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NCT Pennsylvania Partially Re-labled

I only had part of a day to re-label mile markers with their mileages.  So, I completed the task for Wampum, Butler, Clarion Chapters, the official route through the Allegheny Valley and Rachel Carlson Trails (NCT Concurrency).  That's one marker for parking, campsites and lodging, or the intersections to them over 200.73 more miles of the North Country Trail.

My tracks for the Superior Hiking Trail is in four parts.  And I've never gotten the whole thing to merge with an elevation profile.  That concurrency is about 268 miles.  My Finger Lakes Trail track is merged together, but Google Earth's elevation profile won't read about 100 miles of what it reports as it's length in Rt Click-> Properties-> Measurements.  Normally, I don't like to merge anything larger than about 120 miles long because Google Earth is more prone to errors.


Motorhome Update 01/26/2018

My family mechanic friend got the drive axle pinned up today.  And in order to put a fuel cleaner and octane booster in it, I had to drive it a couple miles to get 17 gallons of gasoline.  The ride was a little bouncy, but that's because the tires were inflated below 70psi.  But one of the rear brake shoes is ceasing to it's drum and I was smoking it's brakes.  The gasoline sending unit still isn't working.  It's believed that Ford isn't making the sender for this Econoline anymore and he and I are hoping that the fresh gasoline will break the one that's in there free at some point?

He installed the new Bluetooth stereo and got started on the new CB with weatherband radio.  Looks like I'm going to have a 19 gallon fuel cell, sending unit and rear in-tank pump to sell on ebay now that he got my 38 gallon stuff working.

I think that we're going to spend most of February doing the interior?  I've gone in and out of state parks in the past, so I'm wondering if I should mount some Wi-Fi antennas?  I've already got unlimited data on Verizon and it can hotspot to the laptop when needed.  But the Wi-Fi might have better reception?

I'd like tile to be put in instead of carpet in case I come back from the trail muddy.  Due to water damage, the seams will have to be resealed and the walls will have to be rebuilt.

Data Reorganizing, Motorhome CB, GPS Mile Markers Re-Labeling

-I just reordered my data so that it starts at the BT's southern terminus in clockwise order so that it reflects how I organized North Country's.

- ArcGIS Explorer has been discontinued, but I just downloaded ArcGIS Earth on the my laptop.  I don't know it's capabilities yet.

- The motorhome's new CB is powered up and one antenna mast is mounted.  I just purchased another new mast, splitter cable and 2 more mounts.  I also got some more

-Middlebury Land Trust and the Green Mountain Club's NCT route in Vermont mile markers have been re-labeled with their respective mileages.

- Central New York Chapter, an at-large section and Adirondack Mountain Club's mile markers have been re-labeled with their mileages. I'm about 43% done with NCT NYS.  Right now, my single track for North Country's concurrency on the Finger Lakes Trail is about 425 miles long.  It's the biggest track that I have on record (for any trail).   From the way it looks, it has a lot of markers because of how often it comes in and out of dispersed camping.  Markers pertaining to dispersed camping are laid at the beginning and end of continuous parcels where it's permitted.  I wish I had a solid 6 hours to commit to them, but something tells me that I'll have to do them over a couple of days.  I prefer going straight through and finish whole chapter/ partners/ affiliates.  But I'm feeling good about getting the Adirondack Mountain Club done.

So far in addition to what I've stated, I've got mile markers from the North Country Trail Association for North Dakota and Michigan.  The mile markers are complete for Ohio, including the Buckeye Trail now.  That leaves the Finger Lakes concurrency, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania left to re-label.  After those, it's on to the final leg of the project.

FYI... I don't think that I can release any data for the Finger Lakes concurrency considering that they are based on it's copyrighted work, which is not open to the public for free.  It's data can be purchased in the GPX format for maps M-1 through 22, then O1 & O2.  I don't believe that it comes with any mile markers, but it's maps may be of use for that.


Generic Legend

I started on writing a Generic Legend.  I was thinking about doing it in the properties of the waypoints, wrapping a polygon around the Buckeye, North Country and American Discovery Trails, or doing it with transparent state polygons so that it would always come up in something like a track listing on a GPS or smartphone.  But, I've decided to write a list to a separate file instead.

The mapping that I'm doing has to be encoded for use on a rudimentary GPS.  A campsite might come up as "C - Shelter."  Those with more sophisticated units will see the label, but also more appropriate icons.  ArcGIS, which makes basemaps, doesn't work on my computer.  If it did, I've heard that I could make them there and embed all of the icons on to it and it would probably work on any device?


