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Moorea, 2012
In Tahiti, when you hide cell towers in fake trees they have to be fake palm trees.

Oregon, 2012
July morning at Cape Lookout Beach.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik kayaking near Krabi, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
More critters in the Amazon rain forest.
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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.)
Wildflower Will Show You What You're Made Of

Lake San Antonio is now 96% empty, making Wildflower even more unique than before. Because the California drought has caused the lake to creep 2.2 miles away from the original swim start, the format is now 1.2 mile swim, 2.2 mile run, 56 mile bike, 10.9 mile run.


This image superimposes a photo of the boat ramp where the Swim leg started in the 2009 Triathlon with the same location this year.

We camped out the night before the race, atop a hill overlooking the puddle that would serve as the swim venue. This would have been a super convenient location were it not for the multiple transition areas. Race morning required some maneuvering as I dropped off my bike and second pair of run shoes across the park at the "Real" transition, and then deposited my first pair of run shoes and my wetsuit bag on the boat ramp that served as "T1a"

The lake temperature was announced as 73 degrees, which was downright toasty once you got moving! The water was murky, but overall the swim was smooth.

I was excited to knock off a few of the run miles early in the race while my legs were still fresh, but before you start the 2.2 mile T1 run, you have to first ascend the world's longest boat ramp. Steep and seemingly endless, T1a was lined with spectators, cheering on the turtle race of soggy runners who were, of course, too proud to walk this early in the day.

Posted by Kimberly 05/07/2015
Nik graduates from UTI

In December 2001, Nik graduated with honors from Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, with a degree in Automotive and Truck Technology. He made the Director's Honor List 13 times and was named Student of the Phase three times. His final GPA was 3.95.

Nik now works for a boat repair shop on the SF-Bay waterfront in Alameda. He performs maintenance and repairs on all manner of recreational watercraft, including fishing, power and sailboats.

Posted by Dan 01/07/2002

Mi misíon por cada día

I have always been a goal-setter. Generally, when I set out to do something or to make something happen, it happens. Apparently this has been a part of my character since I was a wee lass. While I don't have a clear memory of my early years, my parents tell of a time when I was 5 years old and decided that I wanted to learn how to do 3 things: tie my shoes, whistle, and snap my fingers. I had set my deadline for the end of the week... or maybe by my birthday. I'm not quite sure, I think it depends on who's telling the story. Nevertheless, a self-imposed target date was established and was, needless to say, met with great success.

This same voracity for making desired events come to fruition is what has brought me, finalmente, to Latin America. I've been wanting to experience life and culture in this part of the world for years, and now here I am. And now that I am here, my new mission has made itself very apparent: Aprender español! I have never taken a Spanish class, and I often feel I could've sacrificed one of my useless years of French class to take a Spanish course. But such is life.

I have never had something that is so entirely the focus of every day, every interaction, every moment, as learning the Spanish language is for me now. That has become my goal, and the force of my desire to make it happen drives my self-education every day. I want to understand what my soccer teammates are telling me, I want to read Spanish novels, I want to express my opinions to those around me, I want to write fluidly about my day in a language other than my native one, I want to eavesdrop on phone conversations in the grocery store. I want to have a fully-functional grasp on this language. I want to not be an imcompetent gringa with only blank stares to offer to those who speak at me.

At the university (Universidad de San Francisco, Quito), I am enrolled in an intermediate Spanish class. Yes. Intermediate. There weren't enough students enrolled for a beginner course, so I enrolled for the intermediate level to see if I could catch up. I figured a course above my head was better than none at all, and I had faith in my determination to catch up. Well, I just turned in my first 2-page essay en español! Haha. Yep. I wrote a two-page analysis of a Spanish movie that we had to watch. And let me tell you... it took me forever to write! I'm sure the pages will have red pen all over them when I get the paper back from la profesora, but that's what I need. I'm excited to be thrown into such a challenge, and even though the learning process is slow and I still struggle to understand the simplest requests from people, I can feel improvement every day and that's what keeps me powering on.

The thing about this mission of mine is that it has no "Finish" line. I could work to improve my Spanish indefinitely. But I do have somewhat of a timeline, in that I plan on living here in Quito until about May, and I would like to have a confident conversational grasp of the language by the time I leave my current set-up. It is highly likely that I will continue traveling around Latin America after May, and if this is going to be the case, I would really like to feel comfortable living on my own devices in the language of the people around me.

So onward I go with this mission of mine, and while the progress often feels minuscule, it is progress nevertheless.

Cada día, un poco más.
Posted by Whitney 02/05/2011, revised 02/05/2011

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