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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Pai, Thailand. What a remarkably beautiful country!

Whitney, 2016
Whitney encountered this whale shark while diving in Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Whitney getting in some bouldering exercise on Koh Tao, Thailand.

Whitney, 2011
Colorful fruit stand in Otavalo, Ecuador.
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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.)
Urbanathlon, Where You Been All My Life?!

I admit I was at first a little apprehensive about an obstacle race. I mean, I guess it always sounded fun in theory, kind of like when the office coworker you hardly know suggests a play date for your dogs.

"Yeah! That sounds fun, we should do that sometime ... "

But the truth is, I don't like being constantly interrupted when I run. I get irritated when I have to maneuver around casual walkers monopolizing the whole width of the trail, or slow my pace to duck under a low hanging tree branch.

This one was Brad's idea. Although he doesn't much care for running, he was willing to forgive the Urbanathlon for serving up 11 miles of it, since there would be plenty of obstacles and strength challenges to keep him entertained. I, on the other hand, was less confident about my abilities to navigate through an obstructed race course.

Once upon a playground, I was master of the monkey bars, and a habitual climber of fences and trees (usually in my fanciest dresses, much to my parents' bewilderment).

But those days have long since passed, and I have now developed an irrational fear of heights, or perhaps more specifically, a fear of gravity. My adult attempts at reliving my grade school glory on the jungle gym have been thwarted by a disturbing awareness that I could easily dislocate a shoulder or throw out my back with the most basic of acrobatics.

Most of my training leading up to this event was simply focused on all-around functional strength, and a fairly traditional gym regimen, despite Brad's insistence that I learn to do 30 consecutive pull-ups, so that I could be strong like him.

In the final week before the race, we devised a practice course at a local playground -- a training circuit that included running, pull-ups, monkey bars, stair climb repeats, army crawling under the swing set, and of course hurdling over the 5 foot fence surrounding the playground (rather than walking through the gate like normal people).

This dress rehearsal was a huge confidence builder for me, and it turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected. I finally got my groove back on the monkey bars, zipping back and forth effortlessly. I definitely need more monkey bars in my life.

Race day I was pumped and ready. I knew I could manage all the obstacles, and I figured the running in between would be my chance to rest.

Posted by Kimberly 11/25/2015
Final race for Cal Poly

Nik completed his final race for the Cal Poly cycling team, the Wheelmen. The Western Collegiate Cycling Conference's final race of the 2011 Mountain Bike season was hosted by Cal-Berkeley at the Bailey Bike Park course.

Nik racing down the slalom course at Bailey Bike Park

Posted by Dan 11/14/2011
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

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