downtown Akron.  One is the Route 101, which is local, longer, but it pick-up/ drops-off more at this location.  The other is more preferred and that is the Route X61, which is an express.  Board one of those southbound routes.

They'll terminate at the Robert K. Plaff Transit Center in Downtown Akron.  There amongst its several bays, you'll need to locate the stall for the Stark Area Regional Transit's (SARTA) Route 81.  They'll be signed overhead of the sidewalk along the outside of building.  When it arrives and when permitted, board SARTA Route 81.  Southbound is the only direction it runs from there.

Take SARTA 81 until it terminates at the Canton Cornerstone Transit Center in Downtown Canton.  Just like Akron, it will have several stalls with the route numbers overhead.  Transfer to SARTA 102 bound for Massillon.  Massillon is also going to have a transit center, but smaller.  Disembark there and transfer to the final bus, which is SARTA 125 bound for Belden Village.  Your stop is going to be approximate to Wales Ave NW/ OH-241 & Glendevan St NW.

The walking route that I'll next elaborate on is 2.2 miles.  It's routed through several interconnected housing developments. 

After you disembark, you'll need to walk and head west on Glendevan St NW for 584ft, where it will then turn north and become Sparrow Ridge Ave NW.  In 582ft, Sparrow Ridge will turn west and become Brook Hollow St NW.  Brook Hollow will eventually turn south and intersect Audubon St NW.  Head west passing Golden Eagle Rd NW, Rainier Ave NW, Snowy Own Cir NW and then comes to a three way intersection with Amherst Ave NW.  Jog north and head west on Gladys St NW, passing Timberridge Ave NW. Gladys St NW will terminate at a three way intersection with Revere Ave NW/ OH-236.  From there, walk north for 532ft then head west on Forest Trail St NW.

In 758ft, turn NE on to Rapid Falls St NW.  This street will terminate at Andette Ave NW.  Jog south here and then head west on River Crest St NW.  In 343ft, head south on Smithview Avenue.  At the next three way intersection, turn and head NW/ W on Erie Ave NW.  And in 853ft, you'll intersect the Massillon Section - Buckeye Trail.  Turn and head south for 115ft and you'll reach the intersection of the Massillon & Akron Sections.

So, from that, the redundancy in the south is only 115ft.

Log 2016022301

Always exit Google Earth before you go to bed, or leave the computer for long periods of time.  While I don't know all the facts, I believe that the longer the map is positioned over one area, the more detail it's going to download (and continuously so).  That image and it's associated files might take up an increasingly large size, which have to be brought through fixed resources such as the RAM (memory) and the CPU.  I find that if I leave the application on over night as I sleep, when I go to get back on the computer, it freezes and I have to perform a hard restart [by pressing the power button on the case for 6 seconds, it powers off, then I press it for less than one second to power it back on, or the reset button (most PC brands don't have one of these)].

I was just sifting through the Continuous Short Hikes document from 2013 and I was trying to identify the resource points that it was using on the on the map.  Why just this year, I did an investigation that found that about 74% of the Buckeye Trail could be hiked at roughly 10 miles per day without transit.  But by OTHR's method, that number was only about 38% in 2013.  The OTHR method requires that the streak begin and end at regional transit, or be in range or transit range of it.  So, without having done a recent OTHR one, it's hard to tell, but I looks like some long strings of days had to be cut in order to meet the standard.  But on the other hand, there's a few more transit options these days.

- I just discovered that transit hiker can indeed reach the Toledo Express Airport via the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) from the Buckeye Trail at Waterville.  The trip would entail having reservations to ride the #29 (Waterville) and 04 (Spencer Township) Call-a-Rides.  This is where the the #04 would drop the transit hiker off at the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve.  The hiker would then walk 2.7mi to the airport.

They're both classified as "hybrid fixed routes" in the OTHR.   They're like dial-a-ride service in that way that they have zones.  The #04 Spencer Township Call-a-Ride does come within 4.0 walking miles of the North Country Trail in the Oak Openings Metropark, but TARTA requires somewhere to pull into, so they won't just get pick-up/ drop-off on the side of the road.  By the time the transit hiker could enter the zone by the nearest means possible, they only have about a half mile left under the 4.0 mile restriction and there's just nowhere public for them to go around there. I know this because I drove out there to search the area in person.  This part of the North Country Trail is 4.1 miles away from the Park-n-Ride and being within the Waterville Call-a-Ride zone.  It's about 740' shy/

Well, for the most part, I just edited the guide back down to grammar checking.  And the map's probably in condition to be packaged in to sections and independent arms with their respective transit amenities.  That will be in Google Earth's native KML format, which will probably total about 32.  They'll need to be converted one by one into the GPX format, which is the format that works on most GPS enabled devices.

