Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wild Cave Tour May 9.

I've set the date for the Letterboxers' Devil's Icebox Cave Wild Cave Tour. We were rained out the last two times, so cross your fingers for this spring. The date is Friday May 9 from 5 p.m. to about midnight. That's the Friday evening AFTER our spring gathering. I need a minimum of three people in order to make the trip happen, and can take a maximum of 10 participants and two assistant leaders (assistants must already be volunteering with the wild cave tour leader training program).

If you're unfamiliar with the tour, check it out at DI Wild Cave Tour.
There is a $25 fee per person. You will also need to provide some equipment. The minimum age is 14. This is a strenuous tour, and you must be physically fit. Preference will be given to those who signed up for the last two tours. A stamp, of course, is included.

Please RSVP in the comments if you're interested, or if you have any questions. I need to know by the end of March. If you're interested in other caving opportunities , let me know. I am the secretary of the local Chouteau Grotto caving organization, and we go caving on a somewhat regular basis.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Where Eagles Dare

The clue for "Where Eagles Dare" has been made posted to Be sure to notify Drebbel if you find it... the game isn't quite over with this box.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Letterboxing on the Hogwarts Express

Check out the Event Posting on Atlas Quest for the Spring Gathering:
Letterboxing on the Hogwarts Express
Be sure to RSVP on AQ.
And if you're planning on camping, make your reservations soon as campsites are limited.

Be sure to check out the Hitchhiker contest for the Gathering. The theme is Creatures in Myths and Legends. Check out the link above for more details.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lock n Lock, Rubbermaid, Gladlock oh my....

Now I have seen these discussions on the national discussion lists, etc, but I don't recall any local discussion about what works in these parts. So, what containers do you find best for letterboxing and why. Have you found some common ordinary household things that make great boxes? Have you used a container that just didn't cut it for letterboxing? These are the sorts of things that I would like to know. If you can, please list the advantages and disadvantages for some of the less common containers you have used. I think this would be great information for everyone.

Some fellow letterboxers out East recently turned me on to these potential boxes. At only $1.49 for a very sturdy and waterproof 4X3 inch container, they are hard to pass up. And they have a bonus nylon loop/clip increasing their placement potential.

Happy planting,

Friday, February 15, 2008

Music is in the air...

I know this is terribly late notice and that everyone has very busy social calendars, but if anyone is still searching for something really fun to do this Saturday evening (February 16th), then boy oh boy do I have a suggestion! Yes, tomorrow night Leela and Ellie Grace will be performing at Windsor Auditorium on the Stephens College Campus (1405 E. Broadway) in celebration of the release of their second album, "Where the Waters Run". The fun begins at 7:30pm (doors at 7) and is a family friendly event. The cost for admission is $10 for adults and $5 for the kiddos.

Astute letterboxers will recognize immediately the connection between these two local musicians and our dear hobby from the 'Favorite Music' PLB ring of last spring. Foxfire was kind enough to introduce our community to some of Leela & Ellie's beautiful music from their first album, and in doing so, introduce Leela and Ellie to letterboxing as well! I say we should continue this if hearing their phenomenal music live isn't enough motivation to come on out tomorrow night, I might add that I wouldn't encourage letterboxers to come to an "event" without a little extra incentive, if you know what I mean. So, here's what you do... visit Leela and Ellie's website or page (follow the links at the end of this post), listen to a bit of their music online, and then come to the concert tomorrow night. Find me there (at an inconspicuous time, of course) and mention that you believe "Letterboxing is our Common Ground". You'll get a little something special for your collection and an evening full of great music! I can't think of anything better than that! Letterboxing and music?! What? I might faint. But I won't.

