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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Back in Cheyenne for More Boxes

Today is our last day in Wyoming and Thomas is busy most of the day and this evening with the conference. I decided to get up and drive to Cheyenne to do a little letterboxing. I wasn't sure how long I would stay out letterboxing, it all depended on my foot. So I left Laramie around 8:15am and had a nice drive to Cheyenne. I haven't encountered any traffic at all since we have been here. I arrived in Cheyenne and made my way to a little park on the corner of Yellowstone Rd. and Dell Range Blvd. and tried to find a parking spot. There is a very narrow alley next to the park and I was going to park there but my car blocked the entire alley and I didn't think that was a good idea. So I drove around the block and parked on the next street over and walked. I took a couple of pictures of a statue of an elk and then looked for the box. It took me a couple of tries to find The Hunter by Seattle Bound because it was hidden really well. I found a spot to sit and stamp in and then replaced the box. I always like it when I find the first box that I looked for that day - it makes the day feel better. Back at the car I headed over to Lions Park. I had clues for three boxes.
No. 1242 - Old Sadie
First I looked for B&O RR by Celestini. I had to be careful because just around the bend in the sidewalk (slightly hidden by bushes) were six volunteers doing some clean-up. This box is hidden in the area of an old train engine. Once I found the engine I easily found the hiding spot and of course at that same time a guy came up and hung around taking pictures. I ended up waiting a good 15 minutes until he left and then I quickly snatched the box. I took it to a nearby bench and stamped in. Thankfully when I went to put the box back the coast was clear and it was easy to rehide. Next I went to look for 8 Seconds by Seattle Bound. Unfortunately as I followed the clues I ended up exactly where the volunteers were working - so I had to nix this box. I went back to my car and then drove to the back of the park to the Cheyenne Botanical Garden.
Koi Pond - Botanic Garden
Here I looked for Irish Lullaby by Seattle Bound. I followed the clues but at some point I got confused and lost. So I started over and still no luck. So I found one landmark toward the end of the clue and thankfully I found the spot. Then of course the area got busy - so I sat on a bench and waited. Finally there was a break and I dashed for the box. It took me a couple of minutes to find the box because it was really hidden well. I took it back to a bench to stamp in and then had to wait a few minutes for a women who was walking the labyrinth to finish. Once I got the box back into its great hiding spot I returned to the car to decide what to do next. From here I drove to Lakeview Cemetery to find I Left My Heart in Wyoming by Traveling Queen of Hearts. I had a little problem finding the gravesite I needed and I spent quite a bit of time searching in one area but still couldn't find the grave. After checking every head stone in that area I moved on to the adjacent area. I found the grave just past the marker for the next section. The clue said the box was in a tree and there was a small bush next to the head stone and the box was sitting at the base of the bush and not covered. I brought the box back to the car to stamp in. When I went to put the box back in place I tried to hide it better but the branches were really dense and I couldn't push it further under the tree. So I placed it as best as I could and then went to see if I could find a rock or some sticks or something to conceal it. I wasn't able to find anything. So I left it the way it was and planned to send the placer a note. I left the cemetery and made my way to the next box - Yummy Honey by The Woodshed. The clues were spot on and I easily found the box and stamped in quickly and then put it back in place. I worked quickly with this box because the area was really busy and I had to move between cars and people passing by.

I went back to my car and looked at the list of boxes I hadn't looked for yet and nothing appealed to me so I decided to head back west and stop at Vedauwoo Recreation Area to look for a few boxes.
Vedauwoo Recreation Area
Thomas and I had wanted to go to this area yesterday but it was raining so we changed our plans. So today I took the exit and made my way to the entrance of the recreation area. There was a parking area and fee station as soon as I turned in so I parked there, paid my fee and then read the clues to see where I needed to go. One of the clues sounded like it was where I was parked but one thing seemed off. I still went in search of it and ended up looking under every rock I could find. But I didn't find the box. And while I was walking around the sky darkened and thunder rolled and by the time I got back to the car it was raining. For some reason I felt that this was just a quick little downpour and it would stop soon. So I drove into the recreation area trying to find a parking area for the Box Canyon Trail. It was like a maze and with the rain I was getting confused but with pure luck I ended up in the right parking lot. I waited about 5 minutes and sure enough the rain stopped, the clouds moved on and the sun came out. So I gathered my things and headed down the trail. For the first part of the clue I was on a paved trail and needed to get to a gravel trail.
She Almost Made Me Pee in My Pants
So I am walking along and enjoying the scenery and not too far up ahead I could see the gravel. I was focusing on the gravel trail and all of a sudden I was brought back to where I was because of some loud noise and movement in the bushes to my right. I froze in place and turned to my right to look and a mama moose and her baby came from around a gigantic boulder through the bushes about ten feet from me. The mama looked at me but didn't seem concerned but I didn't want to take any chances. So I went off the trail on the other side and squeezed between about 25 trees all standing close together. I felt that if she did want to charge to protect her baby she probably couldn't get through. (Please don't tell me I was wrong about that because thinking I was safe in the trees is the only thing that kept me from peeing in my pants. At this point I decided I didn't want to continue looking for the box alone and was going to return to my car. But guess what - both the mama and baby were actually standing right in the middle of the trail blocking my path to the car. A few minutes later a couple came from the gravel trail and they stopped and talked to me. They had seen another moose on the trail where they had just come. That sealed the deal - there was no way I was going on that trail by myself. We ended up waiting almost ten minutes for the moose to move far enough away that we could pass safely. Once I got back to the car I decided it was time to call it a day. I partly used the excuse that I had been walking too much on my foot without my boot and I needed to get to the hotel and put it on.

