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, March 29, 2015

One Last Day in Sacramento

Today we decided to stay in Sacramento and take it easy. Around 9:00am we headed out to have some breakfast. I had read about a place that was suppose to be good so we headed to Tower Café. But when we got there the place was packed and there were lots of people hanging around outside so we opted to look for another place. We ended up at a little hole in the wall called Pancake Circus. The food was good but the place was run down and still we enjoyed our breakfast anyway. After eating we decided to head for the Sacramento Zoo and have a nice leisurely time just walking around. We took our time watching some of the animals and then we would find a bench and sit and relax. Overall we spent a couple of hours here and totally enjoyed it. Then we made a decision to go back to the hotel and pack for our flight tomorrow. After packing we took a nap and then read for a while. Around 5:00pm we decided to head out for some dinner. I had seen an add for Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant and I remembered having gone to a Farrell's when I was younger so we decided to go there. It was decorated as I remember but much louder than I remembered. Thomas and I ordered a club sandwich which we split just so we had room for sundaes afterward. So after our meal and some ice cream we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep for our early flight home tomorrow. We did some last minute organizing and now it is time to go to bed. We had a great time in the Sacramento area and we saw some nice places.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Donner Pass & Old Sacramento

This morning we ended up sleeping in, well Thomas slept in. It was after 11:00pm when we went to sleep last night and Thomas was really tired from his marathon cross country trip of flights and airports. I woke up around 6:30am and took a shower and dressed and then decided to play on the computer. Thomas was up around 8:30am and we were both ready to begin our day at 9:20am.

Donner Lake
From the hotel we took L Street to I5 and then to I80 heading east. On the eastern side of Sacramento we stopped for breakfast at Brookfields Restaurant. We had a delicious breakfast and some good coffee and we were ready for our adventure for the day. We drove on I80 for about an hour and then exited at Soda Springs. Here we took Donner Pass Road which is also know as US40 and Lincoln Highway. We drove this road from Soda Springs to Truckee. It was so beautiful with fantastic views and some interesting places. Of course, this is the area where the Donner Party was stranded for a while and cemented them into the history books. At the beginning of the road you can stop at the Soda Springs General Store or the Donner Summit Historical Society to get information or a snack for the road. There are also lots of information online to help you learn more and enjoy the drive better. Here is a list of online resources . . .

Donner Summit's Old Highway 40
Donner Pass Road Bridge
Old Highway 40 over Donner Summit
Many Crossings of Donner Summit
20 Mile Museum
Donner Summit, An Introduction
Donner Summit
The Lincoln Highway

There is a lot to see along the way: Donner Pass Road Bridge, Donner Memorial State Park, Donner Lake Overlook, Donner Lake and some different side roads that you can explore.
South Yuba River
This was a nice relaxing way to spend part of a Saturday. Along the drive we did stop and find one letterbox - we found LCAB's Bench Warmer at a pullout at the end of the Donner Pass Road Bridge. I stamped in while enjoying the beautiful view of Donner Lake in the distance. After stamping in we continued our drive to Truckee and I80. Here we started our drive back to Sacramento. When we reached Kingvale we exited onto Rainbow Road and drove a short distance to S. Yuba Drive. We parked a short distance up near a small bridge that crossed the South Yuba River. Here we found Canadian Maple ~ Mini Box planted by Captain Slick Kitty and carved by deniserows. This was a fantastic spot - it was so peaceful and beautiful. We enjoyed our short stop here and if you are ever traveling I80 near Kingvale make sure you stop for this box.

