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Future Prospects

 When it comes to the Miami & Erie Canal Towpath, I have conveyed the idea that it should be opened up to trailside dispersed camping.  When I was planning a 8,000 mile transcontinental hike, I did business with about 14 different distance trail agencies.  And one thing in particular that I noticed on the Pacific Crest Trail was in Olympic National Park.  Apparently, there was either impressionable areas, or inhospitable terrain (I can't remember).  But I do think that I remember them stating that instead of traditional dispersed camping, that they offered "trailside."  

The Miami & Erie and Wabash & Erie Canal Tow and Heel Paths can be rather wooded.  But it's a canal.  The parcels that it sits on is like a narrow corridor.  Dispersed as it's commonly known wouldn't be possible.  But trailside could be?

Word around from years ago is that ODNR actually conducted the studies needed to install hiking shelters along the Miami & Erie Canal.  Apparently, the passed the process and may just be standing by for somebody to build one?  If this is true, then they could be standing by for Eagle Scout projects.  That process would entail a youth Eagle Scout going from an idea to a plan, getting it passed through the adult leadership, gathering supplies and money and then literately leading the effort on the ground, coordinating people and supplies?  But in the meantime, could it be consistent with the finding of those studies to open those areas up as suitable tent sites while they're waiting for a shelter to be built?

Future prospects can be good.  But you still have to grapple with the present.



 I was looking up the definition for the word "pragmatic."  That word might define part of my leadership style?  Although, I am somewhat hybrid.  In some things, I am certain.  My brand of certainty has this calm feeling to me that has a certain meditative quality to it. 


Exhaust Manifold and Motorized Bicycle Parts Delay

 I was just about to install my new left side exhaust manifold on my 1987 Chevy G20, L05 engine when I discovered that it doesn't have port for the secondary air injection tube, aka smog tube.  The exhaust manifolds that don't have smog tubes are for 1986 and eariler.  I haven't been feeling very well.  As far as I know, it's not COVID-19, but nonetheless, I've been under the weather for at least a week.  I just went to the auto parts store, returned the manifold that I purchased and I'm waiting for another to come in tomorrow from another store.

My lifter kit for my motorized bicycle engine should have come in today.  I rescheduled my anticipated receiving date for tomorrow.  I'm building my motorized bicycle out of a Huffy beach cruiser.


Chapter, Patner, Affilliate and At-Large Area Map

I do a little GPS work for the American Discovery Trail Society from time to time.  I've been working on a map of the Buckeye and North Country Trail chapter, partners, affiliates and ADTS state committees from the perspective of the public wanting to join them.  It's an Ohio thing.    There's some nuts, bolts and assumptions that were necessary to make it.  I had to get the parking data for the American Discovery Trail in Indiana on the North Midwest Route done so I can measure the driving time between that and the west chapter-less area of the North Country Trail - Ohio and ADT - IN NMR.  Once complete, I'll have to alter the BT's Far SE Ohio for the present situation and possibly do some minor work on the map for it's Miami River's Chapter?

Recently, I charted that Detroit and parts of Ontario, Canada were closer to the BT's northwest chapter-less area.  But I didn't take into account the addition of the new Iron Belle and Trans Canada Trails.  I corrected that.  With the addition of those two, the BT's NW chapter-less area only has an advantage in a handful of zip codes in Monroe County, Michigan now.

If you go on the website for the United States Postal Service, you can enter your address and get the locations for the nearest 3 post offices.  I have no idea if some online service exists that could be programmed with trail parking areas and take an address input from anywhere in North America, or the world for that matter?  I don't even know what to look for?

My map could be deployed on Google and embedded into a website.  It won't do the world, but it will do Ohio and some of the vicinity.  I did it according to driving time from wherever Google locked on to a zip code to the nearest trail parking area.  The section with the parking area that had the least amount of driving time was awarded the zip code.  I didn't have to do every zip code in Ohio and vicinity.  Instead, I figured out a faster way.  I used county and zip code GIS shapes.  All I had to do was determine the separation point and color the shapes for their respective areas.  Once I got that, logic took over and I filled in the rest quickly.