The first thing I did when I got back to the hotel was to take a shower and then I got the boot on and finally felt relaxed. Then I got some things packed and ready so I don't have too much to do in the morning and we can get an early start. I had fun letterboxing in Wyoming and found some great boxes - thanks to all who placed boxes in Laramie and Cheyenne.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mosquitoes and Wind and Rain . . . Oh, My!

This morning I woke up with some pain in my right foot (for more info you can read my post from yesterday about my right foot) so I decided to take it easy this morning and wear my boot. I ended up hanging out at the hotel and did some reading which was fine because I was going to meet Thomas after lunch anyway since he didn't have any meetings at the conference this afternoon. He had a lunch meeting so I ended up eating some leftover pizza we had from dinner last night (we ate at a place called Roxie's on Grand - they have really tasty brick oven-fired pizza) and then he returned to the room around 1:00pm. We then headed out to do some letterboxing,
View overlooking I80.
We drove east on I80 from Laramie to Exit 323 for Happy Jack Road. I was at this exit yesterday because this is the same exit for the Summit Rest Area. Today we traveled on Happy Jack Road to find three boxes - Only in Wyoming (RAC) & State of Equality by preboxed and Happy Jack by team tiger pride. We were fortunate because we found all three. We found Only in Wyoming first and from the hiding spot we had some terrific views and also lots of mosquitoes. And as soon as I took my logbook out the wind got crazy and I had to sit on the clues, baggies and logbook from the box so they didn't blow away. It all worked out and nothing got lost. After putting this box back in place we continued along Happy Jack Road and stopped at the Happy Jack Recreation Area for Happy Jack. I got out of the car and left the door open while I got a pay envelope and I heard Thomas close the door. When I got back to the car he told me that in a few seconds the car was infested with mosquitoes. So I took out some bug spray and we coated our arms, necks, faces and ears - I also had Thomas put some on my back (I seem to attract more mosquitoes than Thomas). As we were getting ready to head down the trail a man and his two daughters were going for a bike ride, he told us about the trail and he asked if we had some spray for the mosquitoes - we said yes and asked if he needed some.
A Mean Little Blood Sucker
He said no, he was going to give us some if we needed it because he said at this time of year this area gets tons of the little blood suckers. So anyway we walked to the Happy Jack Trailhead and headed down the trail following the clues for the box and just as we left the parking lot we started hearing lots of thunder. I hoped that any rain would hold out until we found the box and returned to the car. We weren't so lucky but it wasn't too bad - a very fine drizzle for only a few minutes was all we got. As we made our way up the trail I used the clues to wave about to try and hold off the mosquitoes. Thomas used his baseball cap to do the same and every now and then he wouldhit me on the back with it- he said that the mosquitoes were gathering on my back in herds (the term he used). When we finally found the box it was about 20 feet off the trail in a dense stand of spruce trees and for some reason the mosquitoes weren't as bad. Thomas stood near me while I stamped in and used his cap to shoo away the bugs when they did come around and it turned out not to be so bad. On the way back to the car we had to fight them off again, but thanks to the spray we got only a few bites and thankfully the rain wasn't bad at all. We got back in the car and when we closed the door there were quite a few mosquitoes in the car with us. We couldn't open the window to get them out so we had to commit mass murder - there was blood and dead bugs all over. Thankfully I had some hand wipes and we were able to clean the mess up. Once that was taken care of we continued up Happy Jack Road. Not far along we turned onto Telephone Road and traveled just shy of a mile and parked at a cattle guard. The box we were looking for (State of Equality) was about 50 yards up a small hill hidden near a tree with about a dozen small boulders around it. I easily found the box and took my things out to stamp in and all of a sudden the wind picked up and blew a baggy and the box's logbook away. Luckily they went in the direction of the car and Thomas was standing just down the hill and he was able to retrieve both of them. He brought back to me and this time I sat on them because the wind wasn't letting up. And to make things harder it started to rain. Not a down pour but more than a drizzle with large droplets. The tree helped to protect us a bit and I was relieved that there was only thunder and no lightning. I got the box back in place and we headed back to the car. I am moving slow because of my foot and I ended up getting pretty wet before reaching the car. Our plan was to head back to I80 and drive further east to Exit 329 to the Vedauwoo Recreation Area but the rain continued and we decided to head back to Laramie.

