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On My Plate Now

So what's on my plate now?  Well, the things that come to mind are setting up my data that I've generated at home port to go on the road now.  I've actually got two letters requesting maintenance help from the Boy Scouts of America on National Trails Day.  The website is on hold until I can talk to the BTA at TrailFest later next month.  The trail manuals need a little proofreading.  That's something that I'd rather do at a local coffee shop.  Some of the events that I have tentatively scheduled.

The motorhome's tile floor is probably going in on Tuesday.  I believe that my mechanic has finished?  But there are some vanity items that have yet to be put up.  I have to diagnose an electrical problem.  The dashboard, turn signals and forward marker lights don't work.  All at once, that sounds like a fuse to me?  But I might have a wiring problem?  And if so, there's a three way junction at the driver's side marker light that I may have miswired?  I believe that the rears are working, but I have to check again.

I checked the breaker switches and so far, that weak one seems like it's suddenly better.  But I can't find my replacement breaker switch that I'm sure that I purchased, so maybe I did it already.  The converter's face place was never secured and from what I see, it's because one of the switches is rocked out.  If I can get it in place, then it will need some mounting screws.  This is the sort of thing that I like doing with the motorhome in Lowe's or Home Depot's parking lot.  Because if you get the wrong screws, you don't have to go far to get new ones.  And I plan on having the auxiliary batteries replaced first thing tomorrow.

The caulking on the front windows was one of the last things that I did.  But it didn't hold up and caused a slight leak.  Considering that I'm going to move it on Tuesday, I'm going to hold off until I get it back into storage that day to re-caulk those, then put a tarp over the nose for a few days to let it properly hue.


Motorhome Rest Day

- I hold another post in the Buckeye Trail Association and I finished writing information and rearranging a document concerning the logistics of the circuit.

- It was a rest day for me and my mechanic on the motorhome.  He predicts that he has one day left.  Then my uncle is going to help me tile it's floor, hopefully this weekend?  I'm probably going to spend the next few days replacing the analog coax cable and mounting three antennas.  There's two for the the wi-fi/ cellular signal booster and the other one is the upgrade from analog to digital TV.  I have all the parts, they're just waiting to go in. 

I might be able to tape, or couple the digital coax from the outside and master bedroom, then go to the other end and just pull them through?  I've got a new faceplate to accommodate the some more ports that I wish to add to the current arrangement.  There's a breaker switch to the converter that needs replaced.  That piece of equipment is what converts AC power from what's known as the "shore cable," or the electricial line from the outside plug to the motorhome.  It also converts the DC power from the batteries to it's AC outlets.  At the moment, I'm convinced that the dual house batteries, which use 2 - 12V marine batteries have seen their last winter and are totally dead.  I'll probably have them replaced on Friday?

The motorhome is pending a windshield and full replacement of all seven tires.  It gets that seven by having 2 in the front, 4 in the rear (call "dualies") and one spare.  From what I've seen on line, tires have a 6 year life.  Mine are going on double that.  The ones that I have now are a rough ride for about 20 minutes until they warm up.

The overhead cab might be strong enough for me to sleep in?  I'm 6ft 6in tall and it's difficult to get up and down from, so, I'd like to sleep up there.  That leaves the master bed and the table which sets down lower and the cushions convert to a bed.  And I might have hikers stay with me?


Trail Manual - Mileage Sheets

Let's recap... I've been writing a mileage sheet for a book that I wish to deploy at two shelters on The Wilderness Loop - Buckeye Trail (North Country partially concurrent).  Parts of the book are location specific, including the mileage sheets.  The mileage sheets are based on the mile markers that I have for the Buckeye and North Country Trails.  They were derived from the merged tracks that I have for them, but accumulative mileages have never been tabulated until I started this project.

There may be inaccuracies in what I'm writing in the books.  This thing might need a disclaimer?  That's because when North Country chapter spans are larger than 99.9 miles, Google Earth's measurements tab rounds up or down to the nearest whole number.  What I wish I would have done was converted them to inches, use a calculator and divide by 63,360 to get the mileages for each section with a decimal place in the ten thousandths.

The first thing that I do on a project like this is accumulate the mileage from one section terminator to another from one of the shelter until the both trails are completed.  Then for the mileage sheet, it lists villages, cities and other locations.  Having the terminator measurements makes it easier to use the section's mile markers.  Mine are done every tenth of a mile.  But if I had to do it over again, I'd have them made to every hundredth.  I just added, or subtracted (depending on the direction I was working on) the locations mileage to the last reported terminator.

I've worked on the book's minor differences for the Road Fork On-Road Shelter.  I found that there are some mileages that I forgot to fill in and I really don't know why?  And I'm pretty satisfied that the numbers are in for the other shelter now.

