Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hey, there's a Minute Man in this box..

Dr. Pepper has a reputation as the unfriendly digger-upper in Boston. In another "guerilla advertising" project gone awry, the soda owned by Britain's Cadbury Schwepps promised big bucks to the finder of a special coin. Follow the clues to the coin -- sound familiar?

However, the company they hired to hide the coin buried it in the 347-year-old Granary Burying Ground in Boston. Nice place. Sam Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and others occupy the boxes buried there.

There was no damage -- primarily because the cemetery gates were locked due to weather. In fact, the parks folks only found out about the contest when a bunch of irritable searchers called to complain about the locked gate.

The UK press went wild on this, with good stories in the Independent and the Guardian. But now the U.S. media are picking it up.

Watch for a negative bounce on this for letterboxing. It's hard to prevent stupid people from being stupid, but the explanation (an indignation) of conscientious people goes a long way.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Road Trip Anyone?

I love LBing but prefer to go with someone for lots of different reasons, besides the obvious. I am on vacation March 25-April 1st. I am proposing a road trip to Marshall, MO to find "Jim, the Wonder Dog". I have not made any plans for the week yet so I am free to go almost any of those days. I will drive. I just need someone to ride shotgun. Interested? My car will hold five comfortably. Drive time is about one hour each way. Maybe there are even other boxes in the area we could hit also. We could make a day of it or just try to find "Jim". Either way I am open to possibilities! E mail me if you would like to take this jaunt with me!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Third Annual Mid-MO Spring Gathering Announcment

After much deliberation, the date has been set for the third annual spring gathering. It will be same as last years, Saturday May 5th. The event starts promptly at 10 AM and will run until roughly 4 PM, though everyone is invited to stay longer as camping will be available, and it is doubtful that 10-4 will allow enough time to hit all the boxes. Potluck of course! The location is being kept secret.

For those of you who have not experienced a Mid-MO spring gathering, let me elaborate a bit on what to expect. This is our BIG event. Big in terms of number of boxes, elaborate clues, number of folks who attend, contests, prizes…everything. If you can only attend one Mid-MO gathering, this is the one.

To take a peek back at last years spring gathering go HERE.

Several folks have already offered to make prize bags and now I’ll take you up on the offer. If you’re willing and able to create a little something to be awarded as a prize, please let me know. I’ve received MANY comments from past gatherings that people LOVE the prizes other folks make. You a generous crew to be sure!

I’ll be sending out invitations, but only the first 15 folks who RSVP e-mail me get them. Just zip me an e-mail with you mailing address (it won’t be shared). It’s a small price.

The theme? It’s a secret too. At least until the 15 invitations go out. Don’t want to ruin that ‘Ah-Ha!’ moment!

Send in those RSVP e-mails!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Vox Article Published

Well folks, we're in print. Let's see how it goes.

You can read the article online at

Letterboxing D.C. or not and other stuff

Well you know the old saying. All good plans...

I had made all the arrangements for letterboxing in D.C. I had even arranged to meet a seasoned D.C. vet, Scarab, who was interviewd on NPR about letterboxing. (

He had an incredible hunt planned for me, which had a very mission impossible like feel and semmed perfect for D.C. If you are planning to go to D.C. I would highly recommend contacting Scarab. Upon reading his starting instructions for this hunt (which I am not at liberty to disclose) I must say I had some trepidation but was willing to give it a try no matter how scary it seemed.

So, the last day of my conference I figured I would sneak out a little early, get in a few boxes and undertake his challenge and then meet up with the man himself. I am sitting in a general session listening to Senator Baucus talk about the potential for health reform (o.k. I wasn't really listening, I was actually planning out my route for later that day) when I get the news that my boss was struck by a car while running earlier that morning in D.C.

He saw it coming and jumped at the last second which probably saved his life and sent him over the top of the car instead of getting pulled underneath. After a battery of tests, he only had a few minor fractures and required no surgery. After a day at the E.R. he was finally released in a wheelchair and instructed to rest. I spent the rest of the trip working out the logistics of getting him what he needed and making the arrangements for the return trip. And in case you didn't hear, the news last night called Wednesday the worst travel day to be flying out of east coast in 5 years, so the trip home was quite eventful and very long. I was just glad we didn't fly Jetblue.

Anyway, I did try and find one box before I left, making an attempt on Radio Days. I was in the right spot but as with urban boxes, I was forced to hold my attempt due to some of the local residents sitting and staring right at the location. I waited for a while but no one moved and I had to return to my hotel and check out.

I really wish I could have more to report, but in the end I was just glad that everyone got back relatively safe and in one piece.

