Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Great Day for Geocachers and Letterboxers

Titusville Space View Park -- Gemini Section
GPS: 28.614506, -80.804373

The scene of the party

Just to close the loop, here is the link to the original posting that appeared in and

Thanks to all who attended. You made it a great day. I estimate the total to be close to fifty people. While I had most on my RSVP list, there were a few who showed up looking for Titan's Passenger (GC4QRCW) not knowing there was an event going on. They seemed happy to stop and visit for a spell. There were more Geocachers than Letterboxers but the Letterboxers won over several Geocachers. Maybe the other way too. So now there are a few more "double threat" people.

These are the attendees. If you know of someone who snuck in under the radar, let me know in the comments section below this post, and I will add them to the list. I don't want to miss anyone.

All HatKissimmeeCarolynTeejaylm
Bootscootin70Malachite Dragontiggermama
DM Scuba BratRonCvolkssporter41

My wife Michelle had to be out of town attending to some family business. She regrets not being here and looks forward to the big letterboxing event in St Augustine next weekend. This will be our first event of this kind. If you are curious or interested check out AQ3195 and AQ3245 on the Atlas Quest website.

Our letterbox followthecougar, Atlas Quest Box AQ244271, was here today and got it's first stamp. All Hat gets "First to Find" honors.

followthecougar is a "Traditional Personal Traveler" letterbox. Don't try to look that up. You won't find it. We invented that box type for ourselves. You can read that story at Our Letterbox Clue. While you're there, look up the answers to our clue questions so you can get our stamp next weekend in St Augustine.

Speaking of clue answers! tiggermama was the only person to approach me with answers to the questions before she stamped in. followthecougar was sitting out on the table and most others just stamped in. Congratulations to tiggermama and shame on the rest of you. That won't happen in St Augustine. Regardless, I am happy to finally get some stamps in the logbook.

followthecougar -- our "Traditional Personal Traveller" letterbox

How about Trackables? I brought four. I have been picking them up for several days from GC4652A The Camo Bug Inn a travel bug motel near my home. I use it a lot. It is my favorite place to launch travel bugs. Kingsnu brought a bunch too. Thanks for that. (I also love your dog).

For Letterboxers, the travel bug equivalent is the Hitchhiker. I picked one up from AQ233458 Remembering The Challenger. That letterbox is at the Space Shuttle Inspiration outside the Astronaut Hall of Fame. The Hitchhiker, #136608 Hungry Travelling Apple, has been on the road since 28 Dec 2008. I think it has been at its last location for over a year. Anyway I brought it to today's event. It was on the table all day and Malachite Dragon was the only person to stamp in. It will get a new home next weekend in St Augustine. Maybe I will also learn the differences between Hitchhiker, Cootie, and Flea.

Hitchhiker 133608 Hungry Travelling Apple

I left the event with two travel bugs. TB645YY Dio's Signal Tag is trying to get to Germany. I can't help with that so he goes to The Camo Bug Inn. TB29Z46 Meyers Manx is trying to go to Denver. My grandson lives in Denver so this guy will go in the mail to Denver to be deposited in a geocache somewhere near his home.

TB29Z46 Meyers Manx will go to Denver

While preparing for this event and looking at the RSVP list, I thought there could be a few geocachers who would like to try letterboxing but would be unprepared. So I made up three Letterboxing Starter Kits. The kit consists of a brief instruction sheet, an inexpensive stamp pad, a decent quality logbook, and an inexpensive stamp. Two folks were interested. I still have the third.

Letterboxing Starter Kit

One of attractions to letterboxing is the art form of carving rubber stamps. Today I met DM Scuba Brat and saw her collection of hand carved rubber stamps. This is the first time I have seen such a collection and I am impressed – WOW!. Maybe I can get her to carve a Meet and Greet stamp for me.

Late in the day we had a situation involving Titan's Passenger (GC4QRCW). Our event site is very close to this geocache (on purpose) and folks had been logging it all day long. Suddenly two groups turned up two containers simultaneously. One container was the one I knew to be the proper one; the second was a tupperware lock'n'lock container with a logbook but no identification. Several of our folks had logged into this container thinking it was Titan's Passenger (GC4QRCW). We sorted through the contents of both containers, put the two logbooks into the one official container and took the second one out of service. I will post a "Needs Maintenance" log for the owner to consolidate the logbooks.

I saved the best for last. I want to give a special shout out to Debbie. Debbie is an experienced Geocacher. She started in Sep 2006 and has found 2,165 caches and logged 648 trackables. She geocaches under the handle Bootscootin70. She letterboxes under the handle MrsBoots. Her first letterboxing adventure was today and she picked up seven finds.

That's Debbie in the center

She is the only one to post pictures to the event log.

Finding a Geocache

A 2fer Geocache and Munzee

Letterbox Log pages

Debbie gets my vote (the only one that counts) as the person who had the most fun today. Here is the quote from her log entry for today's event:
"I had a great day. Loved learning about Letterboxing. Thank you for having kits available to buy. What a wonderful day to be outside. I started my day going to a Triple Event. Letterboxing - Geocaching - Munzeeing. I started letterboxing today and met some people who letterbox. The gave me all kinds of information and tips. Then I was kidnapped by Seastar255 and WeCacheAlot to go do some Geocaching and have a treat at Twisty Treat. I went back to the event and talked with the host Bob for awhile and he told me where to go and what to do. So off I go to letterbox. I talked to a fisherman for awhile. Gave him some water and let him use my phone. Then at my first letterbox there was two men and I said hello as I was looking. I asked them if I could ask them a question. I said are you homeless? They said we are in transition. We talked for at almost an hour. I found out their situations and they told me how I could help. Very interesting. I continued on to finish Letterboxing, Munzeeing, and Geocaching. I had a great day!"

