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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Northwest New Mexico Loop - Part III

Sunday, October 31

This mornig we slept in, we didn't leave the hotel until around 9:30am. We weren't in a hurry since our plans only involved letterboxing within Farmington. Since we didn't have any long drives we decided to take it easy this morning. When we finally did get around to getting out we headed to Berg Park. With clues in hand and letterboxing gear in tow we headed out to find three boxes. We walked the nature trail and visited the Riverside Nature Center and also walked around the All Veterans Memorial Park. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and the park was a great place to be, we even managed to see two deer. I guess we spent about an hour and a half at the park and managed to find three letterboxes - Love Stars Box, The Tree Sniffers and The Red Brick Box. From Berg Park we made our way to Gateway Park. Here we were looking for two letterboxes. I followed the clues for one and found 'a' box but not 'the' box. I was looking for Frolick in the Garden and what I found was Native Mandala. So before stamping in I read the clues for Native Mandala the box was in the right spot but it was hidden by a brick and the clues stated to look for a rock. So I reread the clues for Frolick in the Garden and retraced my steps to see if I was looking in the right spot. I thought I was but I never found the box. I am not sure I was looking in the right spot or not but we ended up walking all around the garden and still came up empty handed. So I stamped in to Native Mandala and rehid it as I found it. I hope the other box isn't missing - I just hope I misread the clues. We decided it was time to move along.

We headed to the north part of town to Lions Wilderness Park. We drove to the Overlook Shelter Area and parked. While I looked for the box Thomas sat under the shelter and read. I followed the clues and found Here Lies Jose HHH tucked nicely in its hiding spot. I decided to take the box back to the shelter to stamp in where I could have a nice flat surface. The hostel only had two hitchhikers in it (and the clues stated that there should be three) so I didn't take any hitchhikers with me and I didn't have any to leave there either. So I just stamped into the box and rehid it. From this part of the park we drove back to the Amphitheater area. I found Smelly Snail and quickly stamped in and put it back and then went in search of Wronghat's Sting box. I didn't have any problems with the clues and soon I was sitting on the incredible rock formation enjoying the beautiful sunshine and stamping in. This was another wonderful Wronghat/Semicolon box! Once the box was back in its spot I returned to the car. I had a box that I had planned to hide in the park but wasn't sure where. While I was stamping in to Sting I decided that I wanted to put it in the area where I found Jose. So we drove back to the other area but instead of going to the Overlook Shelter we went to the Rocky Point Shelter. It didn't take me long to find a good spot for He Strikes! and get the clues written. I enjoyed this park, especially the landscape - the rock formations were incredible.

When we left this park we decided to find a place to eat and relax for a little while. We had an enjoyable lunch and rested for about an hour before heading out again. We didn't have much left to do in the way of letterboxing. I had clues for seven boxes but only three of them were actually available. Four of them were either missing, retired or pulled. And I still wanted to get one more box planted today. Our first stop after lunch was Vietnam Veterans Park where we found The Lucky Box. I stamped in and rehid the box and then decided to give the park a once over to see if I could hide my box here. The park is small but after looking around I decide it would work perfectly. I think The Lucky Box may have been lucky for me. I quickly found a spot for Alphabetical New Mexico: F (Farmington). There were a lot of things that fit - a big "F" on the hill, I found a bench that had "The City of Farmington" on it and it just felt right. So with that box in place we could move on. We next went to the Farmington Library and found Play-Doh. I sat on the beautiful lawn and stamped in while enjoying the terrific Fall weather. After getting that box back into place we headed off for out last box in Farmington. This one would be a quick drive by as it was hidden right on the side of the road. We parked on a side street and I made the very short walk to retrieve Fly By Knight. I brought it back to the car to stamp in and then I walked it quickly back to its hiding spot. So we managed to get all the boxes that are available in the Farmington area - except one and we will get that one on our way home tomorrow and we will leave one final box in the area as well. All our things are organized and I think we are ready to head on home. Thomas and I both miss Daisy and Buddy and it will be good to get home and see them. And tomorrow just happens to be Buddy's 1st birthday.

