Day 2, Stage 1: Richmond part 2


We started this day at Monroe Park in Richmond, a place we were already familiar with because we spent 20 minutes poking around there the night earlier, before realizing we were at the wrong park.

With a new set of clues, we set off. The first clue led us to a carving in the sidewalk which was the keyword to decode some cipher text. It turns out, we were supposed to do that, and that decoded text would lead us one block north to get the next piece of the puzzle.

Due to an error in the encrypted text (it was missing a letter), only half of the sentence decoded. For some of the teams, this was enough, maybe because they just decoded the first part and headed north, or maybe they already knew that’s where the Ravenchase HQ is, and so half the clue was enough. For us, we assumed there was another key we’d find later that would decode the second half. Bad assumption.

We moved on to the next clue, took a wrong turn, and since the RV is a pain to maneuver, we just charged on to the next clue, intending to double-back afterwards. This was in large park, and we couldn’t find a good RV parking spot. Phil, Mike, and I jumped out to start looking around while Jason and Scott parked the RV.

We noticed a couple other teams milling around, but we guessed they were looking in the wrong place. We saw what we thought was the right way to go, and did or best to slip away without giving away our thinking. We headed down a fairly long walking path and started running so that we wouldn’t be seen if someone else came into the same area.

Sure enough, the clues were making sense, and we jutted down a few pretty hidden paths to find a river crossing. Hidden under a dry rock in the middle of the river was the clue. We got the clue and popped out of the park along a road, rather than double back through, and were on our way. We rocketed through that clue and had a great time doing it. It’s a lot more fun when you are successfully figuring things out, isn’t it?

Back on our way, we went back and found the second clue. There was a long walking bridge over the river that was suspended from the roadway above. I’ve never seen a bridge like that and it was pretty cool. To get to the bridge, it looked like about a 2 mile drive, so instead we parked and cut across some rocky terrain on foot. We had to climb up over the guard rail to the bridge, which was pretty busy with people on their way to enjoy the island on the other side.

One family seemed to be concerned about guarding their children from the crazy guys climbing the guard rails, but one of us said “Don’t worry, we’re on a treasure hunt!” which seemed to put their minds at ease (or maybe they just thought we were more crazy, I’m not sure which). Mike snapped this photo from the bridge back toward the city.


After crossing, we ended up in the ruins of an old civil war prison camp (among other things), and found the clue pretty quickly. We went back to the RV and decoded it (it was a Pigpen/Masonic cipher, just like Kaitlyn and I like to write “secret messages” with).

Unfortunately, two things went awry here. We expected to put these two found clues together, get a location to pickup the missing key to the first cipher, and then find out where to go. The first error was that the pigpen cipher had an error in it, so what was supposed to say “Goddess Street” said “Goddesh Street”. A fruitless search for “Goddesh” street, or it’s anagram “God Shed D” (a church maybe?), led us to call for help. On the call, we realized the error in the cipher, and got that straighted out.

But, this still didn’t save us from our second wild goose chase. We had decoded two pigpens, giving us the words “Main” “Street” and “Goddess”. We began our search for the Main Street Goddess, expecting her to smile upon us and guide us to the missing keyword. We slowly drove up and down Main Street until we found this small museum/shop that was closed, complete with a painting of the goddess herself on the outside wall.


Alas, Artemis, it turns out, is the “goddess of idiots that make things way too complicated.” After saying a quick prayer to her, we called for help again, and in that discussion finally realized that there might be an error in the earlier cipher text (as opposed to a missing keyword). After guessing a bit at the letter, we finally learned that from the first location, we were simply supposed to head north to the Ravenchase office.

We went back, and sure enough, there’s a clue sitting plainly in the window (shown here). This gave us the word “Station” and a quick glance at the map showed that right downtown was “Main Street Station” where we headed, went upstairs, and met our contact to send us off to Charlotte.


A couple of mistakes in the clues ended up costing us over two hours of time, in what would have been our fastest segment yet, or so we think (but that’s our story, and we’re sticking too it!)

With that, it’s Charlotte or Bust (with “Bust” being a real possibility in this thing we call a vehicle).


2 Responses to “Day 2, Stage 1: Richmond part 2”

  1. 1 Main Street "Goddesh"

    Hey, it’s your friendly train station greeter here….
    It sounds like you all are having a great time. I am racing vicariously through yours and Lazlo’s blogs. Beautiful pic you took of our city. In an earlier post, you said that you all were last getting in to Richmond on Sat. You are absolutely incorrect. You were not the last ones to get to us at St. John’s Church. I won’t say who was last, but it was not you. Keep enjoying yourselves…

  2. 2 Geoff Wynkoop

    YOU GOT “STATION” out of this Pigpen Cipher????
    Last time I checked “Station” only had (7) Seven Letters
    This one Has (9) Nine Letters???

    I assume you have a special Pig Pen Cipher from Ravenchase,
    Because when I translate the message it become “PYWYPULBE”
    or upside down it becomes “EHPTLXZXL”

    Laughing, but still Slightly Utterly Confused …

    Your Friend,

    Rassilon 🙂

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