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Day Trip to Moorea

It's best to get away from the main cities--and other travelers we met mentioned nearby Moorea and Bora Bora are very different. Moorea is just a 30-minute ferry ride away, so we made a day trip of it.

Aboard the ferry, approaching the narrow opening in the reef surrounding Moorea.

Fortunately for us there is a nice public beach a few miles north of Moorea's ferry terminal. On both islands many of the good beaches belong to big hotels and access to them is restricted.

Posted by Dan 11/01/2012, revised 11/11/2012

Un lugar para mi

"Why do you travel? What do you personally get out of it?"

For me, there is an endless, ever-growing list of answers to this question. One of them is, "To see what's out there. To learn what I want out of my life." If I'm fortunate enough, I may find along my travels a place that feels like "a place for me." This may not mean that it is a place in which I imagine living for the rest of my life. It may not even be a place that I will ever see again. But it is a place where, upon arriving, or after spending a bit of time there, I feel comfortable. I feel happy with life, I feel I am where I should be at that moment in time, and I feel that my trust in the universe has once again fortified itself.

I have only been in Huaraz, Peru for about 4 hours, but I feel that I have arrived at such a place as I have just described. Huaraz is a moderate-sized town of a little less than 50,000 and a healthy lot of outdoor enthusiast extranjeros, located at 3090 meters (about 10,200 ft) of elevation in the Peruvian Andes. The streets feel safe and friendly, and people smile openly when I wish them buenos dias. While there is a fair amount of adventure-seeking tourism, the town does not feel jaded and over-run by it. Maybe this is simply in contrast to the overwhelmingly touristed city of Cuzco, jump-off point for Machu Picchu visitors, where I just came from. However, I truly feel that Huaraz still has a genuine, gentle charm.

In any case, in my half-day thus far, I have found a number of little things that make this place great:

  • a very nice family-run hostel for a very nice price (equivalent of about $5), complete with a delightful breakfast
  • an excellent cappuccino, roasted en casa
  • a very comfortable, funky, well-managed cafe that is probably my favorite I have found in all of South America
  • legitimately spicy aji (hot sauce) packed with flavor (not just in one location, but as a general characteristic of Huaraz)
  • delicious food at delicious prices ($1-3 for lunch)
  • friendly strangers to have a good chat with
  • and... I hear there are a couple good artisan beers in the area!

    And I haven't even made it out to the numerous mountain hikes yet!

    So let's see... good prices, good food, good coffee, good accommodation, good people, and good naturaleza. Perfecto!

    Brekky included with my $5 accommodation in Huaraz

    Posted by Whitney 09/09/2011

  • 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

    Wildflower 2012, Team Goodell

    The 2012 race season opened with Wildflower, in central California. A good excuse for a west coast visit, and the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the awesomeness of the number Three. Three sports, three kids - we got to share the race, and everyone knows sharing is what siblings do best.

    Now in its 30th year, Wildflower has a reputation for being a tough course with a competitive field, but is also known as the 'Woodstock of Triathlon,' with its live bands and the tradition of camping and partying.

    The grounds are a packed, sprawling city of tents, coolers full of beer, and high end bicycles leaned casually against every upright surface. For a community known for its obsessive training regimen, meticulous planning, and a sadistic desire to subject themselves to prolonged discomfort - this laid back, party atmosphere seemed incongruous...

    But there it was.

    It took us awhile to locate a patch of land to claim as ours. There aren't proper campsites mapped out, so people have squeezed themselves in anywhere and everywhere. The scene reminded me of an overcrowded Florida beach during tourist season.

    Down in the festival area, bands played, vendors sold GIANT TURKEY LEGS and ice cream - it was like a carnival.

    The Naked Run is a Saturday tradition, a celebratory romp for those who had finished the Long Course race that afternoon. We heard the cheers approaching around dusk, and from the campground, herds of clothed people dashed for the road, "the Naked Run is coming!" We gathered roadside to cheer on all those hearty individuals with fresh sunburns and tanlines that ended mid-thigh, for whom 13.1 miles was simply not enough.

    Cinco De Mayo revelry continued through the evening as a full moon shone so bright we didn't even need a lantern. If the Sunday Short Course athletes were concerned about being well-rested that night, they certainly never spoke up about it. Note to self: next time, earplugs!!

    Sunday morning was pretty low key for us relay types. A lot of standing around, chatting up the competition, waiting...

    Relays were the last wave to start, so naturally Nik and Whitney were going to have to spend a lot of time passing people on the bike and run.

    My swim was great, the water was perfect, and before I knew it, my work was done. Nik has done the bike portion of the relay before, so he knew what to expect. But this was Whitney's first 10K - her first timed race of any kind, actually (we don't count "running" the Bay to Breakers dressed as a panda in a beer helmet). She tore up my Wildflower run record, coming in almost a minute faster than I did in 2008.

    Nik and I joined Whitney in the finish chute so the three of us could finish as a team. It's pretty fun sprinting the Finish when you didn't actually run the 6.1 miles that came before it!

    We ended up on the podium, placing 2nd in the Open Mixed Relay, 3rd Overall Relay (of 72 teams). Goodells Rule!

    Posted by kim 06/09/2012, revised 06/20/2012

    Nik & Whitney, 2008
    Nik doing some bouldering on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand. Nik and Whit tracked down great places to dive and rock climb throughout SE Asia.

    Oregon, 2012
    Fort Stevens Beach on the northern Oregon coast.

    Nik & Whitney, 2008
    Late night in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

    Whitney, 2011
    Research team hard at work at the study site on Ecuador coast.