In other news, to celebrate the spring to come and chase off the some of my winter doldrums, I have begun a new series highlighting one of Missouri's finest and longest state parks. (Hint: if you love biking and letterboxing then this series may be for you). I may have mentioned this to a few who attended the recent winter gathering. For now the seires is word of mouth (WOM) only so if you are interested contact me via LBNA, Atlasquest, or email, and I will pass on the clues.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Devil's Icebox Update

Cave tour season is approaching and if you're interesting in doing a letterboxers' trip into the Icebox, I need firm commitments ASAP (preferably this weekend) so that my boss can finalize the rest of the caving schedule, including what other trips I am available to lead for the general public. (See January blog for details on the trip). E-mail me at

First, there's a slight conflict with one of the original dates I offered which is April 20. Apparently another group has received permission for a trip that evening and my boss forgot to let me know. While it is still possible for a second group to go, i would involve a few more logistics of shuttling a canoe trailer, not to mention coordinating trip start and end times with the other group. The other date I offered was April 27. Both dates are Friday nights. In light of the schedule conflict, I will also offer a third option of May 11 which is also a Friday night. This is the last weekend available before the cave closes for the summer, and is less slightly likely to be rained out than the April dates. It does not conflict with the Spring Gathering which seems will be either May 5 or May26 depending on how people answer's Lnd-Crzr's question on which date they prefer.

Second, in order for this trip to happen, I need a minimum of three people plus myself. If we have less than four, we cannot go into the cave (safety reasons). I also need to collect a $25 fee (refundable if tour is canceleddue to rain) from each person. Several people have told me that they are considering the trip but have not yet commited to a date or given me adefinite yes. If you have given me a yes for April 20 (Ahistory, Touch Trek, One Mean Green Bean), let me also know if you can go on May 11 instead. If anyone wants me to send them a pre-trip preparation packet so that they can see what a trip entails, I can do so, or you can view it on the web at www.mostateparks/rockbridge.htm . If you would like to go on the trip but are not available for any of the three dates, you can sign up for a public trip. E-mail for a schedule.


Favorite Music PLBRing

Greetings all. Will winter ever release its grasp on Mid-MO? I thought the winter gathering would supply an ample LB fix to carry us through ‘til spring, but I didn’t plan on the relentlessness of Old Man Winter. Thus I present another LB undertaking that I’ve had in my back pocket for sometime.

We all love the aspect of LB which introduces us to new places or ideas, or historical lessons and so on and so on. This undertaking gives us an opportunity to share a bit of ourselves and introduces folks to something new.

The task, if you decide to play, is to create a PLB (Postal Letterbox) based on your favorite musical artist or band. Within you PLB must be either a cassette or CD (I’ll be happy to help folks burn CDs) with a minimum of three songs by your band or soloist.

I’ll be running this as a PLBRing, that is, everyone who wishes to participate must have a PLB in the ring. You’ll send your PLB, and all subsequently received PLBs to this same person. Your PLB will venture ‘round the ring until it finally makes it way back home.

To participate, simply drop me an e-mail telling me you wish to do so. You can also post a comment on this article so folks can see who’s in, but be sure to e-mail me as well. I’ll set a launch date of March 15th so all entries must be ready to mail on the March 15th. I will expect all mailings (your original and all thereafter) to purchase the optional ‘Delivery Confirmation’ (another .50 or so) so we can track any lost packages. I also expect all PLBs to be moved on to their next recipient within one week. That is, don’t hold onto them any longer than needed. Our last PLB that circulated ran silky smooth as folks shuffled them right back out the door once they got them.

Now the tough part (at least for me) is to narrow it down to one group or person. To ease this dilemma, I will allow each person two entries, that can be mailed together, but each will require their own logbook, stamp and sampling of music.

That brings up another point, once you receive a FM (Favorite Music) PLB, I do ask that you listen to at least the three samplings the creator has chosen. You may include additional tracks, but indicate in some way which are the three that you have chosen as the ‘required’ or ‘essential listening’ tracks.

Additional information such as biographies, lyrics and so on are completely open to the individual.

Hey! Lets make this a contest with fabulous prizes (again, not new car fabulous…). When you receive a FMPLB, keep a little scorecard for yourself. Once the ring is completed, I’ll call for a ‘Favorite Overall’ and a ‘Hey, That’s Good Music’ winner.

I'll place a limit of 12 entries, with Mid-MO folks taking precenedce. So hurry and let em know you want in.

I look forward with great anticipation to the eclectic mix of music which I expect for this world-class LB community!


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Unsolicited Product Endorsement

When you have dogs in your family, you are frequently out and about rain or shine, fair weather and foul. This being the case, I usually run past a box...either a hunt for yours, or a check on mine. The recent ice has added difficulty points to these efforts. I now have what appears to be one of those trendy tattoos on my lower back/upper buttock. I think it is either a sick walrus or an amorous amoeba. Unfortunately there is no thrilling story, it came from a nasty fall in my driveway. Last week I was off after one of Ahistory's quality hunts...when the dogs and I both slid willy nilly down a hill. Yesterday I found the solution to the problem at Dryer's downtown. Yak Tracks!!!! Light weight, stretchy rubber is run through a coil spring and wraps around the bottom of your shoe. easy to put don't notice any difference in walking, except that you CAN! They cost me $20, and you could probably find them on the internet for cheaper, (I wanted to go for a walk i wasn't going to wait). The only caveat is that you can't walk on concrete or hard surfaces, or you squish the coils.
Good luck and safe hunting all!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mid-MO Winter LB Gatheirng of Games & Surprise Potlatch

When downright frigid temperature grip the mid west for weeks at a time what are die-hard LBers to do? Venturing out would surely result in the loss of digits.