Finished Mile Marker Positions - NCT and Motorhome Update

I finished placing the position of the digital mile markers for the entire North Country Trail.  But I'm going to take a break from the next phase of the project because I now need to track every alternate by-pass and spur along the American Discovery Trail.  I only got the main route last year.  I suppose it's probably going to take me until the end of the week to do that.  Releasing North Country's data should take place about a week before Valentine's Day.  That's just for the GPS data that's most relevant to hikers.  Getting the mock hike written simulation done by then... maybe, maybe not.  That could be tight?

The motorhome runs.  Even better than it ever has and it currently has a broken EGR valve.  I already have the replacement, but it's nut is ceased to it's right side breather tube that leads to the cylinders in the engine.  My family mechanic friend is waiting to take a hot torch to it to get it off. 

Meanwhile, we'll be dismounting the drive axle and taking it to a friend's garage where the U joints can be mounted.  Right now, the drive axle is disconnected from the rear one because my old U joint was very corroded and the wrecker (tow truck) had to take it apart in order not to destroy the drive train about 18 months ago.


NCT Minnesota Mile Markers Placed

The position of the digital mile markers in Minnesota are in place.  I wasn't going to overlay the state forest maps, but I changed my mind.  Then I realized that I didn't account for Minnesota DNR's camping shelters, so I went back and cataloged those, other backpack sites and parking areas.  At that point, I determined that I needed to go back through all three national forest websites and determine if I was missing campsites and picnic areas (parking)?  Minnesota really took a while and I'm glad that it's over. 

This state was kinda hard.  All the waypoints adding up and the shapes of six MN DNR divisions and 3 national forests, plus their roads and trails was really taxing The Robot.  I'm a volunteer.  With Wisconsin and Pennsylvania remaining, the worst is over for now.  The hardest part now will be backing down the track on the North Country's concurrency with Finger Lakes.  That's a 429 mile track with frequent markers.  I'm lucky I got 429 miles to merge.  You could probably thank Finger Lake's GIS for that.  They made it snap together so well.


P Areas NCT in the Adirondacks and NYS Mile Markers

I completed the placemarks/ waypoints for the parking areas along the North Country Trail in the Adirondack Park.  I also finished placing the mile marker positions for the trail in New York State.


Public Parking Along NCT/ FLT

There are over 228 parking areas on the North Country's concurrency with the Finger Lakes Trail.  Right now, I'm measuring it at just over 429 miles long.  It's an average of one public parking place for every 1.88 miles.  I have the mile markers placed, but at 228 just for parking, it's going to be slow backing the track down and getting mileages in the triple digits with decimal places sometimes in the ten thousandths.

And for those of you following my progress in trying to write a mock hike written simulation of the NCT, the saga goes on.  This is lengthy when you have to compile the data and do the mock hiker.  These logs are detailing almost every step of the way.

I'll step out of this log's character and tell you something hypothetical.  I've got some people working on something that might permit me to program smartphones and GPS's for other hikers in one sitting.  Stay tuned...

NCT P Areas - VT and OH

Parking areas on the North Country Trail in Vermont and while independent in Ohio have been plotted and organized by chapter/ partner/ affiliate. 


Data Extracted - ND, WI & MN, Relabeled C Data and Mile Markers

I extracted the trails and roads necessary to reach campsites and lodging along the North Country Trail in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  It was necessary for the placement of placemarks to make mile markers in the various states.  I cut it from NFS's data and pasted it in to mine.  But I don't think I really need to have that at hand.  Right now, all I need to do just display NFS's data and then put a placemark down.  I noticed that Michigan's NCTA mile markers were going in the westbound direction, while North Dakota's were in the eastbound.  I'm now going to make my markers westbound. 

All you do is open the properties of one of my chapter/ affiliate tracks with the "measurements" tab showing and backspace from the end of the track until I come upon a campsite, campground, lodging, or a road or trail that leads to those, then record the mileage in the preset placemarks as I go.  All measurements that don't show a decimal point, or those that are really close together will need to be read in inches, then divided by 63,360 (inches in a mile) to get a decimal.   If the measurement is a double digit number that has a decimal smaller than 0.1, Google Earth doesn't even bother reading it.

I also re-labeled all of the unnamed campsites from the point data issued by the NCTA.  So far, it's all for my personal records.

Motorhome 01/15/2018

My family mechanic friend installed the new cab battery and did some electrical diagnostics on the motorhome today.  Everything checked out.  The strategy now is to cut a hole under the bed in the floor to reach the top of the gas tank to replace the fuel pump.  It's on order.