I have to be real careful with how I express this.  I have absolutely no authority to put boundaries on these chapters, partners, affiliates and chapter-less areas.  That's internal and this project's intent is the public, or external.  I know of possible new additions that I can't get into now, but my map will need to have variations that compensate for them ahead of time.  And if I'm to report to the BTA about my findings, I'll also need to tally their populations.


Upcoming Projects

    I came up with a logo for Adventurer's Project.  The green, of course, stands for greenery and the yellow stands for the sun.  The latter is very important because it gets hot here in Far SE Ohio, which our area includes 40 miles of the Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent) in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest (The Wayne).  Hikers often underestimate their water consumption here.  And on the North Country Trail, it mostly stays above the 42nd parallel.  We're at about 39°N and our summers are more like Kentucky and Tennessee.  North Country is more like Vermont, New York State, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Northern Wisconsin, Northern Minnesota and North Dakota.  I'm certain they probably don't realize how hot it gets down here.

    Right now, I have some smog tubes (secondary air injection) on order for my 1987 Chevrolet G20 Sportvan.  They should be coming in tomorrow?  When I dismantled the former exhaust pipes, I realized that there was weakness in one of the exhaust manifold bolt holes.  Rather than wait for it to give way, I decided to replace the manifolds.  I have those now.  But I wasn't going to mess with trying to unbolt the smog tubes.  I'd probably round out their bolts if I tried and still not get them out?  I have new exhaust manifold gaskets, so this is going to be a complete replacement.

    The forest service has us doing some rather extensive modifications to the trail in The Wayne.  For one, every stream crossing needs to have ramps benched on both sides.  Benching is a part of trail maintenance where we have to widen, or re-establish the trail's tread, or the surface that you hike on.  More notibly, if you hike up a grade, that's "pitch."  But when building a trail, when the trail builders come across a hillside, but in the other dimension, leveling that out by benching, that's the "roll."  It has to be maintained every few years or so because of erosion.  And our off-road trail is so backcountry and narrow that it has to be done by hand manually with mattocks and Pulaski axes.

    The off-road in The Wayne for the most part was originally designed and built for the North Country Trail from 1983 to 1987.  By word of mouth, the NCTA struggled with getting maintainers from 1987 to 1997.  My impression is that for about 35 miles of off-road, they were working with about 4 volunteers if I had to guess.  10 miles of off-road per trail maintenance volunteer is 3x more than any one volunteer should ever have.

    There was a North Country Trail Association chapter in this area, but it was short lived.  The Buckeye Trail Association took over the maintenance and some of the routing administration in 2000.  But it took them about 5 years just to get the trail opened back up by mostly minimum standards.  So, I think I have to assume that some of the benching hasn't been maintained in 30 something years?

    In addition to being the lead for Adventurer's Project, I'm also the volunteer Section Supervisor for the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent), which is the south of what the project supports in this region.  My two biggest projects are in the ballpark of the present day Whipple Section, Point 03/ Big Run Rd/ Township Rd 414 in Independence Township and Point 05/ Brooks by McCain Hill & Bean Ridge Roads to Point 06/ Brooks by Cow Run Roads in Lawrence Township, both of Washington County, Ohio.  

    The trail in The Wayne has a mountain bike concurrency, but that's by no means unusual for Distance Hiking Ohio.  With the tasks that need to be completed, there are some hiking related safety issues to iron out.  But what I see in it with the mountain bikers is something cooperative and diplomatic.  The hiking world really doesn't understand, or doesn't fully understand when I get like this.  I have no idea if this will work, but I am sure that it won't if we don't try.

    In the ballpark of Whipple 03/ Big Run Road, I've been working to the east of there so far.  And the trail ascends up to the top a ridge, where it's roll has been leveled along it's side.  But it wasn't well built.  Another BTA volunteer and I had to use our Pulaski axes to chop away the south side embankment to widen the trail.  Then i came up to an area with a 500lb boulder sticking out of it and a big slip on the other side.  With authorization from the forest service, I either have to do extensive work trying to get that boulder out and repairing that deep slip, or I'll have to reroute the trail within 50ft of the original?  And in order to know if I can reroute it, I'll have to approach the area from the opposite direction to know for sure?  If it's unattennable, then we'll have to work with what we've got.

