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Whitney, 2011
Bouldering around on some cool rock in Ecuador!
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Whitney, 2014
Whitney and friends inside arena, awaiting start of World Cup game, USA-vs-Germany.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
We splurged on a touristy hotel stay just before leaving Bali, Indonesia.

Whitney, 2011
Unusual fungi in the Amazon rain forest.
(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Here now, are some highlights from past posts.)

Nik Graduates from Cal Poly

We've completed one final trip to San Luis Obispo. The occasion this time was to attend the ceremonies as Nik graduated with his Bachelor's degree, cum laude, in Mechanical Engineering. Congratulations, Nik!

Posted by Dan 12/10/2011, revised 12/31/2011

Part 1 of... many: FOLK FESTIVAL!

Ok, so my life has been a busy mash of happiness, fun, and adventures. I've done a lot since I last wrote, and I feel it is only appropriate for me to fill you all in. However, if I were to write it all in one entry, the entry would be far too long, and I would never be able to complete it because it's too big of a mountain to face. So instead, I will write several blog entries, covering each thing:

This one, my friends, is about last weekend's folk festival. While Townsville is a renowned red-neck town, there is a hidden hippie culture... and I found them at the Palm Creek Folk Festival!! The festival was last weekend, Fri-Mon, on an eco-tourism area about 40 mins out of town. It's at the base of the the Great Dividing Range mountains, right next to national park. In short: beautiful place.

I went with my good friends Andrew and Hugo, and Hugo's friend Zoe. We went on Saturday evening, and listened to music, ate great food, met great people, had an awesome time camping, and just generally enjoyed the whole atmosphere. It felt so nice to get away and finally see live music again. It was also really nice to see this crowd of people, because this culture is hidden away in Townsville, drowned out my the red-necks driving by in their shiny utes (those car-truck things), honking their horns and yelling out the window at bike-ists. But anyway, yeah, we had a great time and I was so happy to semi-satisfy my yearning for live music. All of the acts were little local bands, but there was some really great music! Let's face it: Live Music is Better.


Me and friend Andrew, enjoying the beauty of our surroundings on Sunday afternoon, with the sounds of folk music coming from the stages behind us.

We stayed until Monday morning, when we hitched back early so that I could get back to town in time to leave for a different camping trip... which is the topic of my next adventure! Read the next story to learn more...

As my camera is broken and I don't have my own pictures from the weekend, I've provided a link to Hugo's photo album of the trip. Unfortunately he doesn't provide captions, so there's no indication of who's who (unless you're logged into Facebook). But there's not much necessary commentary anyway: it was a beautiful location, Andrew's got the dark hair, Hugo the light hair, Zoe's the girl :)

Just an interesting side note: Andrew and Hugo are 2 of the guys that live at the house I Couchsurfed at my very first day in Townsville, before I found a place to live. I mentioned them in one of my very first blog entries - they were the first people I met in Townsville, and they are now some of my closest friends. I just think that's so cool the way that worked out, thought I'd share :)

Photo album - Palm Creek Folk Festival: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2186077&l=33f69&id=61011192

Posted by Whitney 06/15/2008, revised 06/19/2008

About Nik

Nik enjoys motorcycling and rebuilding a 1970 Porsche 914.

In high school his interest in working on cars and motorcycles became an all-consuming passion, so he enrolled to study auto mechanics at UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from there in December, 2001.

Nik graduated from Ygnacio Valley High School in June 2000. He capped a stellar high school career with 10 varsity letters, including 3 in cross-country (all-BVAL, 1st-Team), 3 in soccer, and 4 in volleyball (all-BVAL, 2nd-Team). But up until 3 weeks before graduation, it was still unclear whether the administration would actually let him graduate -- they seemed to think he hadn't completed enough courses in Physical Education! He got a lesson in bureaucrats and their rules.

Nik finished his final high school cross-country season in remarkable fashion. A grueling schedule was loaded with invitational tournaments, in which they did quite well. In the Bay Valley Athletic League finals, Ygnacio Valley finished a close 2nd, placing an astonishing four runners in the first six in the league. Nik's 5th-place finish earned him 1st-Team All-League honors. In the North Coast Section Championships, Ygnacio Valley dominated the Division I final, placing four runners in the first nine and winning the Division I title easily. then it was off to respectable showings at the State Championships and Far Western Regionals, where Nik placed an impressive 25th place individually.

He also completed three years as goalkeeper for the varsity soccer team, and four years of high school volleyball, earning 2nd-Team All-League honors.

Posted by Dan 01/20/2003

How About a Road Race?


Today was my first bike race!

I’ve always felt a little out of place with road guys – first of all because they’re usually all guys (and I noticed they don’t take kindly to being outpaced by a girl…) and secondly because I know how roadies feel about triathletes. In the cycling world, triathletes have a reputation for being messy, unpredictable riders, lacking the etiquette of the guys who actually know what they’re doing out there. It’s like bringing a hillbilly to High Tea. The triathlete’s cycling pedigree is unforgivably tainted by those lowly pursuits of running and swimming.

So perhaps I am too meek and apologetic in this crowd. At any rate, I underestimated my cycling ability, and spent most of the 22.3 mile race sitting in one pace line or another, wondering, “When are these guys gonna start riding hard?”

Legal drafting is a new concept for me. Everytime a motorcycle course marshal appeared, I had the sudden panic that I was about to get caught breaking the rules, and then I would remember that in this race, drafting isn’t cheating. It’s strategy.

I also learned firsthand exactly what those roadies dislike about riding near unskilled cyclists…

About 7 miles in, as I was beginning to realize I should start making an effort to pass people, I came up behind a guy I should’ve known was trouble. I had seen him riding in the middle of a pace line down in his aerobars, which is dangerous. That should have been my cue to keep my distance.

We approached a turn, one that didn’t allow room for error since there was oncoming traffic.

I know how fast I can take a corner, but apparently, Mr. Aerobars did not. He suddenly slammed on his brakes and then lost control of his bike. I was far enough behind him that I had some time to react, but it was hard to tell which direction he was going to end up going, the way he was fishtailing through the turn. I tried to stop quickly, but then MY bike fishtailed, and I was immediately alerted to the fact that I had a pace line right behind me – by the shrieks that were so close it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I did the only thing I could do to avoid front and/or back collision – I swerved left, slicing in front of oncoming traffic (a gigantic pick-up truck, no less) and ended up in a ditch on the opposite side of the road.

Needless to say, once I caught back up to the group (and there he was again, back down in his aerobars, right behind someone else’s wheel), I had new incentive to pass and then speed away from them as fast as my legs could carry me.

I ended up taking home another 1st Place beer glass for my collection, but I have to say, today’s bigger victory was returning home with my bike and my bones still intact!

Posted by kim 08/06/2011