Today, I spent time adding regional, interstate and international transit information to all dial-a-ride type agencies that only cater to the disabled.  They have a few more regional and interstate transit options.  Other than that, I eliminated a number of unmaintained amenity spurs in the BT's south because they exceeded 3.0mi.  With the exception of the Road Fork and Whipple Sections - BT/ NCT, everywhere from Belle Valley Section 25 to Shawnee Section 25 is what I schedule at generally 15 miles per day maximum.  With generally 20's, I use 4.0mi as the maximum for a spur.  At 15's, they get cut down to 3.0 and 10's down to 2.5.


Log 2016022201

I just issued an OTHR map update pertaining to it's Medina Section - BT coverage.  Apparently the transit company changed all of the routes in the City of Medina and because they don't have a system map available and they use local commercial establishments as the location of their time points, it's impossible to tell how it's routed from here.  I'm also having a look at their routes in the City of Wadsworth.  I'm certain that they could get the transit hiker very close to Summit County.  But I've also had a recent look at the system map for the Akron Metropolitan Regional Transit Authority (in Summit County) and it's their routes that won't meet Medina County's close enough to be worth mentioning as a possible means of transfer from an agency that has multiple regional amenities.

For the transit agencies, the Buckeye Trail is a 1,440 mile, on and off-road circle.  Since it no longer begins and ends anywhere, the vast majority of hikers go out for a day and then go home immediately after. So, they start and begin anywhere.  So in this case, it may be more advantageous to have access in Medina County to regional transit in Akron.  With the Brunswick Transit Alternative's figure 8 circulators, they bring us close enough to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's Fixed Route 51.  The difference between them is 1.3mi walking and the Laurel Hill Shopping Center in Brunswick is the best place to transfer to the Medina County Public Transit's dial-a-ride type transit.  It would be nice if Brunswick's north loop would be routed to Howe and Drake Roads just inside Cuyahoga County to establish an inter-agency transfer point with their Route 51.


Log 2016022202

The information for other services reached by county dial-a-ride services has been input.  But I'm sure that there are a number of mistakes, or omissions. So far, the 2016 Edition guide for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource has ballooned up to 76 pages.  During the editing process, the points and resource points must fit on one page, instead of being between them.  So, the guide will get larger.  And I plan to list other services that can be reached with dial-a-ride type transit that caters to the disabled only.

Log 2016022101

This is about what I call "handihikers."  I've never known of any.  These are physically disabled people who might hike certain portions of the Buckeye Trail and perhaps ultimately earn a Circuit Hike Patch.  And the ones that I'd really like to write about are those that are physically disabled, particularly below the waist.  Their wheels are their legs.

The Buckeye Trail Association (BTA) can be lenient about deviations from the route.  And a lot of the off-road is specifically for "non-motorized" use and that's often governed by the park, forest or natural area that the off-road trail is in.  Even with a push wheel chair, they would encounter some obstetrical.   But if the BTA is amenable to it, the handihiker could by-pass those areas on road at their discretion.  And several portions of the BT's off-road occur on improved surfaces, such as bicycle right-of-ways.

If a handicap person with a power chair wanted to do this, the first thing they should do is field test their chair with somebody they trust standing by to pick them up when it runs out of battery power.  They should test is from full to depleted on a variety of terrain types.  They might want to know how the chair will handle going up hill on loose gravel?  As a physically well abled hiker, I trust my equipment and know exactly what it will do.  They should probably consider packing a spare battery and know how to install it under trail like circumstances based on their own abilities and adaptations.

Hauling gear with an electric chair... With a little sewing, they might be able attach some bicycle side panners to some cotton fabric.  This way they can sit on the cotton and have the panners on the side.  A tent and some other gear could possibly pack under the legs near the edge of the seat with a bungee cord.  The biggest question is could the electric chair be modified to carry a lightly loaded bicycle trailer?

These are just a few ideas that I have.  With being the webmaster for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource, my maps admit for me that handihiking on the Buckeye Trail might be feasible as if it's an inevitable conclusion to come to.  The disabled have a few more options available with that than most people.

I'd advise that they only handihike between May 1st and November 1st.  The reason is that some of the backcountry gravel roads get torn up by 4WD vehicles.  They can be difficult for on a car.  And it's possible that it might take until about May 1st every year for the township maintenance crews to grate the those roads again.

I'm not physically handicapped, so I lack the experience necessary to be more thorough.  For right now, all of this is just a theory.


