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Whitney, 2016
Low tide at the Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary, Sao Sebastiao, Inhambane, Mozambique
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Whitney, 2016
Whitney got to watch wildlife from her veranda. Sao Sebastiao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Certified for both scuba diving and skydiving, Whitney practices both at the same time off Flores Island, Indonesia.

Whitney, 2011
Quito, Ecuador.

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

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

Nik's Final RoadRace Weekend

Went to watch Nik in his final road race with the Cal Poly team. Since he'll graduate in the Fall, he'll be able to race the Fall Mountain Bike season but won't be around for next year's Spring RoadRace season.

This one was a criterium--a fast, multi-lap race around a short, flat course on paved city streets. Although hosted by Stanford University, the course was a five-cornered, half-mile loop in Morgan Hill, adjacent to the headquarters of Specialized Bicycle Components (who just happen to be one of the most popular makers of racing bicycles in the world).

Stanford Criterium
Nik, in Cal Poly green, racing in the Stanford Criterium, the final race of the RoadRace season.

Posted by Dan 04/25/2011

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