Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Well, this it. We leave tomorrow. Months of planning, discussion, and energy are about to come to fruition. Emotions run the gamut. Excitement predominates; anticipation looms large. Trepidation is hanging out in the back corner of the mind, but it’s going to stay there, taking a backseat to joy, expectancy, and the exploration vibe. This is going to be good.

We will try to keep the blog interesting. It shouldn’t be hard given the places we are going. Please keep in touch via e-mail, comment on the blog posts, and feel free to share it with your friends. This blog is fun for us too, as it allows us keep in touch with friends and family, and to meet new people. Tell us what you think, give us ideas, or send us on a mission. We want to hear from you.

Due to the duration of our travels, we have only purchased plane tickets for the first half of the trip. The second half is planned, but not purchased to allow additional flexibility. While it is certain to change, here is the current itinerary:

September 30: Fly Seattle to Hong Kong (via Vancouver).
Overland travel through Southeastern China and Macau, and back to Hong Kong. Approximate time: 12 days.

October 11: Fly Hong Kong to Kathmandu, Nepal (via Bangkok).
Trek through the Khumbu Region of the Himalayas.
Approximate time: 3 weeks.

November 3: Fly Kathmandu to Delhi, India.
Overland Travel through Rajasthan and Uttaranchal, and back to Delhi.
Approximate time: 4 weeks.

December 2: Fly Delhi to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Overland travel throughout Sri Lanka.
Approximate time: 12 days.

December 14: Fly Colombo to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (via Bangkok).
Overland travel from Phnom Penh northwest to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.
Approximate time: 2 weeks.

December 28: Fly Siem Reap, Cambodia, to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Overland travel from Ho Chi Minh City north to Hanoi.
Approximate time: 3 weeks.

January 18: Fly Hanoi, Vietnam, to Vientiane, Laos.
Overland travel throughout Laos.
Approximate time: 1-2 weeks.

This is the end of the purchased-airline-ticket-portion of our journey. Currently, the itinerary continues as follows:

1. Overland travel from Vientiane south through Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Approximate time: 8 weeks.

2. Fly from Singapore to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, and travel overland west through Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo).
Approximate time: 2 weeks.

3. Fly from Brunei to Darwin, Australia, and travel both overland and by air throughout Australia, including Cairnes, Brisbane, Alice Springs, Sydney, and Melbourne.
Approximate time: 3-4 weeks.

4. Fly from Melbourne to Hobart, Tasmania, and travel overland throughout Tasmania.
Approximate time: 1 week.

5. Fly from Hobart to Queenstown, New Zealand (via Melbourne), and then travel overland north throughout New Zealand to Auckland.
Approximate time: 6 weeks.

6. Fly from Auckland to Raratonga, Cook Islands, and commence lounging.
Approximate time: 1 week.

7. Fly from Raratonga to Seattle (via Los Angeles).

Stay tuned, and please stay in touch!

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Heidi and Ryan's Wedding

There are two kinds of people in the world – Robots and Monkeys. Robots operate analytically. They are organized, cool under pressure, and immune to random tugs on the heartstrings. Monkeys are emotive, warm, and responsive to outside influences. Yet, not all is so black and white. Some Monkeys have been raised by Robots, and display analytical Robot-skills even while the Monkey-mojo flows. On the other hand, some Robots have been programmed with Monkey algorithms, causing them to wax with emotion on occasion. This is what we learned from Adam the Groomsman at Heidi and Ryan’s wedding.

Heidi (Robot with Monkey algorithms) is a fourth year Ob/Gyn resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Ryan (all Monkey) works at the Dana Farber Cancer Center. Both are unbelievably smart, kind, and fun, and both are amazing friends that we consider ourselves lucky to know. After seven years together, Heidi and Ryan were married last weekend.

As the pictures show, the ceremony was divine, and fun was the operative word of the evening. Thanks Heidi and Ryan for all you have done for us over the past four years. You guys are outstanding, and we love you. Best wishes for continued success and happiness.

Enjoy the Heidi and Ryan Wedding Photos.