Log 2016022002

When writing the guide for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR), at the boundary of agency zones (usually counties), I note what other services are attached to them.  Transit in the Cleveland area is the most interconnected.  As the guide for Buckeye Trail coverage is written in the clockwise (CW) direction, then if the hiker were traveling on the Burton Section from Geauga to Portage Counties, they would come in range of the dial-a-ride services from the Portage Area Regional Transit Authority [coded T LTA (PARTA)].

In the guide it would read something like this:

CW: T LTA (PARTA) GP DAR (GP stands for "general public')

But PARTA is attached to the AkronMetro (AM) and Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authorities (gcRTA).  It's also in range to the Barons Bus that's south of Ravenna in Rootstown of Portage County. (AM) and (gcRTA) also have some connections of their own.  So it all looks like

            T GLI (BAR)
            T LTA (gcRTA) FR's (fixed routes)
                  T LTA (LT)...
                  T AIR - CLE - Cleveland Hopkins Int'l
                  T MEGA - Cleveland (megabus)
                  T GLI - Cleveland (Greyhound)
                  T GLI (GO) - Cleveland (Greyhound affiliate: GoBus)
                  T GLI (BAR) - Cleveland (Greyhound affiliate: Barons Bus)
                  T AMT - CLE - Lakefront Station (Amtrak)
                  T CVSR (various locations, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad)

                        T LTA (BrTA) FR's - Laurel Square Shopping Center - Brunswick
                              T LTA (MED) GP DAR

            T LTA (AM) FR's
                  T AIR - CAK - Akron - Canton Reg.
                  T GLI - Akron
                  T GLI (GO) - Akron
                  T GLI (BAR) - Akron
                  T CVSR (various locations)

                  T LTA (SARTA) FR's
                        T AIR - CAK - Akron - Canton Reg.
                        T GLI (BAR) - Canton
                        T GLI (GO) - Canton
                        T AMT - ALC - Alliance
                        T LTA (CARTS) GP DAR - from Alliance
                        T CVSR - Lincoln Station in Canton

The other major markets have some interconnectivity, but they're not as elaborate as this.  NE Ohio sections get variations of this pasted into the guide a total of 10 times.

Log 2016022001

I wrote a blog yesterday regarding how to do an unassisted thru hike from the mail to The Wilderness Loops using an 19 mile long unmaintained by-pass of the AEP Recreation Land on-road.  Again, I'd like to stress that North Country Trail hikers are not affected by this since their not routed on the main loop from Belle Valley (BV) Section, Point 25 to Stockport 07 on the current map & guides.  BV 25 is Road Fork (RF) 01.  From the westbound direction's point of view, North Country is routed over the RF and Whipple Sections to Stockport 07.

While I'm still pursuing another remedy, I was thinking that if we were confined to that option, my volunteer crew and I would have to rig the Whipple Section for a counter clockwise (CCW) hike.  It could do it now.  But, in the past, CCW navigation has been undesirable on the Wilderness Loop.  Navigating against the way the guide is written can be confusing and cause the hiker to stop more, even on sections that are easier to navigate.

One theory that I've had is that the RF and Whipple map & guides could be written to favor the CCW direction so that in concert with the main loop, when the points are in order, the loops act like two gears whose teeth always turn into together.  But I just got to thinking that this would make North Country's navigation more difficult as it would have to flow the opposite way.  We seem to have a situation where the only way that we're solve it on the ground.

So, I'd have to walk it out sometime.  I'm the only one on the section with distance hiking experience.  It would come down to me being able to anticipate places that might confuse CCW hikers and painting a few more blazes to help ease hiker's efficiency woes.  Stopping decreases stamina.  And a loss of stamina decreases efficiency.  As a hiker, I see myself a "backwards person."  I love the road.  But sometimes, the best thing that maintainers could do for an on-road hiker is get them off.  It's like identifying that there's a force out there that you just can't beat.  And sometimes when you can't beat it, you join it.  The ultimate goal for the Whipple Section is to earn good reviews.


Solo Day Hiking With One Car - How To Get Back

As a solo day+ hiker pursuing a state or agency completion patch, it kind stinks to reserve a certain portion of stamina for the loop, or redundant walk back to a car.  Wouldn't you like to put most, or all of in it in one direction progression?  I've got a solution.

One is that you could use a bicycle.  For me here in Ohio, one mile hiking equals 3 - 4 cycling.  It depends on the terrain and personally, I don't ride up hill because it consumes a lot of stamina doing that.  So lets say that your a flatland 20 mile per day hiker.  That generally means that you need to stop hiking around your 16th mile.  With 4 miles hiking left over, you multiply that by 4 and 16 miles of cycling is what you have left. Now if you were just off-road, because the number of curves there are usually greater, you'll usually have something like a 12 mile trip back (4 miles within your 16) because the roads are more direct.  They're often better engineered, too.  And that will conserve stamina.