Monday, November 1

Today we are going to make our way home to Santa Fe. We did want to get an early start so we were up at 6:00am to get things ready. After a quick bite to eat we got on the road, I was wanting to get to our first stop before the sun was up too much. We left Farmington and made our way to NM550 and headed for Angel Peak Scenic Area. We got there just as the sun started peeking above the horizon. We watched the sun hit the landscape and loved the way the light played on it. We did all this from the car as it was 35 degrees. We finally got out and took a few pictures and then went in search of Wronghat's Angel's Peek letterbox. It took a little bit of searching but we finally found it. I found a place to sit and stamp in and Thomas high tailed it back to the car - he was cold. I enjoyed the views, especially the ones of Angel Peak and Castle Rock. After I got the box back into place we left that picnic area and went to another one so that I could hide a box. I placed Angel Peak at the Cliffs Picnic Area. Once we had the clues written down we headed out.

We continued down NM550 to Cuba, well actually a little bit before Cuba. We stopped at Apache Nugget Casino to find T.P., the letterbox not the roll of, placed here by D-Girl. It was a quick and easy find right near the bathrooms. I took this one back to the car to stamp in as it was still quite chilly. I love the carved image - it really made me smile. And I enjoyed finding this box on our drive home. With the box back in place we were done with the letterboxing portion of our trip. Truthfully we were completely done with our trip except for the remaining miles of the drive home. That is exactly what we did - drive. We made it home around noon and were excitedly greeted by Daisy and Buddy, and today is Buddy's first birthday.

Our trip to the northwestern portion of New Mexico was a lot of fun. We found some great boxes and enjoyed visiting some spectacular places. But as always it is great to be home. We found 31 boxes on this trip and placed 9. Some of the boxes I placed are in out of the way places but believe me it is worth the drive to the area - what you get to see is spectacular.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Northwest New Mexico Loop - Part II

Friday, October 29

This morning was an early morning - up at 6:30am and on the road by 7:30am. Thankfully the temperature was above freezing. We drove from Farmington to the Four Corners Monument near Teec Nos Pos, AZ. Thomas and I had been there before but it was quite a few years ago. The whole place has changed from what I can remember and they are still doing some construction. They recently redid the monument and now they are working on booths for the vendors and it looks as though they are also working on the parking area. And yes, Thomas and I both were in all four states at one time. After walking around and visiting the vendors (we did not buy anything) we found Wronghat's 4 Corners NM box. It was a bit tricky to get the box due to where it is hidden - I had to be very sneaky. We had a fun visit here and then headed back to Farmington. On the way back we stopped at a little pull off on US64 to find Shiprock letterbox. This was a quick and easy find, with a great view of Shiprock and very soon we were back on our way to Farmington.

As we entered Farmington we turned onto NM170 headed toward LaPlata. Only a mile or so up the road we encountered a large brown bear on the side of the road that was hiding the One Love letterbox. He graciously allowed us to stamp in and then happily sent us on our way right after reminding us that we could prevent forest fires. About 15 miles later we arrived in LaPlata and found Talley Park. There are two letterboxes in this park. The Newest Red Dragon and Puppies Three. Both were pretty easy to find. Puppies Three was left here by alamocito before she moved away. A beautiful carving of cute little puppies and from where it was hidden you had a fantastic view of the LaPlata Valley. The Newest Red Dragon was placed at the edge of the park with a nice view of the park. I enjoyed finding these two boxes and the peace and quiet of this lovely place. As we were leaving we encounterd two geocachers - I politely reminded them that if they found any letterboxes to please leave everything in the box.

After leaving the park we took NM574 to Aztec. Arriving in Aztec we found our way to the Aztec Ruins National Monument. After paying our fees I made sure to collect my National Park Cancellation Stamps - one for Aztec Ruins National Monument and one for Old Spanish Trail. Thomas and I then walked the ruins trail and marveled at the size and workmanship of the buildings. Once we made it through the ruins we walked over to the picnic area to find Aspen's Aztec Ruins Box. It was a quick find and a great little stamp. We sat under a tree while stamping in - the day was beautiful, sunny and Spring-like with a temperature of 67 degrees. After rehiding the box we decided we wanted to get something to eat. So we took a break and relaxed over some pizza and salads. Once we were full and rested we made our way to Riverside Park to find two boxes. First we found GAQLBE09 - Maine Quarter (a beautiful carve) and then walked over the beautiful new bridge (I loved the rusty finish and the lights) to find Wild Horse (a great Aspen carve). With these two boxes back in place it was time to head back to Farmington. We took NM516 and continued right into the downtown area. First we stopped to get Downtown Farmington, which I thought was a very clever hide. I found the box, took it to a bench to stamp in and enjoyed the coolness of the late afternoon while stamping in. With this box back in place Thomas and I decided to walk up the road a little bit to get Let the Wild Rumpus Start! letterbox. We arrived at Andrea Kristina's and order dessert and coffee and then found the letterbox. I stamped in between bites of chocolate cake and sips of caramel latte. This was a wonderful stamp - large (about 3.5" x 5") and beautifully carved. We relaxed and listened to a gentleman play music and talked about what a wonderful day we had.

