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.

Settling In on the Bitcoin Bus

By the time we had dealt with the logistics of picking up the bus, we were chomping at the bit to settle in. We dropped off our rental car at Enterprise and were pleased to find the WageCan bitcoin debit card worked flawlessly. We loaded in our gear and took our first trip as a family inside the Bitcoin Bus.

— John using our WageCan debit card to pay Enterprise

The bus needed (and still does) a lot of cleaning from is stationary winter in New Hampshire. I spent the entire ride scrubbing the floor and walls while the children “oohed” and “awwed” at the scenery while we drove toward our next destination of Keene, NH, to have our first set of sponsor logos applied. The lettering shop did not accept bitcoin directly, so we used our WageCan debit card, then set up the shop owner with a bitcoin wallet and gave him his first US$10 worth of BTC.

— Logos to be applied to the bus

The bus looked sharp all dressed up in bitcoin messaging, and we happily drove into downtown Keene to park it overnight at studios. We did a photo shoot with LRN’s Ian Freeman and their logos on the bus, then we went to grab a bite to eat.

— The family with the Bitcoin Bus

Staying in Keene

There are zero restaurants in Keene that accept bitcoin, so our WageCan card was once again a huge blessing. We enjoyed a meal at Margaritas, then walked next door to Corner News, a merchant that accepts bitcoin directly. We were eager to support them with our coin. We bought a large peace sign tapestry to create privacy in the front of the bus when we needed it. We also got a few locally made snacks and other gear for our first night. The gentleman behind the counter easily accepted the transaction through his BlockChain wallet on his phone.

— John paying in Bitcoin at Corner News in Keene, NH

After we walked back to the bus, we were able to do laundry with bitcoin in the basement of the Keene Activist House (attached to Studios). We filled up our water filters and settled in for a very cold night. For Texans, a late April night in New Hampshire felt like a snow storm. Thankfully, Free State Project participants had showered us with gifts of blankets, cast iron cooking ware, and later a space heater. We felt so blessed, despite the cold.

The next morning we had an appointment to have our brake lines replaced to make sure we could make it through the mountains to Asheville in a few days. John stayed with the bus to get to know her mechanics, and our friend Danica picked up the kids and me to go eat brunch with the local Free Keene crew. Danica proxied for us at the restaurant (she paid in USD and we paid her in BTC), and when we returned to the mechanic, she did the same again. The mechanic only charged us US$50, so as a thank you, we gave their family the US$50 Chili’s card from our airport incident on the way out.

— The kids sharing brunch in Keene, NH 

Goodbye to New Hampshire

With functioning brakes (or so we thought), we began to drive south. Saying goodbye to New Hampshire was bittersweet because our whole family feels so at home there.

— Catherine blowing a kiss to NH as they crossed into VT

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