So here's how updating it goes.  We don't have the volunteers in Far SE Ohio to stay up with Buckeye and North Country Trails "around the clock..." it's quite impossible right now.  Any corrections will have to be done during the cold days when we don't have any maintenance, or trail promotion.  Additionally, the roads to access those shelters may be impassable to anything other than 4WD vehicles and we may not be able to issue the books new corrections until the snow thaws and exposes the gravel road surfaces?

But in the end, the hikers can reference these sheets and the next day, they can write their fans and support that they're a certain distance from somewhere, perhaps their ultimate destination?  I know Buckeye thru hikers and I believe that they would spend a few minutes studying this sheet?


Trail Manual and Motorhome Overhead Bunk 03/23/2018

I've continued work on the Trail Manual for the Stout Shelter on the Stockport Section and The Wilderness Loop of Buckeye Trail.  This location is not on the span for my project concerning Road Fork and Whipple Sections, but it's only 0.7mi north of Whipple @ Stockport Sections.  The logistics for the Whipple Section depend on this shelter because it's so close. 

The only thing that differs with the book set to be deployed at the Road Fork On-road Shelter is that this book's mileage sheet mentions 3 directions, instead of just two.  I don't have all of the mileages for the North Country Trail (NCT) westbound beyond the Buckeye Trail yet.  But I did finish the counter clockwise/ eastbound mileages today.  Somehow, the NCT eastbound beyond the Buckeye Trail was finished and correct?

Today, my mechanic continued work on the overhead cab.  We drove over to Lowes and got two pieces of plywood and some sheet insulation.  The day after tomorrow, my dad "called in the calvary" as we have him, my uncle, brother and myself.  Today, I was still fatigued.

The brake lights on my utility hauling trailer work.  I'll be towing that with my Chevy HHR in case we need anything bulky?  But right now, it's got a load of materials that was stripped out of the overhead bunk area that need to go to the landfill.  Not to mention a 30 year old chair that was just taking up space.


Milages from the Other Shelter

When I wrote that I had the mileages from The Wilderness Loop done, I discovered that I was incorrect.  The mileages for the BT and NCT both away from the loop and beyond are done for the Road Fork On-Road Shelter.  This is on the north side of the   Today, I was working on doing them from the Jay Stout Shelter, which is on the other side of the loop.


Trail Manual for RF On-Road Shelter Complete

The trail manual for the Road Fork Section - Buckeye Trail's (North Country concurrent) on-road shelter is written.  I now have to compute the mileages from the Stout Shelter on the west end of The Wilderness Loop for various locations around it, the rest of the Buckeye and North Country Trails.


Early Warning System - Adventurer's Project Finished

That's it.  I've done it!  I just got done plotting waypoints for certain municipal boundaries and filling in their mileages. 

This here is a map depicting the mileages from the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent).  This is along North Country's route to the west.  The whole thing is done, but it would look like a mess in one image.  Like I mentioned in a previous log, this project has a dual purpose.  One is for a mileage sheet to go into the Trail Manuals at two shelters in SE Ohio.  The other is for our Early Warning System that pertains to mobilizing trail angels and resupply in the area.  I believe that i can make this data user friendly for all involved internally in Adventurer's Project?

The way that the Early Warning Map works is that hikers would report their positions somehow and we in far SE Ohio would track them as they come in based on what they report.  From that, we should be able to predict their arrival based on their pattern?  We'll have to readjust for irregularities, but the closer they get to us, the more accurate the prediction becomes.

At this point, all that I have to do now is enter the mileages into the Trail Manual.


Convex Mirrors and Over Cab Sleeping Compartment

My mechanic installed convex mirror to the outside chrome and aluminum bars today.  He also started tearing apart the overhead bunk area.  This hangs out of the front of the motorhome, above the cab.  I expressed an interest in sleeping up there, mainly because I'm 6'6 and I'm somebody who could get up and down from it the best.  My bed here at home port is custom built.  It's about 5 feet in the air and I have a way of climbing up and down it's ladder.  The overhead cab bed is wider than the twin size one in the master bedroom.  With being a Buckeye Trail section supervisor and principal to an effort that may lead to chapter, I could have guests over?


Motorhome Key Control

I keep my motorhome and other keys separate.   Both link to the belt loops or liners in my pants with carabiners.  I keep copies of everything at my support's house with a USPS Express Mail envelope and a prepaid card for postage in case anything. 

But on the motorhome's keys, some of the rings were the inferior aluminum kind.  And in my car, I don't remember what it was?  Maybe my seatbelt caught one and pried it open and now one of my keys fell down the crack and is under the seat.

A couple days ago, I went to fill up the motorhome at the gas station and realized that the missing key was to a cash box that I kept in a cabinet for key control.  The key to the fuel door was in there, but I was able to pry the box open and get it.

