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Final Stretch: Adventurer's Project, Part III

I remember thinking at some point that there was room for optimism.  You can't beat it... you can't join it... and it's not going to run out on it's own energy.  For reasons that I can't be too public about, where I come from, that brings us right back to fight, only this time our back is against the wall.  But Adventurer's Project went from fighting because it had to, to actually having a shot at winning.

7 years ago, the Road Fork and Whipple Sections were a nightmare.  But the remoteness of the Marietta Unit and the hearsay is that North Country Trail got everything they ever dreamed of out of The Wayne made it a popular destination.  Personally, I think that the Little Muskingum River Flats on the Whipple Section is the masterpiece of it all.  12 something years ago, it attracted some attention.  But by the time the hikers came, they arrived into a maintenance nightmare.  It was bad.  The story that I call "The Night from Hell" took place mostly on the Road Fork Section in The Wayne.  The trail in the Marietta Unit got scathing reviews because of it's maintenance.  That didn't change until the BTA assembled its first work week, which was for the Road Fork and Whipple Sections.

I remember when hiking the Road Fork Section on-road, I had some of the first GPS tracks for the BT.  The on-road blazes were few and far between.  And even the GPS couldn't cut it through 3 of it's intersections because the way that they appear on the maps isn't how they end up being in person.  And at intersections on the Road Fork Section's on-road, sometimes there's a gravel driveway that looks like a road.  It could be something that looks like a four, or 5 way intersection when it's only a 3 or 4?  These are the kind of places that use to drive hikers straight up crazy because they'd get on the wrong road.  Then RF's blazes were so few that it would take them miles to determine that the were heading the wrong way.


Final Stretch: Adventurer's Project, Part IV

 In the early days of Adventurer's Project, you could say that in a Star Trekkian kind of way that she pulled out of spacedock without photon torpedoes and a tractor beam (Star Trek: Generations).  And to further that metaphor along, we did have to use the deflector dish instead.  In non-Star Trekkian terms, it means that Adventurer's Project was forced to activate without all of our capabilities and had to improvise on the fly.  We now have photon torpedoes and a tractor beam ;-).

We were projected to get 5 thru hikers in our first September.  Some of us don't trust the surface streams in Southern Ohio, so each was to get 5 - one gallon bottled waters for five days in a row.  Three were heading clockwise and the other two were counter clockwise.  That which I call "Far SE Ohio" (Morgan, Noble, Monroe and Washington Counties) was under a "Class 5 Hiker Hurricane."  We were the worst place on the Buckeye Trail that this could happen in.

Well, like it or not, it's coming.  Baton down the hatches... it's going to be a storm.  This one is going to be a rough ride.

We ended up only getting three of them.  By the time it was all over with them and two events, I was exhausted.  I normally work on something trail related every day.  But then, I don't think that I lifted a finger for it for about three weeks.

How to go from nothing to something?  There's been lots of good things happening on the trail.  But your only as good as your weakest link  Far SE Ohio was sucking some of the life out of the Buckeye Trail Association like it was a "black hole."  Adventurer's Project is like the science behind the pandemic.  It's always evolving.  It was specifically designed to stabilize a region that was in a bad situation and thrive in a constant state of flux as it built up.  Speaking for myself personally, I deal in hard, thorny problems.


Final Stretch: Adventurer's Project, Part II

Adventurer's Project's support base is still weak in areas approximate to the Road Fork Section - Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent0.  At some point, I would like to redouble my efforts in Noble and Monroe Counties, Ohio.  I think that we might be able to make a little something out of them.  But our Ohio River communities in the Upper Ohio Valley are a different story.  I think that they're going to require a little trickery?  Ordinarily, I would want to have Facebook Like ads going at the same time as we'd show up and take up shop at public locations in person and perhaps get people to come to our table in-person.  We'd go on tour from town to town on back to back days.  For starters, we just have to get them to like us at all.  But this is the COVID-19 pandemic and that's throwing a wrench in our plans.

Now I think that in concert with the like ads, we'll have to hold up a sign on the side of the highways on this corridor.  There are places to do that, but personally, I'm not sure if I should go out there until I'm vaccinated?  Maybe I could get away with just being masked?  My idea is to make this simple for the public.  Our sign should have the same image as our Facebook page's main photo.  If they see us with our sign, hopefully, they'll also see the Facebook like ad with the same image, be curious, like what we do and then like our Facebook page?  Once again, this has never been done before in the Buckeye Trail Association.  If we do this and it works, we'll be writing this play into the book.

But if we wait, I might be able to tuck a little money away into my Facebook ads account and perhaps donate a tidy sum at once?  I was thinking about a cardboard sign? But that wouldn't do very good in the rain, so this one should be made out of 3/8th ply and we should have two units.  Then again, maybe I should take up a plywood drive and perhaps get that donated to us?  In theory, if we were to take what we have now in Facebook likes from the Cities of Wheeling and Parkersburg, West Virginia and spend another $187 to get them up to a 1 like: 300 population ratio, it may be possible that our total number of likes in those cities might be massive enough to get the word of mouth to take over and do some trail promotion work for us?  I now know that our upcoming special presentation on March 23rd needs to be on our trail promotion gear, difficulties, strategies and such.

