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Log 2016093003

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

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

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

Log 2016093002

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

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

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

Log 2016092901

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

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

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

Log 2016093001

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

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

As you can see, this is designed for flashlights.

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

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

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


Log 2016092801

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Log 2016092701

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

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


Log 2016092101

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

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

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

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

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


Log 2016091801

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

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

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

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


Log 2016091701

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

Log 2016091701

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

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

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

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

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

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


Log 2016091201

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

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


Log 2016091101

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

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

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


Log 2016090302

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

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

Log 2016090301

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


Log 2016090201

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

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


Log 2016090102

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

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

Log 2016090101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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