    Whipple 05 - 06/ the Brooks Rd area features the Little Muskingum River Flats where the trail right next to the river in it's flood plane..  You could say that this place is in the Sitka, Moss Run and Dart areas of Washington County, Ohio.  It has five distinct features to it.  There's the East and West Highlands, Embankments - East & West and then there's the flats in the middle of it all.  The West Flats are no problem.  But the east end gets narrow.  The river embankment gets tight and wedges the trail against it and the river.  We're having erosion problems on the river's side of the trail and we need to reinforce that bank with some boulders and rocks.  But the boulders and rocks have been washed out to  a point at the start of the west end, which is a mile away.  That's a long way to haul heavy loads, especially during COVID-19.  But I think I might be able to do it with a wheel barrel if I bench ramps  into 3 stream crossings down there first?  I estimate that I alone could haul 6 loads to the site.  But the problem is that there's nowhere to stage piles of rocks and boulders out there, so every time a load is delivered, the boulders have to be set then.  I think that's going to impede the "assembly line" if you would?  The good news is that one of my forest service liaisons and I did some work on this site last year.  And the high side embankment was easy to bench.

      On the project's side of things, COVID-19 has made in-person trail promotion rather unattennable.  i was supposed to execute a project that could strengthen some of our weaker areas, but considering the people still wearing face masks and complying with state recommendations, it's not worth the fuel or time right now?  Regardless of anyone's particular persuasion, it's just a really bad time and conversation over it for these purposes are an utter waste of time.  From my end of these, we just have no choice but to ride this out in other ways.  I suppose that since I don't know this area too well, that walking through these towns, villages and cities to get a rough feeling of what they're all about could be a good idea?  And I could possibly engage people, say one at a time?


Big Run and Little Muskingum River Flats

Yesterday, I got some new ramps benched on both sides of Big Run at present day Whipple 03.  I then weed whacked the area that I believe NFS want's us to bench.  The east side is pretty bad.  The benching is on an inclined ledge and it's pretty ate up there.  Sitting here now, I'd suspect that it might have a few irrigation problems?

Four days ago, I weed whacked the Little Muskingum River Flats.  But because of about 10 minutes of rain, I couldn't reblaze the trail down there.  And I figured that I might as well prune and reblaze the trail at the same time, so I walked back up embankment west and left.  Meanwhile, there's a few downed trees there and some low hanging items.  But really, I think that I better get this area under control soon.  As of this day, I now have a hairline fracture on my left ankle.  I'm estimating 34 days to it's healing from the date of this log.

The Road Fork/ Whipple Work Week is going to take a lot of stamina out of me.  Last year, I needed about 3 days to recuperate from it.


New House

I've moved into my new house.  The van is running.  The Robot (my media center computer) is up temporarily.  By that, I mean that my office needs 2 - 25ft black extension cords and conduits.  they have to get from the desk, over the windows and outside door to the wall opposite of the desk to access the 120V electrical outlets on the wall opposite of the desk.  But so far, I have everything powered with one extension cord that is hooked up to The Robot's battery back-up.  That needs to change. There's a surge protector mounted under the desk that powers all non-essential equipment, such as my printer.  During a power outage, the more load that you put on the battery back-up, the less time I'll have to save what I'm working on before it shuts down.

I had trouble locating my Map Repository on The Robot.  I wonder if before I left 2 years ago that I cut and pasted it into the laptop's hard drive instead of copied?

I have a smartphone mount on a large spring loaded arm.  Instead of using it's clamp, I drilled a hole in the surface of the desk and mounted it that way.  But it looks like it's smartphone bracket is missing?  It has four plastic hooks on it and it looks like a Bracketron model, or perhaps something from a dollar store?  I know my smartphone and tablet mounts as I've been working with them for years.  Those mounting brackets have to be replaced every so often.

I'm surprised that The Robot booted up at all.  Upon moving it from up north, it was the last thing that was loaded in the moving trailer.  When we opened the door, the moving trailer was at a slight back pitch and it tumbled over.  I was afraid that the needles in the hard disk drives crashed into their platters.  But, it booted up alright.  It was the first time in two years and has no unusual auditory sounds coming from the case.