As expected, it was difficult to get an in-tank fuel pump for a 1988 Ford Econoline cut-a-way.  The fuel sending unit that sends a reading to the fuel gauge in the cab might need to be replaced.  We ended up just getting the fuel pump because from what I was told at the auto parts store, it Ford might not make them anymore.  And that coincides with all the searches that I've done for it?  But the employee at the auto parts store said that the sender might just be temporarily ceased?  He said that I could be like buildup on a toilet flush handle and that my family mechanic friend might be able to manually move it once the unit is out?

When the motorhome was built, Itasca installed a theft alarm.  And it's speaker is over where a second battery could be mounted.  It doesn't work anymore and my mechanic friend recommend that this be removed and a second cab battery be installed to improve startup.  I concur as I've always believed that the starter could use some improvement.

Over the last year and a half, the chassis has taken on more water damage.  One of the first things that I need to do when it warms up is seal the roof and windows, then gut the interior one compartment at a time.  But I'm going to use a task list on my smartphone to make a schedule of improvements.  He recommends that I go with a natural wood ceiling and I want to go with heavy duty rubber truck cab matting on the floor.

For right now, we might go with the old 23 gallons in the gas that's in the tank.  He says that it will depend on a test that he'll do to it.  If the test comes back positive for too much water condensation, then we'll evacuate and replace it with something fresh.  The strategy might be to to use a fuel cleaner and octane booster?  And then we'll fill up the rest of the tank with high octane gasoline.

If he can't get the sender working, I'll just keep taking records every time I fill up the tank, writing down the odometer reading and what the pump reports in gallons, then get an average gas mileage from that.  Then set two apps on my tablet, one to use the GPS to track my average speed and the other to use as a fuel tank estimator.  It's what I've already been doing.


Unofficial Length: North Country Trail

I have an unofficial total length for the North Country Trail (NCT).  The date that this log entry was published was January 14th, 2017.  Including portions of the Adirondacks and the link to the Long Trail in Vermont (I don't know if they're built yet) my unofficial total length for the NCT is 4,809.41 miles/ 7,740 kilometers.

With those conditions in mind, I did not correct my merged tracks for the trail in Michigan because the state has NCTA issued half mile markers, which is all I need for the next phase of my project.  But the markers for this state don't always co-inside with the latest tracks.  But I have discovered that one of the webpages that I'm writing for Adventurer's Project, which details the length of each chapter and at-large area's span will still need my Michigan tracks to be corrected at some point.  So, I'll probably end up revising this total?

The NCTA's point data concerning parking was reorganized into states.  At some time in the future, I can be reorganized into chapters.  In doing things by chapters, when I give this data to others, they're computers will likely be of lesser design.  Breaking things down this way allows me (and possibly them) to only view items that they need at that given point in time.

Car Maintenance, BT Map & Guide, Easements

New winter windsheild wipers were installed and an anti-freezing agent was applied to the four door windows of my 2008 Chevy HHR at 191,457 miles.  I had a lot of laundry to do, so I'll get to get back to GPS mapping the North Country Trail when I wake up. 

Speaking of laundry, I know that when the Buckeye Trail map & guides get wet, then folded, they get sticky.  But I just accidently put one through the wash on a hot cycle with bleach, then ran it through the drier and ti came out undamaged.  These map & guide combination documents are printed on weather/ tear resistant paper and it just went through some harsh conditions.

An Ohio traffic conditions website was linked to the Adventurer's Project's unpublished website.  I hope that it will one day show if the trail in the community of Whipple is ever flooded out?  It also links to various street web cams in Marietta of Washington County.  Sometimes, the north of Ohio is under snow, while the south is clear.  I'm hoping that it might convince a hiker that the conditions are better?

On the Whipple Section, we're waiting on the news of some easements.  Other that that, it's internal business for now and I'm letting the powers that be take their time with it.  As a result, the hikers and myself inherit that situation.  We just have to sit back and let it do it's thing.  It beyond our control at this point.


NCT Mapping and Motorhome

My tracks for Central New York Chapter and the Adirondack Park on the North Country Trail have errors. But the merged track is showing me where they are. I think that I still have the tracks that went into the merge and over lay them, find the problem and fix them that way.

I finished altering North Dakota, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. I skipped Michigan. Ohio didn't have any problems. I'm pretty sure that Vermont is in the best shape that it can be. The total corrected lengths by state were written one of Adventurer's Project's webpages.

There's new hope for the motorhome. I'm pretty sure that my family mechanic friend can fix it? The major part is what to do with the in tank low pressure fuel pump? I haven't been able to find one for a 30 year old 38 gallon tank. He might have more luck. If not, I have 19 gallon units standing by.

