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Whitney, 2011
Whitney hiked up to Quilatoa, Ecuador.

Whitney, 2016
Fishing boats returning with the tide. Vilankulos, Mozambique.

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

Cordoba, Argentina 2011
Whitney's Ecuadoran soccer team took 2nd place in the Cordoba Cup tournament.
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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.)
IRONMAN Wisconsin, My Cinderella Story

Once upon a time, in 2006, I had done a few sprint triathlons, ventured into the deep end with an Olympic distance, and then I broke my leg playing softball. My summer racing plans were shattered along with the fibula, and in my anxious boredom, I went to a Chicago Tri Club meeting. A meeting about triathlon didn't seem as interesting as actually doing one, and it was hard to imagine that there would be all that much to talk about ... But what did I have to lose?

It turned out, there was plenty to talk about, and some people out there are really into triathlon. I learned about a thing called an IMOO, which was an unconscionably long event that takes place in Madison, Wisconsin.

Wait ... People go to Wisconsin on purpose??

Yes, they do.

And some of them go there weekend after weekend to train for this IMOO.

It didn't take long for the Kool-Aid to take effect, and soon I too was joining on weekend getaways to the magical land of Madison, where the quiet farm roads and rolling hills are a Chicago cyclist's dream come true.

In September I joined the tri club's annual camping trip, centered around volunteering at the IMOO, which was actually the cow-themed nickname for IRONMAN Wisconsin (The distinction was necessary, because it wasn't the only Ironman. Apparently there was also one in Hawaii).

I volunteered on the bike course, handing off gels to passing cyclists as if their lives depended on it. I was sore for a week after darting and leaping around amongst all those bikes!

But I came back the next year, and the next, and the next. I cheered the final finishers in at 11:58pm. I handed out cups of lukewarm, flat Coke (why on earth?!) to weary competitors at mile 23 of the marathon. I rubbed sunscreen on sweaty muscles (not really as fun as it sounds). I sat at a computer typing in payment after payment from an endless line of jittery athletes who were already so sure they wanted to do this again, that they were each paying $685 a year in advance to ensure a spot in next year's Ironman (Why would you need to do it twice??)

Naturally, I fielded the same question some dozen hundred times, "What about you? When are you doing Ironman?"

I had a plethora of handy excuses, and assured myself and others it really wasn't something that interested me. People have a way of convincing themselves that they don't want the things they can never have, and so I did just that.

In addition to being a little intimidated, I simply didn't have the time, resources or support for something as massive as Ironman, and I most definitely didn't have the funds.

No, I was happy just being near the race, and being around the people who did it. I was thrilled to be able to eventually relocate from Chicago to Madison, planting myself right in the center of the triathlon world, home of the famed IMOO.

Over the years, I trained alongside, coached, and volunteered for the Ironman athletes. They regaled me with their stories, and I knew every hill and turn of the bike course. I knew where all the rowdiest aid stations were and the biggest cheering squads. I looked forward to the race every year, and craved the satisfaction and utter exhaustion of spending an entire day spectating. But by the time I left the Midwest, I had still only been on the outside looking in.

Posted by Kimberly 09/20/2018
30 Day Visa

It was immediately apparent that the $25 30 day visa in Indonesia was not long enough so we made an executive decision to stay for 31 days for a mere $20 extra. While in Sumatra we took a night boat to the remote Mentawai Islands south of Padang. There we stayed with a local Mentawai family and enjoyed jungle trekking and experienced traditional Mentawai medicine man rituals. It became apparent why all the medicine men are all so thin and wiry; the rituals go through the night and involve singing, chanting and dancing until you collapse from exhaustion. Then you repeat.

Dancing away evil spirits

Mentawai medicine man dancing away evil spirits

Posted by nik 02/06/2009, revised 02/24/2009
Day trip to Bowen

Last Sunday, 3 friends and I went on a road trip to Bowen, a coast town about 3 hours south of Townsville. The drive was exactly what a road trip should be: having a great time on a sunny day with the windows rolled down, listening to fun music, and stopping along the road at anyplace that looks worth stopping for (polo-cross game, fresh produce stand...). It was the type of drive where you don't even really want to get to your destination because you're having such a great time on the road.

We got to Bowen, which doesn't have much to offer except for fruit farms, sugar cane fields, and a cemetary that greets you as you enter the town. But it's got beautiful beaches with nobody on them, and great boulders to climb around on. And that's what makes it a great place - it's a beach town that is not considered a "beach town."

My friends Ben, Hamish, and Rachel and I loaded up on fresh produce at a roadside stand on the way to Bowen, to last us the whole day. So we spend a glorious day on the beach, eating the juiciest, tastiest melons, manderins, oranges, green beans, and avacados, without proper cutlery, just letting the juices run down our faces and arms. It was wonderful. The food-highlight of my day, however, was the fresh-off-the-tree coconut that we enjoyed whilst sitting on the horizontally orientated coconut tree than hung over the sand, overlooking the clear blue water. It was picture perfect. We managed to bore a hole in the coconut and pass the goblet of milk around - so wonderfully sweet and smooth! Incredible! We then cracked our empty goblet open to scrape the delicious gooey flesh off the inside with our teeth. It was the perfect experience for a lazy beach day.

There's not much else to say about the day - just picture your perfect tropical beach day, and that was it.

But take a look at the pictures!

Ben, Rachel, Hamish, and me, enjoying our beautiful day

Posted by Whitney 06/25/2008

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