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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Sly monkey in Indonesia, puttin' the moves on Nik.

Whitney, 2016
Whitney spotted this lionfish off Vilankulos, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Whitney lovin' colorful streetwares in Pai, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Whitney encountered this llama on hike up Quilatoa in Ecuador.
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The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 crossed the continent, from Oregon to South Carolina, and gave millions of people the chance to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the natural world.

Nik's photo of the August 21 eclipse, photographed from Glendo, Wyoming. The star, Regulus, is barely visible to the lower left of the solar corona.
But you had to be within the "path of totality", a narrow band across the earth's surface several thousand miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Outside that band you would only see a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse.

And there is no such thing as a "partial total eclipse", despite the impression blogs and the news media might give. I honestly think that's why so many people misunderstand the utter beauty of the spectacle; they may have seen a partial eclipse in the past that was total somewhere else, and even though they weren't in the path the news kept gushing about it being a total eclipse, so they assume they must have seen a total eclipse and just didn't find it all that impressive.

Posted by Dan 08/29/2017, revised 09/06/2017
(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Below are some highlights from past posts.)
HITS Napa Half, 5 (Plus) Hours of Fun

It was a rough week leading into this race, culminating with the theft of my training/commuter bike less than two days before the race. Saturday morning the alarm went off way too early, but fortunately my dad is really good at being (still) awake at 3am, so we left the driving to him. With so many interferences throughout the week, I decided to call this one a "Training Day," and just focus on a smart, well-paced effort. This made for a more relaxing pre-race routine than usual, despite an early morning flat tire (the 5th one this week). I was looking forward to cruising easy on the bike, and then actually enjoying the half marathon. I love running strong and fast, so it's a shame that I make a habit of wearing myself out first with all that swimming and biking, invariably turning a run of any distance into an exhausting shuffle.

HITS is my kind of race! Efficient and professional, but low-key and not too crowded. They let us drive all the way up to transition for athlete drop off, and then packet pickup was a breeze, with short lines and no waiting.

The transition area was awesome; spacious, organized and more functional than a bunch of flimsy racks. I hope more races adopt this set-up (Minus the gravel underfoot -- ouch!)

I was worried about the lake temperature, quoted as being 54-59 degrees. Even though I enjoy cold water swimming more than most humans, I refer to anything below 58 degrees as "freeze-your-face-off cold," because it gives you brain-freeze from the outside. But it was a great swim -- at least the water was warmer than the air!

I took a pass on the wetsuit strippers, even though it's tons of fun, because I figured it was a good opportunity to practice my transition skills. Sharp as ever, at 1 minute 6 seconds, my T1 was the fastest of the day, with only five other athletes coming in under 2 minutes. While this is largely irrelevant in a 5+ hour race, it is still a matter of great pride for me. Transition Queen!!

... On the other hand, I found myself tragically under-dressed for the 3 hours of cycling that followed, so a jacket (or perhaps a snowsuit) might have been worth the extra 42 seconds. Or maybe I should've just left the wetsuit on?

The bike ride didn't go as smoothly as expected. Within the first 10 miles, I discovered that my bottle cage had come loose, and was flopping dangerously from side to side. If it came fully detached and jumped ship, I would be responsible for going back to retrieve it, or risk breaking the rule of Abandoning Gear on the Course. My first course of action was to reduce the weight of the water bottle, by emptying it. I quickly discovered that the pathetic, frozen claw that was once my hand had no strength with which to squeeze the water bottle. I pulled over and attempted to tighten the bolts on the cage, but the tiny allen wrench was no good in my lifeless, shaking fingers. (I got rid of the water bottle at the first aid station, and the cage rattled noisily for the remainder of the ride, but at least it stayed with me).

Posted by Kimberly 04/17/2015
Nik Bicycles Pacific Coast

After packing some camping gear on his bicycle and hitching a ride to British Columbia, Nik spent part of this summer riding his bicycle from Canada to California.

Nik still lives in Santa Cruz, where he spends time playing beach volleyball and going to school at Cabrillo College.
Posted by Dan 08/15/2007

Thanks for all the letters and mail!

Thank you everyone for all the letters and cards and mail you've been sending! I truly appreciate each and every one. Every time something shows up in the mailbox with my name on it, I grab it and run off excitedly to my room to give my full attention to my new treasure, like a squirrel running off to my tree with my prized acorn. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen any squirrels around here. Do they exist in Australia?

Anyway, I love hearing from all of you back home, whether it's via snail mail or email. Thanks for keeping in touch! I get more mail now than I ever have before, it's great! I think my roommates are thoroughly envious. They can tell that I have awesome friends and family!

On a side note, I got Neil's pictures from the Blues Fest, so I've added more pictures to that album.

Posted by Whitney 04/01/2008

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