I'm somewhat optimistic that this thing might be at Buckeye TrailFest this year?  If everything works out, I've got 40,000 speedway points saved up on a nearly free 15 gallons of gasoline. I started saving them up as a potential fuel reserve.


Cleaning, The Robot, Computer Resources and GPS Mapping

I'm cleaning today.  And I added things to Adventurer's Project's fundraising ideas.  But I've taken a break from my North Country Trail sub project.  There was a high pitched noise at very low volume coming from The Robot today.  When I opened the chassis side panel, it went away, so it must be barometric?  One of the 11 cooling fans is dead and I think that the high pitched noise came from the drive bay cooler fan?  My guess is that the front air intake holes are getting clogged with dust.  It's really overdue for a cleaning anyways. 

The one thing about owning a chassis with 11 fans is that at some point they all have to be cleaned.  I usually wrap one of my fingers in an anti static cloth and soak it in 90% rubbing alcohol.  Then in the rest for the rest of the computer I use both a compressed can of air and the vacuum cleaner tube and attachment to get some push and pull action on the dust there.

The chassis is made out of aluminum.  And often, I have things sitting on top of it.  But that's not good because it's built that way to help keep the system cool.  With things on top of it, it's very minor, but it's insulating the system and serving to be counterproductive to it's design purpose.

I've got a display in one of the front 5 - 1/4 inch bays that will one day tell me the CPU's temperature is.  Well, I haven't gotten to buying the thermal tape yet to install it's sensor to the CPU.  But the display goes in and out.  My guess is that it's running off of a Molex power connector that's been Y branched over and over again for the chassis fans.  As I've stated one of those fans is dead, but I think it's still trying to draw electricity, but even more now.  And that may be causing a sag on those wires, who's power is fixed.  I want to try plugging in another power cable into my modular power supply unit.  I'm not sure if it has another Molex connection available?  If not, the other way of powering hard disk, DVD drives and other equipment is with a SATA power connection.  I may have to convert one to Molex, but if any of this is possible, the front display could have it's own dedicated power cable?

Yesterday, putting the dispersed camping GPS I's and O's in on the North Country Trail - Minnesota was taxing my newer computer system pretty hard.  Under the circumstances, the hard drive light was on solid most of the time.  It must have been punishing my CPU?  This kind of work is graphical.  It's hard to describe when I when I talk to the employees at my local computer store.  I'd say that what I do is not as intensive as gaming, but probably up there with architectural design.

My Garmin eTrex 20 dedicated GPS runs for about $200.  If you took Buckeye, or North Country Trail's GIS track data and uploaded it to the devices storage, what you'd get is all of the "baby tracks" that it consists of.  And they have to be switched from one to another as frequently as every 29 feet.

In order to make it more manageable, I used Google My Maps to overtake the roads and some of the multi-use right-of-ways.  Unlike regular Google Maps, My Maps allows me to create, modify routes, save and export them.  They were done in the clockwise/ westbound direction because I have the most success merging tracks that way.  Overtaking the original GIS reduced the risk of errors on the merging because one track from My Maps usually eliminated 3 or more GIS tracks.

The merging stripped the written GIS data from both agencies, as a result, it's much easier on my system resources to display them.  NCTA's has things in there that might be of use, but for The Robot and laptop computer, I just open the original tracks up when I need that information.


Getting Tedious

I'm working on color coding the Miscellaneous State Forest Lands of Minnesota along the North Country Trail independence, that that which is concurrent with the Kekekabic, Border Route and Superior Hiking Trails.  Mapping for me is very isolating.  My people skills start going out the window the more that I do this.  And with color coding those these miscellaneous lands, it's getting tedious and it's accumulative.

I discovered that my polygon for Superior National Forest surface properties was not displaying correctly and I had to reload it.  But that was after I started the I's and O's.  Right now, I have Superior's trails and roads loaded and I'm using them to determine if Minnesota's miscellaneous forest state lands are accessible.  If they're not, those polygons are being coded red.  I'd say that at this point, most of them will be.  But the rest that remain green will maximize the dispersed camping opportunities, which is the goal.

Minnesota is the last state that I need to do the I's and O's to.  The next step is to correct my merged tracks with the latest NCTA data.  Then I should be on to the mile markers after that.  Once the mile markers are in, I can write the mock hike written simulation and detail either an average hiker's days, or determine what it really takes to thru hike the trail end to end within the window of time alloted.