The other thing is by putting a motor on the bike.  If you hide it somewhere in the forest, you can chain it up just about anywhere and in this example... you can put the full 20 down trail when you hike.  However, here in Ohio, a motorized bicycle must be licensed as moped.

Lastly, the other option could be public transit.  I'm the webmaster for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  But anywhere, transit comes in different forms.  There's passenger airlines, international, interstate and regional bus lines with stops and stations.  Some of those stops could be at gas stations in places with less than 5,000 residents.  There's rail, which has stations in larger cities and platforms in smaller ones.  Finally, there's local transit.

It comes in several different forms and I'll start from the most rural.  Transit agencies often run county wide zones (some are smaller).  The first I'll mention are those running dial-a-ride/ demand responsive/ curb-to-curb/ shared ride services.  For the most part, they all mean the same thing.  If you search the Internet by county, you might be surprised by what you'll find.

There are three kinds of this type transit, they can be "disabled only," "residents only," or be open to the general public.  Here in Ohio, most of the ones that I cataloged on the OTHR are "general public."  They all require advanced reservations  These services often run on vans, or Ford Econoline cut-a-way buses.

But there's several draw backs.  The dispatchers are often not accustomed to hiking locations.  That maybe because they don't go up into the parks, or some remote townships enough themselves.  And they seldom, or maybe never have got a request for those certain locations before.  Also, they may not pick-up/ drop off on a road which may get their vehicle stuck, or damage the chassis.  This may be especially true in the winter.

What you need to do is try and work with the dispatcher and see if you can agree on a better location.  Be willing to travel up to 3 or 4 miles off trail to this location.  It's best if you schedule to board/ disembark at a public facility so the vehicle can get off the road.  But some agencies might let you board/ disembark on on the roadside.  If they do, you should schedule them to pick you up about at least 120ft from an intersection.  Be sure to get on the bus, pay your fare and take your seat expediently so the bus can get back underway.

Then there's what's commonly known as "fixed route," which these are the city like buses that most of you commonly know.  Depending on the transit agency, they can run on cut-a-way buses, too.  They're fixed because the service is regular and doesn't deviate from it's route.  I've catalog agencies that have it.  But as we're hikers, or prospective hikers, those deviations are usually only 3/4th of a mile.  And some are reserved only for the disabled.

They can have two types of stops.  Those are that are formally signed on metal and utility poles and then there's "flag" stops.  This when the transit agency doesn't use formal stops.  Instead, the person wishing to board just stands on the side of the route and when they see the vehicle approaching, they just wave, or hail the bus to signal their intent.

Finally, there's what I coin as a "hybrid fixed route."  This is just like a fixed route, but it requires an advanced reservation to ride.  On the OTHR, these are rare.


1) When seeking to board, always arrive at your boarding location 15 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival of your transit vehicle.

2) You should board with exact change for fare, or be willing to surrender the remainder of your monetary bill denomination.

3) Many agencies are out of service on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, except in most larger cities.

In some of the dial-a-ride type agencies have zones that are less than a county.  They might just be one city that the trail gets near.  And on occasion, they'll state that they'll go 1, or 3 miles outside of its limits.  If you activate the right Layers in Google Earth (left pane, at the bottom), you can see municipal incorporation lines.  With the line measure tool (located in the tool bar above the map), you can measure the distance between the incorporation line and the trail at various points to see if it comes into their transit range.  I've had to do this with two transit agencies and they were both measured "as the crow flies" from any part of their limits with the line going at any angle from it.

For you folks on, or going to be hikers on the Finger Lakes Trail - Main Line in Southern New York, you are truly blessed the last that I knew.  Some of the fixed routes between county agencies don't have great schedules, but the last that I knew, there is an elaborately connected transit system along the North Country concurrent portions of the Main Line.

Log 2016021902

My HP BF69WM laptop computer only has one slot for a memory DIMM.  It came from the factory with 4GB.  Well, I finally upgraded it to a 8GB DIMM.  So far, I haven't seen much improvement.

Log 2016021901

I continue to edit the guide for the upcoming 2016 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  Today, I added two sections to it to compensate for transit on the Belle Valley and Delphos Sections of the Buckeye/ North Country Trails (BT/ NCT).  So far...

The map needs:
1) For me to account for all resource points that don't pertain to transit.  I may have used them for the Continuous Short Hikes document (both with and with out transit).  This is where I write up two schedules for two mock hikers to test what parts of the distance trails can be hiked at 10 miles per day.  Or they might be used in the thru hike compliance documents (also both with and without).

