Island Time Letterbox  LbNA # 2805

OwnerThe Nail Family      
Placed DateMay 4 2003
CountySan Juan
LocationLopez Village, WA
Boxes1
Found ByMariner Fan
Last UpdateAug 1 2009

Clues

Island Time Letterbox
Lopez Island, San Juan County, WA
by Nailhead and Happy Mom of the Nail Family
Placed 5/4/03

Directions: This letterbox is on Lopez Island in the San Juans in Northern Puget Sound. To get to Lopez you must take the Washington State Ferry from the Ferry Terminal at Anacortes. Get to Anacortes via Hwy 20 from I-5 at Exit #229. Once on the island be sure to check out the other letterboxes at Agate Beach on the south end of the island.

Explore the island, meet the very nice people and experience the "Lopez Wave". This is a tradition where almost every person you pass on the road will wave at you. This harkens back to the time when there were many more cows and sheep on the island than people. There are varying degrees of the "Wave" . Starting with the raised full hand and arm wave. Normally this is used by pedestrians or by those who are on a first name basis only and sometimes by anyone in general for those especially gorgeous days when everyone is in a good mood. Next is the raised full hand off the steering wheel for recognized aquaintances. Move down further to varying numbers of raised fingers from the steering wheel depending on mood, weather, and time to the next departing ferry. Even on the worst day you will always get at least one raised index finger from the wheel if you offer yours first.

Island life is unique. Folks who reside here are rarely in a hurry and are used to living with limited resources and taking weekly or monthly rides back to the mainland to get supplies. The people who live here have chosen to live here in this isolated place for this very reason, a more relaxed lifestyle. There is no hurry on Lopez. Mainlanders may find that difficult to fathom. However, there is no escaping the fact that once on the island, you are at the mercy of the ferries for transport back to the mainland and the game of ferry transport is well known for its relative uncertainty. During the tourist season, May-Sept, the lines at the ferry terminals for those wanting to get back to Anacortes can be very long, especially on Sundays. If you intend on leaving the island on a Sunday afternoon in the peak season, you had better plan to be at the terminal at least 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure time. It is not uncommon to get to the terminal and find well over 100 cars waiting for the next ferry out and stretching back up the ferry road almost a half mile. Many an island visitor has been blessed with some unexpected extra Island Time when they had planned a quick departure back to the mainland. The ferries themselves, although very well run and maintained, do have occasional problems of their own too. This can further add to the lucky traveller's Island Time. Whatever the matter, travellers to Lopez must learn to accept this disruption of plans as a normal part of island life and settle into the Island Time mentality.

In order to help the visitors of Lopez Island to adjust more readily to the concept of Island Time, the Nail Family has created the Island Time Letterbox. It is hidden close by the ferry terminal so you can make good use of that extra 1 to 2 to 5 hours you may have to wait on any given day you visit waiting for a ferry to take you back to the mainland or even to one of the other islands serviced by the ferry system. The letterbox will give you something useful to do while experiencing Island Time for yourself. What could be a more useful endeavor than searching for tupperware and collecting stamp images? Certainly, this activity fits well into the island lifestyle. Art and a good use of the abundant time that all island dwellers have to spend--the perfect combination.

Here is how to find the box: From anywhere on the island, drive on whatever road you are on to its end. All roads end at the ferry terminal on Lopez (exagerated). Drive to the terminal and park in the appropriate waiting line for your destination (there are different lines for each of the different major islands and for the mainland). If headed to another island, first purchase your fare. Sit in your car and spend a few moments savoring the Island Time first hand. If you are inclined, buy a beverage at the cafe or buy a used book at the ferry terminal. When you are sufficiently bored and tired of waiting, walk to the public restrooms near the 72 hour parking area. From the restrooms take the trail down the hill thru the woods toward the Sound. When you find the cross trail at 50*, look straight ahead to a madrona tree on the right of the main trail. Find the boulder cleaved from the main rock directly behind this tree. The Island Time Letterbox rests in small hole under the boulder and is hidden by a small moss covered rock that covers the small hole. Be careful while reaching into this hole as there are lots of vicious chipmonks all over the island and they like letterbox holes especially well.

Take the box further down the trail and sit on the rocks and enjoy the view of the Sound. From this vantage you can see all incoming ferries. Log into the box and rehide carefully. There are lots of other bored travelers and residents alike that use this spot too. Mosey back to your car and settle in for a nap. Don't worry, the ferry system's annoying loudspeaker will wake you in plenty of time for you to start your car and drive to the front of the line where the operator will tell you that the boat is full and you will have to wait for the next one in about 1-5 hours. ---- Island Time, you gotta love Lopez!

Please let us know if you get to experience Island Time firsthand. We need any excuse we can get to go back there and check up on our boxes. So let us know if the box needs any help. Email the Nail Family at the7nails@yahoo.com .