We are now back in the hotel, the letterbox finds have been logged and notes have been sent. The blog for today is written and we have a plan for tomorrow. I guess it is time for bed.

Saturday, October 30

We had a very busy and very adventurous day today. It all started when we got up at 6:30am and got ready for the day. After dressing, a little breakfast, and filling the car with gas we were on our way. First stop - Salmon Ruins Museum and Library. When we arrived at the museum it hadn't opened yet, but we decided to walk around to the back of the building and we found the gate to the ruins open. So we went in and looked around the ruins (we didn't have a trail guide so we weren't sure exactly what everything was) and then looked for a letterbox - We easily found that New Hampshire Lily that was left here by uneksia. After stamping and rehiding the box we made our way back to the parking lot - we never saw a single person. We continued our journey heading east on US64 to the intersection with NM575. We turned north here and drove about three miles where we parked on the side of the road next to a large cliff. We made our way up to the top of the cliff to find Old Spanish Trail letterbox. We looked for the group of two large junipers at the top (this was a little difficult as there were quite a few junipers in the area). But we made our way to two which to us appeared to be at the "top". Sure enough we found a box under one of them. I grabbed it and found a good spot to sit so I could stamp in. I opened the box and found a bag with a logbook and a store bought stamp of an angel. There were also trinkets in the box (like you would find in a geocache). I became confused (this happens from time to time) and I looked in the logbook for the name of the box to make sure I had the right thing. There was no box name and no placer. I decided to stamp in using the store bought stamp (even if it had nothing to do with the name of the box). When I was done I replaced the box where I found it but kept thinking I must have found a geocache and this couldn't possibly be the letterbox. But, there were other letterboxers who had stamped in along with some geocachers. Thomas and I decided to look all over the top of the cliff under as many junipers as we could to see if we missed anything. We came up empty handed and decided that we had found the right box and returned to the car to continue our day.

We continued a little further along US64 to CR4450 where we turned south. This road is all dirt and was a little bumpy but not too bad. We drove 20 miles crossing two bridges and a wash as we made our way to Crow Canyon. Everything was going well to right before we got to the parking area. Towards the end you pass through a gate and come to a fork in the road with a sign. To the right 44 Panel, Warrior Panel and Crow Canyon Pueblito. To the left the Main Panel. We went left and came upon a very muddy area with deep ruts. Thomas continued along and we got stuck, thankfully we put the Jeep in 4L and made it through. After parking we walked the trail to some informational signs and read a little about the area. Then we went in search of Aspen's Crow Canyon Box. It was an easy find and I sat and stamped in while Thomas began looking at all the rock art. After stamping in and putting the box back in place I joined Thomas and we walked the entire trail enjoying all the petroglyphs. I had also brought a box to hide and we were on the lookout for the image I had carved. It didn't take us too long to find it and we searched for a good spot to hide the box in that area. After about 15 minutes the box was in place and Alphabetical New Mexico: C (Crow Canyon) awaits visitors. After taking tons of pictures we returned to the car and we left the parking area. As we came to the muddy part of the road Thomas switched back into 4L. We were doing fine until half way through. We got stuck again and this time we were high centering and nothing Thomas did helped. We found rocks and sticks to put under all four tires to see if that would get him high enough to get out - it didn't, the mud was just too soft and the car just pushed them into the mud. Finally I got out and tried to see what I could do (remember we are 20 miles in the middle of nowhere and no cell service). I noticed that every time Thomas went forward he would bulldoze a pile of mud in front of the car. I made him back up a little and I used my hands and one stick to push all the mud that had piled in front of the car into the ruts and lower the middle as much as I could. After about 1o minutes of this I told Thomas to try and if he got out to just keep going and I would walk up and meet him. IT WORKED! So I walked up the road and met him. My hands and wrists, as well as my shoes, were covered in mud. Luckily we had brought quite a bit of bottle water and I used almost two bottles cleaning off my hands and wrists. Now that we were free we decided to go to the 44 Panel. It was about a mile walk (partially through a wash) but it was worth it. We saw quite a few more petroglyphs and enjoyed the walk. We returned to the car and realized we didn't see a sign for the Big Warrior Panel so on the way out we looked for it but never found it. We made the 20 mile drive back to US64 talking about what a worthwhile drive we had just had (mud and all). Thanks Aspen for getting us out there. But to anyone making this journey I highly recommend a 4WD and a high clearance one at that - you never know what will happen out there with no one around to help.

