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Posts tagged ‘Habitat for Humanity’

Homework

Tis_the_season for new beginnings. A year ago, we were riding the Alaskan Range.  Now, we are building a home at 1534 1st Ave South in Fargo. We volunteered and took part in the wall-raising ceremony last week.  We pounded nails, secured wall supports, and used muscles that bicycle saddles and tractor seats don’t train.

To see and feel a structure that you and so many others have invested in is really special. To know its impact is even more magical.

The build site, 1534 1st Ave S

Window and door frames.

Pounding away.

Hammer time.

Double hammer time.

Carpenter belt.

Picnic table assembly.

Basement work.

Foundations.

Keep on building.

Bro 1

Bro 2

Bro 3

Hula Girl 1 (of many. Too many to photograph, really.)

“It’s five ‘o clock somewhere.”

Thee wall Dewalt.

The crew, sitting on the newly finished picnic table.

Enter the wall-raising ceremony, complete with new Bound South shirts!

Grandma and Grandpa ventured out to see the action.

Interview time.

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Fruition

Missing_the_open_roads between Alaska and Argentina is easy at this point.  Since returning home we’ve been working on our family farm in North Dakota, praying for rain and driving tractors as we fly through the growing season.  The steady rhythm of farming, the planting and growth that leads so inevitably to harvest, is a life apart from the wild unpredictability of a day by bicycle.  One is rooted, the other nomadic.  For a summer, at least after so many months on the road, rooted is a good thing.

The central idea of Bound South was that we could not only seek stories, self-transformation, adventure, and brotherhood, but also contribute to a good cause.  That idea is coming to fruition this August as we begin building a house we have co-sponsored with Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity.  That all of those many miles and faces of the Americas would lead to a physical home for a family in need is truly humbling and inspiring.  We are so proud and thankful for the good that will be done through the generosity of so many family and friends.

Within the next couple of months, this chapter of our lives will truly come to a close.  David will travel to New Hampshire for college, Nathan will leave the farm to begin his own career, and I will begin training at the United States Marine Corps Officer’s Candidate School in Virginia.  The three of us will probably never experience this kind of an opportunity again, with all of us together, in the same place, chasing the same dream.  It was a beautiful thing to share as brothers, and it will be equally beautiful to recall and recount in the years to come.  We’re going to make for some mighty fun uncles someday.

For now we content ourselves with super fast rides on our skinny-tired road bicycles, reminiscing about all of the crazy stories from our journey, and continuing our work with Habitat and our forthcoming e-book.  Thank you for following us, and in doing so, becoming part of this story that is Bound South.  It is a blessing to see these dreams come to fruition.

Dad and Isaiah showing off some teamwork while on vacation. They made the shot.

Walleye fishing on the Lake of the Woods in northeastern Minnesota and southwestern Ontario.

The day’s catch.

Family photo

Waves of grain

Canola in bloom

Lightweight steel and carbon bikes, check. Honda Big Red to get us to pavement, check. Game faces, check. – We really like our road bikes.

July project: new shingles

Job done.

Ripened waves of grain.

The harvest crew.

Event 1 of the Berg Family Farm Olympics: the 800 meter combine dash.

 

Barley, barley chaff, and more barley chaff (this stuff isn’t fun).

Nathan and his workhorse

Dad and Jamie (a friend from Fargo who is working with us) were a part of the trucking crew. 

Mom’s flowerbed

Familiar roads.

 

 

Bend and Break

Synchronization.  I was devastated when I spelled that word wrong at the Ramsey County Spelling Bee in 7th grade.  The word captures the feeling I’ve had since crossing the volcanic arc of Oregon’s northern Cascades.  Things seem to have come together for Bound South, with a shared rhythm despite the brotherly dissonance that makes a journey like this so special.  Our MSR Mutha Hubba seems to erect itself when night falls.  The innumerable varieties of Campbell’s Chunky Soup have been thoroughly vetted.  The clear winners have emerged to take their rightful place in our panniers alongside our rice and rotini.

Early morning over Mt. Hood, 107 miles to go.

We rise with the sun and ride despite the wind until the time is right to stop.  There are few explicit plans or deadlines and yet we have internalized this southward tempo like some kind of circadian rhythm.  How far today?  This has become a rhetorical question, an inspiration, and our daily adventure.

From lush timber forest to desert in just a few miles. Amazing contrast.

107 miles separated us from Bend in Oregon’s high desert, a full day of hard riding from the timber forest of Mt. Hood where we camped.  A hard day of riding was followed by some splendid days of Habitat building, photography presentations, and meeting with family and friends.  Bend has been the welcome breath between movements that we needed.  The seemingly permanent sunshine of Central Oregon belies the cold roads and high altitudes that still lie ahead.  We can’t help but soak it in while it lasts.

David shows off his Habitat build painting skills.

Every day I like to ask myself whether I believe in what I am doing that day.  It’s a simple litmus test to isolate the road ahead from the accumulated weight of the long road behind us.  Days of rest have been sweet here in Bend, but already I am itching to get back on my bike and ride south.  I love this journey as much now as I did leaving Anchorage in August.

Long and windy road to Bend with mountains to the west.