I don’t want to give away the locations of the super secret letterboxes in Santa Fe, but I want to tell you one of our favorite adventures. (This one doesn’t involve Attack Lizards, like yesterday’s long-overdue update…)
I’ll try to do this without spilling too much of the specific details.
In my research of different boxes to find in Santa Fe, I stumbled upon one that didn’t have a specific starting point listed. It was just listed as “Santa Fe, NM.” This is not uncommon. In the text of the clue, the instructions are whimsical and written in punny code. This, too, is not uncommon.
After reading through it, and using my knowledge of Santa Fe, I was pretty sure I knew where the starting point was. Or at least, I thought I was close. I was sure we’d be able to figure it out when we arrived in person.
This particular location is not open to the public 24/7, so we had time on Friday night to do some recon. We took notes and figured out the best way to proceed the next day. After breakfast on Saturday, we headed out, our mission clear, even if the exact details were not.
Despite being very vague, this clue had very specific instructions.
For example (and the names have been changed to protect this letterbox), we were supposed to go see Mike and/or Dave. Once we’d located Mike and/or Dave, we were supposed to ask to see Patrick Henderson. We were warned by the clue that talking to anyone other than Mike or Dave could jeopardize the mission, and/or people would just think we’re crazy. It assured us that no one except Mike or Dave would even know who Patrick was.
We timed everything perfectly. It was right at Opening Time, so the crowds were minimal (practically non-existent, actually), and an elderly man was busy setting up for the day. He called over his shoulder from the back room, “I’ll be with you in a moment! Feel free to look around!” He came over a couple minutes later, and I said, “I was wondering if Mike or Dave are working today?”
He stopped. He got the funniest look on his face, and his eyes began to sparkle. “Mike or Dave!?” he said in an hushed, excited tone. “You need to go over that way,” and he pointed us through a different door, in the right direction. Without giving too much away about this location, it involved walking through an area that was usually closed to the public at large, and he told us what to tell Security if we were stopped!
We could hardly believe it! The excitement nearly threatened to overtake us.
Again, we go through another door and follow the man’s instructions. The same sight greets us: A man is working in the back and calls up to us, saying he’ll be with us in a moment. He then comes over to us, and I ask again, “I’m wondering if Mike or Dave are working today?”
He gasps out loud; his face bursts into a smile and he says loudly, “YOU MUST BE HERE TO MEET PATRICK!”
“Well, yes, we are!” I exclaim.
He then ushers us BEHIND a big ol’ sign that says, “EMPLOYEES ONLY.”
“It’s okay,” he tells us. “People aren’t usually allowed back here, but you guys are special.”
Claire is just beside herself with excitement, and even Daddy is impressed by this turn of events. Again, without giving anything away, we were then “introduced to Patrick” and then given a private tour of the behind-the-scenes of this particular place that we would have never been granted had it not been for our stealthy mission.
And we didn’t even have to use our cover-story with Security…