Back on US64 we were still heading east until we arrived at NM527. We drove north on this road for 11 miles and turned left on Werner Grade road. A few miles up this road we arrived at a sign for Francis Canyon Ruins. We followed four of these signs to a parking area. From the parking lot we followed the .1 mile trail to the ruins. What a great spot - a small set of ruins overlooking a spectacular canyon - absolutely beautiful. I took a few pictures and Thomas explored the ruins. I then went in search of Turtle of the Lake letterbox. A quick find and a quick stamp in so that I could walk around the ruins a little more. This was another bit of a drive but well worth it. I really enjoyed the views, the ruins and the letterbox. From here we wanted to go to Navajo Lake State Park and Astro D had done this trip just a couple of weeks ago and told me that her Garmin sent her over to the dam without having to return all the way back to US64 and making the trip back around. So I punched in Navajo Dam and it told me to follow the way back to US64. Didn't want to do that so I tried again - this time putting in Aztec. No dice. One more time - Navajo Lake. Finally we had something. So we continued in the same direction as we were before detouring to the ruins. For a little while everything was going well then the Garmin started freaking out - he kept telling us to turn right onto US64. That would have been fine if we had been any where near US64. We stopped I turned the Garmin off and the on again, retyped Navajo Lake and again we were on our way and okay. This happened two more times before we finally ended up at the lake. Twice we almost decided to turn around and retrace our path and go back to NM575 and US64. I was glad we didn't because this turned out to be way faster. Once at the lake we drove over the dam and ended up on NM511. Just past the dam we found a little pullout to take a picture of the lake. From this spot you could see the Marina. I decided to hide my Navajo Lake box here at the pullout mainly because I thought the view was wonderful. After hiding my box we descended the dam via NM511 and drove a few miles to NM173. This road took us to Cottonwood Campground so that we could look for one (maybe two) more letterboxes. We found the first one with no problem, it was in a picnic area near the day use area parking right along the San Juan River. After I stamped in here we decide to give the other box a try. This is an older box and I suspected it was missing (I read something on either the Southwest Talklist or the Rocky Mountain Talklist) but I decided since we were here to try. The clues were a little wonky and twice I had to retrace my steps to be in the right spot. The last little bit was confusing - I needed to find a crude path uphill through the brush. There were many paths. I counted the steps and went a little more and checked it out and then went back a little and checked it out. After looking between two large boulders (about 10 pairs of boulders) I decided it was missing (my choice - who knows it may be there and I just didn't look in the right place). I returned to the car and Thomas and I decided to call it a day. We headed back toward Farmington making a stop at one of those car washes with the power wands to get rid of some of the mud - the car was shaking as we drove because of all the mud in the tires. Once the car was rid of most of the mud we stopped and had a bite to eat. Now showered I had logged in my finds and plants and caught up on this blog. Tomorrow we are letterboxing right here in Farmington, no long drives.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Northwest New Mexico Loop - Part I

Thomas and I decided a couple of weeks ago to make a trip to the northwest part of New Mexico. I have been wanting to plant some more of my Alphabetical New Mexico Series and I have also wanted to letterbox in the Farmington area (I have been letterboxing for four and a half years and I haven't been to this area yet). So I mapped out a route and started carving stamps and making boxes. This trip will take us from Santa Fe down to Albuquerque then west on I40 to Gallup. From Gallup we will travel north making a detour into Arizona before ending up in Farmington. To head home we will take NM550 to Cuba and either go through Abiquiu or go through Jemez Springs and Los Alamos. So follow along and see where this trip takes us.

