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Whitney, 2008
Great Barrier Reef, Australia. A badillion different kinds of coral, all in one place!
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Whitney, 2016
Whitney's veranda, overlooking savannah. Sao Sebastiao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mozambique.

Fall 2003
Whitney sorting through college recruiting mail.

Whitney, 2011
Hummingbirds at a bird feeder in Mindo, Ecuador.
(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here. Here now, are some highlights from past posts.)

South Bank: Brisbane's Fine Arts center

We spent Saturday exploring some museums and art galleries. South Bank Parkland is just across the Brisbane River from "CBD" (the local lingo for City Business District). Museums, art galleries, restaurants, outdoor cafes, performing arts theaters, even a small beach -- all connected by a meandering, picturesque "Arbor Walk" promenade. You can easily spend a day here ... and we did.

The Gallery of Modern Art had some intriguing sculpture.

Posted by Dan 09/05/2009, revised 09/23/2009

Southeast Asia Superlatives (and not-so-Superlatives)

Nik and I have spent the last 3 months exploring around Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. After spending a fair amount of time in SE Asia, I think it is time for some SE Asia Superlative Awards (*Vietnam must be excluded from this ceremony, as a visit there has been saved for another trip). I would like all of you to keep in mind that these awards are not "how it is." I am not saying I have done a complete sampling of each of the countries and have collected what I believe to be "the truth." These awards are simply based off of my experiences in these countries, which may differ drastically from another traveler's experiences. So please enjoy the Best and the Worst, as accounted by Whitney.

Food (start with the important one)

Best: Thailand, hands down, no question. Curries, spices, fried dishes, fun nuggets... all done perfectly. In Thailand, I can pretty much walk into just about anywhere and get something enjoyable, if not out of this world.


Some delicious Thai food. Can't get enough of this stuff!

Worst: Laos. I'm sorry, but Laos didn't bring it. I actually skipped meals in Laos (which anyone knows is not like me at all!) because they just disappointed me. They did, however, own on the sticky rice! That was their sole contribution to good food.

Coffee

Best: Laos. This partially redeems Laos for their bad food. Lao coffee is amazing. It is possibly, if I may be so bold, some of the best coffee I've had.

Worst: Thailand. NesCafe everywhere! You find the occasional establishment advertising, "Real coffee!" as if it's something out of this world, when in fact, in most cases, it's still just a Denny's-status cup of coffee.

Beer

Best: Laos. To label any southeast Asian beer with the word "best" is a bit difficult (especially coming from beer-tastic Oregon), but BeerLao is still a tasty beer. It's tasty, it comes in big bottles, and it's cheap! (within the country)

BeerLao - good stuff!

Worst: Cambodia. Anchor Beer seemed to be the country's beer... bleh! It's watery, tastes like shoes, and manages to leave you with a throbbing headache the next day after only 2 beers. Something's not right about that.

Posted by Whitney 12/12/2008

About Nik

Nik enjoys motorcycling and rebuilding a 1970 Porsche 914.

In high school his interest in working on cars and motorcycles became an all-consuming passion, so he enrolled to study auto mechanics at UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from there in December, 2001.

Nik graduated from Ygnacio Valley High School in June 2000. He capped a stellar high school career with 10 varsity letters, including 3 in cross-country (all-BVAL, 1st-Team), 3 in soccer, and 4 in volleyball (all-BVAL, 2nd-Team). But up until 3 weeks before graduation, it was still unclear whether the administration would actually let him graduate -- they seemed to think he hadn't completed enough courses in Physical Education! He got a lesson in bureaucrats and their rules.

Nik finished his final high school cross-country season in remarkable fashion. A grueling schedule was loaded with invitational tournaments, in which they did quite well. In the Bay Valley Athletic League finals, Ygnacio Valley finished a close 2nd, placing an astonishing four runners in the first six in the league. Nik's 5th-place finish earned him 1st-Team All-League honors. In the North Coast Section Championships, Ygnacio Valley dominated the Division I final, placing four runners in the first nine and winning the Division I title easily. then it was off to respectable showings at the State Championships and Far Western Regionals, where Nik placed an impressive 25th place individually.

He also completed three years as goalkeeper for the varsity soccer team, and four years of high school volleyball, earning 2nd-Team All-League honors.

Posted by Dan 01/20/2003

Kim completes her first Half-Ironman

Kim won a raffle in February for entry into her first half-ironman in Rockford IL on Sunday. The original weather predictions were in the 90's and humid, not great conditions for a 5-6 hour endurance test. But they ended up with storms instead of heat.

I guess there were about 500 participants...with everyone starting the swim at the same time. There were only guys around her during the swim and she's decided guys are messy swimmers. She got elbowed in the face by someone.

She was in first place starting the bike split, ahead of the woman Pro in the race! During part of the 56 mile bike ride she felt like she was in a hurricane as the storm front came through. Then she was out in the wide open with nobody around when she started seeing lightning. She said it made her ride faster to try to finish the last 6 miles!

She finished 5th overall among the women, which should mean $200 in prize money. Might almost cover her expenses (hotel/travel), but she may "break" even by the fact that when she got home she broke her blender, dropping it when she was trying to make a smoothie (lack of coordination after the exertion).

Posted by Lucy 06/10/2008