Search This Blog


Log 2016033101

This is a picture of a trail promotion aid.  It's a 6 mile polygon around the Road Fork Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail.  While there is no formal standard as to how to determine the trail's adequacy, if a thru hiker can sustain about 15 miles per day in the south of Ohio, then they should have to travel no further than 3.0 miles from trail to reach an amenity.  If during trail promotion, we get an offer for a campsite, or resupply for example, the address could be input into a smartphone app.  When the result returns, if it's inside the polygon, then it's relevant to those of thru hike abilities.

The idea here is to hope that we stumble across an opportunity to break up the northeastern 1/3rd of the section with another campsite.  The reason is that the campground at Wolf Run SP to the shelter in the middle of the image is 19.8 miles.  I've done it and known others who also have.  That territory is hilly and it's at the end of most hiker's stamina here in Ohio.  It can be a bit of a struggle to get there.

I discovered the remnant of a former railroad right of way in Caldwell of Noble County.  I have no idea who it belongs to, but since it was nice and straight, I took a measurement of it, then got directions from the trail to it and added their mileage... it added 0.1.  I've tried every way I could to try and and shave 0.3mi off of the distance from Road Fork Section to the Greyhound affiliates at the Caldwell Park-n-Ride.  Bringing that distance from 3.3mi to 3.0mi or lower is not possible.  There's just not enough coaxing that I can do to get it down.  This one might bother me indefinitely.


Log 2016032901

I just finished tracking the roads for the Road Fork Section - BT/ NCT on the inside of The Wilderness Loop.  This is to provide a basis for drawing a 6 mile corridor (3 miles on each side) using a polygon, or a shape of unlimited sides.  The one for the Whipple Section was done last year.  But I intend to complete these for the Stockport and Belle Valley Sections before this upcoming trail promotion season.

While I'm on trail promotion, should I get an offer for water resupply or a campsite (for example), I'll be able to input the address into my smartphone and if the location is within those polygons, it's good.  The alternative would be to take it home and find it's position on a map, then measure its distance from the trail.  I plan to volunteer as electronically as I can, sending and forwarding information on the spot before I forget.


Log 2016032801

Today, I've been getting data prepped and backed up to The Robot.  I forgot that when The Robot was having problems, I tethered it's hard disk drives to the laptop and set it's anti-virus software to it's most discriminate setting.  A through anti-virus scan is a standard procedure of mine for backing systems up.

I also reviewed the reasoning for some of my strategies concerning the Whipple Section.  It's somewhat common for hikers and maintainer/ volunteers to be in two different worlds.  And there's plenty that I don't understand about some of the people in SE Ohio.  It may take some research in the genealogy library to learn about causes, effects and the evolution of the subculture.

If your from SE Ohio, just remember that I like you, but there's somethings about me that I don't want to tell you.  I'm about to become a public person who values my privacy.  But in the interests of saving time, I think that what some need to know about me is I'm "practical" and "effective" as a person.  Almost relentless, or unapologetically maybe.  I'm just driven.  And I wear nice clothes, but really I'm not materialistic, or driven by money, yet I'm not wealthy.  In fact, I have what I need and I'm satisfied.

This area of the Buckeye Trail got off to a rocky start and hasn't had it very good ever since.  When you look at the Whipple Section over the past year, operationally this probably is the most stable its ever been.  We're the furthest and one of the most difficult sections for most of our hikers and members to reach.  So when I mention that trail promotion is our #1 priority, what we really have to do is recruit two new volunteers as trail adopters here in Year 02 to keep us from burning out in Year 03.  If you want to equate voluntarism to work, then some of my duties can entail things like "resources" and "personnel."  Even though, we're not titled as such officially, section supervisors are lot like presiding officers in a local chapter of a larger organization.

So, my going theory is that I promote the Buckeye/ North Country Trail in the Parkersburg (WV)/ Marietta (OH) for Whipple's needs.  But those cities are a part of a metropolitan area that's defined by the U. S. Census Bureau .   Most of our sister section, the Road Fork's off-road is also in that area, but they're further away and in remote territory.  Nonetheless, I think that I'm eventually going to hear of some interest for the Road Fork.  Since they're a part of the same traffic pattern, it don't matter to me who benefits.  Because if we had them, it's going to improve the rankings of both sections no matter the new adopter is placed.