Today, I stopped at Lowes and bought a new carabiner, rings and a treaded link.  The threaded link is probably steel.  It's like a link in a chain with a hex piece that screws and unscrews.  This way, I can unscrew it while the motorhome is on and still get into a compartment, or take something off of the hitch?  This is all stronger now.

If you wondering, not all of the outside compartments are keyed the same on my motorhome.  So, I went around one day and mapped them out.  Then I got an aluminum cash box, which is something that a community organization uses take money and hand out change from for a fundraiser.  I was going to use stick on hooks inside, then use double sticky foam tape to mount it somewhere in the motorhome for "key control."  But I'm not sure that I'll need it anymore?  My setup on the rings looks pretty good now.

TV Tuner USB

I purchased a WinTV-dualHD Dual Tuner USB today.  It it plugs into the laptop and has a female coax connector on it.  It was a really low priority, but I figured that when my mechanic and I replace the analog antenna and cable, that we're going to need something to test it with.  the problem is that this unit supplied me with an extending desk antenna.  I wrote to the company's tech support because I wasn't getting a signal.  But I just looked up the range for it and it's only 10 miles.  I'm probably 25 away from my local television station broadcast antennas?

He's coming by tomorrow to do some minor work on the motorhome.  I might drive out with the laptop just to confirm that the unit does work?  Then again, one of my nearby relatives uses a digital antenna and get a crystal clear picture?


125 Mile Test - Motorhome

When I drive the motorhome, normally I don't go much faster than 55MPH.  But today wasn't a regular operation test.  This was a run it hard one.  My mechanic and I ran it on the freeway where there would be some hills.  We needed to know how the fuel system would hold up over a longer period of time while the motorhome would have to run harder trying to keep up going uphill at higher speeds throughout the trip.  Today's route was 125 miles long on mostly limited access highways.

It's a motorhome with a low torque 351 Windsor engine and does 0 to 60 in about 24 seconds on flat land.  It's not fast and when I take my foot off of the accelerator pedal, slowing down is the only thing that it does quickly.  Also, it's not very aerodynamic and sometimes when I drive it, it's like pushing a wall.  I filled it up today and when I logged everything in, it got 7.1MPG in mixed driving.  My mechanic still has to change a secondary "coffee can" fuel filter on the downstream line.

Today's trip was a success.  My life can now go on.  My appearance with the motorhome at Tar Hollow State Park for the Buckeye TrailFest/ North Country Celebration 2018 and this year's calendar for Adventurer's Project are now in full effect.  I think I now have to choose what suit to wear for certain social engagements in Marietta/ Parkersburg?


Smartphone Batteries, Rear Speakers and Coaxial Cable Upgrades

I received three new 3200mAh batteries for my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 SM-900V smartphone.  It's been slowing down lately and the batteries that I already had for it are probably about 3 years.  So far, the new battery seems to be speeding things up and it might not be draining as fast?

I also got the second grill cover for the motorhome's new 8in rear speakers.  Currently, it has the capacity for 2 - 6in speakers that install in the bottom of two cabinets.  Each side has a hard plastic speaker protectors so that items can be stored on top of them.  They also have speaker grills for them.  Currently, they don't have any speakers or wires running to them.

To upgrade the ports, I'll have to use a jig saw on the cabinets to make their holes wider.  Since there aren't any speaker wires running from the stereo in the cab to to the rear speaker ports, I'm thinking about adding them when the ceiling gets rebuilt.  I believe that the analog coaxial cable currently installed is running through the ceiling and it needs to be upgraded.

In regards to the coax, I have a digital antenna upgrade to mount and I plan on hooking it up to a USB TV tuner that would be attached to my laptop.  Additionally, the coax cables for the Wi-Fi and cellular signal booster need to be routed to a coupler that is on the bottom of one of the cabinets and in the closet in the master bedroom area.


Motorhome's Exhaust Sounding Good

The motorhome's exhaust sounds really good.  There's still a minor part of it that needs to be tweaked, but it looks like I'll be driving it for about 120 miles on Thursday.  My mechanic is very optimistic about that shakedown cruise.  He's offered to come with me, but I'm going to do it solo.  What I need is to drive up some hills at freeway speeds about 90 minutes into the drive.  My mechanic said that he really thinks that the bad catalytic converter was really holding up the engine's performance.  When I drove it today, I noticed that the front end went down.  I've never gotten it to peel out before, but getting it to bow was a first.  And I've never owned a rear wheel drive vehicle prior to this before.

Highway Mile Markers, Roadside Camping, Caldwell Lake

I just got done writing tracks and getting mile markers for the various state highways on the Road Fork and Whipple Sections - Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent).  I think I remember someone saying that the mile markers on the ground aren't exact, but I think that having a ballpark estimate would help with overlaying Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) maps for locations near the trail.

