Search This Blog


Log 04/01/2017

I put in an order to the Buckeye Trail Association for some maps.  When I receive them, I'll have 5 copies of the Belle Valley, Stockport, Road Fork and Whipple Sections to sell in-person at $7 each.  Also, I plotted the search route to find more parking along the Road Fork Section's off-road in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest.  It's a 86.1 mile route to circumvent 18.1 miles.  I'm anticipating that several of the township roads will be less than domesticated.

Water Found - Road Fork Section On-road

I was searching through the Monroe County Park District and I found this for Stafford Park at 39.717951, -81.280629.  It's 2.9mi north of the Road Fork Section - Buckeye Trail on-road/ North Country Temporary Connector.  By the July 2011 map, the turn off the trail is at Town Hwy 293 between Points 13 & 14.  The directions were a little vague on this.  But given the description stating that ODOT abandoned it, I'm pretty sure this it.

There's also a post office in Stafford.


Fearing and Salem Townships - 3/29/2017

To the residents of Fearing and Salem Townships of Washington County, Ohio, thank you for being so welcoming to the on-road Buckeye Trail hikers on 3/25 - 26/ 2017.  The Buckeye Trail is a 1,440 mile circle within the four corners of Ohio.  Our part of the trail is known as the 58 mile "Whipple Section" of the Buckeye/ North Country Trail.  It's routed from the Scenic River Trailhead on C9 in Independence Township of Washington County to just south of the AEP Recreation Land in Morgan County.

What you may have saw was the "Circuit Hike" program which allows hikers to hike one weekend a month to piece the trail together to eventually earn the covenant "Circuit Hike Patch."  As I understand, the program is on it's "second lease" and it takes about 5 years for the program to fully cycle.  They get in to an area and park, then shuttle to another parking site so that they can put as much distance one way and make the most progress down trail.

Buckeye Trail hikers are usually what we refer to as "day," or "multi-day hikers." meaning that they come in to cover not much more than a segment and then leave to go home.  But thru hikers are rare.  The BT usually has one annually (that I know of), but some years there might be none, while the most exceptional year that I know of was 5.

If all goes well, we should be having a thru hiker on the Whipple Section in the next week.  It's extremely rare to have these almost back to back.


Log 03/23/2017

I just extracted the off-road track on 7 of 26 sections.  It's been going a little slower today.  But I found new transit off of Scioto Trail Section, Point 09 from Ahoy Transport, LLC out of Vinton County.  The only problem is that the hiker would have to walk 3.0 miles on US-50.  That would reach a radio tower on Dixon Mill Rd.  While I don't suppose the vehicle would pull in.  But it's on a lesser used road and the radio tower is just a good landmark.

After learning that the Buckeye Trail Association could have some differences in accounting map mileages, and it may be possible that either their's or my data is off, I went ahead and tallied it's total mileage.  Pay close attention to the date of this log.  Buckeye Trail re-routes often.  With my maps and tracks being as updated as possible, I my data shows the trail's total length to be 1,445.21 miles with an average section track variance of +0.0504 miles beyond the Map Team's numbers.  If I were to continue to back down the tracks to make mile markers, in the past, I've only done it with a variance of +/- 0.2 miles per section.

Digital mile markers could help prospective hikers.  Along with parking, camping, lodging data all in one place, there'd be no more guess work and measuring. Planing hikes would be a snap.  My GPS tracks for the BT are probably in condition now?

Digital mile markers are a lot of work, but they're worth it in the end.  And that's because in Google Earth, you have open the properties menu with the "measurements" tab up to have access and back down track.  Every time you reach a desired mileage, you have to close the menu and then put down a placemark.  In accordance with my data, on the Whipple Section, that has to be performed 58 times.  And the backing down part is what's time consuming.  You have to back space it at a controlled rate, or Google Earth could easily overshoot the mark.

In other things, I've been thinking about my 5th installment towards a Household Life Membership in the Buckeye Trail Association.  It's coming up early next month.  For the installment plan, I may have found that money orders from the US Post Office might be better than the Money Grams for other that I've been using.  Apparently, they never expire or devalue.  I have a PO Box, so I'll have to verify this soon.  There's only 10 installments, so #5 is half way.

I looks like I'll be re-building The Cramper next month.  I'm thinking about something lighter and cheaper.  But I have to go by the home improvement store to try and find a way to temporarily seal it to the tailgate frame.

Sometime in the next month or two, I need to start gathering supplies for trail promotion in SE Ohio.


