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Whitney, 2011
Cruising into the Amazon on the first day... Whit says, "I was still dry at this point."
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Whitney, 2016
Whitney's research team. Bazaruto Island, Mozambique.

Hilary, Whitney and Charlotte's halloween costume.

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.)

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

Nik Bicycles Pacific Coast

After packing some camping gear on his bicycle and hitching a ride to British Columbia, Nik spent part of this summer riding his bicycle from Canada to California.

Nik still lives in Santa Cruz, where he spends time playing beach volleyball and going to school at Cabrillo College.

Posted by Dan 08/15/2007

Ugh. I'm exhausted.

I'm wearing down. I've got a decent head cold going, and I just find myself exhausted and ready for bed by 8pm every night. The quick-paced, short-flame travel lifestyle is not the way I want to travel in the future. I'm beat after one week, and I feel like I'd much rather spend longer in a place, take my time, and not feel like every day has to be a "big day."

I've down about 8 cups of tea on the day. My head is still clogged and my body is tired. BUT! I had a great morning. I did the Canyon Swing in Queenstown this morning. It's 109 meters above the canyon floor, 60 meter freefall, and a big fat arcing swing through gorgeous rock walls and water below. It's much smoother than bungy jumping, there is no jolting or jarring. It's reeeally really cool, and you can go off the ledge any number of ways. And I did! I went 3 times, because extra jumps are only $10 each for the month of May (rather than the normal $50!). So I went 3 times, and did their 3 scariest-rated "dismounts": falling backwards, hanging upside-down and being cut away, and "Staff Choice"... they put a big plastic bucket over my head and pushed me off. Haha. That was a riot. Anyway, a great time, and a great adrenaline rush.

Then I got a Fergburger for lunch - the infamous buger joint in town that truly is AMAZING. After that, I was back on the roadside, hitching the 7 hours back to Christchurch. I found a straight ride pretty quickly, so that was awesome. Easy commute, saved $50 (and several hours) on a bus.

Gah! I'm running out of internet time. I really dislike paying for internet by the minute/hour. It's so frustrating.

Anyway, I'm in Christchurch for the next day and a half, taking it easy. I'm excited to get back to warm Townsville!

Posted by Whitney 05/02/2008