Tuesday, October 26

Today Thomas worked half a day while I got last minute things ready for the trip. Once he got home (after filling the car with gas, getting some cash and picking up a few things for the dogs) we got the car loaded and headed out. It was a little after one 0'clock in the afternoon when we hit the road. The drive was actually very pleasant, we made it through Albuquerque before any rush hour traffic and I40 wasn't too clogged with eighteen wheelers. We really didn't have too much planned, we just needed to be in Gallup tonight so Thomas could attend a meeting tomorrow morning and then our vacation would really begin.

Whenever we travel and visit a National Park I usually get a cancellation stamp from the park. I just stamp it on a scrap piece of paper - I never got one of the Passport books. But for some reason I decided that on this trip I would purchase one of the books and start collecting them that way. So I had mapped out what National Parks and Monuments we would be near and decided that we would stop to get the stamp and visit the area. We got to our first one today - the NW New Mexico Visitor Center near Grants. I purchased a Passport and collected three stamps here - NW New Mexico Visitor Center, El Malpais National Monument and an El Malpais National Monument Bonus Stamp. Once we were done at the Visitor Center we continued on our way.

Since we had left early enough and didn't really have any plans we decided to stop in Thoreau to see Thomas' brother, Bill. Thoreau is small and we weren't sure where Bill lived so we found the Elementary School where he teaches. As we pulled into the parking lot he was walking out of the building. We asked him if he and his two daughters wanted to follow us to Gallup for dinner. He said yes and we went to the High School to pick them up. We drove to Gallup and had a nice dinner and visit, it was good to see them and catch up on things. After dinner they left and we went to the hotel. It was a great afternoon and we are looking forward to the rest of the trip. Incidentally, while at dinner Thomas got a phone call and his meeting was cancelled. So tomorrow we have all day to play in the Gallup area.

Wednesday, October 27

This morning we woke up about 7:00am, we decided since we had all day an alarm wasn't necessary. After dressing and getting things ready we had some breakfast at the hotel. Once we had our fill of nourishment we set out for the day. From Gallup we took NM602 south to its intersection with NM53. This was a pleasant drive and I enjoyed the rock formations along the road. This also took us into Zuni Pueblo land. We turned and headed east on NM 53 leaving Zuni Pueblo land, driving through Ramah, NM to El Morro National Monument. This would be our first visit here. We stopped at the entrance and I got a picture of the sign with the monument in the background and then we continued to the visitor center. We paid our admission fee and got some information from the ranger and then I made sure to get my El Morro National Monument Cancellation Stamp in my Passport before we set out on our hike. There are two hikes here - The Inscription Trail (a half mile loop walk with some minor ups and downs, all paved) and The Headland Trail (a two mile hike that includes The Inscription Trail and takes you up 200 feet to the top of El Morro). We wanted to hike all of it. So we set out with our Inscription Trail Guide following the paved path to the numbered markers. We stopped at each point, read the guide and took in the sights. There are 23 markers along the trail and they point out some of the more interesting inscriptions in the rock. We marveled at how old some of them are, one of the oldest is from Don Juan de Oñate dated 1605. While looking at this one I looked around for a good hiding spot for a letterbox. I placed Alphabetical New Mexico: I (Inscription Rock) near this inscription because the stamp is this inscription. After hiding the box we finished this trail and then continued on to The Headland Trail. We followed the trail as it took us up 200 feet via switchbacks. On the top on El Morro there are fantastic views and it was a perfect day to be up there. We passed the ruins of Atsinna Pueblo and continued along the trail as it descended and made its way back to the visitor center. I really enjoyed visiting this place and was glad we made the trip.

From here we got back on NM53 and headed back west. I had another box to plant - Alphabetical New Mexico: Z (Zuni Pueblo). We had seen a Welcome sign on NM602 and another one on NM53 that announced that you were on Zuni Land. But I felt I wanted to place the box closer to Zuni Pueblo. So we drove into Zuni and looked around. We stopped first at an Historical Marker but it was too desolate and really had no place for a box. We next went to the visitor center and I thought maybe somewhere around there. But there was only one tree and no spot for a box, and there were a few people just 'hanging around' - it didn't feel right. We next went to a museum but it ended in the same results. I found the area to be uninspiring and was disappointed. Thomas and I decided to head back to Gallup and stop at the Welcome sign on NM602. There isn't a pullout here but there is enough of a shoulder to park safely. Even though the box isn't at the Pueblo it is on Zuni land and I felt that the views were better here. I hope it is good enough and that the letterboxers that go and look for this box aren't too disappointed.

