This blog chronicles my letterboxing adventures. It includes posts that share my travels that are letterboxing related, the letterboxes I have found and planted as well as the people I have met along the way. There are also photos included to help give a complete picture of the fun I had.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Letterboxing Road Trip Through Central New Mexico

For the past few weeks I have been wanting to get out and spend the entire day letterboxing. Unfortunately with work and other commitments it wasn't possible . . . until today. When I realized a couple of days ago that today was free and clear I started making plans. My original plan was to go to Albuquerque and hunt for boxes there. (At present there are at least 12 boxes that I haven't found yet in Albuquerque.) But then I decided I also wanted a road trip. I didn't want to spend the night anywhere so it needed to be a road trip that I could do in a day. So I started mapping out clues. There are some boxes in the southeast portion of the state, some around Las Cruces and a bunch in the northwest corner of New Mexico - but all of those would have required me staying overnight. Then I realized that I could do a trip through Central New Mexico, find boxes and get to visit some great places - and all in a day.

So let's get the day started. And it started early. I was on the road by 5:30am. I love driving in the morning, there is less traffic and it seems so peaceful. I started my trip by heading south on US285. This first part of the trip wasn't very exciting, it was just a nice relaxing drive. I drove from Santa Fe to Clines Corners and then onto Encino. In Encino I stopped and took pictures in a small cemetery and also got some pictures of antelope (they were everywhere). At Encino I turned onto NM3 and headed to Duran. I took a few pictures and then continued my trip on US54 driving through Corona and Carrizozo to my first letterbox stop in Tularosa. I made my way to the Tularosa Public Library. I had been here before about a year or so ago - I found a box located in the library and looked for one outside the library (which turned out to be missing). The planter of that missing box eventually replaced the box and that is why I was in Tularosa - to find Tularosa Two. I had to wait a few minutes because there were three kids sitting in the area and one was on the bench I needed. That kid soon moved over to another bench and I sat on the bench with the box. I pretended to be texting on my phone and casually reached into the plant and grabbed the box. I waited a few minutes and then went to my car to stamp in. It was a nice stamp and I enjoyed the box. Rehiding the box was much easier as the kids had left by then and I didn't have to worry about them seeing me. So I had my first box of the day and was ready for more. From Tularosa I had to retrace my drive back to Carrizozo for the next box. So I drove back to Carrizozo in search of "The Book of Eli". (They filmed the movie of the same title here.) When I arrived in town I followed the clues to the Carrizozo Heritage Museum. I reread the clues in the car and then pretty much figured out the hididng spot from there. So I headed to the spot. I was looking for a concrete block and I found one but no box. I was supposed to be on the left side of a building at its north corner. I took out my compass and realized I was at the south corner so I went to the north corner - no concrete block. But I did find the box partially hidden by some weeds or a bush - I couldn't tell if they were weeds or a bush. I took the box back to the car to stamp in and I'm not really sure what the stamp had to do with "The Book of Eli" except that the movie was filmed in Carrizozo. When I rehid the box I tried to make it match the clues. But I don't think that the box will last - it just isn't a good spot. Anyway, I decided to drive down 12th Street to see where they did the filming. It was really colorful and you could tell that everything had been repainted. I can't wait to see the movie just so I can compare the area with what I saw today. Oh, and you have probably heard about and seen the painted horses and cows that were done as art projects - well Carrizoz has their version - painted mules - EVERYWHERE!

Time to continue on - I still had a little ways to go retracing my drive. I continued up US54 to the junction with NM55. Here I turned left and continued driving, this being a new part of the drive. If you look at a map or if you have ever driven NM55 you will see that the road has lots of twists and turns - you could even say it zigs and zags - right Twinville Trekkers. This road inspired the Trekkers to plant a box called Zig Zag (cute name). In her clues for the box she mentions that the road reminds her of an Etch a Sketch drawing and I agree. To find the box I had to locate a certain mile marker, which was easily done and then another sign with certain writing and then a tree with a bush at its base - Bingo! I found the box. It was a great box and a nice location. Out in the middle of nowhere and very peaceful - I saw one car drive along NM55 while I stamped in. I enjoyed sitting out and looking at the rolling hills, there were a few cows out and there were the mountains in the distance - a relaxing stop to say the least. With the box back in its hiding spot I continued on my way.

The next section of NM55 was no stranger to me. I have been to that area numerous times. This area is home to Salinas National Monument (Abo, Quarai and Gran Quivira Ruins). I only stopped by Gran Quivira this trip and enjoyed a nice walk among the ruins before heading to my next stop. (Side Note: If you are ever in New Mexico or if you are from New Mexico and haven't visited the Ruins I highly recommend it.) My drive was taking me to Tajique and more specifically the Fourth of July Campground. From NM55 I had to take Forest Road 55 for about 7 miles though the area of the Trigo Fire to get to the campground. It was a nice drive and the dirt road was okay (but I can't imagine driving it if it had been raining). Once at the campground I found the parking area for the Crimson Maple Trail and parked. With letterboxing supplies and clue in hand I started up the trail. I only had to walk for about 15 minutes to reach the letterbox. It was a very peaceful walk through oaks and maple trees. I found the box and stamped in - the box is called 1/4th of July. It was a pretty clever stamp - an 'L' shaped design of different leaves and if you stamped it four times rotating the stamp 90 degrees each time you could make a frame. The logbook suggested that you stamp or paste a leaf into your completed frame. After stamping in and then rehiding the box I found a bench and sat and listened to the birds for a little while before continuing on my way.

