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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik on narrow steps at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Whitney, 2016
Linda working at the office. Bazaruto Island, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
The local boys in Indonesia were inspired by Nik's haircut.

Whitney, 2011
Quito, 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.)
December in the Desert: HITS Palm Springs 70.3

This was my second year at HITS Palm Springs, returning to defend my 2015 title. Since I didn't write about last year, and last year was kind of a long time ago, just a single, emphatic word summed up my memory of that winter desert race:


So this year I did a fair amount of preparation to brace myself for the 55 degree water and the prospect of emerging soaking wet into 55 degree air to go bike in the wind:

1. I spent the week reminding myself to quit whining like a wimp.

2. I showed up to transition dressed like I was ready to go ice fishing, to preserve my core temperature as long as possible. (This made body marking something of a challenge).

3. I got in the icy lake 10 minutes before my wave start to "warm up" or more precisely, to "numb up." This was a critical step. I got the painful part out of the way early, so that I was able to start the race devoid of all feeling.

4. I added one more piece to my T1: an insulated vest with the pockets loaded up with hand warmer packets.

The swim was a success, despite the fact that almost half of it was into the direct glare of the morning sun.

I put on my toasty vest in transition, and I knew I was going to be plenty cozy, even if I couldn't feel my feet for the next three hours.

And then I set off for the "easy" part of the race.

The first obstacle came up early in the ride. The course support was a bit sparse out on those desert highways, and a few intersections had police presence, but they weren't necessarily actively directing traffic.

I approached a red light, and felt a little nervous since no one was preventing cross traffic from taking their green. But you don't stop for red lights during a race! I proceeded through with some hesitation, and cleared the intersection just in time to avoid a pickup truck barreling through. Yikes!

Not long after, I found myself at another huge intersection. There were no other racers in view ahead, and I panicked, wondering which way the course went. One of the downsides of being at the front of a race is that sometimes the course disappears.

Posted by Kimberly 12/07/2016
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
My weekend of great vistas

Lately, every day seems to go exactly the way it should, and that goes especially for the weekends. The last couple weekends have been great, and this past one was no exception.

Friday night, our volleyball team (who is trying to hold our 4th place spot so we can go to the playoffs in a few weeks) played an awesome game against the 1st place team. We ended up losing 65-60 (high scores, I know! It's just one 40 minute game with rally score), but it was one of the most satisfying, enjoyable games yet. We're really coming together, and it was just a quality game of volleyball.

Saturday morning started off with an awesome picnic breakfast above the town with a few of my friends. We went and sat up on top of Castle Hill, which is the one high point in town - a beautiful jutting piece of rock coming out of the flat land. It looks out over all of Townsville and Maggie Island and the ocean and the coast... it's awesome. We sat on top of an old bunker and enjoyed the view and the morning with food and coffee, just lazing about for a few hours.

Me with friend Ben on Castle Hill, starting the weekend off with coffee and a view.

Then I spent my entire Sunday rock climbing on Mt. Stuart, which is part of the Great Dividing Range, just behind Townsville. As great as the view was from Castle Hill, it was no comparison to Mt. Stuart. My roommate Scott and 2 other friends and I climbed all day, surrounded by the beauty of the ocean and the land down below. It was really great to do some actual outdoor climbing, as well. I had an incredible time, climbing until my muscles could no longer hold me on the wall. I'm hoping I'll get some more chances to go climbing in the next couple weeks, because I really had a great time.

Hanging out on Mt. Stuart on Sunday for a great day of climbing and views.

Check out my Mt. Stuart photo album to see the view I got to enjoy all day yesterday!

Posted by Whitney 06/02/2008, revised 06/02/2008

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