 Here in Ohio, I deem a distance trail as able to sustain a thru hiker at a rate of 20 miles per day in the west, north and east, then 15 miles per day in the south with "just in case" reserves of 3.0 and 4.9 miles in addition respectively.  The document assumes that the hiker isn't willing to walk more than 3.0 & 4.0 miles off trail and also respectively.  That's just a cookie cutter.  The daily mileages are often less, and invoking the reserve is rare.  The distance hiking community as far as I know really doesn't really have a means to measure themselves.  If they did, they could pin point their weaknesses and concentrate on those areas.  Otherwise, what they want to do and where they want to do it might as well be a guess, or perhaps even a shot in the dark.  They need to put together a realistic method based to meet the demands of their markets.

2) Some of the unmaintained amenity spurs in the south were accidentally drawn on the 4.0 mile standard.  They need to be cut back to 3.0 miles or less to comply.  That means that I might have to eliminate one or two from the map, and then the guide.

The guide needs:
1) "In transit range of" statements pertaining local transit and if it can access regional transit within a certain county.  Then because of our county wide dial-a-ride agencies, it needs to state how far they'll have it.
2) Belle Valley and Delphos Sections - BT/ NCT need to be added.  I use book marks in my table of contents so that digital users can just tap, or click on the name and go right to a section.  Well, the bookmarks were done in Roman numerals, so they and the text (from Section's XV - XXXVII) need to be modified.

3) Single digit points and resource points need have a preceding zero.  That's because all of the single digits in map data has them to conform with Google Earth's numbering system.
4) It seems that the former Greyhound affiliate "Lakefront Lines" no longer has regularly scheduled routes like they use to.  I noticed something was up when the affiliates "GoBus" and "Baron's Bus" now stop in Cleveland.  But I'm not complaining.  This year the resource picked up two new regional transit stops in Caldwell of Noble County and Delphos of Allen County.  Those are great locations for transit hikers on distance trails.

5) Between now and the 2013 edition, the New Straitsville and Old Man's Cave Sections of the Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail had rerouted to come along the property for a state natural area.

6) All paragraphs need to be indented

7) A statement in the Advisory Section needs to say something like "transit services cataloged in this resource are based on the content of the agency's website."  OTHR catalogs one (that I know of) who may have given me contradicting information.

8) The Allen County Regional Transit Authority (ACRTA) has be added back on to the OTHR for the upcoming 2016 Edition as a provider of Paratransit services for the disabled.  The word disabled is like a "catch all phrase," where it could mean anything.  And that could mean that some of them could hike, or given the right surfaces... "handihike."

9) It needs a spelling and grammar check.

10) OTHR uses a combination "Glossary & Site Index" to define terms and assist with search engine indexing.  The terms and codes need to be bolded in the guide so that the user knows that they can look them up.  OTHR works when it's materials are printed on paper, but it's really designed to be read on mobile devices.

11) When I convert the guide from it's word processor file to a .PDF, I'll need to make sure that the links and bookmarks carry over.  That didn't happen in the 2013 Edition.


Log 2016021801

I made a lot of headway between the map and guide for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  Right now, I can tell they have their bugs to work out.  I've been working on the resources new edition since November.  It's got until April 1st before I have to change course.  By about then, the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail that I'm (volunteer) Section Supervisor of will require the reallocation of that regard.  And regard is a limited resource.


Unmaintained AEP On-road By-Pass - The Wilderness Loop - BT/ NCT

North Country doesn't have to worry about it because it's not routed through the AEP ReCreation Land. But when BT hikers are unsupported, they face the question of how do they hike The Wilderness and the main loops without hiking 30 miles redundantly. And the conventional answer is that you have to hike those 30 miles. However the unconventional method can shave 11 miles and 2 days off of that. On the BT in the clockwise (CW) direction, hike the Whipple Section in the counter clockwise (CCW) direction first, then the Road Fork. When the unassisted thru hiker reaches the Village of Belle Valley in Noble County, they should hike the Belle Valley Section CW to the present day Point 26 on the E side of I-77. At that very spot, they'll need to get pedestrian directions to a camp shelter between Stockport Section, Points 06 - 07. If done on road like that, it will take a 3 day, 30 mile redundancy and turn it into an 8 hour, 19 mile (you might get less) by-pass. 8 hours assumes that the hiker is traveling at 3.0 MPH average with a break or two. Of course it could be done at a lower speed, but just like walking from the trail to an amenity, it's just that it's not on trail (better to get it done and over with kind of thing). Since the unassisted thru hiker traveling CW on the main loop would have stared the Whipple Section first, the they would have already claimed the AEP ReCreation Land area of the trail. Any many might feel that hiking it over again is just unnecessary because it's counterintuitive to progress.