As we took the exit back to our hotel we decided to get something for dinner while we were out. I was hungry for a burger so I googled burgers in Laramie and the first place on the list was The Crowbar and Grill (they used two plays on the name of the place - a crow and a crowbar).
Nice Logo
As with any reviews there were both good and bad but for me the good outweighed the bad and we headed there. The guy who greeted and sat us was also our waiter and he couldn't have been friendlier or more helpful (some of the reviews talked about poor and slow service). They have six burgers on the menu and they are all named after birds - Thomas had the Sparrow (regular burger with cheddar cheese) and I had the Crowburger (burger and Italian sausage blend with mozzarella and basil) - my burger was incredible - the Italian sausage gave it a kick. By the time we finished eating the rain had stopped and we still had plenty of daylight so we went in search of two boxes.

First we went to look for Slumdwellaz by Half Empty. This box has an audio clue and when I was putting clues together for this trip I listened to the clue and followed them on google maps which gave me the spot we needed to park and then I made a few notes of the actual hiding spot. It worked out great - we parked right in front of the spot and the car helped to hide me while I retrieved the box. I stamped in while sitting in the car and then made sure to hide it well when I finished. Not too far from this area was the second box I wanted to get - Are We There Yet? How Far Does I-80 Go? by sunflower8 and Kokopelli Krazy. We arrived at the landmark we needed and Thomas parked (again the car helped to give me cover). I got out of the car and only needed to take about 15 steps to the rock where the box was hidden, but I only had to take about 8 steps because the box was sitting out in the open about a foot and a half from the rock. I couldn't believe it survived that. I used the back seat of the car to stamp in and when I returned the box I made sure it was more secure.

It was time to call it a day because I could feel my foot feeling a little stressed (I wasn't wearing my boot because it is too hard to walk on a smooth, level surface much less on a trail or uneven sidewalk). As soon as I got back to the room I took a shower and got my boot on. It is feeling better now and it should be okay. So tomorrow is our last day in Wyoming and Thomas is pretty much busy the entire day and into the evening so I am on my own. Not positive what I am doing but I may head back to Cheyenne for part of the day - we will seen how I am feeling in the morning.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Little Letterboxing in Cheyenne

My plan for today was to drive to Cheyenne and letterbox there for the day. I didn't get out of bed until 8:00am and it was 9:00am before I left Laramie. When I arrived in Cheyenne I took I25 south and then took Exit 2.
Rock Formations
This took me to Terry Bison Ranch Road which then turned into the Frontage Road. I was looking for Seattle Bound's Roaming Wyoming letterbox which was on the Frontage Road near some large rock outcrops. I parked and then followed the clues. I believed I was in the right spot but I didn't find the box. So I decided to start again and see if it led me to the same spot - it did. So I returned to my car and headed back the way I came. On the way back to I25 I stopped at the Welcome to Wyoming sign (not on I25 but on the Frontage Road) and looked for VIENNA's Snow Much Fun box. There really wasn't anywhere to park so I just parked on the road (there was no traffic at all) ant easily grabbed the box. I took it to the car and then drove a little ways up the road to a gated road. I stamped in here so that I was out of the way in case anyone drove by (no one did). When I was done I drove back to the hiding spot and replaced the box - This was a store bought stamp which isn't my favorite but is was an easy drive by and I was there already. Also this box is in a small (maybe 2 inches square) little tupperware container and it was all brittle and broken. Unfortunately I didn't have any baggies or boxes to replace it. Once the box was back in place I got back on I25 and headed north and took Exit 4 to the Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center. Here I looked for and found flat tire's I-25 Wyoming: Roadkill box and The Woodshed's To WY From CO Purple Mountain Majestical Greetings box.
Welcome Center Sign
One was outside the center and the other was inside the center. This is a really nice Welcome Center - they have lots of space, quite a few covered picnic tables and a walking path outside and inside they have a wonderful exhibit featuring dinosaur bones, information on the territorial prison and other things related to Wyoming. I spent about 40 minutes here and then continued on. I was back on I25 and took Exit 7. I was looking for Celestini's Gotta Go, Gotta Go box. The clue stated to go to the Welcome Center and look for "The Greeting and the Gift" which is a statue. I think that since this box was planted that things have changed. The Welcome Center is at Exit 4 and that is where the statue is. At the place the clue said to go to it is now the Department of Motor Vehicles. But I tried to follow the clues anyway but had no luck finding the box. I think these clues really need an update.

