You'd think that gas at nearly four bucks a gallon would be slowing down my letterboxing trips. But no. If you look at my online logbooks you'll notice that I go in spurts: I'll wane in planting or finding for a while, then go nuts for a while. This week was definitely an upswing.
I drive all over for my courier job, so I can end my day in some far-flung areas, and with daylight savings time hitting last week, I have an hour extra I can devote to boxing.
MONDAY was a long day, and I was tired as I drove home late from Riverside. But my son called me because he was visiting his girlfriend and her family and wanted to know if I could pick him up later. Sure, I said. I was going to put off Lee's new series of Classic Robotics, but since they were between where I was and where my son was, that seemed like a good excuse to hunt them down before picking him up. Besides, it was Pi Day, so that seemed like the perfect day for a geek to work through clues written as a computer program. As expected, it was another awesome series from my favorite prolific planter, but I was hunting in the dark by the end of it.
Box four was under a SPOR:
TUESDAY by contrast was unusually short. I only went to Gardena and was done by 10:30, so up the 405 I went to nab another brand new box, surprising the planter, since I logged the find from my iPhone only twelve hours after it was listed. I was in the area, so I went to get a pastrami sandwich for lunch at Labels Table, since they were closed by the time I got to the letterbox last month.
WEDNESDAY I finished up in La Crescenta just after noon, so up the 210 I went, then over to the 14 and Placerita Canyon. I'd been planning to take another crack at Howl since last summer when Fleetwood 7 found it and mocked my "attempt" log at the Moose Meet. A little more determination and it was actually an easy find. I had planned to then head west on the 118 and take another crack at uneksia's box, but once I realized I was so close to Vasquez Rocks, which now had TWO recent plants, I couldn't resist.
Well, the Arena box had been found by MrOspital when he was there planting his, but it still contained a first-finder prize. Since I had her number, I actually phoned up Dezert Ratty to double-check that it was okay if I removed it. She said MrO didn't want it, so it was mine. Then she called me back ten minutes later. Since I was in the area, she gave me the clue to a new plant she hadn't listed yet. This sent me further up the 14, so I just kept on going to Lancaster. I nabbed her Baby Gumm box, but was bummed that the hotel museum was closed. So instead of a photo of Judy Garland's footprints, you get the front of the building:
I soldiered on to Launch In The Park but used Avenue G rather than H as the clue suggested, since it was a little quicker up the freeway. I'm glad I did, because if you keep to the left lane around 35th Steet the grading in the asphalt plays The William Tell Overture as you drive over it. A very cool surprise, and it more than made up for the box being missing. Since the next closest box was in Mojave, I decided I'd better start back home. 87 miles later I refilled the gas tank before hitting the sack. Hmmm, I got a little carried away, didn't I...
THURSDAY was St Patty's Day, so no boxing. I spent the evening with most of Team White for the upcoming Kelsung Klue game, playing games and eating traditional Irish fare: corned beef and cabbage, colcannon, bangers in Guiness sauce and I was the only one NOT drinking Glenfiddich whiskey.
FRIDAY I'd rightly guessed would end in Glendale, so when I left in the morning I'd brought a change of clothes and my hiking boots. A new box had just been listed in Van Nuys on a familiar trail, so I hit it up, getting first-finder certificates for both the box and the hitchhiker they'd left inside. Then it was up the 405 to the 118 and a new hampshire crocus finds a home in california. I'd tried for this one late last spring, but couldn't crack the last bit of the clue. When uneksia visited again in February, she gave a subtle hint and it clicked what I needed to be looking for, so I was anxious to try again when an opportunity arrived. But even now that I knew what I was looking for, three possible options still made it a tricky hunt and a rewarding find. I then soldiered on to Moorpark to climb a hill for a wonderful view and a missing box. Again it was now dark and I was over 60 miles from home.
All this may make it sound like I'm eager to be first-finder, having been the first to thirteen boxes in a week and getting six prizes for it. But it is honestly just the result of my obsessive hunting for the last three years: I have every local box, making me eager whenever a new one is planted so I don't need to drive 60 miles to get it. But once I start driving, sometimes I just keep on going...
Gas prices be damned!