I custom built my desk. It's 99 inches long.  I'm 6'6 (198cm), to the height was adjusted for me and that's at about 36 inches.  Just like my previous desk, I mounted wheels on this as well.  I'm missing an office chair, so I'm using one from the dining room right now, but it's not at the correct ergonomic height.  For that, I plan to get an old office chair.  One that isn't too comfortable anymore.  I got a set of two bench and two captains chairs from an old Dodge Caravan for $40 last year.  With the wheels, pole and mounting surface from the old chair, I plan to mount one of the captains chairs to it and that should get me the correct height?  And that Caravan captain's chair will take much longer for the seat to wear out.  I'll just have to create an adapter out of wood and some hardware to make it possible.


Distance Hiking Trails and Multi-purpose Rights of Way (Bike Trails)

So distance hiking trails take place on what some hikers call bicycle trails. They're usually gravel and asphalt.  And some developing distance trails call this off-road.  I'm here to shed some light on the topic.

By government declaration, these are often categorized as "multi-purpose trails" as per the record.  The North Country National Scenic Trail, which I'm more familiar with, certifies these segments.  And even of they're not, there's still "political correctness" to consider.  Hikers of an Appalachian Trail origin will state that these aren't off-road.  But if the distance trail agency didn't classify these as off-road, then somebody will pop up and argue that it is.  On the internal side, I can easily see a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" type of situation.

Mid-west distance trails sometimes take place in urban areas and surburban counties.  Going off-road in those vicinities would be very costly because properties are smaller and cost more.

I know a lot of this is observation and opinion, but disrance trails go from Point A to Point B repeatedly for a reason.  That much is certain.  You could come out of college with $100,000 in student loan debts and be very book smart.  But more often than not, that barely holds a candle to experience.

Its hard to name them all.  There could be internal commitments involved?  I have to admit that I know a lot and have done great things, but I'm not on top of everything simultaneously.  Basically, I'm not always good at delivering "instant gratification."


Oil Change, Exhaust, Transmission Fluid

The engine oil in my 1987 Chevrolet G20 Sportvan was changed today at 144,702 miles on the odometer.  I switched the engine oil from 5W-30 to 10W-30 today.

Also, I installed a cuff on the right bank exhaust tube in front of the rear axle and moved the resonator pipe so that it was further away from a nearby brake line. 

It appears that the transmission fluid is low?


Radiator Burped

I filled the radiator in my 1987 Chevy G-20 Sportvan with Car Quest All Vehicle 50/50 antifreeze at 144,528.0 miles on the odometer and I burped the system.  Before, the van's engine was heating up rapidly.  Now, it appears that the engine temperature is stable.


Geo Photo Catalog Update 04/19/2020

I spent the day sewing trail patches on my straw cowboy hat. And I repaired a tear in one of my pair of jeans and put a replacement button on another.  Right now, the weather report for tomorrow (Monday 04/20/2020) is showing 5 hours of favorable skies for geo photo cataloging the Road Fork Section, Points 26 - 25 (07/2011 BTA map) round trip.  It's not as far as I'd like to go, but I can't just stop in the middle of a segment.  They have to be photographed whole.  But Wednesday is looking like I'll get another 5 hours, but  on the Whipple Section?  Points 03-W to 05 (10/2010 BTA map) have priority there.  I need to see it anyways because I have yet to give it an unofficial, but special segment name.

The purpose of the catalog right now is volunteer procurement.  As far as getting new trail adopters, group activities are suspended until further notice.  We can get new trail adopters (our primary volunteer maintenance crew), but can't give them the necessary in-person indoctrination until COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.  To sum it up, we can still get them on the record, but not working yet.  Anyways, we need those photos for an Adventurer's Project volunteer procurement/ trail promotion campaign that should be had sometime after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted to a more favorable point.

I didn't jump on the bandwagon and advocate the use of the trail in our region because I thought it would precipitate a public health problem.  When cataloged Whipple 06 - 05, it was it's usual, tranquil self out there.  The nearest person was 150 yards away from me and they were across a river on a dirt bike.

