Have you met Bone? He’s been hanging around here for 7 years and traveling the world for 40. Once upon a time, and it seems like a long time ago, this blog was even titled the Peripatetic Bone. There’s a story here, of course. In January of 2010, I had attended the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. Part of the event had involved ‘speed dating’ with agents. I had carried Bone with me to San Francisco and introduced him to three of the agents, suggesting that I wanted to write a book titled “Travels with Bone.” They had been a bit surprised to meet Bone, but had been intrigued by the concept. Each had suggested that I go home and write up a proposal.
I had also learned at the conference that I needed an Internet presence and would be expected to market any book I succeeded in publishing. I dutifully went home and created a blog for Bone on Word Press. Somewhere in the process, I decided that my first book should be on my Peace Corps experience. So, I wrote and published, “The Bush Devil Ate Sam.” I also changed the name of my blog to “Wandering through Time and Place.”
I decided it would be fun to reintroduce Bone and do a five-part mini-series on his adventures. Today, I am going to summarize his travels. Next week I will do an interview with Bone. Then I will follow up with three posts on how he was found.
Part I: The History of Bone
Sometime in 1900s Bone started his life as part of horse wandering through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The horse was allegedly eaten by a bear. Bone ended up in a high mountain meadow practicing Zen and being nibbled on by a miscreant rodent.
1977: He was ‘discovered’ by two lost backpackers (Curt Mekemson and Tom Lovering) on the Tahoe Yosemite Trail above Lake Tahoe and launched his career of wandering the world.
1980-81: Bone commenced his first World Tour with Tom. He visited Asia including Japan, Hong Kong, Bombay, Delhi and Katmandu where he trekked to the base of Mt. Everest. He then wandered on to spend spring and summer in Europe stopping off in Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, England and Ireland. Getting cold, Bone headed south and hitched ride in back of truck through Algeria, Niger, Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Zaire, Sudan, Kenya (where he crossed Equator), Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. He signed on with Tom as crew of sailboat in Cape Town and headed north to Mallorca, stopping off on the islands of St. Helena, Ascension, Cape Verde and Madeira. Back in Europe he explored his possible Viking roots in Sweden, Norway and Finland.
1983-86: Bone assumed Cheechako status and moved to Alaska with Curt where he was stalked by a grizzly bear on the Kenai Peninsula, explored Prince William Sound by kayak, learned to winter camp in 30 degree below zero weather while listening to wolves howl, backpacked in the Brooks Range north of the Arctic Circle, and discussed the finer points of eating salmon with Great Brown Bears in Katmai National Park. He escaped briefly to the warmer climate of Hawaii and participated in New Orleans Mardi Gras.
1986: He backpacked the Western US for five months with Curt exploring the Grand Canyon, the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, the Rockies, and the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming before returning to his beloved Sierras.
1989: Bone went on a six month 10,000-mile solo bike tour with Curt around North America visiting 18 states and 4 Canadian provinces. He ended his journey by meeting Peggy.
1990: The International Society of the BONE was formed at Senior Frogs in Mazatlan, Mexico, where Bone spent the afternoon being pickled in a pitcher of margaritas and being kissed by lovely senoritas.
1991-97: Various members of International Society accompanied Bone on numerous adventures. Highlights included a White House Press Conference with Bill Clinton, being blessed by the Pope in St. Peter’s Square, visiting with Michelangelo’s David, going deep-sea diving in South Pacific and Caribbean, doing a Jane Austin tour of England, and exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. A group adopted him as a good luck charm and took him back to visit the base of Mt. Everest one year and to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro another.
1998-99: Bone embarked on 40,000-mile journey in the van, Xanadu, through the US, Canada and Mexico with Peggy and Curt, visiting over 30 National Parks, driving the Alaska and Baja Highways, checking out Smokey the Bear’s and Calamity Jane’s graves, kayaking in the Sea of Cortez, leaf peeping in Vermont, jetting to the Bahamas, pursuing flying saucers in Roswell, New Mexico, and completing his visits to all 50 states, etc. etc. etc.
2000-02: Bone journeys up the Amazon, returns to Europe, cruises to Belize, Cancun and the Cayman’s, and goes to New Zealand where a misguided customs agent tries to arrest and jail him as animal matter.
2003: Bone undertakes a 360-mile backpack trip in celebration of his discovery and Curt’s 60th birthday. They begin at Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe and end by climbing Mt. Whitney. Various friends join them along the way.
2004: Bone visits Hemingway’s grave in Idaho, goes horseback riding with Australians and Bahamians in Montana, and makes his first pilgrimage to Burning Man in Nevada, a very Bone like type of place. He also jets off to Costa Rica.
2005-2007: Bone returns to Burning Man twice and revisits Europe twice including special stopovers in Portugal, France, Holland, Germany, and Belgium. He also revisits Mexico.
2008 – 2011: Bone commences another exploration of North America. This time he travels in the van, Quivera, along with Curt, Peggy, and Eeyore the Jackass. His journey takes him over 75,000 miles of American Roads. In May of 2010 he begins his travel blog, The Peripatetic Bone, and rafts 280 miles down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
2012-2017: Bone goes into semi-retirement in Southern Oregon. Please note the semi, however. He continues the exploration of the West Coast ranging from Big Sur to Vancouver Island, where he kayaks for a week in search of Killer Whales. He wanders through England and Scotland helping Curt find his roots and spends a week traveling by Canal Boat on the Mercer River. Later, he returns to Europe again, traveling through the Mediterranean visiting Turkey, Santorini and other Greek Islands, Dubrovnik, Venice, Rome, Pompeii, Florence, and Barcelona. He returns to Burning Man several times. On one trip, he is married to the lovely Bonetta, who he met while exploring a swamp in Florida. Rumor has it that it was a shotgun wedding.