I've been working on transportation lately.  Before I mentioned that I had devised an direct, 8 hour, 18 mi on-road by-pass of the AEP ReCreation Land so that unassisted hikers didn't have to redundantly travel 30 miles over 3 days on the BT that they've already covered.  But now, I might have a way to forgo that altogether.  And like I said, if things go right, then the redundancy on the BT will be zero.  According to my Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR) data, the redundancy at the bottom of The Little Loop where the Akron and Massillon Sections intersect is only about 116ft.  That's very good.

But this might be even better?


Log 2016032701

I sorted through my photos on The Robot (my oversized media center computer) today and renamed the files from their default names generated by the camera to things like Buckeye Trail sections and the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource, often by location and county.  That way, if I need to search for a photo in the future, the keywords in the name should bring back a result.  The next step would be to import my other photos from smartphone and laptop, rename those and then run everything through Google's "Picasa" application to see if any of them have geotags.  Many won't.  Either because I didn't enable my locater tags, or they were taken with a digital camera in the past that didn't have the capability.  But I may still be able to manually add them in Google Earth if I can remember their locations.

It's not an active thing with me, but I'm hoping to compensate for where the Google Maps Camera Car hasn't gone along the Buckeye.  Most of the off-road would fit that description.  These photos as pinned to a map might help trail maintenance, or those giving presentations.

Before I could geotag, I would occasionally take photos of signs at street corners and landmarks to help me remember where the other photos were made.


Log 2016032201

It took 4.5hrs to geotag photos and track one 0.5mi trail over about 40 miles along the Burton Section - Buckeye Trail.


Burton Section - BT: Unmaintained Spur to Punderson SP C & Lodge

(GPX Download) Unmaintained Spurs to Punderson SP C & Lodge
C = 3.74mi
Lodge = 3.0mi

These unmaintained spurs start at the Burton Section - Buckeye Trail (11/2011 map & guide).

These pictures pertain to the route to the campground only.  This is a picture of Ravenna Road/ OH-44 northbound on the north side of the unincorporated community of South Newbury in Geauga County.  From the BT, these pictures are in the outbound point of view.  If you zoom in just to the right of the arrow sign, there is a red gate.  According to the ODNR - Division of Parks map, This is the terminator for a trail that is routed along the southeast side of Punderson Lake.

I didn't take any photos for the outbound to the lodge because it's not as tricky.


Today on the American Discovery Trail - West Virginia

This is an eastbound shot of the underpass of the William P. A. Nicely Bridge in the City of Parkersburg.


Log 2016031301

Today, I'll write about something hypothetical on the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail.  Usually I only remark about things that are underway, or done.  The nature of federally owned land in the Wayne National Forest (aka "The Wayne) can be said to be "fragmented."  From what I understand, it's not a favorite destination to go bushwhacking.  In fact, the Whipple Section needs about 3 easements, or maybe even specially deeded land just to do what it does.

But that doesn't stop me from locating what I call special "Meditation Places."  This will be a GPS mapping project and I'll be trying to find places off of the section's off-road that help me find my inner peace.  I've been out of practice for years, but I plan on taking some auditory aides with me to try them out first hand.


Log 2016031101

The new 2016 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource has been introduced on social media today.


Log 2016031002

The new 2016 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's resource is complete!  I believe that I resumed this project on November 5th with 2015's data that ran late and I couldn't publish it in time for trail maintenance on the Whipple Section.  The good news is that I can probably get another 3 years out of this edition.  I can't say how many people have used it.  But I do know that it has been used.

Tomorrow will be the official roll out on the American Discovery's, Buckeye's and North Country Trail's Facebook page and groups, as well as my own Google+ account.

Log 2016031001

Google Maps Engine is not assigning the right colors to the dial-a-ride zones for the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR) website.  At the moment, all maps will have to be .gpx downloads to be opened up in Google Earth or ArcGIS Explorer.


Log 2016030901

It took about 6 hours today to bundle the local and regional transit agency data into their respective folders that will ultimately be used for for downloads on the OTHR website.  I still have yet to complete the task for the unmaintained transit to trail spurs and their resources points. Once those are done, the files can be uploaded. There's probably a few more minor tweaks and then I can roll out the new edition.