Old Sacramento
When we arrived back in Sacramento we made our way to Old Sacramento. The area was really busy and it took us a while to find a parking spot. Then we just went walking. I was here for a short time on Thursday and I had found one letterbox. But there were others but I hadn't figured them out and so I didn't find them. But this morning while Thomas was still sleeping I read through the clues and had that 'aha' moment and knew where three more boxes were. So as we walked we found the spots and looked for the boxes. We found two of the three - Sherlock Holmes on the Trail of the Gypsy Curse and Old Sac Box #2 - Bit O'Heaven both by Da Kool Kats. The box we didn't find is actually missing. The clerk at the store where the box was said that someone came in and asked for it and never returned it. The clue states unknown but the clerk says it is gone so Old Sac Box #3 - Up, Up and Away is missing. After finding boxes and doing some window shopping we decided to grab some dinner before heading back to the hotel. We ended up eating at Ten22. Unfortunately we were disappointed. The place was nice but the meal is already prepared and the just heated up and brought out to you. I am assuming this because the food came out really fast and when I took my first bite of the chicken I had ordered it was cold. I had to send it back mostly because I was worried it wasn't cooked. It came back quickly but at least it was hot. Also I thought that it was too expensive for what we got. Anyway, we did get something to eat and that was good. One thing we noticed while walking around the area was that there was an abundance of candy stores. So we headed over to one to get something to take back to the hotel. After getting snacks for later we walked back to the car and then drove to the hotel. We dropped some things off in the room and then we decided to go for a walk in Capitol Park just across from the hotel.

Well it was a great day and we learned and saw a lot of things and had a wonderful time. But I have to say I am exhausted and looking for a good nights sleep. We have one more day in Sacramento and we haven't made plans yet but I will worry about that tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Drive to Nevada

This morning I woke up around 6::00am and got dressed. Then I organized some things and kind of planned what to do today. I didn't actually make any concrete plans since I wasn't sure when Thomas was going to make it to Sacramento.
Sacramento Convention Center
Around 7:30am he called and had just landed in Las Vegas. He said he would probably arrive at the airport in Sacramento around 9:00am or sometime around that time. Then he needed to check on his luggage. So he decided he would take a taxi to the hotel and that way I wouldn't have to wait around at the airport. After talking to him I decided to go for a walk and get some breakfast. I ended up a few blocks from the hotel at Capitol Garage where I had an omelet and coffee. As I was walking back to the hotel I got a call from Thomas and he was on his way to meet me at the hotel. We arrived at the hotel about the same time and went up to the room. He said he wasn't too tired but really wanted a shower and to change clothes but unfortunately he didn't have his luggage. While he was in the shower I went down to the hotel gift shop and got him a toothbrush. Once he had showered and brushed his teeth he said he felt much better. He borrowed some socks, underwear and a shirt from me and wore his same pants and shoes for today and hopefully his luggage would get to the hotel in the afternoon.
Lake Tahoe
He decided he wanted to go and do something and try and get on a normal schedule. So we got in the car and headed to Carson City. We took US50 headed east and after driving for a little while decided to stop for an early lunch (since Thomas hadn't eaten this morning). We stopped just past Placerville at the Red Apple Café. Thomas got something to eat and I just had coffee since I had eaten earlier. I hadn't read anything about this place - we just saw the sign and decided to stop. [I just looked it up and the reviews weren't good but we didn't have a problem.] The food was good but the service was a little slow but not horrible. I thought it was a nice stopping point and Thomas enjoyed his food. After eating we got back on the road and continued our drive. US50 leaves Sacramento as a four lane highway in both directions and gradually loses lanes until it becomes a curvy two lane road. From the café and for the rest of the drive we loved the views and the road - it turned out to be a fantastic drive. The drive took us around South Lake Tahoe and into Nevada. After crossing the state line we stopped in Zephyr Cove to find a couple of letterboxes. My first find in Nevada was artTrekker's Birds of Tahoe #2. This is a mystery box so I won't say exactly where it is but I can say that the views of Lake Tahoe from this area are incredible. We were at this spot for about 45 minutes while stamping in and just sitting and looking at the lake and mountains. Finally we headed out and a few mile up the road we stopped at Spooner Summit to find Dragon's Squirrely Switchbacks and Bear Prints (a two box series of store bought stamps). This was a quick stop and both were easy finds. We didn't stay here for long since the boxes were close to the parking area and we didn't want to do any hiking since we needed to continue our drive if we were going to get to the Nevada Capitol in Carson City.