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Random Coastal Thoughts

San Francisco is a long one-day drive from Seattle (850 miles). Mt. Shasta is big and beautiful. Road trips without AC are not ideal, especially if it is 97 degrees. Oregon is a big state. There is a reason we haven’t been to KFC in years.

Traffic volume always seems heavy in SF. Palo Alto is nice, but expensive. Stanford has an amazing campus. Tahoe is far from the city, and even farther in traffic. Truckee is cool, and Rick’s house there is fabulous. It is awesome to have running, hiking, and biking trails out your back door, and even more so when deer are meandering nearby. The M3 convertible is, as they say back East, wicked-fast. A one-day trip to Tahoe is too short. The Bay Bridge toll-traffic sucks. The saying “the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco” doesn’t always hold true.

Santa Cruz is funky, odd, and rather cool. Fish Tacos are yummy. Bruce and Alinka are unbelievably great people, superb hosts, and wonderful friends. As expected, their house is exquisite. Bart and Izzy are huge, mellow, and super-cool. Trail running in the Redwoods is pretty damn cool too. The Patagonia Outlet Store in Santa Cruz – wow. Carmel and Monterey seem fancy. There is no limit to how much sand can be accumulated in a bathing suit. Beaches and boogie boarding are better with seals and dolphins frolicking just offshore.

The Golden Gate Bridge is impressive. Marin County seems nice. Parking in SF is tough. In-N-Out burgers are great. The burgers at Taylor’s Refresher in the SF Ferry Building might just be better. The Hummer was in the shop (sorry Andrew). The sea lions at Fishermen’s Wharf are astonishing. Sausalito is touristy. The Vietnam Consulate was crowded. Surprisingly, the Indian Consulate was not. Track workouts are more fun now than they were in high school. Rick is a top-notch brother / brother-in-law.

Highway 101 is much more pleasant than I-5. Redwood forests are mind-boggling . 365 feet is a damn tall tree, and 2,000 years is a damn old tree. The Avenue of the Giants is totally worthwhile. Roosevelt Elk play too close to the road sometimes. As far as we can tell, people in Eureka do not walk around town yelling “EUREKA!” I-5 is much faster than Highway 101.

The Oregon Coast is stunningly beautiful. Bandon, Oregon is a quaint, if non-descript, town, and worth a stop. There are lots of California plates in Oregon. The World's Shortest River and the World's Smallest Harbor are both in Lincoln County, Oregon - coincidence? Two days is better than one if you have to drive 850 miles.

We are tired of driving. 2,544 miles in eight days is too many. Road trips are still fun, but 4,600 miles in three weeks is a little much. It is time for us to fly.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


The grand Canadian road trip is over, and we are back in Seattle.

Day 13 Road Trip Factoids:
Miles Driven Today: 340
Miles Driven Total: 2,017
Border Crossing: 1
Ferry Rides: 1
Bears: 0
Trains: 0
Precip: 0

It is good to be here.

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Harry Bergman is a god.

Not in the religious sense of course. Harry is mortal, or at least we think so. It’s just that he has impressed us to such a degree that we have elevated him to deity status. You see, Harry is an Ironman.

25 years a go, a group of nuts got together in Hawaii, and decided it would be fun to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. In one day. Back to back to back. Without stopping. They called it the Ironman.

Since then, Ironman events have sprouted up for masochists around the world. These masochists….er, I mean, competitors, have charted new levels of fitness thanks to years of training, vast technological improvements, and an incredible amount of determination. Although people have grown to accept the insanity of the Ironman, it remains a competition for only a select few, and it receives little media coverage. That is unfortunate, as the Ironman provides vast ranges of inspiration, marvel, horror, and amazement.

Our longtime friends Harry and Diane are acomplished marathon runners, with dozens of marathons and several 50 milers under their belt. Always looking for a challenge, Harry decided to up the ante a couple of years ago and compete in an Ironman. Diane, apparently the smarter of the two, has thus far managed to refrain.

