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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Made it! Great rock-climbing in Laos.
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Oregon, 2012
Whitney photographed this view of the Oregon coast near Cannon Beach during her bicycle trip.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Monkeys looking for a handout from Nik at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Whitney, 2011
Whitney and friends floating down the Tiputini, a tributary of the Amazon.
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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.)
XTERRA Real Granite Bay



A mountain bike race??!

Why on earth would I do that?

Other than just morbid curiosity, perhaps I felt compelled to kick off my 2016 season with the XTERRA Granite Bay Off Road Triathlon because I figured if my little brother can mountain bike, then probably I can too. Over the years, my younger siblings have displayed natural cycling and running athleticism and I've come to think of them basically as optimized versions of myself. My brother has won various mountain bike awards and based on his limited updates, I get the idea he and his bike pretty much spend all their time in Moab.

What's so great about mountain biking? I had to know.

I started renting a demo bike from Trailhead Cyclery, attempting to teach myself how to bunny hop and shred. Next, I checked in with my resident MTB guru to find out his secrets. What skills defined an excellent mountain biker? Little brother cited his "total disregard for personal safety," as one of his best assets.

Crap. That one is nowhere near the top of my list of personal traits. I don't think it's even on the list anymore. My youthful invincibility ended abruptly on the softball field one summer day ten years ago when an ill-conceived slide left me captive inside a plaster leg cast for 8 long weeks. NEVER AGAIN.

The popular refrain embedded in all mountain biking advice I received was, "When you go down -- and you will go down ... "

Ugh.

No way I could perhaps negotiate around that requirement?

I had very little familiarity with the course in Granite Bay. I read about "swoopy trails" and a variety of conditions including sand, dirt, rock, etc. It was two 8 mile loops for the bike, with less than 400′ of climbing on each, and that sounded pretty reasonable.

Honestly, I was most concerned about the swim. I had heard rumors that Folsom Lake was snow runoff, and therefore extremely cold this time of year. At just a half mile, the swim would be quick, but very unpleasant.

It turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

... At least as far as the swim was concerned.

The water temperature was just fine, almost comfortable, even. The short swim was complete in just over ten minutes, and transition was smooth, my new XTERRA wetsuit melted right off my legs like hot butter.




Posted by Kimberly 04/11/2016
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
Ao final

Game day! I am not yet sure of my plans for watching the World Cup final - likely just find a bar. Copacabana is packed with chanting Argentinians, which is fun and spirited, but I do not imagine I will want to join the masses at the Fifa FanFest on the beach. Too much for me.

At the end of my Brazil visit. Kind of crazy. In some ways, I can't believe I'm already at the end of the trip, and in others, I feel like I've been here for a long time!

Things I will miss [and will be happy to return to when I come back]:
  • acai on every corner
  • queijo minas (a wonderful type of cheese)
  • tapioca - not what we think is tapioca; its a crepe-type dish popular in the northeast, and it's delicious
  • the portuguese language
Things I will not miss:
  • the absurdly, inexplicably slow lines at supermarkets (in which I have written this entire post)
  • people on their phones when you're sitting with them at a restaurant



Posted by Whitney 07/13/2014
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