Nevada State Capitol
Not long after finding the last two boxes we arrived in Carson City and made our way to the Capitol. The building from the outside is nice and the property surrounding the building is beautiful but I have to say this is one of my least favorite Capitols. The building is constructed from a native sandstone and had a silver dome at the top. Very beautiful  and inviting. But upon entering I almost immediately felt disappointed. The place really isn't kept up very well. The building is small and when you enter the front doors there is a tiny entry and then you are in a long hallway that is perpendicular to the entry. And directly across the long hall from the entry is another small area that looks just like the entry that leads to the back doors. We talked to a security guard and got my Capitol Collection stamp and a brochure. We also learned a little about the building. It is now used only for the Executive Branch of the Nevada government. The Legislature meets next door in a more modern building. The Capitol is only two stories and so we headed up the stairs to the second floor and walked around . There really wasn't much to see - the Senate and Assembly chambers aren't set up for use since the Legislature is in a different building. The Assembly area just had some plastic chairs in it and the Senate side is now a small museum. I really felt like they could have set up and furnished the chambers like they were when in use to help give a better presentation of how the building was used. After about 30 minutes here we headed next door to the more modern Legislative building. Again I was disappointed as this just seemed like a modern office building - nothing that interestng. So we decided to head out. At least I can check that Capitol off my list - I think I am around the 34 mark of Capitols visited.

Next we headed up to Virginia City. We arrived in town and found a spot to park and started walking along the main street. We went into shops and museums and learned a lot about the town. Virginia City was a big deal in the 19th century producing millions of dollars of silver and gold during its heyday. Money from the mining helped to finance the Civil War and to build other cities (San Francisco was built with Comstock silver). We also learned that Mark Twain worked at the newspaper here for a while.
"To find a petrified man, or break a stranger's leg, or cave an imaginary mine, or discover some dead Indians in a Gold Hill tunnel, or massacre a family at Dutch Nick's, were feats and calamities that we never hesitated about devising when the public needed matters of thrilling interest for breakfast. The seemingly tranquil ENTERPRISE office was a ghastly factory of slaughter, mutilation and general destruction in those days."
- Mark Twain's Letters from Washington, Number IX, Territorial Enterprise, March 7, 1868
Silver Terrace Cemeteries
After some time in town we headed out to the Silver Terrace Cemeteries just northeast of town. Here we did some letterboxing. There were quite a few boxes hidden in the different sections of the cemetery. We found eight boxes and then decided to call it a day as it was already 6:00pm and we still had to drive back to Sacramento. I enjoyed the boxes we found - they were by artTrekker, Public Hand, Wendy, Playful Otter, Captain Slick Kitty and Grumpy Grinch. I think there was an event here and that is why there are so many boxes at the cemetery. There were more boxes but we ran out of time and the wind had gotten really bad. The cemeteries are built on the side of a hill and are terraced. There are different sections - Masons, Pacific Coast Pioneers, Knights of Pythias, Virginia City Firemen, Wilson and Brown, Improved Order of Redmen, Roman Catholic, and the city and county. We had a nice time walking around and reading the gravestones. The history of the place was amazing. And now I can add Nevada to the list of states I have letterboxed in - the total is now 44.

Now it was time to retrace our drive and head back to Sacramento. On the drive back we only stopped once and that was for dinner - we ate at Red Hut in South Lake Tahoe just as we crossed back in to California. After eating we just drove and didn't make any other stops along the way (mostly because by this time it was dark and we were ready to get back to the hotel and get some sleep). It was almost 10:00pm when we arrived at the hotel. Thankfully Thomas' luggage had been delivered and that made him very happy. Thomas went directly to bed and fell asleep almost immediately. I took a shower and decided to do a little blogging. We are going to sleep in tomorrow and decide what we want to do when we get up.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Capital Letterboxing and Visiting

So I am in Sacramento, CA tonight - alone. Thomas was suppose to be here as well but something came up. Over a month ago Thomas told me he had to attend a meeting in Sacramento and asked if I wanted to go with him. I said "yes" mainly because Sacramento is California's Capital and I love visiting State Capitol Buildings. So the original plan was for us to fly in this morning and do a few things during the day and then Thomas had a dinner meeting tonight and an all day meeting tomorrow. Then we would spend the weekend in the area and fly home on Monday. Then on Monday of this week Thomas came home from work and told me he had to go to a meeting in Washington, DC. So the plans changed. He left Santa Fe yesterday and flew to DC with a coworker. Last night he had a meeting and then this morning another one. He left his meeting around 3:30pm to get to the airport to fly out to Sacramento. Things started out fine but soon after they boarded the plane they were told they would be delayed - first because of mechanical problems and then because of weather in Chicago. He texted me that they had been on the tarmac for over two hours. Then about 40 minutes after that I got another text that they were taking off. Needless to say he missed his connecting flight. So Southwest rebooked him on this crazy cross country adventure. He eventually left Chicago and flew to Kansas City. When he landed and got off the plane he called me. It was almost midnight in Kansas City and his next flight isn't until 5:30am. When he takes that flight he will go to Las Vegas and then get to Sacramento at 9:00am tomorrow. At this point he doesn't know where his checked bag is and he will probably not make his meeting tomorrow since he probably isn't getting too much sleep tonight. So I am in the hotel by myself just hanging out. But I did get to see some of Sacramento today since I kept our original flight and arrived in California at 10:00am.