Log 2016030802

Well, the cross importation from Mozilla Thunderbird to GMail didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped.  I guess this isn't Burger King (I can't "have it my way").  But I will say that in printed form, Thunderbird made a nice layout and I converted it to PDF.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get it's links to carry over.  I just logged on to the web server for the first time in months today and uploaded the new directory and guide and linked them.

The next step is to organize parts of the OTHR's map into sections and trail portions so that if the end transit hiker were to click on the "Burton Section," they would only see, or download the transit that pertains to that area.  Ordinarily, to reduce the workload and redundancy, OTHR isn't organized like this.  It would need to be reorganized 30 times with there being something different with each one.  Afterwards, the data would then be uploaded to Google Maps somehow and it's web address would be copied and pasted into the proper link on the OTHR website.  Those 30 files would then need to be converted to .gpx format one at a time and then also be linked on the website.  Finally, every downloadable resource will all be combined into a single .zip file for mass downloading of the entire resource.

The guide was really the last of the big hurdles.  I'm on the "downhill" side of a new edition right now.  The hardest thing coming up is the upload and linking of all the maps.

Log 2016030801

The guide is done and is in PDF format with working bookmarks now.  There are probably some bugs like the "BELLE VALLEY SECTION" was newly added for the upcoming edition and I didn't link the name to to it's Buckeye Trail web page (trail alerts & map updates).  I have to leave town in 7 days and this thing is already overdue.  The Whipple Section that I supervise is going to need to be tended to in April.  So, I'm at the point where I'm getting willing to sacrifice perfection.

What remains are several simple modifications to the map, glossary and site index.  The hardest thing from here might the directory.  My Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail client has been synchronizing my contacts with GMail.  In the day of smartphones, GMail is one of the options used to set up e-mail and synchronize contacts to.  I plan to give transit hikers a downloadable copy of it so they can upload it into their contacts list.  After they synchronize with their contacts list, it will be downloaded on their device and it would become something they could use off-line.  And that's what's important about the OTHR.  Ohio has it's places where, currently, even the best cellular provider still has gaps.

So while I'm on that topic, let me tell you about what's entailed with determining cellular coverage gaps on distance trails.  ArcGIS Explorer might do it easier as it might have a cellular providers maps.  But with Google Earth, it's a matter of visiting the web page for the coverage map.  And somehow saving the web page itself to a .jpg format.  I have Windows, so I just open it up in "Paint," crop out every but Verizon's rectangular map and then add an image overlay in Google Earth using that file.  With Verizon's maps, they were drawn to scale and positioned over known things (like roads) perfectly.  Then repeat the process until you've covered your entire route.

If you have a hand GPS, the image overlay probably won't read.  So in Google Earth, you'll need to make a set of placemarks (waypoints).  Personally, I label mine as "I/O" with the first character pertaining to the clockwise direction.  In electronics, "I" is a closed circuit, meaning "on."  And "O" is an open circuit meaning "off."  This is why a variation of "I/O" is printed on the power button for most computers.


Log 2016030701

When I was on the International Appalachian Trail - Newfoundland & Labrador, I started in the north.  I was not use to hiking on the metric system and it was problematic for my perceptions.  I should have hiked that providence with the English measurements on, or I should have trained back in the US with metric.


Log 2016030601

The special bookmarked areas have been anchored and linked for several local transit agencies who's information on their regional transit connections are prolific and often reoccurs in the guide rough draft. And it's reduced the guide from 83 to 72 pages.  As to how well, it works... I'll have to test it on some different devices to know for sure.

Log 2016030601

The formatting on the guide rough draft for the 2016 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource has been undone.  And the text for transit amenities that connect to the Brunswick Transit Alternative, Akron Metropolitan, Greater Cleveland, Stark Area and Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authorities has been entered at the bottom of the guide, but not bookmarked and linked yet.  I decided that for smartphone functionality, that the mentioning of their connecting services would be too much for their screens to handle in some instances. This is because if the following were to be written like this:

Quick Glossary
AIR - Passenger Air Services
GLI - Greyhound, or an affiliate
(AAA) - OTHR agency code
CVSR - Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad that operates in the Cuyahoga Valley NP
AMT - Amtrak
LTA - Local Transit Agency
/s - Serviced, has in-person ticket sales
FR's - Fixed Routes, typical city buses that run a regular route on the same schedule
DIS - Disabled Only
GP - General Public
DAR - Dial-a-Ride/ Curb-to-Curb/ Shared Ride/ Demand Responsive type local transit service.  These require advanced reservations.