Maps Up to Date

I just compared the new updated maps that I purchased from the Buckeye Trail Association to my tracks and points on my Google Earth records.  Everything is up to date and "ship shape" to begin the next phase of my mapping project.  I'm going to start by laying down placemarks on the off-road terminators, then use trace a tracks over the existing ones.  I'm hoping to do about 4 sections a day with the pen tablet.

Governmental Overlays - Complete

Yesterday, I finished the map overlays for most governmental and non-governmental reservations on, or along the Buckeye Trail (BT).  Waypoints had to be added for those that didn't have any.  For most that did, their PDF format maps had to be converted to a JPG image.  Then some had to be cropped in Microsoft Paint in order to make them easier to overlay in Google Earth Pro.  But before I did that, I had them uploaded to the cloud so that their locations were on the internet and not specific to the structure of my computer's file system.

For any waypoints, instead of cropping banner images, I just looked up the park agencies on Facebook and used their image location as the waypoint icons.  With the help of the BTA GIS/ GPS Depository, prospective hikers can get a glimpse of what's around the trails.  They might want to go to a campsite, restaurant or lodging and may find that a park district's trail could get them there faster?  And on most maps, except ones from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Divison of Parks, they can trace the path in Google Earth and upload it to their GPS's.  But without being able to compare all the information in one place, it might be difficult to do with several different sources.

These overlays aren't the whole project.  They a part of something larger.  I'm going to re-write the BT's on-road tracks so that theres one between every intersection.  There's roughly 720 miles on on-road trail.  The other half is on-road, so I'm going to delete my section tracks down until I'm left with the off-road reservations.  Then delete them down into off-road intersections.

Piece of cake.  That off-road is the other half of the BT's 1,440 total mileage. that I don't really have to worry so much about.  As for the on-road, I'm planning on getting my pen tablet configured so I can just drop path anchors and terminators.


Governmental Reservation Overlays - 03/17/2017 - 01

I just overlaid 6 counties worth of metropark's maps today.  The Buckeye Trail in Northeast Ohio is done.  As for the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath and the Zoar Valley Trails, I'm going to hold off until later.  With the OECTT, I'm just going to dump whatever I already have into it.  And the Zoar Valley is only going to be a track.

But as for today, my brain is done.


Governmental Reservation Overlays - 03/16/2017

I got reservation and park maps overlaid for the Buckeye Trail in the Lake Metroparks and Geauga Park District overlaid in Google Earth today.  I almost missed Orchard Hills Park along the Bedford Section.  That section clips has a 2 - 1/2 mile "clip" through northwest corner of Chester Township in Geauga County.  I was having a problem with Google Earth's image rotation locking after 90°.  But I found that if I went into the overlay properties-> location, that I could rotate adjust the rotation with a numerical degree value in a field.

I've always been very active in the Buckeye Trail's Facebook group.  And I'm having a hard time not telling them what I'm up to.  All I can say about it for now is that it's for the annual TrailFest in Yellow Springs of Greene County.  It's probably about time that I presented GPS material there.


Governmental Reservation Mapping

Yesterday, I completed the map overlays for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Divisions of Parks, Forestry and Wildlife.  The Division of Natural Areas only had a map for Boch Hollow, so I just made a placemark, which will become a waypoint in a GPS.  Additionally, I marked the locations for the Ohio History Connection, which use to be the Ohio Historical Society.

I have the tracks for the Buckeye Trail split into it's 26 sections.  But the goal here is to have enough data to write tracks between the on and off-road intersections.  End users will be able to turn the tracks a different color on something like Google Earth to demonstrate where they've been.  From there, they can either print the map, or they can do a "snap shot" in the application, save it as an image and make it their desktop background (repeating the process as they go)

There's been demand in the past for a paper poster with an Ohio outline and the BT's track where one could mark their progress.  I've done a little investigating into this and anticipating the demands of the audience, I believe that it would have to produced on an architectural plotter.  The problem with plotters is that they can use a lot of ink.

On the Buckeye Trail Facebook group, I asked if any members had a plotter?  And the response that I got back were hypotheticals, or about services that would charge to have them made.  But I'm familiar with plotter services and their mark up could make a print of this size impractical to sell.

These special tracks will allow the end hiker to do something like this.  But it's probably best that it be on paper someday.


The Worst ODNR Map

I think I found it.  It's the Salt Fork State Park map, Rev. 3/16.  I can tell because on a Google Earth overlay, you can't get one part of the lake to match the imagery without the one of the arms not conforming.  Do the arms and now you can't get the rest of the lake.


Log 03/10/2017

- I purchased a new knife cut off switch for my motorhome's chassis batteries. My portable battery jump box won't support it's dual marine batteries because together, they're a 24V system.  The jump box can only charge a 12V.

