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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik and Whit visited the Kuang Si waterfall outside of Luang Prabang, Laos.
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Whitney, 2016
Whitney spotted this lionfish off Vilankulos, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
$5 motos and Christmas Day in Bali, Indonesia.

Whitney, 2011
Ecuadoran Amazonia. The jungle has plenty of unusual creatures. Is this one, or two?
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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.)
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

Cambodia to Malaysia, Via Thailand

Well, I was gonna write all about the rest of Laos and Cambodia but I've fallen dreadfully behind so let's take up from our reentry into Thailand.

This time through Thailand began with a 24 hour trip from Siem Reap, in Cambodia, all the way to Krabi, with a brief stopover in Bangkok long enough to arrange the next leg. Krabi is well known for its world class climbing. The small beaches in Krabi are isolated from the mainland by towering Limestone cliffs.

Rock climbers paradise

The main beaches are Aow Nang, the busy primary stop accessible from the mainland, Railey East and Railey West, two beaches on the peninsula and accessible by boat, and Ton Sai, a tiny cove that can be accessed by boat or from Railey at low tide. Aow Nang is used as a jumping off point for the islands in the area or to catch boats to the other beaches. Railey's beaches have excellent climbing but are dominated by expensive family resorts and the families that go with them. Ton Sai is wonderfully removed from the resort beaches and far cheaper. The result: Ton Sai abounds with rock climbers from around the world; it is to rock climbing what Koh Tao is to diving.

The first day we were able to rent gear and enjoy some of Krabi's epic climbing at Ton Sai, a short walk from our bungalow. By the end of the day we could feel the effects through our unconditioned arms and opted to make the next day a day of rest.


Posted by nik 12/03/2008, revised 02/06/2009
Beach volleyball!

I played some beach volleyball tonight! It felt so good, it's been so long! It's a city league that plays Friday evenings - 30 minute games, and unfortunately not actually on the beach, but some nice lit sand courts in town. We're Division 2 (of 3) so that puts us in a nice level of people playing for fun, and with enough skill for it to actually be fun.

First I played doubles with my friend Hugo, and it was absolutely treacherous as I worked out the kinks and cobwebs. My first serve was an embarassingly feeble flop-ball that didn't even make it to the net. My hands were cement blocks when I tried to set the ball. My "spikes" were the most un-spikey things you've ever seen. My dives were fruitless, resulting only in a nice full sugar-coating of sand and occasionally a nod from by-standers for my enthusiasm and determination. Passing and digging... actually still in pretty good shape. I was rather pleased to show that there was some evidence of volleyball in days past. But needless to say, we lost that game pretty spectacularly.


Posted by Whitney 03/14/2008
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