Portal to the Clues

So here we go, I really have no idea what I'm doing here, so excuse me if I really screw this up :-)

With that said, and with the self confidence of a guppy on a treadmill, here we go . . .

A Portrait of Ronald Reagan

Title: "A Portrait of Ronald Reagan"

Place: Lowell Park in Dixon, Illinois.

Date Placed: September 30, 2007


Established in 1907 this park has 200 acres and is absolutely wonderful just to drive through.

"Until you have walked through this nature wonderland, will you not appreciate this wonderful gift that was presented to the City of Dixon near the turn of the 19th century.

"Established in 1907, it has stood through all these years as a place whereby people could relax and enjoy recreation to its fullest. It is where Ronald Reagan took a summer job as a lifeguard and is reported to have saved 77 people from the river during his tenure. We hope you will enjoy the picturesque scenery and that some day you will visit this magnificent park."

WARNING: The park has gates that close automatically at 7:00 P.M. If you get locked in they give the phone number to the sheriffs department -- guessing you get a ticket when they let you out. You've been warned!

You will have to find the GIANT red top pictured above.

Stop and read the sign on the top as it mentions Ronald Reagan and the hay day of the park.

From this red monster walk at 210* until you come to a path leading into the woods.

Follow this path until you come to an intersection . . . turn right.

When you come to a "Y" flip a coin to see which way you go -- ah tails, left it is.

Shortly after you go left keep your eyes to the left side of the trail . . . you will see two trees that stand side by side and actually their roots meet in the middle.

Stand between the two trees and look forward (away from where you just came from) you will see a fallen tree (several actually) follow the one closest to you to the other end -- it will point your way.

Once to the other end of this tree you will see just ahead of you two trees standing close together -- one larger than the other.

Walk to the left of these buddies across the dirt road and up the hill . . . following the deer path up the hill.

About 3/4's the way up (there is a road at the top) look to your left and you will see a large tree with a dead tree fallen into its opening. Walk to this site.

There is a couple fallen trees/logs a rock and several trees still standing. Mr. Reagan is hidden at the junction of the rock and the decaying tree on the up hill side.

Please use Black ink only. Thanks.


Here are the clues to my Galena, Illinois boxes that are not posted to the public.

Please note, I have more boxes that are posted at Letterboxing.org and Atlasquest.com be sure to check out these sites and print out clues to;

"The Wandering Moose", "Stagecoach Trail", "The Love Dungeon", "Eagle Ridge".

Presidential Series: U.S. Grant

Title: "Presidential Series: U.S. Grant"

Place: Galena, Illinois

Date Placed: August 26, 2007


Just down the hill from the Grant home is a small one room log cabin that was occupied by a family all the way up until the 1970's.

Go around back to the three small steps leading up to the back door, the box is underneath the bottom stair on the right side as you face the back door.

As you face the back of the log cabin its under the right side of the stairs.    

This box is two film canisters taped end-to-end.

PLEASE be as stealth like as possible and re-hide carefully.

Roses for My Loves

Title: "Roses for My Loves"

Place: Galena, Illinois

Date Placed: August 26, 2007


As mentioned in my clues for “Bonnett’s Flowers” I used to work for Bonnett’s Wholesale Florist. The first route I learned took me to Galena, Illinois 4 times a week – how could I complain??  

This beautiful picturesque town, the shops, the history, etc. I loved this town. I’ve been to Galena hundreds of times (counting all the times I was on the clock this is no exaggeration).  

When the time to plan our honeymoon came it was an easy choice, Becki and I would go to Galena.  

Years later we were having trouble starting our family, we lost two pregnancies to miscarriages right at or before the first trimester.  

So, on our third pregnancy we celebrated every milestone by having a nice dinner out just the two of us.  

We had just learned we were going to have a little girl, and had already picked out a name for her, Katherine Neal.  

To celebrate this milestone I was going to take my beloved to dinner at Fried Green Tomatoes in Galena. The restaurant was then located a few miles outside of Galena in the old insane asylum (now the restaurant is located downtown on Main Street).  

I had arranged through my connections at the Galena Greenhouse to have two roses waiting at our table with two cards written by me, one to my lovely wife and the other to my little Katie.  

I’m sure the wait staff at Fried Green Tomatoes was intrigued by the “real ladies man” who was coming to dinner with two dates!  

CLUES;   You have to find the original location of Fried Green Tomatoes at 1301 Irish Hollow Road.   This location is up for sale and if you have a extra few million dollars to spare you may want to consider this beautiful estate with lots of history.  