I haven't been very active about posting on our Facebook page, or logging things here.  The Final Report for Adventurer's Project is due at our business meeting on April 13th.  I just thought about this and I ought to throw in a fundraising idea and award for those who've completed The Wilderness Loop.

Final Stretch: Adventurer's Project, Part I

We've been in the COVID-19 pandemic for about a year now.  All in-person trail promotion for Adventurer's Project has been halted.  I've also gone out of our way not to promote the trail because I didn't want to create a public health problem on the trail.  As far as I know, everywhere north and generally west of the Archer's Fork Loop on the Buckeye Trail (North Country concurrent) in the Marietta Unit of The Wayne is pretty idle, which is usual, pandemic or not.

I'm a Disabled Veteran.  More often than not, I stay up past my bed time and get my circadian rhythm screwed up.  But back in January, the project had an election for a BTA chapter name.  A BTA chapter is supposed to succeed the project.  That may happen on 24 April?  We had our first virtual business meeting and then a special presentation this month.  We'll probably have an election, or some sort of selection of officers at our next business meeting on 9 March, then another special presentation on 23 March.  This situation is causing me to get back to having very structured days.  I'm performing what I call a "reset" now.  I have my tablet mounted to my desk next to me with my talking clock on.

For the last 8 months, I've been having ankle problems.  It was first in my left ankle, but then it became my left and sometimes right.  At first, I thought it might be a hairline fracture in my left ankle.  I've had those before.  I'm very sensitive when it comes to my body and I thought that there was a fracture, like a tiny 1.5 millimeter line in the center front of my left ankle.  But it started to feel like my ankle was chipping.  Then the right started acting up, feeling like it was chipping and I thought I was having orthopedic problems due to a poor diet.

A friend of mine on Facebook mentioned that I need to take some Omega-3's, so I went to the drug store and got some fish oil and a bottle of Men's Once a Day multi-vitamins and I've been on those for about 3 weeks so far.  But hairline fractures should take as much as 8 weeks to heal.  I started taking it easy and I became more sedentary in November.  

So, it's been about 18 weeks so far and I was still feeling mild pain.  I tried to go it alone, but it doesn't appear to be working.  So, I got a telehealth appointment with my primary care at the VA and they told me that I just have tendonitis and need to stretch those tendons.  I mentioned my ankle to them before when I last had an in-person appointment and I remember the physician's assistant telling me recommending that I get some X-Rays.  But I think that she told me that I would have to go to Clarksburg, West Virginia to get them.  Well, if I still had my Chevy HHR, a 93 mile drive there wouldn't really be a problem.  But the HHR's engine needed to be rebuilt after it's timing belt broke, so I gave it to a guy who wanted to make a "Baby Grave Digger" monster truck out of it and I bought his van for $800 which I still have, but right now, it has problems.  Because there isn't intercity bus service between Parkersburg and Clarksburg, WV, it would take an entire day to travel from Caldwell, Ohio (30 miles west of my house) to Clarksburg because I'd have to go by way of Pittsburgh on Greyhound.

Now the Whipple Section is mostly in Washington County, Ohio where the Marietta VA Clinic is.  And that clinic is apart of the Chillicothe VA Medical Center, which is about 160 miles away.  That's why I go to that clinic.  But I live about 30 miles north of there in Woodsfield of another county.  It's veterans service does business with the clinic in St. Clairsville and that is apart of the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center.  I'm really thinking about switching to everything over to that clinic so if I need a ride and e-rays, I have support to get there in the event that my vehicles, or hopefully soon to be vehicles are disabled.

So, the van needs work.  It has every symptom consistent with it having a blown water pump.  But I was driving on it like that, but briefly.  The engine could be blown, or the cylinders could be warped?  The head gasket could be blown?  But if I'm lucky, maybe it could just be water pump and thermostat? If I'm lucky, maybe it will come out OK?  I've been saving money for a few months now and I'd like to ride out that van as long as I can??? if I can.  I could used vehicle now?  But I have about two more months at my disposal that I could use.  The problem is that the automotive market is kind of hot right now.  Purchase prices are going up because the automotive manufacturers have had some shutdowns due to the pandemic, resulting in less supply on the market.  That has driven up the cost of a new car up.  Due to the pandemic, there has been a lot of people buying cars because they want to get off of public transit.  Then there's not as many people selling used vehicles these days, so there's less supply there as well.  That's driving the cost of used vehicles up.  I've heard that they're up 14% now and that's predicted to rise.  And probably due to some political issues, the price of unleaded gasoline has gone up $0.20 now and it could rise above $3 per gallon.  That would make the filling up the van to be about $90 a tank and that's bad news.