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Nik & Whitney, 2008
More great diving. Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia.

Tahiti, 2012
Tahitian sunset, with the island of Moorea in the distance.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Whitney making bracelets for some local children in Sumatra.

Whitney, 2011
Big spider on the Mandango trail, near Vilcabamba, Ecuador.


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. Here now, below, are some highlights from past posts.)

The Women's Sprint Triathlon - Where it All Began

Seven years ago, some girls on my football team suggested I join them at an event called the Danskin Women's Sprint Triathlon. I had recently completed an 8K (the furthest I'd ever run!) and I was ready for a new challenge. I already had a swimsuit, I just needed a bike.

The budget was tight, so I went for the cheapest secondhand bike with air in the tires - a GT Hybrid - and started biking the 7 miles to work on it. A co-worker, horrified by my new ride, admonished me, "You can't do a triathlon on THAT thing!"

I was genuinely bewildered.

A bike is a bike.
If it can go 7 miles, it can go 12.
What's the big deal?

Of course, I proved her wrong and I did do my triathlon on "THAT thing," finishing a respectable 368th place, thank you very much.

Every year I've returned (excepting the broken leg year) with a few more details refined, inching my way up in the ranks.
In 2005 (with a new, lighter secondhand bike) I came in 30th place. wow!
In 2007 (with an actual new bike) I cracked the top ten overall, coming in 8th!
In 2008 I made the leaderboard, in 5th place.

In 2009, I came in 3rd, one second behind speedy Stacy Kiefer, and then in 2010, we swapped spots - she came in 3rd to my 2nd.

This year, Stacy held the lead for awhile, making me chase her all the way to mile 8 of the bike course. Once I moved into 1st, the motorcycle escorts guided me in, red & blue lights flashing to announce the arrival of my mini-motorcade.

The run course out there may not have a single spot of shade, but it's filled with memories, from all the past years of the Danskin Women's races, then the Trek Women's races, and the Pleasant Prairie Triathlons too. This is the 10th time I've trotted alongside Lake Andrea, wishing I could just dive right back into that refreshing water and take a break from all this silly running business.

I remember the exact spot where, in 2004, I dumped a cup of water over my cotton T shirt and quickly learned that - while it's a clever way to cool off in dry climates like California - soaking your cotton clothing in midwestern humidity is rather like wrapping yourself in a sleeping bag on a hot day.

And I distinctly remember that glorious moment of victory 7 years ago when I saw the finish line come into view, and knew it was all mine.
well, 1st place or 368th place, it's still a grand moment.

I guess some things you never grow out of.

Posted by Kim 07/12/2011, revised 07/15/2011

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

The ocean calls

Second day in Bogota today. Yesterday was a blast. I learned how to play tejo, an incredible game that needs to come to the states. It's kinda like bags or horseshoes, but you play with these heavy discuss-type lumps and try to hit little papers filled with gun powder, and it's a delightful amount of explosives! Then I had a GIANT bbq in the hostal i'm staying at - the whole hostal gathered for a feast of deliciously tender steak, grilled chicken, chorizo, grilled whole onions, potatoes, and amazing spicey guac. For $7!

The game of tejo - like horseshoes with explosives.

I think i'm gonna head for the Caribbean coast in a few days. I'm getting antsy. It's gonna be a long haul - about 20 hours on a bus (sure wish I could read on buses). But I just wanna get to the ocean and a hammock and relax.

Traveling in Colombia is much more expensive than I'd planned. Buses are not cheap relative to Ecuador, which is generally $1/hour on the bus. You can get all the way across ecuador for $15 or so. But I'm about to shell out probably 4x that much to get to the coast now. Sigh.

Posted by Whitney 07/09/2011, revised 08/15/2011