If you don’t have a few million to spare you can get a letterbox for free! :-)  

You will see some landscaping at the entrance to the land. A few long poles and some rocks.  

You will want the long pole that is pointing to the 1301 address sign on the road and tucked in the end of this pole are two roses, one for my Becki and one for my Katie.  

This is a small hide-a-key box with no room for a logbook, so please Email me and let me know you found it.  

Take care not to rip the small baggie, but if you do there is a spare baggie within.

"The Piano Must Go Up!"

Title: "The Piano Must Go Up!"

Place: Galena, IL

Date Placed: September 20, 2008


As mentioned in my "I'm a Cucumber" box in Pepin, Wisconsin -- I love VeggieTales!!

One of my many favorite scenes is "The Piano Must Go Up!"

Its a mostly silent film, with Bob, Larry & Mr. Lunt staring as the Three Stooges moving a piano up a multitude of stairs.

This skit is hilarious, its featured on the SUMO of the Opera episode and I highly recommend borrowing it from your local library just to watch this skit.

Yes, I looked for it on Youtube, and as of this evening it was not available. I will keep my eyes out though.

From Main Street, Galena, find the staircase featured in the picture.

Climb the stairs, yes, all of them. Once at the top you will be faced with a white wall, you have a few more stairs to climb. Head up to the left.

You will see a stop sign, start county rocks, between the 6th and 7th rock you will find all your hard work paid off!

Way to go!!

Ms. Scarlett's Grand Entrance

Title: Ms. Scarlett's Grand Entrance

Place: Belvedere Mansion, Galena, IL

Date Placed: August 30, 2007


Find the Belvedere Mansion at 1008 Park Ave. in Galena. This is Galena’s largest mansion and home to the green drapes made famous in the moving “Gone with the Wind.”

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never seen “Gone with the Wind,” so I carved up an even more famous, or should I say, infamous set of green drapes – the ones worn by Carol Burnett in her satire “Went with the Wind.”

Once at the Belvedere Mansion, Don't let the red circle with white bar detour your efforts. Your quest is just a few feet down past the mail boxes, behind the stump Ms. Scarlett awaits your entrance to the ball.

For best effect, stamp image in black. Then color in with colored pencils or markers. Use image above for colors, or contact me and I will send you the original image I used for this stamp.

A Life Time of Memories

Title: A Life Time of Memories

Place: Main Street, Galena, Illinois

Date Placed: August 26, 2007

We have made a tradition of going to Galena every year around this time. Though we have MANY traditions one of my favorites is visiting a shop full of Christmas ornaments.  

You see, we look back on our children’s lives of the past year, my how they’ve grown. We think back to memories and milestones, what was a favorite saying or theme that kept coming up time and time again during the year.  

We then would go and pick out a very special Christmas ornament just for that child and that memory.  

When Christmas rolls around we put the tree up, string the lights and hang the ornaments. Then we set up the camcorder on a tripod and record ourselves telling the story of why we picked out this ornament or that and present the ornament to our child who then hangs their new decoration on the tree.  

When our children grow up and move into their own place and get married they will have a box full of ornaments full of memories of a life time.  

Each stamp is hidden on or around Main Street in down town Galena. This town is bursting with tourist and activities. These stamps are very precious to us and we ask that you take EXTRA care in being as stealth like as possible with retrieving the stamps and putting them back in their spots.  

They are all magnetic hide-a-keys with no log books due to lack of space so please contact me and let me know how they are doing as you find them.  

There is no order to find these stamps. I have carved one ornament for each of our 4 children and I will give you the clues in their birth order (not necessarily the order you have to find them).  


Katie – our 5 year old, bursting with energy and talent. She loves to put on a show using our coffee table as a stage, sharing stories, songs and dances are all part of the act. Never shy in introducing herself or her younger siblings, Katie gives us great pride.  

There is a little Real Estate Office on Main Street that stands by itself. As you stand looking at the properties up for sale look to your right, you will see a metal staircase. Between the 3rd stair up and the building is a magnetic hide-a-key.

Alex – our 3 year old, shyness is now wearing off and Alex is coming out of her shell. You can’t just make her smile by being goofy, you have to get on a deeper level with her and when she gives you a smile it is genuine and it melts your heart. Alex loves to do what she can to help out and gives of herself to share. Alex gives us much joy.  