Dispersed Waypoints - Michigan and Wisconsin on North Country Trail

I finished the dispersed camping waypoints for Michigan and Wisconsin.  I went on to try North Dakota, but my Google Earth crashed when I accidentally tried to paste a KML element into a text field.  That's the #1 way that I crash this application.  It happens when I accidentally click on a colored polygon, or a shape for a government reservation.  In this case, these are colored "green" for when dispersed, or backcountry camping is permitted.  As I've mentioned in previous articles, I'm putting the "I's" and "O's" in to signal "on" and "off" for more rudimentary GPS's.

I have not been keeping track of my hours.  This project ultimately benefits Adventurer's Project.  When it's all said and done, if I had to guess, I'd say that there would be 200 hours put into it? The plan is to release all of it's data on Adventurer's Project's website.  I still have North Dakota and Minnesota to do.  I'm going to leave that for tomorrow.  Today, I just got a reminder to make a payment on my Buckeye Trail Association Life Membership.  I got it in October, so I guess I should get rid of that?

Dispersed Camping Waypoints - NCT NY

I'm pretty convinced that the GPS camping information is pretty much compiled for the North Country Trail in New York State.  The re-formating of the commercial campground and lodging waypoint labels sill has to be done.  I determined that I might be able to program a series of commands and keystrokes on my gaming keypad to speed that up.  There's a number of redundant waypoints that were a result of my search and save method that need to be eliminated.  But today, I'm focused on dispersed, or backcountry camping.

  I determined that when I start the mile markers, that I'll use the dispersed "on" and "off" signals that I devised as to where to put down a mile marker.  If I have markers there and a dispersed campsite on the mock hiker simulation occurs between them, I won't have measure very much from the last one.  In fact, I'll probably add to the markers as I do this.


Michigan DNR, Pennsylvania DCNR and Vermont ANR Plotted

Michigan DNR parcel GIS data is taxing my computer to it's limits.  I have to set my CPU's to "high priority" for Google Earth Pro and it barely runs it.  I can't find any shapes of for DNR's reservations.  Instead, I'm using the parcels, which has a lot more entries.  I'd like to color code them for the camping that's available, but with how I'm throwing everything my computer's go into it and it's running really slow, I don't think that it's worth it.

Google Earth displays the state forest reservation lines, but doesn't have an icon in them telling me what it is.  I started the DIS C I's and O's (dispersed camp, on and off), but it's a shot in the dark if I got them right.  They will probably have to do?

The state polygons (shapes) for Pennsylvania commonwealth reservations are in.  It's state forests are few, but dispersed camping is permitted and they're all colored green.  I just finished up Vermont's state reservations.  That's it.  The ground work is laid for camping.  The next thing I'll be doing is lodging and I should probably be done with that quickly?

And of course all this is a continuation of my North Country Trail mapping project.


Camping Prohibition - North Country Trail 01/04/2018

As of this date, camping is prohibited on all US Fish and Game Wildlife Refuges within 4 miles of the present day route of  the North Country Trail.


Camping on NCT VT & NYS

I got the campsites somewhat done for Vermont and New York State on the North Country Trail.  What really needs to happen is that I start the governmental reservation map image overlays.  That is needed to paint a complete picture.  I used GIS data for Adirondack Park, state parks, forests and wildlife management areas.  They're now color coded green for dispersed camping permitted, yellow for no dispersed camping, but has other fixed campsites and red for no camping at all.  At this point, the folder with mostly New York's commercial camping needs cleaning up because of how I searched for them and copied the results in Google Earth to one of it's folders.  They also need to be coded as "C - (name)" to be read on a small GPS screen.

Early Warning System

I've always been good at the BT's maps, it's fixed amenities and generally anticipating where multi-day hikers will be next?  So, I've made a map based on an entry level thru hiker's abilities depicting where they'd most likely be 10 days out from the The Wilderness Loop in both directions.  And since the Road Fork and Whipple Sections are both North Country Trail (NCT) concurrent, 10 days out had to be tracked on the Great Trail Sandy Beaver Chapter span of that trail when it's independent in NE Ohio.

For my North Country mock hike written simulation, one of the next steps is to devise some mile markers based on campsites, campgrounds, lodging, or the intersections to these.  I had to get Great Trail Sandy Beaver's started for what I'm calling my "Early Warning System."

There are ways that I can track a thru hiker.  One is that I can follow them on Facebook.  Two is that if I get their cell numbers, we can text.  Three is that they let me follow their location somehow.  The Maps app (which is Google Maps) lets users do this.  The early warning map is on Google Earth and is more of a quick reference.

If they're more powerful than entry level thru hikers, I can still anticipate their arrival, it's just done on the pattern of their daily progress instead.  That would still give me some idea.  This was done for Adventurer's Project and a chapter that may come of it.