Next I went into Cheyenne and stopped at the library. I looked for Her Alligator's Picnic Perfect: Lunch Break box. Thc clue started off good and I was finding all the landmarks until I got to the last 2 things I was looking for - I couldn't find them at all and after three passes I decided to call it quits. It was a little after noon and I decided to head back to Laramie and make one more stop at a Rest Area on the way. The reason I decided to cut the day short is that about two weeks ago during my morning walk I all of a sudden had a sharp shooting pain in my right foot. I still had about a mile to go to get back to my car so I just slowed down so the pain wouldn't get worse. When I got home I elevated my foot and put some ice on it. At first I thought I had strained a ligament but after a week the pain was the same and it didn't feel like it was getting any better. So after procrastinating for that week I decided to go to Urgent Care. By this time I was pretty sure it was muscle or ligament related and I was pretty confident that I had a stress fracture and that is what I told the doctor at Urgent Care. After three x-rays it was confirmed - I had a hairline stress fracture of the 2nd metatarsal. The doctor gave me a walking boot and told me not to put wait on my foot - any time I was up walking I had to have the boot on. The first day or two I was a good patient and used the boot at all times. But then I needed to run errands and I couldn't drive with the boot on my right foot. So when I went out I wasn't wearing it.
Lincoln at Summit Rest Area
Also, yesterday and today while I was out letterboxing I wasn't wearing it. So by noon today my foot and ankle were beginning to hurt and I decided to return to the hotel and put the boot on and rest. But first I stopped at the Summit Rest Area about 10 miles east of Laramie. They have a nice information center and a very large bust of Abraham Lincoln.I looked for Grumpy Grinch's Western Work box and TaiChi and ChaiTea's Maybe We CAN all get along box. I didn't have any luck finding either of these boxes and now I was really ready to get back to the hotel.

When I got back I got some ice and elevated my foot and iced it. Then I sat and read until Thomas was done with his conference. He got back about 4:00pm and then we decided to go out for dinner. Since Thomas was driving I kept my boot on to protect my foot. As I am writing this I still have the boot on and my foot feels much better. I will have to see what I can do tomorrow.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