NEXT Wednesday: Bone grants one of his very rare interviews. You won’t want to miss it! (No, Bone doesn’t talk; he just thinks out loud.)
In the Meantime:
Saturday: A return to Burning Man and the last of the sculptures.
Monday: Peggy and I have just been in Bandon on the Oregon Coast. Are you ready for a visual treat?
37 thoughts on “The Journeys of Bone… Forty Years of Wandering the World”
I’d almost forgotten all about Bone. Please welcome him back here at Blogsville for me. We’ll look forward to hearing about his future plans.
Bone’s a little excited that you had ‘almost forgotten’ about him, G, but he is glad he was still floating around in your memory banks. 🙂 –Curt
What I have to know is — have you ever been bad to the Bone?
Who hasn’t? 🙂 I played the song for Bone just now. I also told him about your trapeze experience. Now he wants to meet you. BTW, he did think that Tom and I were bad to him when we pulled him out of his peaceful meadow in the mountains. –Curt
Wow. That must be the most well-traveled bone in history.
Incidentally, when you started describing Bone’s travels, I was reminded of a Tom Robbins book, Skinny Legs and All, where in one plot line five inanimate objects (Can o’ Beans, Dirty Sock, Spoon, Painted Stick and Conch Shell) become animated and persevere through a trip of their own. Have you read it?
He likes to think so. 🙂 I haven’t read Skinny Legs and All, Dave. But I do have it around here somewhere. I’ll put it on my list. Thanks for the suggestion. –Curt
Nice to meet Bone. He’s had some great adventures.
Yes he has Peggy, and he is always craving more. But then again, who among my fellow bloggers isn’t? 🙂 –Curt
I wish I’d travelled half as much as bone! And OMG the wedding picture – love it.
You and Don would have loved the wedding, I’m sure, Alison. It was in a huge non-church that one of the Burners had built because he wanted to get married at Burning Man. I get jealous of some of Bone’s journeys myself. 🙂 –Curt
Long live bone. Has he been to Australia yet?
No, sigh. I was there before Bone was discovered. He made it to New Zealand, however. I’ve promised him a trip to Australia. If we get there, I am sure he will want to come and share a pint with you. –Curt
Before he retires it only seems right that you take him to Boneo!
Laughing. Maybe he can explore the backcountry and end up as a nose decoration. 🙂 –Curt
Mel: “B-B-B-Bad Bad to the bone” we suppose. Wow have not heard that one in years. On hindsight it wasn’t all that bad, journeying around the world that other parts of the anatomy might be envious of!
Right. 🙂 –Curt
Is it possible to be jealous of a bone? This is avout as crearive a travel partner one can get. I DID have an imaginary friend as a kid. A bone mighta been better,
Admittedly, Bone is a great travel partner. He never complains, is always up for an adventure, and is a great conversation starter! He isn’t cuddly, however. –Curt
Hats off to Bone, one of the most prolific travellers we know!
Not sure he can compete with AC, however. 🙂 Admittedly, his adventures are a bit different. –Curt
Well, you do have a sense of humor! And a love of traveling with a bone, as it were. I’m looking forward to the next few posts — just to see where Bone will take me.
Me too, Rusha. I’m never too sure where Bone is going to take me. 🙂 –Curt
Wow.. 40 years.. Such a journey!!
And I am not sure whether that speaks more to Bone’s age, or mine, Christie. Bone hasn’t changed an iota… 🙂 –Curt
Haha, I’m sure he hasn’t changed a iota! I was counting more all his travels in these years:) Looking forward for the ones to come! All the best, Christie
I figured as much, Christie, but couldn’t resist the comparison. 🙂 Bone will be back on Wednesday with his take on the world. –Curt
Good to touch base with bone again.
Likewise, hilary. (laughing) -Bone
Sorry – Bone.
Bone or bone… Had to stop and scratch my head, a not easy accomplishment, over what there was to be sorry about. Just glad to hear from you again, Hilary. Someday I will stop by. I really want to meet those hedge hogs! –Bone
How did Bone escape from the Customs Agent in New Zealand? And I’d like to hear more about the International Society of the BONE.
I explained Bone to the agent. 🙂 After about a minute he looked bemused and waved Bone and I on. The Society has been quiet for a while, but mainly it consists of people who have carried Bone. There are exceptions, of course. Would you like to become a Bonafide member? –Curt
WHAT?! For real? Bone and I could meet? I leap at the opportunity. Does Bone want to see anything up here in the Columbia Gorge, or should we wait till I head south?
So Crystal, I responded to this, of course. But my record is showing I didn’t. Anyway, in case it wasn’t sent, yes you and Bone can meet, he is demanding it. We’ll make it happen. You can even take Bone on a trip and write a blog about it if you want. 🙂 I think it would be fun. –Curt
I’m on it! Can’t wait to meet Bone. 🙂
Bone is so excited. Laughing. –Curt
Of course you can meet Bone, Crystal. He’d love to see you, whether it’s up north or down here. Let’s make it happen. Here’s a fun idea. How about taking Bone on one of your excursions and doing a blog about the experience. He loves backpacking but you know him, he’s up for anything. Peggy says Bone can pack accordingly. I’d play it up on my blog, and of course you would become a member of the International Society. 🙂 –Curt