So far I was having a great day. I found all the boxes I was looking for, I was driving through a beautiful part of New Mexico, the weather was perfect and I was more relaxed than I have been in a while. I was now getting closer to the end of my trip but it wasn't over yet. I still had a bit of driving to do and one more box to find. So I drove back down Forest Road 55 to NM55 and shortly turned on to NM337. I reached the village of Tijeras and made my way to NM14 (The Turquoise Trail). I was headed to NM536 and Tinkertown. Twinville Trekkers hid a box here called The Fortune Teller. The clues were very specific - pay the entry fee, find the fortune teller and get your fortune told, take that to the gift shop counter and get the letterbox. I did the first two parts and then walked through the museum and enjoyed all the oddities - it was a very interesting place and I enjoyed my time there. I returned to the gift shop, showed them my fortune and got the box. I found a bench outside and stamped in - it was a nice stamp and box. - thanks Twinville. I then made my way back to NM14 and on to Santa Fe and home. I had a fantastic day of letterboxing and I loved my road trip - I love letterboxing and I love the places that it takes me!

A view looking down NM54.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Old Friend Returns Home

At the beginning of the month I received an update for Boudreaux's Hitchhiker. He had been found in Red Hook, NY by Rabbit's Friends and Relations. The update let me know that the stamp had broken so I made a decision and asked them to send him back to me. Boudreaux arrived home on June 11, 2009. He was originally placed in Mighty Oak in Lafayette, LA on May 21, 2006. He had three years of travel and got to visit quite a few places. When I got him back I immediately took out the logbook to see who had found him and where he had been. The logbook was almost full and in great shape. It doesn't look like it had gotten wet or anything, it wasn't torn and none of the entries were faded or smeared. This was my first hitchhiker that I released and it was very special. It was made for my English Bulldog who travelled with us most of his life until he got too old and wasn't able to make the trips anymore. In November 2008 Boudreaux passed away - so having this stamp and logbook back means a lot to me. There are quite a few entries in the logbook so I have a good idea of where he traveled, but there are some times where I think the person who found it forgot to stamp the image of the box they placed it in.

Here is a list of the boxers who found Boudreaux . . .
Sporky Rat
Travel'n Turtle
Laney Bug
The Pirates
BB Goldie
BB Trexx
Tivoli Trekkers
The J's
Fluttering By
Rabbit's Friend and Relations

Here are some of the boxes that he stayed in . . .
Mighty Oak
Mrs. Clancy's Boarding House
Country Comforts: Rise & Shine
Dog Breeds: Golden Retriever (PLB)
Spree For All: Buck
Spree For All: Bandit
Independence Day
Dicken's Treasure
A Pirate's Life

And here is a list of the cities he visited . . .
Lafayette LA
Vicksburg MS
Des Plains IL
Newark IL
North Royalton OH
Peninsula OH
Brunswick OH
Schnecksville PA
Clermont NY
Red Hook NY

Boudreaux's Travels
Boudreaux's Hitchhiker

I am really glad that Boudreaux made it home safely. I have decided to retire him and keep him home. I would hate to lose all the great entries in the logbook. Thanks again to Rabbit's Friends and Relations for getting him home safely.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Plans Have Been Made

Back in April I may have mentioned something about a rumor of an event being planned in Santa Fe. Well it is no longer a rumor - the plans have been made and the wheels are in motion. El Rancho de los Letterboxes is going to happen. Astro D has done most of the work so far but rubberpeace and I are starting to help out. Here is some basic information about the event.

El Rancho de los Letterboxes
Saturday, September 26, 2009
El Rancho de las Golondrinas
Santa Fe, NM

For more detailed information and to sign up for the event just click on the photo. We are looking forward to this event and hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Looking for a Southwest Icon

Back in April the Santa Fe letterboxers had the pleasure of visiting with a couple of letterboxers from Massachusetts. Before they left they planted a letterbox in Santa Fe. Today I finally had time to get out and look for that box. The box is called A Southwest Icon. It was hidden at the Santa Fe Train Depot on Guadalupe Street. After work today I drove to the area and found a place to park. It was a beautiful day today - bright, blue skies with a temperature around 75 degrees. So I walked from the car and took pictures working my way to the depot. After about a 30 minute walk I arrived at the hiding spot. The area is pretty exposed and there were quite a few people around so I sat down on the rocks and took pictures of the area until the coast was clear. Then I moved one rock and found the box. I stuck it in my bag and walked over to a bench near the depot. It was such a nice day so I decided to take my time stamping in. There were about eight or nice entries in the logbook. It was nice seeing some images from people that were not from Santa Fe. The stamp was a nice carving of a very recognizable southwest icon. Once I finished stamping in I went back to the hiding area and had to repeat my picture taking diversion to get the box back into its hiding spot. It was a nice day for a walk and a great day for letterboxing. Thanks to Time2Retire for this letterbox.
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