After getting this box hidden we finished the trip back to Gallup. I had carved a stamp and made a box to hide at Red Rock Park. I mostly made the box because originally Thomas was suppose to be in a meeting this morning and I would be on my own. I thought it would be nice to spend the morning at this park and get another box hidden. So we made our way to the park and drove around. At first I thought we would hid the box on either the Pyramid Trail or the Church Rock Trail. In the end we found a spot that makes this box a drive by. We placed Red Rock near the park office. We enjoyed driving and walking around the park, especially the views of all the red rock, the view of Church Rock and the Church Rock, NM Post Office. Once this box was in place we were done for the day, but it was still early. We decided a little siesta might be good so we returned to the hotel and rested for a while. Around 5:00pm we decided to go out for a bite to eat. The hotel recommended the Badlands Grill. It was pretty good, we both had steak and baked potatoes and then split a dessert. It was a good day and now that the blog is written I can get a good night's rest, tomorrow will be very busy.

Thursday, October 28

We left Gallup at 7:15am in the dark and with a chilling 19 degree temperature. We drove north on US491 and then headed west on NM264. We arrived in Window Rock and made our way to the window rock that gave the city its name. Here there is a monument to the Navajo Code Talkers and I wanted to visit the monument and also place a letterbox. We walked around the memorial and took pictures (while freezing our butts off), during this time I was also looking for a good spot to hide the box. We eventually located a great spot and now Navajo Code Talkers has a home. From the memorial we drove to the Navajo Nation Museum. I have started collecting the elongated pennies and the museum has a machine with three designs. I got my pennies as soon as we got there and then we walked through the galleries. They have a nice collection of art, jewelry and photographs. They also have a small display about the Navajo Code Talkers. I enjoyed visiting this museum and was happy to get my pennies. It was now time to continue onward - we had a lot planned today.

We continued west on AZ264 to Ganado. We stopped at the Hubbell Trading Post and I found Jukebox Life Lessons #33. I stamped in and loved this stamp - very 'groovy' image! After stamping in and rehiding the box we went into the trading post and looked around. Then we visited the visitor center so I could get my National Park Cancellation stamp. This was a pretty quick stop because we needed to be in Chinle for a guided tour of Canyon de Chelly at noon. So we headed north on US191 toward Chinle. When we arrived we realized we had quite a bit of time before we were to meet our guide. So we decided to look for two letterboxes. We first found Falcon's Nest near Tsaile Public School and after stamping in and rehiding the box we went and found Howdy Man. By the time this second box was back in place it was time to be at the visitor center at Canyon de Chelly. We pulled in and parked and saw our guide pull in. We used Canyon de Chelly Tours which was recommended to us by Astro D. We had booked the tour with Leander but he had some school responsibilities and wasn't able to meet us - instead we got his uncle, Ben. Thomas filled out the permits at the visitor center and I got my Canyon de Chelly stamp and a Canyon de Chelly Bonus stamp. Then we headed out for our tour. We booked a three hour tour because we wanted to make it to Farmington at a decent hour tonight. The tour ended up being about three and a half hours and we got to see Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto. This was an incredible time. Inside the canyon is spectacular and we got to see so many more things than you can't see from the rim. I highly recommend a guided tour and would go with a private one. We saw tours with trucks that had open seating in the back and it looked like they were packed in. Our guide was very knowledgeable and showed us his family's farm - he spent many of his childhood years living and playing in the canyon. We learned so much history about the canyon and saw tons of ruins in the canyon walls. We also got to see petroglyphs and pictographs. For a little more detail about the tour you can read Astro D's blog post Camping at Canyon de Chelly. When the tour was done we asked our guide what he thought was the best way for us to get to Farmington and then we asked the ranger at the visitor center the same question. We got the same answer from both. So we took their advice and headed out.