I just crashed Google Earth moving items from Whipple's maintenance folder to Adventurer's project.  For you folks who are not familiar with advanced GPS mapping, that means that that folder is very big.  Then I did it again, I took my hands off of the keyboard, trackball, waited and again Google Earth crashed.  Since this application doesn't have a multiple select option, I had to move the items over one at a time.

-Roadside camping in The Wayne is permitted according to  It's being grouped in with dispersed camping under the heading "Primitive Camping."  And the advisory concerning the surface streams is in this document.

- I now have a property polygon (shape) for Caldwell Lake on the Road Fork Section.  Trail building there is scheduled for October and camping anytime is not permitted there.


Five Day Halves - The Wilderness Loop

I got the west end of The Wilderness Loop down to 5 days around at generally 18 miles per day, taking into account some fixed amenities with the help of an unofficial bypass.  But I'm 4.3 miles and 2 hypothetical campsites shy of being able to do it for the east side.  The only way we're going to be able to shave off that much mileage is if we get a new camp host in the ballpark of Sycamore Valley of Monroe County.  And it's location would have to be just right.  Then I'd have to go through the off-road in person and try to find more suitable tent sites in the Marietta Unit of The Wayne.  I'd have to try and shave about 0.48 miles on one of the days that I projected.  In the short run, The Wilderness Loop, under these parameters, could make it, but it's a long shot.

The Wilderness Loop - Buckeye Trail is in SE Ohio and it's 147 miles around.  It consists of the Road Fork and Whipple Sections entirely, then parts of the Belle Valley and Stockport Sections. The North Country Trail is concurrent for 117 of those miles.  The entire thing is blue blazed (inverse paint on the BT is white).  This loop is in the area of Marietta, New Matamoras and Beverly of Washington County, Belle Valley and Caldwell of Noble County, and Stafford and Graysville of Monroe County.


North Country Out of Town Hiking Audience

I just a rough projection and with two new camp sites in just about the right locations, hikers could bisect The Wilderness Loop's 10 day trip into a 5 days in the west and 6 in the east.  They would use an unofficial bypass between Macksburg and the on-road camping shelter on the Road Fork Section.  It would be 9.64 miles from Whipple to Road Fork Sections by way of the north of Ales Run State Wildlife Area.

I asked for some advice on North Country Trail's former Facebook group regarding full time working people with families getting to The Wilderness Loop that live outside of Ohio.  And the responses that I got were for 13 days at the time and they pretty much said absolutely would not be possible.  As the Whipple Section Supervisor - BT (NCT concurrent), I'm going to work to get this audience. That's the primary reason why I'm looking for ways to shave this down.  And in two is really the only practical way to do it because Wilderness is a longer shaped loop and between Macksburg and the on-road Road Fork Section shelter is right about where it's at it's thinnest.

For the last 3 years and now with Adventurer's Project, I've been developing the hiker program.  I take a very analytical and logistical view of the trail. In this case, I examine it's performance for multiple audiences.  And to tell you the truth, this assessment was for those who are capable of hiking at a typical thru hike rate.  But the initiative to make the Buckeye Trail 10 Miler compliant could probably solve those two missing campsites of the 5 and 6.


Tachometer Red Line

1988 Ford Econoline 350 (E350)
1988 Itasca Sundancer IF424RC

My aftermarket tachometer is set to "red line" at 4,450 RPM`s


Final Shakedown Success

My family mechanic friend changed some broken vacuum lines that lead to the throttle body today.  He did some testing on the fuel system and found it to be running at 40psi, which is on the higher side of tolerance as per it's specifications.  And next week, he'll do some work on the catalytic converter and possibly change the muffler.  We took the motorhome on a shakedown cruise today consisting of some hills and freeways.  This time, I had him drive and it passes his tests. 

Once he gets the exhaust finished, it's on to rebuilding the interior.  It's not easy airing up the tires.  The motorhome has E series tires designed to take a higher inflation, in this case, it's 85psi.  Normally, cars don't go above 47psi and the motorhome's weight is an issue.  But I believe that my local Speedway's air pump can do it?  While I'm out there, I have to get both marine batteries replaced.  One reason is that the auxiliary generator runs off of the house/ chassis/ auxiliary batteries.  Right now, those batteries are 5 years old and they won't hold a charge.

Adventurer's Project for the year 2018 is in full effect.


Shakedown Cruise 03/02/2018

My mechanic and I took a shakedown cruise today and got the motorhome up to 65MPH. I could have taken it faster. We discovered that the catalytic converter is clogged.  But he's not satisfied with the way it has to hold speed on a hill. When I was driving it, the automatic transmission had to downshift.

I think that it's coming along just fine.