On Our Way to Wyoming

Thomas has his annual WASHTO conference this year in Laramie, Wyoming so we are off on another trip. And while Thomas is at his conference I will be letterboxing. This morning we left Santa Fe sometime around 6:00am to begin our journey. There were no boxes for me to stop and get in New Mexico so we just drove along I25 until we got to Raton. We decided to take a break from the drive and fill the car with gas and get some breakfast. We stopped at a restaurant that was recommended to Thomas on one of his many work trips to Raton. This local place is called the Oasis Restaurant. The food was really good and it was a nice break from the drive. After eating we stopped and filled the car with gas and then we got back on I25 headed to Colorado.
Welcome to Colorado!
We only went a few miles and then took exit 460 to find The Woodshed's Colorado Highway Mountain Passes: Raton Pass letterbox. The box is hidden at a pullout at Raton Pass in Colorado. You can get a great view and picture of the Colorado Welcome Sign from here. When we got to the pullout there was no one there so it was easy to find the box, stamp in and then put it back in place without being seen. A nice box and a nice break along this drive. Back on I25 we drove another 18 miles and stopped at the El Moro Rest Area just north of Trinadad. The Woodshed has a series of four boxes here. I found The Art of El Moro series. This wasn't an easy task - this has to be one of the busiest rest areas I have ever seen. When we pulled in the entire lot for cars was full except for two spots. I was skeptical about being able to find the boxes but since we were here I gave it a try. I went to the area for the first box and quickly found the hiding spot but had to wait about 5 minutes for a man to move away and quit staring at me. When the coast was clear I grabbed the box, stamped in and put it back in place. The second box was very near the first one and this one was easier since I had a wall and a bush to block me from most views and I only had to watch one direction. Again I grabbed the box, stamped in and then put it back. I then went in search for the third box. Like I said the parking area was full and there were cars parked right in front of the hiding spot and there were people sitting in two of the cars and there was no way I could have gotten the box without being seen.
El Moro Rest Area - Trinadad, CO
So I left that spot and went in search of the fourth box. This one was a little easier but still took a little time. It is near the entrance to the rest area and I just sat there waiting while car after car kept coming in - I counted twenty-three cars before there was a long enough break to get the box. I grabbed it and found a spot behind a wall to sit and stamp in totally obstructed from view. Getting the box back in place was easier as I just went and sat at the spot and dropped the box back in place. I then went back to the car and we started to head out and since that third box was at the far end of the rest area I thought we could stop and see if it was a bit safer. There were only three cars parked near the spot and all were empty - so Thomas kind of blocked me from view while I grabbed the box. I took it back to the car and quickly stamped in so we could get it back in place before the owners of the cars returned. It took us about 40 minutes to be able to get the boxes with all the people hovering about. It was definitely a lesson in stealth. Then we were back on I25 heading north. Everything was going well and the drive so far was uneventful and pleasant. But then we arrived in Pueblo. We first encountered signs about road work ahead and then we saw signs that the interstate was closed and we had to detour. They had us exit the interstate and go into Pueblo, turn right and drive a ways and then turn right again and rejoin the interstate at another exit pass whatever road work they were doing. It was stop and go, moving along very slow - the whole detour took us 45 minutes. When we finally were back on the interstate and moving at the normal speed limit we were thankful - unfortunately that didn't last long. Just as we entered into Colorado Springs the traffic became increasingly backed up. We moved slow for a while and then we gained speed and then we had to slow down again and there were a few time when we came to a stand still. There was some construction but not enough to stall traffic - we never did find out why it was so busy and backed up. Not that it mattered because this traffic pattern continue all the way to Denver and beyond. The drive between Pueblo and the north area of Denver took us just over three hours (normally about a two hour drive). Once we got past the I70 interchange the traffic began to thin out. From Denver to Fort Collins was much better. We exited at Fort Collins (Exit 269) and then took Hwy 287 up to Laramie. Just before we reached the Wyoming border we stopped at a rest area to find preboxed's Wagon Ho! - Overland Trail box. This was a quick and easy find and in no time we were back on the road for our final stretch into Laramie.
Little Boy - Greenhill Cemetery, Laramie, Wy
We arrived at the hotel at 6;00pm - we had estimated A 3:30pm arrival with stopping to eat, fill the car with gas and letterboxing. So with the added traffic it took us 2+ hours longer. We still arrived in plenty of time for Thomas to shower and get to his conference dinner. After Thomas checked in we got our bags up to the room and Thomas jumped in the shower to get ready for his dinner and I headed out to find a few letterboxes. I drove about six blocks from the hotel to Greenhill Cemetery. I spent about 30 minutes here finding three boxes - Public Hand's A California Quail Comes to Wyoming, Grumpy Grinch's Horned Hooter and Batty Girl's Spring Flowers. This was a pleasant letterbox hunt since the place was empty. I only saw one car with two people and they were leaving as I was entering. After finding these three boxes I decided to call it a day and returned to the hotel. Thomas was at his dinner when I returned so I walked next door to the hotel to a deli for a sandwich. I brought the food back to the room to eat and I logged in my finds at the same time. Even with all the traffic it was a good day. Tomorrow I am on my own as Thomas is busy the entire day with the conference. I am sure I can keep myself busy with letterboxing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Letterbox Maintenance

Recently I started reviewing notes that people have sent me over the last year when they found my boxes. And I made a list of boxes that needed some maintenance. But I also had boxes that haven't been found in a while and I made a second list of those. Today I decided to head out to Madrid and Cerrillos to check on boxes in those areas. First I made a list of all the boxes with the basic clue and then made notes of what might be needed. I gathered a couple of containers, 2 logbooks, a handful of zip locks and a camo bag and headed out.
I first drove past Cerrillos and past Madrid on NM 14 (The Turquoise Trail) and stopped at a pullout between mile markers 23 & 24. Here I was checking on my Alphabetical New Mexico: T (Turquoise Trail) box. I parked and got out of the car and tried following the directions.
View from my Turquoise Trail Box
But a landmark that I had used was not very noticeable so I decided to just rewrite the clues. So I looked around made notes and came up with a much better clue. I then went to the box and opened it to check on the stamp and logbook. I had made a new logbook (an updated version so that all my Alphabetical New Mexico boxes are the same - I know my OCD is working full force). Everything was fine with this box so I turned around and headed back through Madrid. Next I stopped at the north edge of town and parked near the park. I stopped here to check on Twinville Trekkers' Beatles Series #9 "Day Tripper". This box is in great shape and didn't need any maintenance. So I got back on NM 14 and drove to Cerrillos. My first stop was near the cemetery to check on Bandaid's A Kiss From Connecticut - this box was in perfect order as well.

