Today we returned Bonesinante

Today was a bittersweet day. It was the day we returned Bonesanate.

My partner and I recently completed a long, amazing adventure from our home in Ottawa Canada, all the way to Tucson Arizona. While I am just in the beginning stages of understanding and rationalizing the things we’ve seen, felt, and experienced during this grand voyage across the wide United States of America, what I’d like to share here are a few portraits of the van that carried us the whole way.

Technically, her name was Bones. We dubbed her Bones-inante having spent many of the first hours of the journey listening to Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, in which he dubs his travelling camper Rocinante (the book was lovely, but as we later learned was more fiction than not).

We rented Bonesinante from Escape Campervans — dealing with this company in every sense was exceptional. Bigtime recommend. Coming from non-western Canada, there aren’t a lot of all season campervan rental options, and we were really hoping for the flexibility of sleeping in the van at least some of the time. We picked her up in Jersey city early in January, and set off on the voyage on January 5th.

Here, in chronological order, is Bonesinante, in various habitats and poses throughout our lovely journey together.

Jan 2nd — Jersey City. This is how I found Bones. Picked her up from here, and did the long drive back to Ottawa to sit in the snow for a few days before we took off.

January 7th — Corinth, Kentucky. Our first night in the Van, was absolutely lovely. Happened to be a Christian RV park, apparently the only one in the state. Nice folks. They recommended we visit the life size replica of Noah’s arc a little ways North of the site (which we did not, but might have given it be on our way out).

January 10th — Rockmart, Georgia. Another nice RV site.

January 11th— Greenville, Alabama, Sherling Lake Park and Campground. This was probably our nicest site of the trip. Was a city park, hence not interrupted by government shutdown. Even got to take a beauty run around the lake in the morning.

January 11th — Lafayette, Alabama. Small, lovely town. Got our first taste of *everyone* saying hi. Also very strange to see a relatively significant jail in such a small little town.

January 14th — New Orleans, Louisiana, Garden District.

January 15 th— Lafayette, Louisiana. City park, pretty much amidst suburbia.

January 15th— Orange, Texas. The most epic “welcome to our state” welcome center ever. Complete with Swamp tour and a full library of free reference material on everything you would ever want to do in Texas.

January 16th — Houston, Texas. Heading out from a RV resort (missed a picture at that one!) we sourced a wicked latin restaurant on our way out. That plaza signage!

January 16 th— Between Eagle Lake and Columbus, Texas. Bonesinate, myself, and the rain didn’t get along on this day. Had a bad spin out, but everyone was fine save for some scratches and bruises on poor Bones. Got to meet some lovely Texans, and thanks to full roadside assistance (and full insurance coverage) didn’t really have to worry about much other than not spinning out again.

January 18th — Junction, Texas.

January 19th — Picnic stop near Marathon, Texas. In general, the picnic and rest stops along the highways and interstates in the US make the ones in canada just look sad. They are so plentiful and lovely in the US, and full of historical markers making for little history lessons every so often even on the most barren of highways.

January 20th — Chisos Basin, Big Bend National Park, Texas. This is looking up at Casa Grande, one of the main peaks in the area.

January 21st — Big Bend National Park, Texas. Sunset, etc.

January 22nd — (right outside of) Big Bend National Park, Texas. Parking right outside the park was what we did for two of the nights. Traffic dies right down to absolutely nothing overnight, the stars are amazing, its free (couldn’t park inside if we wanted to given the shutdown), and met some nice folks this way.

January 22nd — Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas. We passed through the state park on the way to El Paso. It was JUST as lovely as the National Park. At the visitor center on the way in, the man told us the drive was rated by National Geographic as one of the top 5 scenic drives IN THE WORLD (citation needed).

January 22nd — Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas. How’s this for a citation!

January 22nd — Presidio, Texas. Stopped at this lovely Panaderia for some pastries and some fresh, hard, chicharrones.

January 23rd — Marfa, Texas. You have to zoom in to see it, but just under the sun is a Tethered Aerostat Radar System. Basically a big Zeppelin strung to the earth floating in space. I wouldn’t have believed it if we hadn’t spent the 15 minutes approaching it debating if it was art, or a UFO.

January 23rd — Valentine, Texas. Checking out the art. The cafe in Valentine was most interesting, i highly recommend stopping in and chatting up the owner if you drive by. If its still open by the time you visit that is… the town has gone from 200+ to about 20 people apparently.

January 24th — Deming, New Mexico. We had been seeing the Sonic signs the whole way. Our resistance to chain food was finally overcome by the pull of the drive-in food experience. Glad we tried it — will never again. Rather terrible.

January 24th — Bisbee, Arizona. Bones in her natural habitat!

January 29th — Phoenix, Arizona. Where we dropped her off, and said goodbye to Bonesinante.

All in all, the past (almost) 4 weeks have been nothing short of incredible. Definitely not the cheapest way to do things (we often stayed in a spot with electric hookup or an actual motel), but in warmer climates where more boondocking would be possible, it absolutely would be the way to go.

There are SO many things to see and people to meet in this country, and touring around in a van is a hell of a great way to see them. I hope to share more musings regarding the trip as time goes on and things gel.

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Bob Durie

Bob Durie

Sometimes focused, sometimes scattered, my opinions about the world, people, tech, purpose, impact, and nonsense.