To get to Farmington we took Indian Route 64 (which is the North Rim Drive for Canyon de Chelly) to Tsaile. We turned left onto Indian Route 12 and drove about eight miles to Indian Route 13. Here the landscape became spectacular. There were red rock walls all around us. We enjoyed the drive and made several stops for photos before we ascended up Lukachukai Mountain. We drove through ponderosa pines and aspens making our way through Buffalo Pass and finally descending on the other side with incredible views of Shiprock in the distance. The drive on Indian Route 13 took us just south of Shiprock. We turned onto a little dirt road that seemed to lead right up to the huge volcanic rock. We didn't drive that road, we just parked at the beginning and took pictures. From here the drive became just the drive. We turned off of Indian Route 13 onto US491 and passed through Shiprock, NM where we continued on US64 to Farmington. By this time we were hungry so we stopped for a quick bite to eat and then headed to the hotel for the night. We are settled in and looking forward to more adventure tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Letterboxing and a Mini Meet in Albuquerque

This afternoon Astro D picked me up at my house and we headed down to Albuquerque. There were a few boxes we wanted to find and then we were meeting a family of letterboxers that were passing through Albuquerque. We talked about Astro D's recent trip to Farmington since I will be leaving on Tuesday for that same area. The trip went fast and before I knew it we were in Albuquerque.

We both noticed that a new box had appeared today on AQ so we decided to head that way first. We made our way to La Luz de Amistad Park. We were here to find one of Twinville Trekkers Beatles Series boxes. This one was called I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Very appropriate as this park has a state with a hand on it. The statue is called Hand of Friendship by Ted Egri. We found the box easily and parked ourselves on a bench to stamp in - it was a little windy so we had to keep hold of all the papers. It was a nice stamp and we got a first finder prize as well. So once the box was back in place we headed off to the old Microsoft Offices so that Astro D could find Fantastyk Voyager's box (I found it a while back). This is a very easy find as long as no one is around. So a Saturday was just perfect and Astro D was able to get the box and stamp in after numerous tries with the area too busy for her to retrieve it. Once that was done we headed to downtown to find two of Wronghat's boxes. All Aboard the RAILRUNNER and KiMo. I already had KiMo but Astro D needed to get it. So after a little searching for a parking spot we followed the clues for All Aboard the RAILRUNNER and found the box. Thankfully the area was pretty quiet and we didn't have to avoid prying eyes. We grabbed the box and walked a little ways away to stamp in. While stamping in we were approached by a man that asked us tons of questions but thankfully he didn't hang around (I was glad we weren't sitting right by the hiding spot). After we stamped in and were ready to rehide the box we had to be much more careful. There were some people hanging around but with Astro D blocking for me I got it back in place safely. From here we walked a few blocks and arrived at the KiMo Theatre. Astro D found this box and we sat so she could stamp in. Once she finished stamping in we got the box rehidden and realized it was time to head over to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History to meet Wronghat and the Happy SAHD Family. When we arrived we didn't see anyone but a few minutes later Wronghat and Semicolon showed up. We talked for a few minutes and then Wronghat gave Astro D and I clues for a box that he had planted in a nearby park. So while they waited for the Happy SAHD Family we went and looked for the box. It took us a little thinking and working things out but finally got the clues figured out and found the box. This was a little tricky since right near the hiding spot they were having some sort of concert, halloween, costume, dance thingy. There were quite a few people and a lot of them were dressed up as zombies or ghouls. We were able to grab the box and stamp in without drawing attention to ourselves. Rehiding the box was a little tougher. I sat in front of the hiding spot pretending to take pictures while Astro D was able to sneak it back into place. We headed back toward the museum and met up with Wronghat. I think he was concerned that we may not have been able to figure out the clues, but we did. We all returned to the museum and met Happy SAHD, Chesire Cat, Lil' Shamrock and Sodormaniac.

We decided to go and have some dinner and do some exchanges. Wronghat and Semicolon suggested Church Street Cafe. It was a quick walk to the restaurant but they were busy and we could only get two tables that sat four each. Fortunately the tables were next to each other and we were able to visit and get exchanges and personal travelers done. We had a great meal and a wonderful visit. I am always glad when letterboxers passing through New Mexico contact us for a meet. Thanks Happy SAHD, it was nice to meet your family and we hope you have a wonderful time on the rest of your trip.
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