Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘home’

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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

Familiar Roads

Hard to believe we’re home.  After nine months and 15,000 miles between Alaska and Argentina, the three of us have reunited with family and friends in North Dakota.  Daily showers, home-cooked food, fast cars, and comfy clothes are just a few of the wonders of life that we are growing re-accustomed to.  Meanwhile, the inevitable question lingers over us: “What’s next?”  We have been sharing our story with local media and we are so thankful for the outpouring of support that we have received since stepping off the airplane from Buenos Aires.  To be honest, we’re all a little worn out and looking for a few days of time off with family.  Our sister’s graduation day was a special time for us to be home.

In time, we’ll announce our plans to tour the state of North Dakota and Minnesota by bicycle.  We have many speeches and presentations about our 15,000 mile journey to deliver this summer.  David will look forward to college this fall.  Nathan is hopeful for employment in music teaching.  I am preparing for Marine Corps Officer Candidate School.  Somehow all this bicycling doesn’t help with pull-ups.

After months of life by bicycle, perhaps the hardest thing about coming home is the speed of an airplane.  We saw landscapes drift by at the steady, measured pace of our Surly Trolls.  We crossed international borders and mountain ranges and deserts in a manner that allowed us to acclimate to the steady changes and regional differences of the Americas.  Our airplane brought us across the same distance in one redeye flight from Buenos Aires to Atlanta, and beyond to North Dakota.  Stepping off the plane in Fargo, ND, we couldn’t help but feel like we’d been hastily transported to a foreign country.  We noticed especially the new cars filling the streets and the enormous homes that were so unremarkable to us before traveling abroad.  There is much we’ll never take for granted again, now that we are finished.  We’ve been changed in profound ways by what we have experienced, and we look forward to sharing that with local communities in the months ahead.

Bicycles being packed; the process took us all day in Ushuaia.

New and old friends in Buenos Aires.

Our sister’s pickup came in handy to get Angus, Sam, and Goliath home safely.

Family photo; at this point we still hadn’t showered or changed in days.

The Berg family farm has produced some unbearably cute kittens since we left.

Marta is all grown up now.

Since leaving, our parents have erected what I call “the Marta shrine”.

After graduation day, tragically, Marta’s face is permanently frozen in this posture.

We really, really missed being home.

Kids love the old trampoline in the backyard.

The famous “toppling cake”; a group of men were so busy loading up on pulled pork they didn’t even notice when it fell over.

Vegetables!  Real, fresh, delicious vegetables!

Note the stares of incredulity; this was pulled-pork-sandwich-#5.

Fruit!  Real, fresh, delicious fruit salad!

Did we mention how much we like food?  These are called oreo balls.

We love you Mom.

Flower for Marta.

The Berg family does its part to sustain the greeting card industry.

Rain and cars make for a muddy, messy farmyard.

Trujillo

Feeling_at_home on the road is a rare thing.  We have certainly grown accustomed to the rhythm of riding and camping that we established since Alaska.  This is the life of a traveler, however, and it makes us thankful for spending time with a new family when we get the chance.  In Trujillo, the great northern coastal city of Peru, we were blessed with some time to rest with a new kind of family: the Casa de Ciclistas.

La Casa de Ciclistas en Trujillo

Vintage

Founded more than thirty years ago, the Casa de Ciclistas of Trujillo is one of the cycling world’s best-kept secrets.  Nestled just outside the Avenida España in Trujillo, it is a hostel for bicycle adventurers of all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and adventures.  Come as you are and stay as you are for free.  Since its founding, over 2,000 cyclists have walked through its doors and rested here for a night or a few days; once many encounter the splendid comfort and community here, they are tempted to stay for weeks.  Lucho D’Angelo and his family take care of the Casa and the cyclists that pass through it.  Lucho, a famous Peruvian bicycle racer, was invited to the 2000 Tour de France as a guest of honor and is known the world over by bicyclists for his decades-long work at Trujillo’s Casa de Ciclistas.

Lucho

"The time is not important"

In the course of the past few days, we have met a remarkable Englishwoman named Judy who has bicycled from England to China and is now finishing her second Alaskan-Argentinan leg in July.  She is riding alone, tough as nails, and some of the best lunch company that one could ever ask for.  We have met another Italian named Matias who is taking an extended tour of the Americas for over four years; the duration of his travels perhaps explains the 70 kilos of gear that he is carrying on his bicycle; we suspect that his Italian supermodel girlfriend is hidden somewhere in the rear panniers.

Time to shave

Journal entries from other touring cyclists dated back to the 1980s.

Stories, photos, and so much more filled the journals - a true treasure.

I volunteered here in Trujillo two years ago as a volunteer teacher in a barrio outside the city called Delicias.  This time in Trujillo was a wonderful homecoming to me; many things have changed in this city in that short time, but the good things are the same.  The sparkling central Plaza de Armas, the spotless colonial architecture, the narrow streets of the Centro and Pizarro and the countless bakeries with the best tres leches we have had since leaving Alaska…all of it was as it was for me two years ago.  This was home for me then, and now for us for a few days as well.

Our ride to the beach

Beachside in Huanchaco

To the ocean!

Ouch.

We rolled in on our bicycles to little local fanfare, except for the usual shouts of gringo that emanate from every corner of the Peruvian towns and cities that we ride by.  We leave to the same chorus, a reminder that we are full-time travelers and students and strangers of the places and peoples that we visit along the way to Argentina.  But when we’re lucky, even gringos get to feel at home for a while.

This Day

Every_day_of_Bound South is a thanksgiving. Be it a simple meal, a warm bed, or an uplifting conversation, we can’t help but to give thanks on the road. To all those who have had a hand in any of these daily blessings, thank you. You are what makes each day so special to us.

Today is Thanksgiving, a holiday that reminds us not only to be thankful but to reflect on what we are so thankful for. Although we will not be feasting on turkey, dumplings, and mashed potatoes in North Dakota with family today (how wonderful that would be), we have much to be thankful for, including our health and safety, the stretch of road that has brought us here, the road that lies ahead, and the people that greet us on the road.

So much of what we do everyday revolves around people. Their experiences and knowledge are what makes each waypoint and destination so meaningful. And they are always helpful (thanks to all who have noticed our disorientation and given us direction!).  This is my first Thanksgiving away from family in North Dakota, but I like to think that we can share this day with our Bound South family, a family of kindred character that we’ve been growing since leaving Anchorage.

America

_____________”The spirit is at home, if not entirely satisfied, in America.”_____________

Thus wrote Allan Bloom in Closing of the American Mind.  I couldn’t help but commit the quotation to memory and it came to mind as we passed through the invisible veil separating Canada and the United States.  The boundary between them is an arbitrary political construction that poses no barrier to the mixed conifer forests, mountains, and cold autumnal rain that covers the landscape this time of year.  The casual bicycling observer would note that miles pass by much more slowly than kilometers, and that America got something right when it minimized taxes at the grocery store.  Yet these are trivial distinctions that lay like debris over the spectacular character of this America that we call home.

Canadians will celebrate their Thanksgiving this coming Monday.  Though our own Thanksgiving is still far away, I wish to excerpt from Vermont Royster’s “And the Fair Land” which is printed annually on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page every Thanksgiving day.  We are forever grateful for the goodness of those who have helped us since our return to the States.

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure.  For that reminder is everywhere – in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators.  Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.