So now I drove a little further up the road to Cerrillos Hills State Park.
View from Cerrillos Hills
When I hike this park I usually follow the same route and that is what I did today. I had a list of all the boxes in the park in the order I was going to walk. I parked at the kiosk, paid my fee and then started my hike. I crossed the street and took the Jane Calvin Sanchez trail. My first stop was to check on my Felis concolor box. Everything was good - the box was closed well and the baggies were also closed well and it was dry and the clues were good. So I put it back in place and continued on.
Cholla Blooms
On the same trail I stopped and checked on Wronghat's Cerrillos Birr box. This box was also in great shape so I continued on my hike. I got to the end of the trail and then crossed the road again and took the Escalante trail. The next box I got to was Twinville Trekkers' Who? Who? box.
New Trail Sign
At first I couldn't find the box but then I noticed it lying on the ground and it was all chewed up. I am glad I brought that camo bag with me. I took the box back to the nearby bench and put the stamp and logbook into a new ziplock and then into the camo bag. I then hung it back up in the tree. Hopefully it will be okay. Then I continued on the Escalante trail and made my way to the Mirador Overlook. I followed Astro D's clues to find her Miner at the Mirador box. All was well with this box so I put it back in place and then continued on. I retraced my steps on the Escalante trail to the road and then walked back to the parking area.
Prickly Pear Bloom
From here I took the Village View trail to check on my Los Vaqueros box. This box was also in great shape but I had to tweak the clues a little because a sign has been removed. Then I returned to my car. I really enjoyed my hike and I realized that it has been quite a while since I have been on these trails. They have done a lot of work on the trails, removed some signs and put all new trail signs - so things are marked really well. They have also changed and added some trails so at first I was a little confused - I didn't bring a map because I use to know the trails and didn't realize things had changed. But I really enjoyed myself. It was a quiet morning and I only saw three people on the trails. Also the chollas were in bloom everywhere in the park.

I left Cerrillos and headed north on NM 14. I made one last stop at a pullout somewhere around mile marker 35. At this spot I checked on two boxes - Fantastyk Voyager's Magical Gate and rubberpeace's Rock! Paper! Scissors! boxes. These were both in great shape! Once these were checked on I made my way home. I have a great time doing some maintenance on these boxes. I got the clues updated on Atlas Quest and Letterboxing North America so that if anyone heads out to find my boxes they shouldn't have any problems. So now I need to plan my next outing for more maintenance.

More Cholla Bloom Photos . . .

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Letterboxing the Enchanted Circle with Astro D

About two weeks ago I was going through letterbox clues for boxes that were within a day trip distance. I put together five stacks. On June 1st I took a road trip from Santa Fe to Adrian, TX and back to find letterboxes along I40.
Jesus Nazareno Cemetery
Then on June 2nd I got an email from Astro D asking if I wanted to make a road trip to Red River so she could check on one of her boxes. Of course I said yes. Going to Red River (well really driving the Enchanted Circle) was one of my stacks. I had a few clues for boxes in that area and I needed to replace a couple of my boxes that had gone missing. So we planned to go letterboxing today. I had everything ready last night and had arranged what I needed to get done to match the drive. So this morning I went to Vote at 7:00am and then after that I met Astro D at her house. Around 8:30am we left Santa Fe and headed north on US285 driving through Pojoaque and Espanola.
Dennis Hopper's Gravesite
In Espanola we turned onto NM68. We made a quick bathroom stop in Pilar at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center. Then about five miles past the Visitor Center we turned onto a dirt road so that Astro D could do some maintenance on one of her boxes. We parked immediately after we turned onto the dirt road. Then we followed her clues and walked up the dirt road to the box. She wasn't happy with the hiding spot so she picked up the box and checked it and added some things to it and then she found a better hiding spot for Staurolite. Once that was complete we drove up to Rancho de Taos so that I could find her Honorary Mayor of Taos letterbox. This box is about Dennis Hopper who is buried in a cemetery off of NM518. When Astro D wanted to do this box she asked me to carve the stamp - I found an image, carved the stamp and gave it to her to plant.
Cross near a grave.
She said she had a hard time finding the cemetery as there are no signs leading to it. We drove into the cemetery and made our way to an area in the back where you can park. We went and found the box and brought it back to the car to stamp in. When I was done I put the box back in place and then we spent some time walking around and taking pictures. The cemetery is named Jesus Nazareno Cemetery and is listed as being on La Canada Road (off of Espinoza Road which is off NM518). It is a very interesting place and a great spot for a box. We left the cemetery around 11:00am and went to the Trading Post Café for lunch. Astro D was taking me out for a birthday lunch. We ended up sitting out on their patio and had some fantastic food and a great visit. After eating we continued on our letterboxing journey.

