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Whitney, 2008
...sushi night in Townsville, Australia.

Whitney, 2016
Reef off Bazaruto Island, Mozambique.

Whitney, 2004
Whitney studies Oahu's Hanauma Bay during high school graduation trip to Hawaii.

Whitney, 2011
Vilcabamba, Ecuador. Whitney relaxing after a day of hiking.
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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.)
Early Season Ups & Downs

It's been a rough season this year, beginning with a minor fracture in my foot, which caused me to back out of the South Bay Duathlon. By the time Wildflower rolled around, I was running again, but at a greatly reduced volume, which turned out not to matter when I found out our apartment lease terminated on race day. Instead of toughing out the hot dry hills of the Long Course, I spent my day heaving boxes and furniture; nearly as brutal, but with no finisher's medal at the end. Morgan Hill Sprint in May ended up being the official opener of my race season, pretty late by California standards.

And then 6 days before the race, I had a bike crash ... on the Morgan Hill course.

I've had my share of topples, but this was my first high speed wipeout, and it felt like the ultimate betrayal to have my bike suddenly misbehave and cast me off so swiftly. I was fortunate that both my bike and I survived intact, if a little banged up, but our relationship suffered a major blow.

Stubborn as I am, I decided to race Morgan Hill anyways, and I quickly found that I had a new monkey on my back. I was now mistrustful of my bike, despite all our wonderful years and miles together. I wobbled uncertainly through each turn and when I returned to THE dreaded corner, which happened to be on a nice downgrade, my brakes screamed out in terror well in advance of the intersection. Since I don't typically use my brakes, the sound was unfamiliar to me, and sent me into a panic. I took the corner wide and slow, wobbling and screeching the whole way, nearly coming to a complete stop at the shoulder on the wrong side of the road, beyond the cones marking the course. I gave a sheepish nod to the police officers guarding the course, "It's my first time."

Mercifully, my bike did not dump me off at any point in the 16 mile ride, and I still managed to come away with a podium finish and a strengthened resolve to search for my lost cycling confidence.

The following weekend I headed out to the east coast for Jerseyman. The 2 loop bike course featured a series of climbs affectionately termed Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. And where there are climbs, there are descents. I was warned ahead of time about one particular sharp turn at the bottom of one of the steepest hills. The race director had placed a wall of hay bales at the corner to cushion the blow for anyone who failed to make the turn. I went out to practice this section of the course the day before the race, and on my first attempt, I not only missed the turn, I rocketed past it at over 30mph, brakes squealing all the while, until I finally managed to come to a stop a quarter mile down the road. I practiced again and again until I had the timing and speed just right.

Posted by Kimberly 06/28/2016
Traveller Beware!

Thailand is generally considered to be a safe country for travellers to visit, but if you plan a trip to Thailand it would be wise to avoid the island of Ko Tao. You wont find this in your Lonely Planet but many tourists who venture to Ko Tao never return. The island, considered to be one of the best places in Asia to get scuba certified, is packed with over 40 dive companies and the instructors and divers that go with it. All on an island small enough to walk across in an hour. Nearly everyone on the island is here to dive, and to party, and everyone does alot of both. If you're not familiar with the dive community, they are the most laid back, fun people you'll ever meet. By diving or enrolling in a course you immediatley make friends and get plugged into the local scene. The problem? The island drags you in. Countless many people have the same story; 'Yeah, I came here for a week long vacation and never left..' Within 6 hours of arriving it was plain that our original 1 week target was totally unrealistic.

Posted by nik 09/21/2008

I'm here. I made it. And I'm sweating.

Warm showers are a thing of the past for me. Cold cold cold. I have to get used to being sticky all the time, but aside from that, Townsville is great. The town is really spread out, so things aren't quite as accessible as I'm used to. But the tropical trees and wildlife are pretty cool, and the campus is really pretty. The layout is not gridlike at all, it's just kind of buildings in pods, with little walkways all over, passing through covers of palm trees that sing with all the different tropical birds sitting above.

I THINK I've found a place to live. I'm waiting to hear back, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It's an amazing house about as close to campus as you can get. For now I'm "couchsurfing" in a house with 3 postgrads that save geckos from under their car 'bonnets.' It's great.

I'll try to keep these posts short. So I'm going to stop here. I could ramble on for days, but until I figure out how I want to do these posts, I will just keep things basic.

So in summary, "I'm here. I like it. It's hot."
Posted by Whitney 02/25/2008, revised 02/25/2008
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