Catherine Bleish, MPA (@thebitmom) writes about her family’s “Uncoinventional Bitcoin Bus Tour” across the USA. The self-styled “Blush Family”—John Bush, Catherine Bleish and their two children—traveled from Philadelphia to Texas using only cryptocurrency for payments.

Arrival in New Hampshire

Our first day in New Hampshire we were treated to breakfast by our hosts Mike and MarMar Rogers. This couple has hosted our family each year since 2012 when we’ve visited for the Porcupine Freedom Festival. They watched my daughter Aliana go from a bump in my tummy to an articulate young woman. They are like family to us and this visit was a special opportunity for us to bond and connect as we transitioned into the bus.

— Mike and MarMar with the Blush kids, Aliana and William

After breakfast John had lunch with representatives from WageCan. They sent John back to Hollis with a brand new WageCan bitcoin debit card, loaded and ready for our first purchase through this new technology. We all piled in the rental car and drove toward the seacoast to pick up the bill of sale and get to know the bus for the first time.

— John and the WageCan crew 

Meeting the Bus

When we arrived it was like a dream. There she was, this beautiful bus greeting us from the distance. It was real. This was really happening! I was so excited that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. We got out and hugged the Halldorsons, who then gave us a tour of the bus, inside and out.

— John recording Jeff and Kelly (on the bus) as they teach him about the bus’s internal systems 

With the bill of sale in hand we we to eat pizza at a local joint in Dover. Not only did they have gluten free pizza, but they had gluten free beer! John paid for the meal with our WageCan debit card. It worked flawlessly. We were thrilled!

The next morning we went to the DMV to get our temporary plates. Again, we used the WageCan debit card to spend bitcoin when it previously would not have been possible. Success! We drove to the bus, applied the temporary plates and took off toward our first New Hampshire bitcoin meetup—Happy Hour at Murphy’s Taproom in Manchester.

— John using the WageCan bitcoin debit card to get our temporary plates.

We filled up the diesel tank with our WageCan debit card, then got on the highway. I was leading in the rental car, driving slow enough for the bus to keep pace, when suddenly the bus was gone from my rear view mirror. I slowed to about 45 miles per hour, but the bus did not catch up. Then my Skype rang on my tablet.

The bus had broke down.

Bitcoin Meetup

I turned around, picked up Aliana from the bus, and drove to the meetup without John. He stayed behind to wait for Jeff Halldorson to figure out what the problem was. We arrived at the meetup late enough that everyone had already ate, drank and paid. I felt silly, but very at home surrounded by Free State Project participants, as my kids enjoyed a happy hour snack. I paid our tab in BTC and we all caravaned to the next meetup, an informal discussion on Freedom Cells at The Quill, an activist hangout located in Manchester, NH.

The event went great. Jack Shemik filled in for John to discuss the concept of Freedom Cells. We listened to John’s Libertopia speech on the topic, then I facilitated an intimate discussion of how this concept could be applied in the Free State. The entire time, I had John and the bus in the back of my mind, but I knew it would work out for the best.

— Jack Shimek presenting for John at The Quill

Around 1:00 a.m., I got a phone call that John was on his way back in the bus. Apparently, after sitting all winter, the fuel filters had been clogged and the oil needed changing. By the end of the night, it also needed a jump. I have never been so happy to walk out in the cold at 2:00 a.m. (I used to work for UPS in the middle of the night) to help park a vehicle. 

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