We continued a short way up NM68 to NM64. This is the start of the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. Our first stop along this road was at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park. My Alphabetical New Mexico: V (Vietnam Veterans Memorial) letterbox went missing and I finally had it ready to replant.
Eagle Nest Lake
I went back to the same area where the original box was planted but soon decided that I didn't want it there. So we walked around the area and soon found a great spot. I got the box hidden and we sat and wrote out the clues and I took some pictures. With that completed we continued on to the next stop at Eagle Nest Lake State Park. My Alphabetical New Mexico: E (Eagle Nest Lake) box seemed to be missing - so last Fall I went and checked and figured out that the trail had been redirected. After about 20 minutes of searching I found the box. I was going to just replant it there and then but the logbook was soaked. I decided to take it home and make a new book and then go back and replace it. Then winter came and it had to wait. So today I was able to get it back in place with the help of Astro D. I am so happy that these two boxes are back in action.

From Eagle Nest we went from NM64 to NM38 towards Red River.
Mines in Red River
Once we arrived in Red River we made our way to Pioneer Road and drove to the end of the road and parked in a lot behind the Black Mountain and Arrowhead Lodges. This is also the lot for the Red River Ski & Summer Area. We were here to check on Astro D's The Dykes of Red River letterbox. Last year she got a note that the box was missing. So Astro D read the clues and I followed them - I easily found the box - the clues were spot on. So she did a little maintenance and then she put the box back in place. Thankfully it was there - if you haven't gone up there to find this box I think you should make plans to go - it is a beautiful area and a great box.

Okay, we now had one more thing to do to end the day.
Clear Creek Cimarron Canyon State Park
We drove back to Eagle Nest and then got back on NM64 to Cimarron Canyon State Park. Our reason for going here was to find a Silver Eagle box. This box is a puzzle so you have to solve it to get the clues - it is one of his Game Series boxes. We followed the clues, parked and walked to the box. We found Hangman Game 82. It was a beautiful walk and a great way to end the day. We returned to the car and made a decision to drive the rest of the way through the canyon and go to Cimarron and then tak NM58 to I25 and return home via the Interstate.

The Palisades - Cimarron Canyon State Park
It was a great day of letterboxing! Thanks Astro D for a fantastic birthday lunch and a wonderful (dare I say an 'Enchanting') day. I am looking forward to taking more of these day trips to letterbox in New Mexico.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Rainy Days and Letterboxing Always Makes Me Smile

It has been a while since I have been able to take a full day and do nothing but letterbox. I decided yesterday since I had absolutely nothing planned for today that I would do a letterboxing road trip and just spend the day letterboxing.
Letterboxing I40
There were a few choices I had in where I could head out to letterbox. I ended up deciding to letterbox I40 from Clines Corners, NM to Adrian, TX. (According to Google Maps this would be a 235 mile drive taking about 3 hours and 23 minutes.) I left home about 7:00am taking I25 to US285 and then onto I40. Not long after turning onto I40 it started to rain. I had clues for five boxes in New Mexico and three boxes in Texas. I arranged the clues in driving order and made my first stop eastbound just before Santa Rosa at Exit 252 at the Anton Chico Rest Area***. Here I went in search of flat tire's I-40: Guthrie "This Land is Your Land" letterbox. I parked at the farthest picnic table and followed the clues from there. This was an easy find and thankfully the picnic table was covered so I could sit there and stamp in. That helped to keep things dry since it was still raining. Once I got the box back in place I continued on my drive on I40 heading for Texas.
My next stop was in Tucumcari at the Blue Swallow Motel. Here I was looking for Wronghat's Blue Swallow Motel box. It was raining again so I parked where I needed to be and tried to find the box's hiding spot from the car. From the clues I was looking for something of a certain color and I thought I had found it. So when the rain let up a bit and dashed to the spot and searched - but I didn't find the box. So I returned to the car and tried spotting another location from the car. My second try didn't yield the box as well. I realized that I was having trouble interpreting the clues and was so I was unable to find the box. After 20 minutes of trying I decided to send Wronghat an email and then continue on my trip knowing that I could stop here again on my drive home. I stopped to fill the car with gas and then returned to I40 to continue my day.