- I determined that the Anderson Power Products - Part #6331G1 won't work for me.  I was thinking about using this coupler and a set of jumper cables with the clamps removed on one side and the male ends of this product replacing them.  I wanted to do this to extend the reach of the battery jump box.  But this unit will only handle 50 amps of current and jump box can put out 250.  The jump box barely sits on the motorhome's air filter manifold and I'm afraid that it might fall over.  So I was thinking that if it sat on the ground under the engine, I could feed the extended cables up and even jump it in the rain.

- Updated Buckeye Trail map & guides were purchased.  7 of 26 were supported, but not current.  I'm volunteering with a colleague on a mapping project for the Buckeye Trail Association's "TrailFest" in Yellow Springs of Green County.  I believe that I'll have to write tracks for the Buckeye Trail on-road from intersection to intersection, but cut down my existing tracks for the off-road.  The on-road is too frequent to be cut down like this, so I think that my pen tablet might do the trick for this?

- I can say with certainty that the following section map editions on The Wilderness Loop of the Buckeye Trail (North Country Trail partial) are no longer supported:

Belle Valley - December 2005
Road Fork - January 2005
Stockport - June 2006
Whipple - January 2005

I believe that the Medina Section was the last one to have a new digital print map in September of 2013.  It's previous map & guide will no longer be supported by September of this year (2017).


Motorhome Work - 03/09/2017

I went back to the motorhome today and charged it's battery for an hour.  The radio turned on, but there was no life coming from the starter.  So, I've decided to take my time with this and start with the battery cables.

Trail Promotion Map - 6 Mile Corridor Polygons

The 6 mile corridor polygons were completed for The Wilderness Loop and part of Stockport Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail.  The American Discovery Trail (ADT) - Ohio & Kentucky's eastern 32 miles remain undone.  Because the ADT - WV is either on a rails to trail or streets, it's more a 20 mile per day area and I've drawn an 8 mile corridor for it.

They can be used by prospective hikers to quickly determine if an amenity is close enough to the trail to consider using?  For the most part, I already have various amenity files for all three distance trails in Ohio.  For them, it might work well with couchsurfing and Airbnb locations.  But for me, they can also be a trail promotion tool.


Trail Promotion Map - 8mi Corridor on ADT - WV

The area in white is an 8mi corridor that I drew around the 41 miles of the western most American Discovery Trail - West Virginia. This shape is called a "polygon."  Those blue lines inside of it are 4 mile routes that I made in Google My Maps.  Their ends were the basis and what I clicked on when I drew the polygon.

The next step is probably to test random addresses inside of it to make sure that every query is within 4 miles of the trail.  If it's not, I'll just adjust the polygon to exclude that address.  But this will go on a tablet or laptop.  Good things sometimes happen and I'm getting prepared for them.

Trail Promotion Map Complete

Buckeye/ North Country Trail - light blue
[Belle Valley (partial), Road Fork, Whipple & Stockport Sections (partial)]
American Discovery Trail - red
West Virginia Counties - dark blue
Ohio Counties - maroon
Parkersburg - Marietta - Vienna Metropolitan Statistical Area - Purple

At this point, I've looked at what's on my Google Earth app for the Trail Promotion Map and I don't think there's much more I can add to it now in the way of event locations.  There are some more flier posting opportunities for the Whipple Section - Buckeye/ North Country Trail area.  They are probably in geotagged photos somewhere.  I can get Picasa to produce an icon for those.

But what I really ought to do is complete the 6 and 8 mile corridor polygons.  Because at the booth, if someone were to offer us a campsite, we'll need to know if it's relevant to the trail on the fly.  We can do that off-line with a tablet if necessary.  A polygon is a shape of unlimited sides and can be used to create zones like this.

How you do it is you track every intersecting through road and whatever else forks off of it out to 3, or 4 miles on Google My Maps.  Once their done, export them to KML and open that file in Google Earth.  When it displays, the end of each track will form the outer edge of the polygons and you just anchor it from one to another.  There is some possibility that it may not be entirely accurate when used in promotions for some of it's outermost areas.  My suggestion for some you out there is just use experience and adjust it as your promote.

GPS Corridors are a lengthy project.  And because of the limitations of Google My Maps, it will take several maps to get one Buckeye Trail, 55 mile section done.  These have never been used in Buckeye Trail promotions before.  But those have never been promoted to encourage new private campsites either.  It's always been general promotion, as in getting more boots on the ground.  My trail promotion plan might achieve that affect, but it's priorities are structured differently and hoping for a different result.

