Sunday, July 27, 2014

One-Room Schoolhouse -- Greenfield Township, Huron County



This restored one-room schoolhouse is the second one I've found in Greenfield Township located in Huron County, Ohio.  Just like the school in Sandusky Township this one resides under the care of the township and sits next to the maintenance garage.  It is probably used as a polling place at election time and a public gathering place for other occasions and events.


A sound roof and modern replacement windows keep with the traditional look and ensure this building will be around for many years to come.


My son and I discovered this school during a road trip returning from Lake Erie a few weeks ago.  Shortly before we passed through the area a car crash occurred along the State Route on which we were traveling.  A detour was set up by the authorities to route traffic around the crash that led us through the small village of Stueben and right to the schoolhouse.  I didn't have my camera but managed to get a few good shots to share with my cellphone. 

    

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oak Ridge Festival



This past weekend the RoadQueen, I and our boys took a short drive north to visit a bi-annual event called the Oak Ridge Festival located just outside the village of Attica, Ohio.  The festival has been going on for thirty years or more but I only heard of it thanks to brother in law who attended a couple years ago.

The weather was beautiful with temperatures climbing barely into the 80's so it was a great day to spend outdoors. 


The Oak Ridge Festival is all about living history and putting on display tools and methods of a bygone era.  Just inside the gates we saw this draft pony team plowing some fertile Ohio ground.

A pre-1840's reenactment camp was a highlight for me.  If I didn't have too many hobbies already I would love to get into this.
  




A permanent feature on the festival grounds is a traditional sawmill.  Throughout the weekend operations turning logs into dimensional lumber were on display.  As a woodworking hobbyist I found this also very interesting.  


I talked to an old-timer who has participated in the event for around 30 years.  He said usually they have an antique steam engine providing the power for the saw mill but the owner-operator of the engine wasn't able to attend this year.  So while not as cool as an old steamer a trusty Farmall got the job done just fine.




It took about five minutes to turn a massive red oak tree trunk into a stack of boards.  The fresh cut wood smelled wonderful.

Half the grounds were open fields where the primitive camp, agricultural and sawmill displays were set up.  The remainder of the festival was situated in a wooded tract of land.  Under the cool shade of hardwoods a lane wound itself around with vendors selling crafts and foodstuffs.   


Old-Time Music of course!
 Down a small side trail we discovered the Simon Kenton Range.  We hung around for a while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of a black powder novelty shoot.

I really like how they have the range set up in woods instead of out in the middle of an open field.





Nice to see some ladies shooting as well.

One of the boy's favorites was a working blacksmith.  This is no surprise as boys have been interested in fire and beating things with hammers for generations.  


The smith was buring coal in his small forge and heating it up with a hand cranked bellows.  It took less than a minute to heat the iron up to red hot.

RoadQueen took this picture of the blacksmith in action.  


Speaking of RoadQueen, The event she was most interested in was the antique tractor pull.  So while the boys went off exploring on their own we settled in to watch some classic American iron do its thing.  I've been to tractor pulls at the county fair but never seen one like this with stock and lightly modified antique machines doing the heavy lifting.  Very cool and nowhere near as noisy as the modern pulling tractor shows.












A picture heavy post I know but these old tractors just look too good to leave out.  It was a great day and we all had a good time.  Later in October the second festival of the year takes place.  The feature then will be antique military vehicles so needless to say we will be in attendance.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

One-Room School House -- Cardington Township



Earlier in the summer I was out on the Triumph Scrambler on a ride to photograph a Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn.  As I usually like to do for the return trip I took a roundabout excursion into the countryside and stumbled upon another old school house for my collection.

This wood sided school house located in Cardington Township, Morrow County sits along a quiet country lane in slow decay.


Originally the structure may have been constructed with a slate roof but later a standing seam metal roof  was added.  While durable and long lasting standing seam won't last forever and it looks like high winds at some point tore off some of the material.  An obvious lack of paint on the outside also means this old schoolhouse's days are numbered.
  


I've mentioned before I'm saddened to see these examples of a simpler time withering away but the serendipity of coming across another one before it's too late always brings a smile.

See more early Ohio school houses by clicking the label below.
   




Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 4th MTB Ride -- Mohican SP



I spent the afternoon of the 4th in the woods on my all terrain bike.   Getting out on the trails has been a long time coming for me.  It's been rainy so I have been avoiding the trails until they dry out.  I hate to see trail damage and ruts from riding too soon.  Fortunately the ground is sandy and rocky in the Mohican State Park so aside from a few soft pockets the trail was firm and dry.


Of all the types of cycling I like to partake in mountain biking is one I really enjoy.  I've long since given up on going fast and instead I like to keep a slow to moderate pace and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world as it slides by.  Following the natural undulations of the terrain and being totally immersed in the organic surroundings is a totally different experience one can have on two wheels compared to other forms of cycling.  Trail conditions and surfaces can change quickly and technical challenges and obstacles keep things from getting mundane. 

 The unique thing from a fitness standpoint is that even if one rides conservatively or even pokes along the exertion paid out from the constant climbing and descending can be taxing if not brutal.  I rode about 17 miles of the single track loop and it was by far a much greater effort than the 50 mile road loop I did the other day.


Back in the early 1990's when I raced mtb I used bar ends on my handlebars.  For some reason bar ends seemed to have fallen from favor and I even rode my bikes a few years without them.  I may be letting my retrogrouch show but this year I put a set of old bar ends on my Motobecane and found they make a huge difference. 
  

