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Nik & Whitney, 2008
Eager to get in some real climbing in Laos.
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Whitney, 2016
Whitney's route for her afternoon run. Sao Sebastiao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mozambique.

Nik & Whitney, 2008
Nik and Whit, heading out for another night dive off Koh Tao, Thailand.

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

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. Here now, below, are some highlights from past posts.)

Snippets of Life: Part 2 - An afternoon in Colonial Quito

Within several days of returning to Ecuador from the trip to Argentina, my friend Heather from Oregon came to visit me! Her 3-week visit to Ecuador was the perfect chance for me to finally tourist it up and go to many of the places I've been wanting to see. We started things off with a day in Colonial Quito, the old part of the city with much Spanish influence, beautiful churches, and old cobblestone alleyways. As I live 30-40 minutes outside of the city, I acutally haven't spent much time in Quito in my months here.

Off we went on our first excursion, beginning with a 40-minute bus ride into the city (for only 25 cents!), and then a crowded, stop-and-go bus all the way across the city to the historical district. We spent a wonderful afternoon visiting breath-taking churches, eating delicious treats we came across, and trying to avoid involuntarily taking part in the activities of Carnival weekend, which was just commencing.


La Basílica with Heather

Posted by Whitney 03/30/2011

Nik graduates from UTI

In December 2001, Nik graduated with honors from Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, with a degree in Automotive and Truck Technology. He made the Director's Honor List 13 times and was named Student of the Phase three times. His final GPA was 3.95.

Nik now works for a boat repair shop on the SF-Bay waterfront in Alameda. He performs maintenance and repairs on all manner of recreational watercraft, including fishing, power and sailboats.

Posted by Dan 01/07/2002

Tri-Ing for Children

Part I – The Kids' Tri


We volunteered for the Children's Triathlon. If you have never done this before, DO IT. It’s hilarious. (check out www.tri4schools.com for the next Madison area entertainment)

Athletes will do some pretty weird stuff in the heat of the moment, with all the adrenaline pumping. Children take this to a whole new level. One of my co-volunteers commented that it’s like watching a bunch of tiny drunk people try to do a triathlon.

It’s funny too, to think how a lot of triathlete technique contradicts the values we teach children. Tying shoelaces, who needs it? Peeing your pants without breaking stride, what an achievement! And chuck those paper cups right onto the ground like a sloppy litterbug!

Not only did many of the children stop to politely finish the entire cup of water, but they also lined up single file to deposit the empties in the trash can. For a twelve minute race, you can lose a lot of time on these courtesies. As one 5 year old shuffled past, trying not to spill her cup of water, I encouraged her to “just drop it on the ground and keep running!” She stopped, carefully poured the water out on the cement, and then sprinted away with the cup clasped tightly in her fist.

My favorite was little Alex, who was perfecting the art of Dead Last. His commitment to prolonging the torture of his race (25 yd swim/1 mile bike/quarter mile run) was impressive. If you’ve ever tried to walk a cat, you might have some idea what his patient and humiliated mother was being subjected to as she gently tugged him forward, assuring him he was “almost there!” (she promised us that it was his idea to participate…) Alex’s run technique alternated between a slow motion, stiff-legged goose-step, and Sleeping Marionette (pitched forward at the waist, with one arm limply dangling towards the ground).
While many of his peers completed the task in about 12-15 minutes, Alex managed to milk every last moment of misery, extending the race a full 40 minutes, with a dramatic finish line crawl to rival Julie Moss’s tragically heroic 1982 Ironman finish.


Part II – Winning

For the adult race, I was one third of the Capital City Multisport Club relay. This is the first time I’ve done a relay, what fun! It’s so much fun, in fact, that I don’t understand why more people don’t do it. I suspect it has something to do with pride, as we had to keep correcting people - No, we’re not “just doing the relay,” we’re “Winning the Relay”

And win we did.
We beat the other relay team by over 32 minutes.

Nick had the task of swimming in the bathwater warm lake, Andrew tore up the bike course, and I was the anchor with the 10K run.
Of course, Will Smith did all three on his own, and still beat our team by 24 minutes. When I asked him how his race went, he smiled and said in his cheerful New Zealand accent, “Like taking candy from a baby!”

Well, Will may be able to outswim, outbike and outrun Team CCMC, but I’d like to point out that our swim to bike transition was 32 seconds, and his was 33. Our bike to run transition was 27 seconds, his was 28.

So, who’s laughing now, Will?

Posted by kim 07/25/2011, revised 07/25/2011