Follow these links for more info (myspace has music you can listen to):

Monday, February 11, 2008

Where Eagles Dare

Last week I found Drebbel's "Where Eagles Dare" box. It's the most memorable box that I will ever find, no contest. The clue is currently WOM, but will probably be made public shortly. I don't want to give away the box's secret, but if you get a chance, find the box and leave a note. And if you want, ask me for more of the story.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Letterboxing D.C. Redux

As many of you may remember I had planned to go letterboxing in D.C. last winter (2007) but due to some unforeseeable circumstances was unable to even attempt one box. So this year I was scheduled again to travel to the D.C. area and I was determined to make the best of it.

So as soon as I checked into my hotel I was off to find at least one letterbox in the fading light and succeeded in finding Orion the Hunter. As the Lady in Red mentioned in a post earlier this year, true urban boxing is quite a different sort of thing than we are used to in Mid-MO. There actually are only about 15 or so boxes located in the District of Columbia itself mainly planted by a longtime boxer named Scarab, who I met and will talk about more later. There are more boxes in the area surrounding D.C. but I didn't have the extra money to afford that kind of transportation so I resolved to focus on the ones in D.C. itself. Many of the older boxes are missing. In fact, they have a very interesting philosophy about urban planting. It was similar to the one C2B2 had for their "Now you See Them Now you Don't Contest." Scarab in particular will plant a box almost expecting it to go missing. he kept saying often he was surprised that several of his boxes have lasted so long. Also he has been able to recover quite a few of his missing boxes as well to his surprise. In short, he places boxes expecting them to be only fleeting and to disappear which avoids a lot the frustration one experiences when a box disappears. Instead of disappointment for a missing box, he is delightedly surprised that several of his boxes are still around for the logging.

On my first morning I got up early to make a breakfast mini meet with Scarab and two members of Kilroy who was up visiting D.C. from their home in Tampa, Florida. We didn't have too much time because Scarab had to work and I had to go to my conference (my real reason for being in D.C.) but it was nice to exchange stamps and stories if even only for a short time. We set up this meeting in advance largely so I could attempt "It's About Time" an extreme letterbox of Scarab's that has been in existence for over year with no attempts. When you learn of my instructions you may know why. Anyway me being a crazy Midwestern letterbox with a reputation for FFs, I just could not pass up such a opportunity.

Before Scarab left I was given directions to his building and told to go to the security desk and say I had an appointment with him. I would be told the rest in time and I had to trust him. He did stress one final thing, that NO ONE at any time other than he and myself would know what I was up to. At first I thought this to be silly advice since it is always applicable to any letterbox, but as I approached the building, an internationally renown law firm specializing in Supreme Court law, I began to grasp the gravity of the situation. Here is a picture of the place.

Needless to say, I swallowed the frog in my throat who quickly joined the butterflies in my stomach and headed to the security desk. I had to present I.D. showing who I was and then given a visitor's badge and instructed to proceed to the 6th floor. Upon arriving at the 6th floor I was immediately overwhelmed by the impressive architecture and art in the lobby. The main hallways were lined with marble and the atrium above the reception area rose to the form the dome in the roof. I proceeded to check in with the receptionist and security gaurd there, where I was told to have a seat and given a hand written envelop from which I was to follow the instructions inside. Now I am not at liberty to discuss the rest of the hunt due to the secretive nature of it and I wouldn't want to spoil it for any brave boxers who may want to follow in my footsteps, thogh I may divulge more details over some good libations. But let me tell you, sneaking around city streets is one thing, but sneaking around the 6th floor of a strange office building within spitting distance of the White House, ducking into rooms that you really have no business being in and pulling envelops out from under desks to get your next instructions is something entirely different. You always have to be ready with an excuse for when you are accosted by that mosey employee wondering what the heck some stranger is doing poking around (which happened). It takes some confidence (the bad kind) and a little acting. Oh did I say that this hunt was "business casual dress required". I had a suit on so I blended in fairly well, but it was still very nerve wracking. When I finally had the box in hand I was so relieved but I got one final unplanned scare. It definitely was the most memorable hunt I have ever been on and I would highly recommend it for those without heart problems or pregnant.