Our photos for Road Fork 27 - 29 are done and that accounts for the popular Archer's Fork Loop concurrency where I think people are going to be?  I've got a good lead on an adopter for Whipple 01 - 02.

New adopters or not, I want to upgrade all of Whipple's off-road blazes myself.  It's just to get them up to the Maintenance Guide's recommended standards.

We have permission to move as many North Country Trail NFS tack on markers as needed to our road intersections.  They're needed at the intersections because they're shapes and color are what's on NFS's maps.  If they see the shapes at the intersections, then Buckeye's blazes can take over from there.


Geo Photo Catalog

It might be 9 days before I can continue Adventurer's Project's "Geo Photo Catalog."  It has several applications.

Application #1: A photographic record of the trail to educate Buckeye Trail Association volunteers and a reference for future maintenance needs.

Application #2: Produce photos for trail adopter procurement.

Application #3: Social media content.  The photos will be released about 3 at a time in between other posts and help with fresh content during the cold days.

Application #4: Photos for Adventurer's Project's website.

Application #5: Pictures for trail promotion and volunteer procurement.

Application #6: Determine where we need to take pictures with better cameras.  Those photos can be used for trail promotion, the website and social media.

Adventurer's Project supports the Road Fork and Whipple Sections of the Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent) in Noble, Monroe, Washington and Morgan Counties of Ohio.  The photos are taken about every 50yds or less in both directions.  Currently, the photos are being taken at my smartphone's highest possible quality.  As this region's off-road total is about 40 miles, it should produce over 2,600 photos.  That's far more than Buckeye and North Country's hikers have produced at the moment. 

On-road portions have been recorded via video with spoken locations from an automobile.  Aside from that, Google Street View covers some of this area.  So at this point, it's mostly about photographing about 40 miles of off-road paths on foot.  And I'm earning my 2020 North Country Trail 100 Mile Challenge, which I've missed other challenges like this in previous years.

The "geo" part pertains to enabling my smartphone camera's "locator" to produce geotags.  This process embeds the location of where the photo was taken into the properties of the file.  From there, software can be used to extract their coordinates and then embed them into placemarks into a Google KML/ KMZ file.  In terms of the maintenance record, volunteer users can follow the photos, particularly with the GIS/ GPS track of the Road Fork and Whipple Sections.  So, this is to see the trail's line with the photos on an application like Google Earth and probably ArcGIS products?

In previous years, the camera locator was on by default.  But I like to refer to geotags as "creeper tags."  It's unfortunate because people were physically followed by others when they downloaded their pictures and had the geotags extracted.  They could tell by the days of the week when they took their kids to karate class for instance.

But recently, to enable the geotag feature, there are two safeties.  One is that the phone's locator must be enabled.  When it is, this is what enables the smartphone's mapping and navigation.  The second step is to enable the locator a second time, but in the camera app's settings.  I find it to be a wonderful tool for the trail, but I tend to use it wisely.  As of the time of this post, geotags are automatically stripped by Facebook, but not by every social media company.  Presently, Adventurer's Project is only on Facebook and no other social media service due to insufficient manpower to admin more.

At last count, it takes about 1 hour to photograph 2 miles of off-road footpath here in what I call "Far SE Ohio," which is in the Appalachian Foothills.  That's that's about 4 times faster than it takes to initially blaze (painted navigational markers) one.  But still, the "stop and go" is harder on my body and I haven't scheduled this photographing over 7 round trip miles yet.

So, that just about sums up Adventurer's Project's Geo Photo Catalog.


Whipple Section - Blaze Count Reinstatement Strategy

With the Whipple Section - Buckeye Trail (North Country National Scenic concurrent) re-reinstatement of the proper blaze count in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest (The Wayne), I should only fill in the missing ones and leave the rest for potential trail adoption.


Replaced Air Conditioner/ Heater Filter

The filters in my 1988 Itsaca Sundancer motorhome's roof air conditioner/ heater was changed today.  They were easy to do.  I used 15 x 24 Kwik Kut Model "Foam/ KK500."