Saturday, July 9, 2011

A long overdue update

So I could make excuses as to why I haven't updated my blog but the truth is I have just been a little bit lazy when I have had internet. So rather than drag you through all the details of the past thirteen days since I last updated, I'll give you the Reader's Digest Version.

Texas, was perhaps the worst state that we traveled through so far. Far worse than Oklahoma. The heat was stifling and the headwinds/crosswinds just plain dangerous. We had to call our ride into Dalhart at second lunch because the conditions were so bad.

Then we went into New Mexico. It seemed that things instantly got better there was scenery and downhills. On our day into Colorado, while we were still in New Mexico, we descended into a canyon and had amazing tailwinds. I was literally going 30 miles an hour without pedaling on a fairly flat stretch of road.

Then we made it to Colorado, and it has been absolutely amazing. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous. The weather has been phenomenal and even though we rode 116 miles into Pueblo it was amazing and so worth it. I feel like I have finally gotten to the part of the trip that I was waiting for. The sad part is there is only about a month of the trip left and I have to say that I am saddened by that. I guess I will just have to make the most of the time that I have left.

End of Reader's Digest update and onto real update of Colorado Springs.

We arrived in Colorado Springs on Saturday after what would have probably been a really great ride. I don't know though because it was my van day. Oh well, that happens sometimes. Caroline and Joe (Christina's mom and younger brother) met us there and after dinner a group of us went bowling. I am proud to say that I broke 100 on my second game and I think everyone had a great time.

Sunday was our day off and I was lucky enough to use Caroline's rental car while she and Joe went whitewater rafting. So I went out to Garden of the Gods which was absolutely beautiful. I also ran a bunch of errands trying to get everything organized for the Fourth of July barbecue. After Caroline got back from whitewater rafting I went to dinner with her and another rider Marc and had a great time. Always enjoy spending time with her.

While most of the country was enjoying a day off and having a good time on the Fourth of July, we were busy building a house. I personally think that it was a much better use of our time. When we arrived there was simply a concrete foundation with sill plates that had been laid and drilled. Our first task was to set a steel span beam in the floor. It took most of us to lift it and it was really neat seeing the team work together to get it done. After the beam was set, we broke up into a bunch of different groups to seal the crawl space and get ready for framing. Personally, I helped pull seal plates run a foam barrier and then reinstall the sills.  Then we laid the floor of the house, while another group started to prefab the walls that we would use to frame on Tuesday.

After building, we came back grabbed a quick hose shower and then headed to a local park to enjoy some barbecue. I think that everyone really enjoyed themselves, which was a great feeling.

Tuesday, it was more work. We worked on framing the house. We ran into a few glitches but nothing that we couldn't handle. I wish I could say that there was more to it on Tuesday but that was pretty much what we did was move a wall from across the street, place it in the house, nail it in and repeat. The cool thing about it was that in the end it actually started to look like a house.

Wednesday a group of people finished framing while others put plywood and blue board (foam insulation for vinyl siding) on the side of the house, and I personally started putting up scaffolding so that we could start moving trusses. We moved a few trusses onto the house before we had to stop because of lightning.

Thursday, we finished the trusses up and and started decking the roof. I know that there were other things going on around me but honestly the only thing that I really know was what I was doing which were trusses.

Friday, I seemed to get put in charge of scaffolding. OSHA has raised standards so that residential builders, now have to comply with commercial fall protection standards. In short this means we had to put up a lot of scaffolding. I really enjoyed working on it though and it made the time fly by. After lunch when all the scaffolding was in place, I started working on vinyl siding. I got to be the person to do all the cutting. Which was pretty easy work. In addition to what I was doing, there was a group that was finishing the decking on the roof and starting to shingle.

On Saturday, which is today, and also my Dad's birthday (Happy Birthday Dad), we finished up the roof, and did more siding. When didn't quite get the exterior finished up but we got the vast majority of it done. I continued operating the saw for the siding/soffit crews which kept my super busy, but it was great to see what we had accomplished. Sandy, the homeowner who is awesome, came thanked me for all the work that we were doing but I just thanked her for the opportunity to work with her and sharing her story with the riders. We finished the day with a Bike Rodeo for the Habitat kids in conjunction with an organization called Bikes for Kids, which actually gave away six bikes to kids that didn't have one. It was a great way to end our week. During the Bike Rodeo I met a homeowner who had Bike & Build build her house in 2009 and got to go see where they had left messages on the garage wall in her home. It was really cool to see where Rachel had signed.

All said and done, I consider myself extremely blessed to have spent the week building in Colorado Springs. I got to see one of my mothers, I got the opportunity to really help a great family out, and it was really pretty relaxing.

I will try to upload some pictures later on this evening and just want to forewarn everyone that internet access is going to get pretty spotty over the next couple of days, which means so will my updates.


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