A winter gathering is the way to get your fix! Recently the Columbia Library was home to the second annual Mid-MO Winter Gathering. This year’s theme was ‘A LB Gathering of Games’.

The theme was based on one of two contests. The first was C2B2’s excellent ‘Now You See Them, Now You Don’t’ contest in which local LBers created boxes which were hidden in plain sight and in high traffic areas. The winner was AHistory’s ‘Ode to Charolette’ LB with Mamaroots’ “Nancy Drew’ and TouchTrek and her ‘Oracle’ both took home prizes for second and third places. Speaking of prizes, thanks to OneMeanGreenBean, JennyJ and Mamaroots for bringing fabulous hand-made prizes to give away. Of course we must also mention C2B2’s fabulous grand prize which was an ingenious hand made (by C2B2) wooden box with a lid that had to be ‘tricked’ open.

The second contest, which the gathering revolved around, was for each to make a LB based on their favorite game. The LB and the game were brought and you could earn the right to stamp in by playing a bit of the game. The afternoon was spent moving from game to game stamping this and that, and of course fending of the continuing Cootie infestation.

Of course there has to be a surprise or two. My birthday was just a few days before and my son’s birthday was shortly after the gathering so we decided to give gifts. You see we were reading this fabulous book called ‘Zen Shorts’ by Jon J. Muth in which a Panda named Stillwater tells of his uncle who though he has little always gives gifts on his birthday. I mentioned it to our own JennyJ and she said it sounded like a Potlatch. I’d never heard of the phrase so a bit of research enlightened me that it is a tradition among NW Indian tribes to hold big parties and the host gives gifts to secure their place in the tribe. Well, we just wanted to do something fun. So my boy and I made a good number of handmade books and small whimsical photo albums which we handed out at the gathering. See, you never know what might happen at a Mid-MO LB Gatheirng!

Unfortunately such a good time was being had that we failed to actually vote on the favorite games LB contest. So if you attended and played through some of the games, send an e-mail to me voting on your favorite. I’ll send them a fabulous prize (not new car fabulous) and post the results when they’ve been decided.
We cannot speak of a Mid-MO Gathering without mention of the pot-luck. Oh how the saliva glands begin to fire at the mere mention of it! If you’ve never experienced a Mid-MO LB Potluck you have certainly missed out. These fine folks lay out a truly wonderful and generous spread fit for a king and queen.

I’m certain I have left out much of which people want to know or wanted shared. Please feel free to add your comments, or your own article.

I personally had a fabulous time as did my son. I cannot think of a better way to spend a frigid winter afternoon of gaming and boxing with this truly word-class community of LBers. If you’re interested in making this an annual Winter LB Gathering of Games, let me know.

For more pictures of the gatheirng click HERE.

You all deserve a root-beer!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Sounds like this Friday night might be awfully busy, with an opportunity for fine dancing, but if anyone is still free there is a neat movie playing at the Missouri Theater. There's always so much to do in Columbia, sometimes its hard to decide! The Ragtag Film Series is opening Pan's Labyrinth at the Missouri Theater at 7pm Friday night. While I can't say exactly what the movie is about, it sounds kind of mysterious and fantastic and I thought it might peak the interest of the LB community - the adults at least, as its rated R. While it has received rave reviews from critics, Pan's Labyrinth blends science fiction, horror, and fantasy and isn't for the faint of heart. The movie tells the story of a little girl in postwar Spain who escapes real world violence by creating her own "gothic fairy tale" world. Looks pretty visually stunning so I'm excited to catch the premier on a big screen. If anyone else is interested, I'd love to hang out - no event stamps, no logbooks, NO COOTIES, just pizza and a movie. How about Shakespeare's Pizza at 5:30 this Friday, Feb 9? Then we can walk over to the theater - just next door - after dinner. Tickets are $8 for gen. admission, $6 for students. If you'd like more info on the movie, check out, or the movie's website If possible, let me know if you plan to come with so I can save seats. Sounds like we'll have a great weekend, even if it stays cold!


I am heading to Milwaukee during the last weekend of February for an Irish set dance weekend. In addition to some dancing, I am also planning on hunting down some letterboxes during the breaks so if you have hitchhiker or two ready to go, you may want to let me know or simply drop it off at the Mid-Mo Bed & Breakfast Hitchhiker Hostel which I will check before I go. (For those of you who found it early on, you may like to know that it has been moved from its original location--it is no longer in the valley and is easier to get to, though I hear that it may be frozen in place at times). I have a conference to attend in ST. Louis earlier that week so I'll be leaving town on Tuesday, Feb. 20th. If you have a Hitchhiker that would like to head north, drop if off at the Hostel, and I will see what I can do. Likewise, if anyone is planning trips out of town, let me know, and I may send one with you.
And speaking of dance, there's an Irish ceili this Friday (Feb. 9) and a contradance the following Friday (Feb. 16), both in Columbia. PERSONAL-ly, if you do your research, you've got another shot at a TRAVEL, er, dance-related stamp. And it's loads of fun!