Since Bone played a prominent role in our raft trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, I decided to republish his history and an interview he did. This is mainly for the folks who follow my blog and aren’t familiar with his exploits. Many of you will have read today and tomorrow’s posts.
Sometime in the 1900s Bone started his life as part of a 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 a ride in back of a truck through Algeria, Niger, Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Zaire, Sudan, Kenya (where he crossed the Equator), Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa. He signed on with Tom as crew of a 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.
In the spring of 1989 I left Sacramento on my bike for a 10,000 mile solo trip around North America. Everything I would need to survive for six months on the road was packed on my bike, some 60 pounds of gear. It wasn’t totally solo. Bone was riding in my handle bar bag.
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 the 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 helps Curt initiate his blog, 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. 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. This past year he traveled with Peggy and me on our 10,000 mile trip around North America retracing my bike route and with fellow blogger Crystal Truelove to visit with Native Americans of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.
TOMORROW’S POST: You won’t want to miss the interview with Bone!
17 thoughts on “The History of the Bone… Forty Years and Still Wandering”
That’s well travelled bone that surely invite envy from all others of its kind.
So how does Bone keep in touch with Bonetta?
Not many bones are as well traveled as Bone, that’s for sure. Bone was lucky to meet Bonetta in the age of the Internet and smart phones, but he still likes to send bone-cards. –Curt
I do like this idea of taking a mascot on a World tour and documenting it. I should have kept details of the travels of my corkscrew!
Now there you have a great idea, Andrew— a very useful, one might even argue a critically important travel companion. I can remember being out there a time or two (or more) with a good bottle of wine and no way to open it. I used to carry a swiss army knife. Air travel regulations killed that idea. –Curt
Same in Europe Curt, no corkscrews in hand luggage. I have got a canny piece of kit to overcome the restriction – a corkscrew that breaks down and is disguised as a key ring article and it has never been challenged!
I don’t know what damage the airlines think that a corkscrew can do that cannot be achieved by a tonic water (sold on board))can ripped apart and used as a blade can’t do!
You could probably patent that, Andrew! And make a fortune. 🙂 But the Scotland Yard would probably have to arrest you and throw away the key ring, along with the keys… which might be worse than throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Love the bear and the adventure!
Thanks, Cindy! 🙂
It’s a good day when we can share the travels of Bone. He is quite generous that way (or is he just bragging?).
He’s just being Bone, G. 🙂 –Curt
I reckon bone has seen more than I could ever dream of. I mean, looking at Mount Everest?
Me too, Gerard. I am jealous of some of the trips he has made without me. –Curt
Such a great post Curt! Love the photos, very funny.
Thanks, Sylvia. Bone knows how to enjoy life. 🙂 And adds humor to our trips. –Curt
Bone knows how to travel.
That he does, Peggy, and usually in relative comfort… 🙂
That is one mighty well traveled bone! I don’t think I’ve ever met one quite so adventurous.