Once I landed and got my luggage I took a shuttle to the rental car place. When I had my car I made my way to Old Sacramento. Finding a parking spot proved challenging but eventually I found one and once I parked I headed to the Visitor Center. I wanted to pick up a map and some information but there is also a letterbox there. So I got my brochures and the letterbox (Sherlock Holmes and the Curse of the Gypsy) and while I stamped in the gentleman working there told me some history, gave me some restaurant recommendations and some ideas of what to do while we are in town. I left the Visitor Center and spent about 45 minutes walking around the area and stopped into a few stores and then headed back to the car. I thought I might go and look for other boxes but instead I decided to head to the Capitol for a tour. When I arrived in downtown I was confronted with an even greater parking problem. I tried two parking garages and both were full. Then I drove around for over 30 minutes hoping to find metered parking but didn't have any luck. Finally I made a decision to head to the hotel which is almost directly across from the Capitol. I wasn't sure if I would be able to check in since it was only 1:00pm. Luckily it wasn't a problem. I parked in the parking garage for the hotel and   went up to the room and got settled. Then I grabbed my camera and my Capitol Collection book and headed across the street. I decided to head inside and tour the building first and then I would wander around the park surrounding the building. I went to the tour information room and picked up some information and got my Capitol Collection stamp and joined a tour that had just started. The tour lasted an hour and the guide was extremely knowledgable and I learned a lot. After the tour I decided to walk around a little more and then went to the gift shop for some post cards. After that I walked around the entire outside of the building taking pictures and then walked around the park. After another hour I decided I needed something to eat. I found an Irish Pub - De Vere's - just down the street from the hotel. So I had a salad, some Irish stew and a Guinness. By this time I was tired and decided to come back to the hotel and take a shower. It got pretty warm today (around 83°) and it was a little humid (and I don't do well with humidity) and that combined with having left Santa Fe at 4:00am for my flight left me drained.

Once I was refreshed I relaxed and did some things on the computer and finally Thomas called to let me know what is going on. So we have new plans but we didn't actually finalize them. I will pick him up at the airport in the morning and we will decide what to do then. He will probably be pretty tired and may want to rest. So for now I am just relaxing and hoping he is okay.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Back Home From TALE 12

This morning I woke up in Austin to rain. I had planned to go letterboxing again at McKinney Falls State Park since there were still some boxes I hadn't found yesterday at the TALE 12. But the rain seemed not to want to stop. So I decided to just head home. So I packed up my stuff and loaded the car then checked out of the hotel. Before leaving Austin I filled the car with gas and got some coffee. I wasn't sure how far I would get but I decided to drive either until I was tired or until I arrived home. It rained for most of the drive and thankfully it wasn't too hard of a rain and there wasn't too much traffic so the drive wasn't bad. I ended up making it home around 8:30pm and was glad that I decided to make the trip home today. I really enjoyed my trip to Austin and the event but I am glad to be home. But as usual I am looking forward to my next letterboxing adventure. You can read about this adventure at Don't Mess With Texas in Austin.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Heading to Texas for Another Event

A few days ago I decided to make a trip to Texas to attend TALE 12 - Don't Mess With Texas letterboxing event. I quickly made some plans and got a hotel and then gathered some clues. Today I packed and got last minute things done and tomorrow I start my drive to Austin. I will stay the night in Abilene since it is about a 12 hour drive to Austin from Santa Fe. I am looking forward to TALE this year since I missed it last year - I always have a great time at Texas events. I am hoping for good weather but the forecast is saying overcast with a probability of rain. We will see how things go and I will blog about the trip at Don't Mess With Texas in Austin. Lets hope the weather holds up and we have a great day for the event.
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