Now that you have had an initial introduction of my journey, it’s time to introduce my travelling companions as Peggy and I cross the country in Quivera the Van retracing my 10,000 mile bike route. If you follow this blog, you know Peggy, of course. She is integral to this story, as she is to all of my blogs. Remember, I met her at the end of my bike trek. Sparks flew. She is the conclusion to this story… and the beginning of another.
I mentioned Eeyore in my first blog of this series. He was peering out the back window, his favorite location when we travel. He prefers looking backward instead of forward. He is a bit of a contrarian. It’s the jackass in him.
Everyone knows this lovable donkey who has trouble keeping track of his tail. He’s been travelling with us for ten years when we travel by van. Normally his life is rather calm. There have been a couple of exceptions, however. The first was the time the teachers kidnapped him from Peggy’s office when she was working as an elementary school principal. They demanded chocolate for ransom. Peggy dearly loves her chocolate, however, and Eeyore was almost out of luck. He could still be hanging out at Olive Grove Elementary School while being abused (whoops sorry, meant loved) by first graders. Fortunately, Peggy finally gave in. It wasn’t like the teachers were demanding higher salaries…
The second time was scarier; he had to save Bone from the hangman’s gallows in Tombstone, Arizona. “Wait a minute,” you say. “Who and what is Bone?” Thanks for asking. Those of you who have been around my blog for longer that three years will know the answers. But for the rest of you, here’s the story. In the beginning of my blogging efforts, I had in mind writing a book called “Travels with Bone.” (It’s still coming.) So I developed a blog titled, The Peripatetic Bone. When I decided to write The Bush Devil Ate Sam about my Peace Corps’ experience I changed the blog to Traveling through Time and Place. Here is the very first paragraph from my very first blog.
This is it, the Peripatetic Bone’s blog. And no, I am not Bone. My name is Curtis Mekemson. My wife Peggy and I participate in, or one might say, facilitate, Bone’s wandering ways. Like the ubiquitous gnome, Bone shows up in some rather unique places. Burning Man is an example. Peripatetic means to wander about. It’s a good description for Bone (and me).
My friend Tom Lovering and I found Bone in 1977. He was hanging out half buried in snow in a patch of corn lilies along the Tahoe-Yosemite Trail south of Lake Tahoe. Tom and I had a game when we backpacked. If one of us found trash, the other person had to pack it out. I found Bone, declared he was trash, and Tom had to carry him— at least until he could sneak him back in my pack. Here is Bone’s perspective on being found:
I didn’t plan on seeing the world and becoming famous. Once I was part of a horse located just above the hoof. I had no freedom; I had no glory. Wherever the horse went I went also, a mere slave to his desires. During the summer this meant carrying greenhorn tourists into the backcountry of the mountains above Lake Tahoe. The added pounds gave me bone-jarring headaches. Then the horse died; I like to fantasize that a large bear with big teeth and sharp claws ate him. Hopefully he ate the tourist as well.
Whatever happened, I was free to be me, Bone. Yes, that’s right, Bone is my name. A kindly coyote picked me up and carried me to a high meadow filled with Corn Lilies. It was there that I discovered my Zen-like nature as I meditated through the seasons. I was alone except for a mouse that came by and nibbled on me occasionally. That hurt. In fact, it interrupted my meditation and scarred me for life; you can still see teeth marks. I blame all of my subsequent bad behavior on that flea bitten miscreant.
My annoyance at the mouse, however, was minor in comparison to my anger at the large two-legged creature who yanked me from my meadow home and begin yelling I was trash as he ran down the trail in pursuit of another two-legged creature. Can you imagine the insult? I had no way of knowing that this was the beginning of my world travels or that the two creatures, Curt Mekemson and Tom Lovering, would become my servants.
World travels indeed. Bone has now been in over 50 countries and all 50 states. He travelled with me on my 10,000-mile bike trip and with Tom in the back of a truck from the Sahara Desert to South Africa. He has wandered close to 200,000 miles with Peggy and me as we have explored North America. Other people have also carried Bone. He has been blessed by the Pope and attended a Bill Clinton Presidential press conference. “Excuse me, is that a gun in your pocket.” He has been on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, at the base of Mt. Everest, and on top of Mt. Whitney. He has gone deep sea diving in the Pacific and boated up the Amazon. You get the idea. It’s only proper that he be along with Peggy, Eeyore and me on our present journey.
Bone is going to answer the ten most common questions people ask him in my next blog. After that, I will get back to my bike trip and the big white whale that scared the hell out of me.