I have the corridors for the Whipple and Road Fork Sections.  After I complete the plan's partial coverage of the Belle Valley and Stockport Sections - BT/ NCT (three way concurrency with ADT for about 4,754ft), the ADT - OH & KY from the West Virginia State Line to the main loop of the Buckeye Trail and then from the Ritchie/ Doddridge Counties Line to Ohio on ADT - WV.


Trail Promotion Map - Fairs, Fairgrouds & Festivals Complete

The Fairs, Fairgrounds & Festivals portion of the trail promotion map for all 15 counties are complete.  As it stands, there are 45 of them.  But not everything is either on the Internet, or some might not be appropriate for trail promotion.  The next step with these are to determine which four of them are strategic?

Trail Promotion Map - 03/06/2017

I finished up the post offices and libraries on my trail promotion map, which is necessary for my trail promotion plan.  I now know that in the 15 county area that I proposing that there's 124 possible post office and 29 library locations.  I stumbled upon data that I generated last year or so.  I also have a complete listing of colleges, universities, television markets, cable access channels, convention and visitors bureaus.  Every county has a link to an events page for it.  I still have to complete plotting the locations of local festivals, newspapers and magazines.

It's in really good shape so far.


Trail Promotion Plan - 03/05/2017

I've been working on the trail promotion plan for the Buckeye Trail in Southeast Ohio and American Discovery in Parkersburg, West Virginia area.  One of the things I need for a complete written plan is a list of television, radio stations, post offices, libraries, newspapers, colleges, universities and the location of county fairs.  I already have some of that data collected, but it was written for the trail corridors and not entirely for this 15 county area.  So, I'm busy populating the rest of it with remaining waypoints for corresponding items.

Finding post offices can be difficult sometimes in very rural areas.  So, along with USPS - Find Locations feature, I'm using to look some of them up and get global coordinates.  Sometimes a post office doesn't return a result in Google Earth, or the location could be bad?  That service can search for post offices by county and I like this because USPS does their's in a radius and there's a chance that I might miss one.

What I need in this plan is a total number.  I'm not sure if I'm going to do this yet, but I might select some of them as being priority locations.  Months ago, I took a drive by tour of some of the ones nearest to the Road Fork Section - Buckeye/ North Country National Scenic Trail and the American Discovery Trail - West Virginia (ADT - WV).  I separated it into 4 routes.  And because of West Virginia's terrain, it would consume a lot of fuel and take about a week to post fliers, take them down, or rotate them.  I'm adding many more post offices now.  But these are probably community cork boards and this might not qualify outside of the corridors I mentioned?

The corridors are based on the abilities of a thru hiker and what they're willing to tolerate in terms of how far off trail they'd be willing to come to reach an amenity?  I estimate that most of Southern Ohio to be a 15 mile per day area.  And I project that the limit of the hiker patience with coming off trail to be 3.0 miles.  Considering both sides, that makes for a 6 mile corridor.  Now the ADT - WV, my plan is to cover the western most 41 miles.  Those are on flat bicycle right of ways or streets, therefore; I estimate this to be a 20 mile per day area with an 8 mile corridor.

In the kind of logistics that I do, I work within these corridors to determine if a trail has the proper stated amenities to support a thru hike.  The trails were probably built with this in mind at their inceptions, but it might not have been tracked from then on?  In the meantime, amenities go out of business, or private support that was once there now might not be.

After all of the logistical waypoint preparation, amenity gap areas are detected when I write a document detailing the mileage, camping, lodging and resupply for every day across a distance trail.  If I wanted to do it furthermore, I could do this on a spread sheet and keep track of the peak season lodging costs to tally them and come up with that distance trail's cost per mile.

When the amenity gap area is identified, there's several things that could be done with it.

1) Public Transit (even some rural counties have an agency)

2) The distance trail agency gains a new private camp host within the corridor.  Trail Promotion might assist with this because they already engage the community.

3) The distance trail agency can re-route to, or near an amenity as long as Points (or days) A, B and C ("B" is the location of the new amenity) are within thru hike specifications.  It's likely to increase the mileage of said distance trail.  For some, that could translate into manpower, but gets the "I's" dotted and the "T's" crossed.  This is probably most advantageous for on-road trail.


Log March 1st, 2017 - 01

I just ordered some replacement ear bud tips, size XL.  I'm hoping that they'll fit my canals.  I also got a set of 5 t-shit press - on papers and a small ironing board for sleeves.

Log March 1st, 2017 - 00

I just purchased a wireless lapel microphone from Radio Shack today.  I already had a 20 watt PA amp and 80 watt speaker.  I could definitely do a presentation, but I'm holding off on the purchase of a projector until I determine which one I'll need?  I'm thinking that if I want to be prepared for anything, it needs to be big enough to display images for an auditorium with a 900 seat capacity.