Log 2016021701

This is a look at the American Discovery Trail - West Virginia concurrent with the North Bend Rail Trail @ 39.210312, -81.513641 on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016.  As far as snow goes, this isn't the best that this area can do by any means.  But the area is approximately 20 miles south of the Whipple and about 40 miles SE of the Stockport Sections - Buckeye/ North Country Trail in SE Ohio.  With this picture being taken near the West Virginia University - Parkersburg, it goes to show that it does snow in SEO.

On the Whipple Section, most of the township roads had nearly solid sheets of hard packed snow.  My Chevy HHR couldn't make it traveling CW/ Wb couldn't make it up the section tallest on-road gain between Points 18 & 19 (10/2010 map & guide).  I was convinced to quit smoking once because of this hill.  It got about 20 feet from the top near Darrah Ridge Rd/ T10 before I had to back it down and "Austin Powers" it the other direction.  "Austin Powers" refers to the part in one of the movies when he had to turn a lengthy golf cart around in a narrow tunnel.  Sometimes, that's what it's like.


Log 2016021601

Headquarters of the Buckeye Trail Association is in a new drive and needs 20,000 volunteer man hours to achieve it.  I had some doctors appointments to tend to today. Afterwards, I bought mints and eater at the convience store and I'm in the middle of an on-road morale and welfare check.


Log 2016021401

I got the last hard disk drive to install in The Robot, but I still couldn't get it to read when it was mounted to the RAID controler expansion card.  Instead, I had to wire it up to the motherboard, which means that I had to use a port that was originally for one of my optical drives (like a DVD drive).  Not to mention that I discovered that Windows failed to tell me that I'm missing some service packs.  They're being installed as I write this.

In the past week, I've been in contact with two prospective hikers.  One of whom I know is planning a trip on The Wilderness Loop.  I'm probably the second most tech saavy person on the Buckeye Trail Association.  And I've accumulated a wealth of GPS data.  And I finally got to help somebody with it.

For those of you reading this, if your in need of data, let me know.  Send me an email to And also let me know what Buckeye Trail maps that you own, or have on order.  I have placemarks/ waypoints that could help you out like post offices, libraries, commercial campgrounds, motels, hotels and bed & breakfasts within 4 miles of the trail.  It could save you some time as mapping sometimes takes a lot and gets little done.


Log 2016021101

I just completed a rough draft of a system map (on Google Earth) for the Mid Ohio Valley Transit Authority, doing business as "Easy Rider."  I can say with the utmost assurance that there is no way of bringing the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Airport into transit range of either the American Discovery Trail - West Virginia, Ohio or the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail.  The best that I can do is 7.32mi to Easy Rider's Ohio Valley University Loop Route at Twin Lakes & Rosemar Roads just outside of North Hills, WV.  I would have to shave at least 3.32mi off towards Parkersburg and about 2.3mi towards Marietta to catalog it in the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).

The publication of the new 2016 Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource is probably going to be delayed by a month.


Log 2016020901

In my previous log, I mentioned about OTHR extending it's 20 mile polygon for the Lancaster Public Transit System's that's based on their out of county rates, one might ask "why is it worth it?"  And the answer varies on where the transit hiker is coming from?

It's a matter of time.  If they fly in to Port Columbus International Airport and take the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) fixed routes to the Greyhound station, it might be faster to reach the Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail  (BT/ NCT/ ADT) via the GoBus to outer Lancaster (in Fairfield County).  Then with a reservation, they can use Lancaster's dial-a-ride service and schedule it to drop them off at the VA Medical Center in Chillicothe.  At that point, they may need to take the VA Medical Center Hospital fixed route to the system's transit center.  If not, with a reservation, they might just be able to board the Chillicothe Transit Service's "Massieville County Route" (a dial-a-ride service that's open to the general public) and schedule it to disembark at Spencer Lake - Scioto Trail State Park (near present day Scioto Trail Section - BT/ NCT/ ADT, Point 21) and begin hiking there.

The other alternative is to take the Greyhound to Cincinnati via Dayton.  Then in Cincinnati, transfer to the GoBus and disembark in Waverly.  It's possible that doing it this way might be faster?

But transit hikers originating from the Cincinnati would probably be better off with the Waverly Stop on the GoBus.  GoBus has two lines in this area.  One is Columbus to Athens and the other is Cincinnati to Athens.  It's a regional bus agency that focuses on rural areas in Southern Ohio.  It's a Greyhound affiliate, which means that you can purchase fare and get routed over it and all others, too.  But the GoBus itself is more on a level between Greyhound and local transit.  I rode their bus only once from Cincinnati to Batavia (Williamsburg Section - BT/ NCT/ ADT) and I really had a good experience with them.   The bus was absolutely modern, spotlessly clean and the driver was very nice.

