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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Made it! Great rock-climbing in Laos.

Whitney, 2014
Open-air port-a-potties outside World Cup venue. Recife, Brazil.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Danau Maninjau, Indonesia.

Whitney, 2011
Pretty fungi in the Amazon rain forest.
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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.)
Defending the Title in Pleasant Prairie

This was the first time I've ever had to defend a win! That's a whole new kind of pressure.

That, and trying not to be too awestruck about sharing the podium with triathlon titans like Will Smith (Male Overall Winner) and Lauren Jensen (Female 2nd Overall). Over the years, I've watched those two dominate the Wisconsin races, beating out any level of competition, sometimes on sheer guts alone. I remember the very first triathlon I ever did – on my rusty old hybrid – Lauren Jensen was the overall winner that day.

True to the steely resolve she's always shown on race day, Lauren has miraculously come back from a major injury less than a year ago, to - not only participate - but again dominate, leading the women's race at Pleasant Prairie for the first 2 hours.

When I spotted her with a several minute lead on me at the beginning of the run, I was both inspired and intimidated by her grit and determination. Never give up! But my confidence wavered... What if Lauren never-gives-up better than I do? The thought of going head to head with her in a finish line sprint made me immediately nauseous, so I just held my pace, and concentrated on reeling in all the positive thoughts I could grab on to.

It was yet another absolutely perfect day for racing. The wind was low, the rain held off, and temps stayed comfortably in the 60s. The bike course is fairly flat and scenic, and the run course is ideal for me – flat with several switchbacks, so I can keep an eye on the competition. I'd gotten through the swim, bike and transitions relatively smoothly, so it was already qualifying as a successful day.

Fatigue started to crowd its way in, and I worried that my legs might take matters into their own hands (feet?) and stop to walk without my permission. But as usual, my pace seemed to stick, in spite of lurking desires to have a quick little rest in the grass.

Lauren was still some distance ahead of me, still charging forward like a machine. But there was more than a mile left to go. It was looking like it could be close. I've trailed my competition through the finish line at 5 seconds behind, at 7 seconds behind... I know exactly how impossibly far away 7 seconds looks.

...and come to think of it, Lauren couldn't be much more than 7 seconds ahead of me now. I had closed the gap.

As I pulled even with her, I calculated that I had about 4 minutes until the finish line – for 4 long minutes I would have to desperately cling to first place. "Way to go" she said as I passed. However, in my oxygen deprived state, at that fearful moment that you change from predator into prey... I was certain she said "Still a long way to go" and I realized with dismay that I was already at finish line effort, and indeed – there was still a long way to go. All of my practiced self-encouragements gave way to a simple "Go, Go, Go, Go..."

As I finally approached the finish line mats, I knew I couldn't let up until I was safely across them.

"And coming, through the finish line, Robin Goodell!"

I heaved across the finish line, providing the photographers with a most unbecoming panting dog impression as the announcer corrected,

"Kimberly, that was Kimberly just finishing"

Well, close enough.

Posted by kim 06/27/2011, revised 07/07/2011
In Indonesia In December

After only two days in Indonesia I am in love.

Shanks ponies into the jungle

Indonesia was apparently a very popular destination for tourists before Thailand took over and began drawing people to Southeast Asia. Because of this the tourist infrastructure is there but the islands are blissfully devoid of other tourists. From Malaysia we took a local ferry and made our way overnight by bus to Bukittinggi. For whatever reason it was decided that everyone on the bus should feel like it would be a white Christmas after all and the AC was on full blast all night. Quite ironically we crossed the equator on this stretch making the equator officially the coldest part of my trip. At one point Bukittinggi may have been overrun with tourists using it as a jump off for various treks and tours or just visiting the scenic town, but these days it has settled back into its own quiet existence.

Posted by nik 12/27/2008, revised 02/08/2009
Day trip to Bowen

Last Sunday, 3 friends and I went on a road trip to Bowen, a coast town about 3 hours south of Townsville. The drive was exactly what a road trip should be: having a great time on a sunny day with the windows rolled down, listening to fun music, and stopping along the road at anyplace that looks worth stopping for (polo-cross game, fresh produce stand...). It was the type of drive where you don't even really want to get to your destination because you're having such a great time on the road.

We got to Bowen, which doesn't have much to offer except for fruit farms, sugar cane fields, and a cemetary that greets you as you enter the town. But it's got beautiful beaches with nobody on them, and great boulders to climb around on. And that's what makes it a great place - it's a beach town that is not considered a "beach town."

My friends Ben, Hamish, and Rachel and I loaded up on fresh produce at a roadside stand on the way to Bowen, to last us the whole day. So we spend a glorious day on the beach, eating the juiciest, tastiest melons, manderins, oranges, green beans, and avacados, without proper cutlery, just letting the juices run down our faces and arms. It was wonderful. The food-highlight of my day, however, was the fresh-off-the-tree coconut that we enjoyed whilst sitting on the horizontally orientated coconut tree than hung over the sand, overlooking the clear blue water. It was picture perfect. We managed to bore a hole in the coconut and pass the goblet of milk around - so wonderfully sweet and smooth! Incredible! We then cracked our empty goblet open to scrape the delicious gooey flesh off the inside with our teeth. It was the perfect experience for a lazy beach day.

There's not much else to say about the day - just picture your perfect tropical beach day, and that was it.

But take a look at the pictures!

Ben, Rachel, Hamish, and me, enjoying our beautiful day

Posted by Whitney 06/25/2008

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