Before today I had resolved to take many pictures. I took NONE. I am ashamed. Debbie saved the day. If you took any pictures, you can post them with your log entry and I will put them into this blog.

When I talk to Geocachers who say "I don't do letterboxing", or Letterboxers who don't do Munzee, or Munzee Seekers who do neither, I ask why? Why not do all? I want to see new places, solve puzzles, read maps, find treasures. I geocache with my grandkids. They are motivated by trinket treasures not realizing they are learning geography, GPS, history, and navigation. Waymarking should be a way to find interesting places but the website is a disaster. Come on Groundspeak. Letterboxing leads to interesting places through clever puzzles while enjoying neat art work. Munzees occasionally take us to interesting places but are mostly a waste because it is just plastering up light poles in shopping mall parking lots. I play it for fun while Michelle does shopping. Get a quick synopsis of each of these games here.

Here in Titusville Space View Park are two geocaches, three letterboxes, half a dozen Munzees – all within a few minutes walk and findable easily within half an hour. Appreciating what the park means is worth two or three hours and the nearby museum is worth another two. By just grabbing finds, you usually miss the real meaning of the place. Geocaching, Waymarking, Letterboxing, and even Munzee can take you to neat places but it is still up to you to take time to smell the roses. Titusville Space View Park is a tribute to the greatest human adventure of the 20th century and the people who made it happen. I love this little place and the story it tells. I hope our event today enriched your life a little and made you a bit prouder to be an American.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Letterboxing Starter Kit

Letterboxing, like any other game or sport, can be played at any level of intensity you choose. From the ho–hum occasional player to the full–out–full–time competitor, there is pleasure to be gained by playing this game. Whatever level you choose or evolve too, here is what you need to play.

1. USER NAME / HANDLE I consider these features important (you may not).
-- Descriptive of you.
-- Not too long, not too short.
-- Easy to remember by you and others. "Catchy" is good.
-- Consider the fact that you will be signing it and typing it many times.
-- If you engage in other games, e.g., Geocaching, Waymarking, Munzee, think about making your handle the same for all.

I chose the handle "flyfishercacher" to reflect my interest in flyfishing and geocaching. I use the same handle in all games; I created my avatar to illustrate this name, and I use it everywhere.
My Avatar is my signature stamp

2. ACCOUNT / MEMBERSHIP in Atlas Quest (AQ) and / or Letterboxing North America (LbNA) website. AQ is by far the better site but LbNA is enough of a presence that you should not ignore it. I have joined both and use the same handle on both.

Both of these websites involve the common membership game. A basic membership is free and gets you some features. A premium membership gets you all the features and costs some nominal amount of money. I suggest starting with the free basic then evolving as your interest dictates. As a minimum, start with a basic membership to Atlas Quest.

Atlas Quest (AQ)
Letterboxing North America (LbNA)

3. SIGNATURE STAMP This is the centerpiece of the Letterboxing game. Very serious players are into the art form of hand carving rubber stamps. Letterboxing provides a display forum for their art work and your searching will turn up some impressive stamps. Those of us who are less intense, can have a stamp made for a reasonable price by You provide the art work in the form of a picture (jpg, png, gif) and they will create a rubber stamp from your art work. I think it is a good idea to include your handle in the stamp.

I have included an inexpensive stamp in this kit just to get you started. If you develop any interest in this game, you will quickly want to move on to a better stamp.

4. STAMP PAD Letterboxes are supposed to contain a stamp and a logbook. Most do not contain a stamp pad. So to play the game you should bring along your own stamp pad. There is a cheap one in this kit. Like the stamp, you will want to move on to better ink and stamp pad. Buy from craft stores; not office supply stores.

5. LOGBOOK This is where my education has been long and expensive and may not be over yet. Soon after I started geocaching, I bought a cheap spiral pad to keep a brief record of my finds. Then I encountered a geocache with a stamp in it. Then I learned about letterboxing. Then I found a letterbox with a stamp too big for my little spiral pad. Then I realized that the ink was bleeding through the paper and obliterating the writing on the other side. Then I got smart(er).

The logbook should be a quality product worthy of containing and displaying a collection of stamp images and notes that may grow for many years. You will not be able to return and recapture these images sometime in the future. Your logbook should be something you are proud to show off.

So here is my advice:
-- Spiral binding so that the logbook can be laid open flat
-- Heavy weight acid free paper (90lb is good). Reduces possibility of bleed through and preserves stamp images just about forever.
-- Large enough to hold bigger stamps. Small enough to carry around. I don't have a magic answer here but a small notepad sure isn't it.

This kit contains a quality logbook. I did not go cheap here. The pages are 5.5" by 8.5" and are 98lb paper.

Hopefully these notes and this kit will give your letterboxing adventure a starting boost.