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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Komodo Dragons! Awwwesome! Whit and Nik spotted this guy on Rinca Island, Indonesia.
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Tahiti, 2012
Tahitian sunset, with the island of Moorea in the distance.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Another reason we got stuck on Koh Tao, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Night hike through a jungle swamp near the Tiputini research outpost in the Amazon rain forest.
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Eclipse!!

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.)
Capitol View Triathlon

Sunday's Capitol View Triathlon was a good way to start the season.

2 weeks ago Lake Mendota was a brain-freezing 56 degrees (so I'm told... Sunday was my first day back in open water this year!), but with the sweltering heat we had last week, the water warmed up nicely. After we got our worst weather (tornado warnings, temps in the 90's, withering humidity...) out of the way earlier in the week, Sunday rolled in like it was made for a triathlon: mild, breezy, mostly sunny.

The swim was great - smooth and clear. With only 20 or 30 people in the first wave, there was no crowding to worry about, so it was easy to get into a rhythm and just go. Towards the end though, I made the mistake of standing much too soon. The water is shallow a long ways out, but I know that swimming is much faster than water jogging... It was like those dreams that people have where they're sprinting top speed, and going nowhere. My feet were getting sucked into the mud with every step. With that final goofy, slow-motion slog through the water, the crowds along the beach must've felt like they were cheering for turtle races!

I was definitely looking forward to the bike. I'm familiar with the course, a scenic and moderately hilly route through farm country. There are some great stretches for hitting top speed, which is one of the highlights of race day! Out on the bike course, I'm often humbled by how lucky I am to be out there doing this at all, but also how lucky I am to be surrounded by beautiful scenery and open space. Being packed into a city like Chicago taught me to appreciate the freedom of being able to get out and really fly down those country roads.

The run was when things started to really get tough - a trail run, which I was in no way prepared for (other than knowing ahead of time that it was a trail run). All of my run training lately has been on solid surfaces, and I've come to love the reliabilty of some good firm asphalt underfoot. The course wound through shady forested areas of dirt & rock path, and emerged into open hilly, grassy fields where the trail was mown shorter, but still thick and spongy and uneven. I normally approach a speed run kind of like a machine - I just turn it on and let my legs take care of the rest while I focus on fending off any notions of stopping for a quick nap. A trail run engages the runner in a much different way - you have to be constantly alert, seeking the right placement for every step, darting, turning, climbing... I love a trail run as a faster version of hiking, but when it comes to pure speed, it's just not as satisfying!

I finished the race feeling solid, and earned myself a 2nd Place Overall commemorative lager glass, which I later filled with the appropriate victory treat.

Oreo milkshake.
Posted by kim 06/13/2011
Like Ripping off a BandAid

Well we managed to extricate ourselves from Koh Tao last week. The trick is to do it fast and with no warning. We went down to check on tickets to Chiang Mai and found that it was either leave the next day or wait another week for availability, so we booked it and got the next boat off.


Goodells Rule!



Posted by nik 10/21/2008, revised 11/05/2008
The little things I realize I miss

When I first arrived in this new country, there were the things that I missed right away: family, friends, group dinners at the Corvallis house, Sienna/Simon/Lago (and even Mogli a little), free phone calls to people in the States... these were all things that were quite obvious and I could see coming before I left. Now that I've been here for several weeks, I have found a multitude of little things that I have only recently realized I miss (notice how much of it is food related!). Much of it is specific to Corvallis/Oregon, so I apologize to those of you who are not familiar with these many little treasures.
  • PG Tips tea and Pomogranate Green Tea
  • Grandma's cookies (that's my Grandma, not a brand called 'Grandma's')
  • Marie Sharp's hot sauces that Dave brought back from Belize (thanks again Dave!)
  • really any good hot sauce or salsa
  • Tillamook mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • Tillamook cheese
  • Oregon tap water
  • home-brewed beer
  • any good darker beers (not many ambers, porters, or nut browns here)
  • always having Springhill wine or Dave's wine on hand
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Taylor Street Ovens' Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies
  • Annie's Shells & Cheddar
  • Amy's beans (again, roommate Amy, not a brand)
  • Santa Cruz (brand) raspberry lemonade sodas
  • The co-op in general and everything delicious held within its walls; buying local and sustainable groceries
  • having 4 or 5 didjeridoos lying around the living room (ironic, no?)
However, I am already building a list of 'the little things' that I would miss about Australia... let me tell you, you're all missing out on Tim Tams!

Posted by Whitney 03/18/2008
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