These stubby bar ends are the last ones I bought years ago.  Made by Profile Designs they are only 3" long overall and stick out about 2 1/4" from the leading edge of the handlebar.  Last week I dug them out of my spare parts and stuck them on for a quick test ride around neighborhood.  Without them I never really felt totally secure with my grip on the bars.  When my hands are on the regular rubber grips I like how the bar ends contain the outside of my hands.  They make my grip on the bike feel more confident especially on rough fast descents.

On long rides bar ends offer a different hold position which is welcome when spending hours on an upright bike.  Canted forward as I have them the position approximates the feel of riding on the brake hoods of my road bike.

The original intended purpose of bar ends I think is to aid in climbing.  Moving my grip to the far ends of the bar opens up my upper body increasing leverage and just makes me feel more powerful when rocking the bike up the steeps.  I've also noticed that having a hold on the bike slightly forward of the leading edge of the bar seems to remove some of the twitchyness of the front end while navigating slow technical terrain.

People have asked me "Aren't you worried about hooking small trees with those?"  I suppose that there could be a small risk but in over two decades I've only caught a bar end on a tree once and that was a slow speed encounter so I wasn't launched over the bars.  With experience a rider just knows how wide he or she is and makes allowances for it.  Like walking through a doorway we position ourselves so we aren't banging a shoulder as we pass through.

Something I noticed while riding on tight twisty trails with trees close in is that occasionally I'll make contact with trees on the very end of my bar.  Just glancing blows not enough to cause a loss of control.  Without bar ends if my hand is hanging off the end of the grip just a little bit the pinch between the tree and bar can hurt.  On my ride yesterday the bar ends protected my hands a couple times as I bounced along between the trees.  The bar ends will stay on my bike. 



Eastern single track: Roots and rocks O'plenty!  After many years of riding hard tail mountain bikes I love my full suspension bike.  Sometimes I miss the quick agile handling and climbing prowess of my single speed hard tail but so far not enough to want to actually get it out and ride it on the trails.


As usual I spotted lots of wildlife.  Here's a Whitetail fawn that still has it's spots. 


Wood bridge decking is covered with a continuous length of chicken wire to provide grip.  In a moist forest environment it doesn't take long for bare wood surfaces to get very slippery.  The chicken wire works great to help keep the rubber side down.

Happy Trails!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ARRL Field Day 2014


W8MDE homebrew 10 meter rotatable dipole

Some notes from Field Day 2014

10 meters (The band I chose to operate this year) was in the dumps -Nearly a complete lack of propagation of 28 MHz signals.  That's the nature of the beast with the fluctuating solar radio flux we have been experiencing as of late.  I only made one contact all day Saturday and that was a potato farmer out in Oklahoma who was inside playing with radios while he waited for rain to stop so he could return to his harvesting.  

Our luck changed by Sunday morning when the band suddenly opened and we made half a dozen CW (Morse Code) contacts with stations in Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida.

When I first tested my 10 meter rotatable dipole on the air I made contact with New Zealand over 8000 miles from my location in Ohio.  Because that was only three weeks ago I figured I would be flooded with CQ FD callers during the event on 10 meters but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.

I spent some time tuning around the other bands and listened to my club mates making contacts on voice SSB or copied the digital back and forths on the laptop.  With our seven stations and antennas confined to a 1000 ft. diameter area they were easy to spot.  QSO counts were down for all the club members so I guess diminished propagation conditions affected all the bands to some degree.

Over all the weekend was a blast. Good food, friends and even the chance to explain and put on display our radio operating for a few of the local public that ventured out on Saturday.

Building an antenna specifically for the event is something that I have come to enjoy almost as much as Field Day itself.  Using my own workshop and materials easily sourced locally I find it very rewarding to craft the all important component of a radio circuit; the device that transforms a current in wire into a radiated electromagnetic wave.

I'm considering 80 meters for next year.





Sunday, June 22, 2014

Recumbent Ride -- Willard Marsh Loop



Yesterday I spent a few quality hours on my recumbent bike touring the Ohio countryside.  I wanted to ride somewhere new but I didn't feel like loading up my bike on the car rack and driving just to ride.  The only problem with that is I have to ride for about an hour in any given direction just to get to roads I've never ridden.

From my driveway I headed north keeping to rural back roads I like to ride.  I didn't have a route planned I just ambled along choosing my route as I went.  My ride took me roughly twenty miles across my county and to the border of Huron County, about 30 miles south of Lake Erie.  Most of the country is farmland and with all the rain we've had the crops are growing well. 

On longer range rides I've taken to using my smartphone map to aid in navigation and it has made it easier to enjoy the ride more than flying blind trying to avoid the busier state highways.  In the old days I used to make a photo-copy of a section I planned to ride from a page in the Ohio Atlas & Gazetteer.  That analog map worked fine but occasionally I would ride off the paper and be back to guessing.  That's not always the best method when a couple hours from home and under your own power.

I wasn't planning a big ride but the conditions were perfect with just a slight breeze from the northwest and mild temperatures in the upper 70's.  I felt good and the miles kept adding up.  Consulting the map I found a place I never been that would put me about 25 miles north of home.  
   

Willard Marsh Wildlife Area is a 1,676-acre conservation area located a few miles southwest of Willard, Ohio in southern Huron County.  Access to the area is by gravel roads which line the perimeter of the park.  I try to avoid gravel if I can help it but the HP Velotechnik has no problem gobbling up gravel miles.  These roads were in super shape so going wasn't all that bad at all.  The scenery made it worth it.


From there I started the trip back to home and ended up with a satisfying 50 mile ride and new route entry for the logbook.



Bike:   HP Velotechnik
Ride Time:    3:49
Distance:    51.18 miles
Average Speed:    13.3 mph
Max Speed:    27.7 mph