Find Seasons Remembered (where we buy our ornaments), you don’t want the lower door that goes out to Main Street, you will want the door to the second floor that is around the back side of the building up the stairs. 

***ATTENTION Seasons Remembered has moved!! It's now further down on Main Street. Alex's Ornament is still in its original location -- just look for the main door to Vinny Vanucchi's. ***
As you head out of Seasons Remembered turn left towards the front door of Vinny Vanucchi's (we eat here every year we come to Galena), as you pass the staircase to your left heading towards Vinny’s look on the supporting post to the staircase there is a black metal box.  

Look all around, is anyone looking? Make sure to look inside the restaurants windows to see if any eyes are following you.  

Reach up between that small black box and the brick wall is Alex’s ornament.  

Will – My only son! My heart leaped when I found out his gender on the ultrasound. Will is fearless touching and picking up any little bug or worm that he sees. He is as laid back as he can be with 3 sisters. He is quick to giggle at the thrill of being pushed in a tote across the floor and raises his hands as if on a roller coaster when his stroller goes down hill. At 18 months old I look forward to learning more of my son in years to come.  

Find Honest Johns Trading Post, to the side of the building is a metal staircase going up to the second floor. Under the staircase are a couple horizontal ornamental steel brackets (between the outside of the staircase and the wall of the building), Katie's ornament is hidden behind the lower most ornamental bracket. 

Maddie – Will’s little twin sister. Maddie is our youngest (by 2 minutes) and knows how the system works. With a flicker of her eye lashes and a coy little grin she can get anything she wants (not really, but she thinks she can). She can climb or crawl over anything and with a quick giggle of “see what I just did” she runs off to her next triumph.  

A side note to this hiding spot, the Log Cabin. While I was at Bonnett’s I delivered to a woman known as the Practical Gardener. I had told her that I was going to be married and spend our honeymoon up in Galena. She asked what kinda place we liked to eat dinner at and I said we love steakhouses. The next time I delivered flowers she and her husband had presented me with gift certificates to The Log Cabin for “dinner on them.”  

Thank you Wendy and Grant for that generous gift you gave us 8 ½ years ago!  

Once you have located the Log Cabin, to the side of the building is a metal staircase. The Hide-a-Key is between the 3rd step up and the building.

Warning, behind you and across the street is a bench where people can sit and see you getting this box. Be extra careful in getting and replacing this box. Make sure it is completely out of view.  

We thank and praise God everyday for the wonderful children He has blessed us with. After two miscarriages and many doubts, God has proven Himself faithful and true. Thank you Lord for our wonderful children.

A Portrait of Julien Dubuque

Title: A Portrait of Julien Dubuque

Place: Mines of Spain Recreation Area

Date Placed: February 11, 2009

Clue Updated: April 15, 2009

My Grandfather went to Dubuque Theological Seminary, my Dad was born in Dubuque in 1948.

I used to run a route of all the floral shops in Dubuque. This town has a special place in my heart.

This stamp was thought of when I first started boxing 2 1/2 years ago and thanks to Maude holding my feet to the fire I finally got this stamp carved & box hidden.

Today I had to go to Dubuque for work and decided it was time to get the box in place. Unfortunately the trail was covered in snow, ice & mud. Mud mud mud . . . wow, was there mud.

The total trail to the Julien Dubuque Monument is about 4 miles round trip. I had to give up & fell about 1/4 short of my goal -- but time & conditions were against me.


This hike is about 3 1/2 miles round trip. Moderate to Steep trails.     Start at the Interpretive center at the niapS fo seniM.   You will need to take the trail that leads to the Julien Dubuque Monument -- once on the trail there are plenty of signs to help you along the way.   You will hike about 1.5 miles and there will be a stand of white birch trees -- and they all seemed to be leaning towards the trail.   Just past this grove of white, there will be a small bench on the right side. Keep going and stop just before the trail turns right.   There will be a valley in front of you and a creek/river to your left. Once faced with this valley, I decided to stop . . . my lunch breaks are only so long you know.   There a few fallen trees to your left, one with its roots pointing towards the river . . . hanging over the edge. Its this tree that hides the box.... no, not the end closest the river . . . the end closest the trail.

April 15, 2009 - Update: I took my lunch break at this location and moved the box to hopefully a safe place for years to come.

The clues will be posted at another location. Due to the sensitiviy of this location I will only let you know where to find them if I know you by trail name, or you can give me a name of someone who will vouch for you.