Midpoint Café - Adrian, TX
I drove for about an hour with on and off rain and finally arrived in Adrian, TX at the Midpoint Café^^^. There are two boxes here and I read the clues while sitting in the car waiting for the rain to slow down. From where I was parked I couldn't see either of the hiding spots. So I waited since I wasn't sure where I needed to look for the boxes and I didn't want to soaking wet. After about 20 minutes of sitting in the car and waiting I decided to go into the café and have some lunch. That way I could occupy my time waiting for the rain to stop. I had a great meal and read the clues again. Thankfully when I was finished eating the rain had slowed down to a light drizzle. So I went in search of Wronghat's Flo's V8 Café box. I pretty much figured out where I needed to start and was happy to find that I was indeed in the right spot.
Rute 66 Midpoint - Adrian, TX
From there I quickly found the box and returned with it to the car. Stamping in the car kept my logbook and the box's logbook dry and gave me a chance to relax while stamping in. When I was ready to return the box to its hiding spot the rain had stopped and I was able to put the box back without getting any wetter. And since the rain had stopped I went in search of the second box here - Wronghat's Route 66 Midpoint. I found this box quickly and took it back to the car to stamp in. When I finished I returned the box to its hiding spot and then walked around and took some pictures. Now it was time to hit the road again for my return trip home.

Back on I40, now heading west I stopped nine miles from Adrian at a picnic area to look for Bison Eidolon by Wronghat. It had started raining again so I took my clues and letterboxing stuff to a covered picnic table near where the clues started. I followed the clues from under the shelter and thought I had found the spot I need. The rain had let up a bit so I ran to the spot and searched - no box. I went back to the shelter, reread the clues and tried again - still no luck. Back under the shelter I waited a few minutes and the rain stopped. So I went to the fence line and searched around about 13 fence post. Didn't find the box. I realized that the first place I looked was the right spot so I went back there, found a stick and searched all around the post and the plant near the post - still no luck. I decided it was time to give up and continue my drive.

I checked my phone and had received an email from Wronghat giving me a little help with his box in Tucumcari. So I decided to head back to the Blue Swallow Motel. But before going there I made a stop at the New Mexico Welcome Center in Glen Rio to look for RIclimber's RI Climber Visits New Mexico box. I had noticed a comment on the clue page that someone couldn't find the box and figured it had been geotrashed. But I decided to give it a try anyway - what can I say I am a glutton for punishment. When I left the car to walk to the box it wasn't raining so I was able to read the clues and follow them word for word. And I should have put more faith in that comment I read because I didn't find the box. As I was making my way back to the car the rain started again and by the time I reached the car it was pouring. Even though the rain was adding some difficulty to my letterboxing I was still enjoying it - we can always use the moisture in New Mexico.
Blue Swallow Motel - Route 66 - Tucumcari, NM
From the Welcome Center I made my way back to the Blue Swallow Motel and this time things made more sense and I quickly found the box. There was only a slight drizzle so I didn't get too wet getting the box but I didn't want to get wetter so I returned to the car to stamp in. As always with Wronghat's boxes it was a great carve and representation of the landmark. When I went to return the box the rain had stopped which made it easier to hide the box properly. Now to continue the drive with one more stop before heading home.

After about an hours drive (with on and off rain) I arrived at Exit 252 for the Anton Chico Rest Area*** - Westbound. I had clues for two boxes here. I found a spot to park, grabbed the clues and my letterboxing stuff and set out in search of these two boxes. At this time the rain had completely stopped and the sun was out for the first time today. First I looked for Boxer Lover47's BL Stomps & Stamps in NM. I quickly found the first landmark and took a compass reading and headed in that direction to the next landmark. And voilà, I found the box. There was a nice big, flat rock nearby and I used that to sit on and stamp in. When I was done I put the box back in place and made sure it was hidden well. Then I went in search of the final box of the day - Grumpy Grinch's Forest Footwear. This was another quick and easy find but there was really no where to sit and stamp except on the ground - so that is what I did. Thankfully the ground was dry - I guess they didn't get as much rain as some of the other places I had been today. Once this box was hidden again I returned to the car to head home.

I had a really great day and I enjoyed all the boxes I found and I even enjoyed the rain. I am glad I did this trip to letterbox - it had been on my list of things to do and it made for a greay way to spend a relaxing day. Thanks to all who planted boxes along this route, it really helps break up a long monotonous drive.
***I listed the rest area as the Anton Chico Rest Area because that is what is shown on the New Mexico Department of Transportation's Rest Areas Map. But when you look on google maps it shows as the Vaughn, NM Route 66W Rest Stop. Not sure what it is really called but it is at Exit 252 with a rest area on both the eastbound and westbound sides of I40. I also found a New Mexico I40 Service by the Mile document that list the rest area as Anton Chico (I think it might have to do with it being in close proximity to the town of Anton Chico but I am not sure). This document also list the rest area as being at Exit 251 or Milepost 251. But it is in that area of Exit 252 so you really can't miss it.
^^^Here are some links to more information about Adrian, TX; the Midpoint Café and the Midpoint of Route 66 . . .
Route 66 Halfway Point
Adrian, TX: Route 66 Midpoint
Texas Legends: Adrian - Midpoint USA
Adrian, Texas: Route 66 Midpoint
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