Northland College sophomores Hal Welch and Patrick Shea departed Friday, April 28 on a 34-day, 1,800-mile bike trip from Ashland to New Orleans. As part of their May term semester, they will be biking along the Mississippi incorporating observations, interviews, and photographs of the people who live along the route.

“It’s an American pilgrimage through the heartland of America—in the spirit of Mark Twain,” said advisor David Saetre, professor of religion, who came to see them off. “By cycling they’ll be observing, learning, and interacting with communities along the river.”

The two students are traveling roughly sixty miles per day and have arranged for lodging with friends and church groups along the way. Both of them come from a youth church group background—Shea’s dad was a pastor for ten years—and both of them have a passion for biking.

“I love this about our students,” Saetre said. “It’s creative, shows grit, and is a way for them to get juiced and get other students juiced.”

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