CW: T LTA (AM) DIS DAR                                                 CCW: T LTA (PARTA) GP DAR

The in the guide rough draft's present condition, under what I just mentioned, the rest of it would look like the following:

      T AIR /s - CAK - Akron - Canton Reg.                            T GLI (BAR) - Ravenna (Rootstown)
      T GLI /s - Robert K. Plaff TC - Akron
      T GLI (BAR) /s - Robert K. Plaff TC - Akron
      T GLI (GO) /s - Robert K. Plaff TC - Akron
      T CVSR - Various locations from Akron Northside Station
      T LTA (SARTA) FR's
            T AIR /s - CAK - Akron - Canton Reg.
            T GLI (BAR) /s - Canton Cornerstone TC - Canton
            T GLI (GO) /s - Canton Cornerstone TC - Canton
            T CVSR - Lincoln Station - Canton
            T AMT - ALC - Alliance
            T LTA (CARTS) GP DAR - from Alliance
            T LTA (gcRTA) FR's
      T LTA (PARTA) FR's
            T GLI (BAR) - Ravenna (Rootstown)
      T LTA (gcRTA) FR's
            T AIR /s - CLE - Cleveland Hopkins Int'l
            T GLI /s - Cleveland
            T GLI (BAR) /s - Cleveland
            T GLI (GO) /s -  Cleveland
            T AMT - CLE - Cleveland Lakefront Station
            T CVSR - Rockside, or Brecksville Stations
            T LTA (LT) FR's
            T LTA (SARTA) FR's
                  T AIR /s - CAK - Akron - Canton Reg.
                  T GLI (BAR) /s - Canton Cornerstone TC - Canton
                  T GLI (GO) /s - Canton Cornerstone TC - Canton
                  T CVSR - Lincoln Station - Canton
                  T AMT - ALC - Alliance
                  T LTA (CARTS) GP DAR - from Alliance
            T LTA (BrTA) FR's
                  T LTA (MED) GP DAR

And that's just the information for one particular resource point.  This would be a problem to display if all of this had to be written for the CCW side (and at times, it has).  I believe that when the smartphone user tries to read that, they'll double tap on their screen to zoom in, which will re-wrap the text and make it better to read.  But my indents will force some of it on to the next line and begin at the right of the screen.

Local transit in Cleveland - Akron - Canton areas is the most interconnected in the State of Ohio.  OTHR's guide allows the transit hiker to know what the maximum number of options are with every conceivable connection.  This can be an advantage when they break a piece of gear that's difficult to replace.  But with other transit hikers, they have an array of options as to where to start and end their hikes from regional transit.  Those amenities in this area are within transit range of six Buckeye Trail sections and one maintaining chapter of the North Country Trail.  That's about 335 miles of distance trail.

Getting back to the guide rough draft... by writing out the five local agencies and their connections once, I can create a link to them through out the document that will make it shorter and easier to read on a smartphone.

Other than that, my whiteboards had tasks written on them that I had to do in order to clear them.  So, I tended to some personal matters as well and that just about sums up my day.


Log 2016030401

I drove to Medina today because the schedules for the Medina County Public Transit's [coded: T LTA (MED)] fixed routes for the city confused me when I attempted to use them to construct a system map on Google Earth.  So, I drove to there with the intention of boarding their 2 fixed routes today and one tomorrow with a GPS to record, or track their routes.  While I got there on time, I went it to the local Hawkins Market grocery store to ask if the transit vehicle just ran along the road, or did it circle through their parking lot.  The answer was inconclusive.  Doing that cut into the 15 minutes that I was supposed to be outside waiting for the bus and I think that I missed it?

So, I drove down to the transit garage and got a turn by turn description of their route.  Afterwards, I went home and used the document to construct (MED)'s Medina City fixed routes.  There are three.  Two of them run on weekdays and the other is a Saturday route.  All three of them are circulators that travel in one direction only.  9.5 miles of the Buckeye Trail can be hiked with this fixed route system.  It also has access to a number of lodging establishments.