I went on to find about 12 more boxes in D.C. while I was there. Several were missing and weren't well documented, but on average 60-70% of the listed boxes in the District were still around. I would highly recommend the following for anyone traveling that way or planning a family vacation for D.C. These are not in any particular order:
  1. It's About Time
  2. Pandemonium: the Fourth Estate
  3. Radio Days
  4. Orion the Hunter
  5. UU & Rice (my favorite theme of any box I found in D.C.)
  6. The Letterboxing Tour of Georgetown
  7. The Possessed (which i missed even though I was right there. I completely forgot to look for it while searching for others).
It was a super trip that more than made up for last year. Even the return flight home was nice, because I met fellow boxer D.C. Stones for a post-security exchange at the airport while waiting to board my return flight. He works at Reagan International and this was the first time he had done an exchange "post security" so that was kind of neat. It was also the first time I actually looked forward to waiting for my return flight.

The one warning i will give about D.C. boxing is that you sure do a lot of walking. It was often just easier to walk than to try and figure out the cryptic bus and public transportation schedules/routes. My feet were pretty sore and blistered by the third day and I figure I was walking at least 8-10 miles a day. I walked 16 miles on the last day I was there, so you get a lot of good exercise , though walking on concrete isn't as pleasant nor as easy on the feet as trail walking. Next to the walking the biggest challenge was the homeless which D.C. has an awful lot of. We are not used to walking in the wooded parks of our city looking for boxes and finding lean-tos and make shift shelters. On my final day, I even met the police on the trail as they were transporting a homeless man from the place he had made in the woods. They were collecting all of his aluminum cans, destroying his shelter and hauling him off to who knows where. It is a sorry state of our social world that we rarely notice or are able to ignore in Mid-MO, but one you cannot avoid while boxing in D.C. I was thwarted on more than one attempt by the homeless. It sure does humble a letterboxer. I mean here I am out in the woods looking for art and plastic and these people are just trying to survive. It sure keeps you in perspective and makes you appreciate the things you have and are able to do.

All in all, I got to meet some great people, acquire some superb stamps following some exciting and rather vague clues. I also learned a heck of a lot about how to successfully plant and make attempts in true urban environments. I more than made up for last year and would highly recommend this area for anyone.

Happy hunting,

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tips for letterboxing abroad (in the U.S. at least)

Walking around D.C. between the sights and the boxes got me thinking today about how great a trip this was (a complete account to follow when I return), but I thought of a few things that made this trip better (LB-wise) than in the past so I thought I would share them.

These are some simple suggestions that I will now ollow when I try to squeeze in some boxing in the down time on business trips. Lnd-Crzr is a pro at this so I would encourage him or any others of you to feel free to add your own tips to this list.

First, post a notice a few months in advance with a couple of reminder follow ups about the visit. Give the dates of your trip and ask if anyone would want to meet for an exchange.
Also ask what local boxes are a "must visit".

Second, do thorough research. Usually you can't find the location of thye box but you can pinpoint the starting spot. Have complete directions including maps of the area if possible. Also, contact all owners asking about the status of the boxes you are considering attempting. You often find out that some clues are outdated or the boxes missing. This can help you narrow down choices and avoid some dissapointment especially if you are on a limited time visit. Also, it lets some boxers who dont read the AQ and yahoo message boards of your visit and they may want to meet for an exchange. Which bring me to my next suggestion:

Last, meet for exchanges early and often. Other than the obvious reason to meet more boxers and swap enthusiasm and stories, you'll often get tips on boxes to avoid and other boxers to contact and try to meet and maybe, if you are lucky, a few word of mouth clues.

I find if you do these general things you end up with a much more memorable time and your learn not just more about the history of the place you visit you learn about the letterboxing history and culture there as well.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Event planning

I sent out Google "invitations" to use the planning form on Goggle Docs. But if you haven't received it or can't figure it out, you can go directly to the document here. Until you sign on as a collaborator, though, you can't write in the document.

Didn't get an invite but want to carve a stamp or otherwise help with the spring event? Email me at

Clyde (half of C2B2)