Those originating from NE Ohio would probably be better off taking the GoBus, or Barron's Bus (another affiliate) out of Cleveland and transferring to the GoBus in Marietta, or Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Shortly then after, the line terminates in Athens where they would then get on the Cincinnati Line and disembark in Waverly.  And those in NW Ohio would probably take Greyhound and transfer to the GoBus in Cincinnati and also disembark in Waverly.

Log 2016020901

The polygon for the Lancaster Public Transit System - Outside Fairfield County (listed as LPTS - OFC) 20 mile rate on the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR) never needed to extend into the Chillicothe of Ross County until now.  As I just did some more line measures from the southwest corner of Fairfield County.  the entire city is within 20 miles of Fairfield County "as the crow flies."

Log 2015020901

I spent the last couple days working on writing a BT mock hiker at the thru hike rate, which is generally 20 miles per day in the west, north and east.  Then generally 15 miles per day in the south.  And while I still have yet to account for the Akron, Road Fork and Whipple Sections, I can say with certainty that OTHR's 2016 Edition will eliminate every camping/ lodging deficiency on the Buckeye Trail.  Transit on the Akron Section supports going from Brecksville to the northern Massillon area and vice versa.  There's probably 120ft of redundancy (where you have to hike a portion of trail that you've already done, or will do) in the south.

As for The Wilderness Loop, it became compliant this past summer.  And the best way to do a an unassisted thru hike through here is when traveling clockwise (CW), its best to pass the Road Fork Section and hike counterclockwise on the Whipple Section, complete it and come back on the Road Fork Section.  From the Village of Belle Valley, use a GPS, Google Maps or Map Quest to plot a direct pedestrian route to the shelter between Stockport 06 - 07 from Belle Valley Section, Pt. 26.  It's important to do it from exactly there because BT's underpass of I-77 will act as a shortcut.  All together, this route should be somewhere in the ball park of 18 miles and one hiking day long.  That's in comparison of doing a 30mi, 3 day redundancy from BV 25 to Stockport 07.  In essence, the road is easier and more straight.

It's the first time in 6 years that OTHR has been able to cover every gap.  For once, the transit hike model has fulfilled what it was really designed to do.   I'm quite pleased about it.


Log 2015020401

One of the things I plan to do this year near the Whipple Section off-road is search off-trail for places to meditate.  Since I have topographic maps and already know where the section's surface water is, I feel that I have a good start on knowing what areas are too steep to access on a bushwhack.  I'll also be able to use my GPS to mark waypoints and begin to chart any brier patches.  Once done, that information will be uploaded to my Personal Section Supervisor's Page here on Blogger.

As for the location of any Rattlesnake dens, NFS wouldn't release that information (probably out of conservation fears), but in the last year, I smelled, but I've never seen one.  That took place on a gated skid road that intersects County Road 9 (C9) this past summer when I was making my last inspection before the Whipple Work Weekend arrived.  The cucumber like smell came from just off the west side of the skid and lasted for about 15 seconds before it quickly dissipated.

If there's any concerns about encountering them, I could do the search when the temperature is high.  To be more comfortable, this will drive them to become nocturnal.  Or I could do this as the first order of business in March when the snow melts, but the daytime high is still too low for them to come out of hibernation.


Log 2016020302

Today, I got something done.  I wrote the GPS tracks for the Chillicothe Transit System, which came in range of the Buckeye Trail (according to the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource) with it's Massieville County Route dial-a-ride type transit zone.  About a week or so ago, I called to request clarification because Massieville of Ross County is unincorporated and therefore doesn't have any municipal lines.  Since the parking area at Stewart Lake in the Scioto Trail State Park is in Ross County, I was told they would pick up there.  Stewart Lake is near the Scioto Trail Section of the Buckeye/ North Country/ American Discovery Trail.

Chillicothe of Ross County lost it's greyhound stop recently, but it's an excellent place to get lodging and resupply.  With that being said, about 7mi down trail clockwise/ westbound of the Stewart Lake area is an off & on-road intersection.  Because the GO Bus stop moved north from Piketon to Waverly (both of Pike County), it's now in range on foot despite the fact that non-Pike county residents (most transit hikers) lost access to local transit there.  But ultimately, I think that transit hikers actually gained more out of the arrangement as it is now.  And that's because Chillicothe is superior in the two ways that I just mentioned.

But with what little work that I got done today, it turns out that couldn't download my tracks from Google Maps to The Robot because there was something wrong with my Internet security suite.  So, I uninstalled, then reinstalled it and am now running a through scan (which might take half of the night to complete).