All the corrections have been made to the guide rough draft for the 2016 Edition of the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource (OTHR).  Later, I purchased one license of Microsoft Office for about $160 today.  It was either that or Adobe Reader DC Pro for about $300.  I was using Open Office Writer, but it has a mysterious way of deleting "LL's" (like in WILLIAMSBURG) every time that I open the rough draft.  It's a good word processor, but I can't have it doing that when I'm days away from publishing the new edition.  Anyways the spell check isn't as good and the grammar check is malfunctioning.  And the one thing that MS Word does that open office doesn't is save in the Portable Document File (PDF) format.  I needed something that would not only do that, but carry over the bookmark links within the document for easy navigation over it's 83 full size pages.  Not to mention that it's integral for smartphone use.

A month or so ago, I purchased a new replacement 1 Terabyte hard disk drive for The Robot.  It turns out it didn't need the replacement and I kept it beyond the 15 day return limit for electronics.  The good thing is that it only cost $35 new.  So my plan is to install it in an external enclosure and attach it to my router one day to create a network access storage (NAS).  I already have the automatic system back-up software for both The Robot and and laptop.  If I install this NAS, I probably won't have to back-up to a DVD or external hard drive.  That's good for the automatic back-up.

With two catastrophic computer failures within 3 months of each other, and with them both during OTHR season, you could say that I'm not "messing around" anymore :-)).  I need healthy systems to develop new editions.  Only The Robot can display all three distance hiking trails, their nearby amenities and a full display of relevant public transit at once.  The laptop just doesn't have a strong enough CPU for it.


Log 2016030201

80 of 83 rough draft guide pages have been proofread and corrected.  The remaining three are dependent on getting in-person GPS tracks of the Medina Fixed Routes of the Medina County Public Transit.  That won't happen until later this week.


Log 2016030102

On the transit end of things, NE Ohio has the most interconnectable local transit system in the state. About 7 of those local agencies could somehow serve the transportation needs of six Buckeye Trail sections.

The best way on local transit to get from Cleveland to Canton is on the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority's Route 4, which is a Cleveland Express. To get to Canton, that takes about 1hr and 15min to go about 55 miles through urban NE Ohio. Then from Canton to Massillon Section, Point 14, it's about another 40 minutes. Years ago, the express bus to Cleveland didn't exist. But the Greater Cleveland, Akron Metropolitan and Stark Area Regional Transit Authorities had (and still have) three interconnecting routes that's referred to as the "Intermodal." I requires riding 3 buses with the three agencies. The Greater Cleveland bus terminates in Brecksville where the Akron Metrobus begins, then terminates at the Robert K. Plaff Transit Center in Downtown Akron. There, the rider would transfer to the Stark bus and take it to Canton. Finally, the transit hiker would board their Route 101 and take it to Massillon. The trip from Cleveland to Canton use to take over 3 hours.

Log 2016030101

I input corrections to the Ohio Transit Hiker's Resource's (OTHR) 2016 Edition guide rough draft up to page 20 of 83.  The document has some formating issues and I'm thinking that I'll either have to copy it Notepad, take out all of the indents and then copy it back over (the word processor won't get rid of some of the existing indents).  And in NE Ohio, the mentioning of all of the local, regional, interstate and international transit amenities are a bit lengthy.  I'm concerned that they will not display well on a smartphone.  So, I've been considering placing them in an area beyond the final page of the main guide's text and linking a bookmark to them.

So far, inputting the corrections has gone slowly and that's probably because I have to use the word processor's search function to "jump" around the document using key phrases that it will hopefully lock on to.  And in a couple instances, there's been need for new, or revised text.  Yesterday, I added an advisory area for Bedford 24.  These are areas where the user might see an opportunity for transit, but I don't suggest that they go there... usually because of vehicular traffic.  I was going to put down one of these placemarks at Scioto Trail 25, but the transit amenity south of there was at about 3.2mi away and Scioto Trail Section is 15.0mi day with a 3.0mi reserve (total of 18.0mi put together) and lastly, a 3.0mi trail to amenity (doesn't add in, but counts against) maximum on the OTHR.