Log 2016020301

As of this date, I am now a member of Great Trail Sandy Beaver Chapter of the North Country Trail Association.  The Ohio Valley Chapter that once existed in the Marietta of Washington County was merged into Great Trail Sandy Beaver.  This chapter is in Ohio and oversees North Country's 84 mile, East Independent Arm, which is a designation that I use in the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource to describe this distance trail as being east of the Buckeye Trail's 1,441mi loop.  They're routed from the Ohio State/ Pennsylvania Commonwealth Line to Zoar of Tuscarawas County that includes the Beaver Creek State Park near Lisbon of Columbiana County.

Log 2016020203

The Robot is set up enough now to work with the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR)'s maps.  All I can say is "finally." Today, I purchased two licenses of DiskImage by LapLink, one for The Robot and the other for my laptop.  I once had a copy of Norton Ghost, which apparently is just like it.  It saved what's called an "image" of my hard drive to a file so that if anything happened to that computer, I could just re-instate the image and the result would almost be as my computer had never crashed.  It will save a lot of time, too.  In the recent past, I couldn't justify the expense of both licenses.  But in light of having to reprogram The Robot twice in 3 1/2 months, I decided that now was the time.

So, I installed it to both, but I haven't configured it yet.  I might be able to get the laptop to regularly save it's image to a specified location on The Robot over the network.  Then schedule The Robot to save a similar one in a similar location.  And since it's 4th hard disk drive is rather large, I might be able to use it as a retainer until I can manually copy, or move those files to my external hard disk drive somewhat irregularly.  This drive will ultimately reside in a fire proof safe, unless it's needed.

Since its going on to be February 3rd, it's difficult to say if the new edition of the OTHR will be published on time.


Log 2016020202

Once again, The Robot's operating system is stabilized.  But neither Google Earth, or the display adapter won't install until about 120 Windows Updates download and install.  So I tried to start modifying the folder for regional transit points for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR) on my laptop.  But it confirmed what I already knew about needing The Robot, and that's is the laptop doesn't have enough processing power to display them all.  I was making modifications going "how come I don't have "Dayton Trotwood?"  It's a big bus hub in Montgomery County that's hard to miss after editing about 2 1/2 editions of the OTHR's over the last 3 years.  I'm not great with probability, but its safe to say that it was there all along.

Log 2016020201

I'm at the dealership now getting the windshield wipers mechanism fixed and my manual transaxle fluid changed on my 2008 Chevy HHR.  And The Robot is working on 3 of 4 hard disks.  With a 4 disk system, I dedicated one for the operating system (for the most part) and spread the other apps, documents and saved files to the other three.  I have an inventory of what I use and I try to make sure that applications are installed in such a way that it's unlikely that two of them that are likely to be  used at the same time aren't on the same hard disk.  But the more parts in the machine, the more that there is that can go wrong.

Last night, I installed my graphics firmware.  It came up and asked me to accept an ultra high resolution that it recommended.  I should have known that it was too much for my cheap monitor, but I accepted it anyways.  Well, it didn't give me a 15 second countdown and the changes saved.  Now, all I get is a black screen and the operating systems "low resolution" mode won't work either.  I now have to reinstall the operating system, but the good news is that it does that quickly.

On three hard disks, it's just enough run Google Earth under my system.  That was the goal.  As far as the fourth drive... my system uses a RAID expansion card.  This card adds 3 more hard disk ports to the motherboard.  Historically, they have been always difficult to configure.  Right now, I can see tow problems.  One is that when I had two hard disks plugged into it, they were both set to "active" status.  I don't know too much about these cards, but if they both were, maybe it was confused upon start up (the computer freezes before windows while trying to initialize the RAID).  The other thing is that maybe this card is bad?  This system has been kinda dry in the past and it has taken some static shock.  I changed a few pieces of hardware since then, but I'm not sure if I did the RAID yet?

And then maybe I just don't know how to configure it and this is all my fault?  But I'm getting tired of this. My problem solving skills are wearing down and I just want this to be fixed... now.


Log 2016013101

I took my 2008 Chevrolet HHR LS to the dealership to have the garage fix my windshield wiper system. Apparently, the part that I'm missing is part of the windshield wiper motor and nobody in the parts department at two dealerships knew about it. But from this end, I'm the one who looks bad, or incompetent.  Oh well, there's no level of explanation that's going to dig me out of this hindsight.

Well, the dealership has to order a $300 motor and that won't be in until tomorrow.  So, I'm having dinner now. Afterwards, I'll be back on my way to Micro Center to purchase a 500GB hard disk drive to replace The Robot's second unit.  Really, it's either the drive or the card controlling it. I'll soon find out.  When I had it plugged into the laptop, I noticed it sounding a tone, but I wasn't sure what it was? It could have been it powering up and down the whole time?