Ironman, Canada took place on August 29th, in Penticton, B.C., and we were there. Diane and Harry were there too, as Harry planned to compete in his third Ironman competition. Our new friend Eamonn Kenihan was also in Penticton to compete in his first Ironman. As evidence of his dedication, let me note that Eamonn is Irish, lives in Australia, and didn’t drink beer for nearly a year prior to this race! We met them all two days before the race, at the most unique hotel on the planet, God’s Mountain Crest Chalet. GMCC is so interesting, great, unique, and downright odd, that it commands an entire treatise of discussion. However, for now, lets just say if you ever find yourself in Penticton, you MUST stay there.

The morning of the race dawned cool and overcast – perfect for multiple hours of extreme exertion by the competitors. We made our way down to the beach at 5:30 am. Harry and Eamonn disappeared into the morass of uber-fit athletes for pre-race prep, and we scouted a spot along the beach to see the crazed mass start of the swim. At 7:00 am, the canon went off, and the 2,100 competitors (including a large group of professionals) charged into the 65-degree water. Arms and legs flailing, the water quickly churned into uncontrollable chaos. Soon however, the pack spread out along the course, and the swimmers found their rhythm. 45 minutes later, the first swimmer exited the water, ran up the beach, stripped out of his wetsuit, hopped onto his bike, and peddled furiously onto Main Street. Like lemmings, the rest of the athletes followed him one-by-one for the next hour and a half. Harry and Eamonn, both looking strong and relaxed, swam quite well, and hit the beach a little more than an hour after the start.

The bike is arguably the easiest of the three disciplines, but based upon our observations, it is the event most likely to break an athlete. 112 miles is simply a long way to ride, and when you add a couple of large, steep hills to the mix, it becomes a killer. Diane, Lynn, and I spent much of the day camped at mile 92, near the top of the second major hill on the route. The first cyclist (and eventual race winner) flew up the hill, eventually followed by the rest of the leaders. A couple of hours later, Eamonn charged strongly up the hill, spinning smoothly, with a big smile on his face. A few minutes later, Harry easily powered up the hill through the throngs of cow bell-ringing race followers, while we sprinted alongside Tour-de-France-style.

After a full day of cycling and swimming, it is impossible to imagine getting off the bike, lacing up the running shoes, and setting out to run a marathon. But that is exactly what these folks do.

We reached the bike-run transition just before Harry set out on his marathon. Although Harry told us as he ran by that he wasn’t having his best race, he looked much better than all of the other runners around him. A few minutes after Harry started his marathon, the race leader incredibly sprinted into the finish, looking like he was out for a Sunday jog.

As inspirational as the professional athletes are, the best stories belong to the late night finishers, who ply the course as long as they can, their sheer determination urging them to finish. The real heroes are the folks like Prue McDonald, the 80+-year-old woman who completed the course in an amazing 16:55:55, and finished first in her age group.

After Lynn, Diane, and I had a dinner to refuel (all this spectating is hard work!), we set back out for the finish line to see the boys complete their run. Eamonn was the first to arrive, after clocking an incredible 4:10 marathon. He looked strong and happy, as he sprinted to the line. His final time was 11:22:10, making him the 399th finisher overall -- an absolutely amazing performance.

Harry arrived a short time later. His marathon was not as strong as he had hoped, but he still finished in a speedy 12:59:55. Unlike the competitors that finished just before and just after him, Harry was fine. While many of his peers were crying, puking, and literally collapsing onto stretchers after crossing the finish line, Harry walked nonchalantly to the fluids table, as though he had just been out for a short run. Even on their bad days, the Gods are impressive.

Day 10, 11, 12 Road Trip Factoids:
Miles Driven The Past Three Days: 240
Miles Driven Total: 1,677
Miles Covered By Ironman Competitors: 140.6
Top Male Ironman Finisher: Tom Evans - 8:28:06
Top Female Ironman Finisher: Lisa Bentley - 9:16:02
Last Finisher Before Midnight Cutoff: Cindy Pedersen - 16:57:33

Enjoy the Ironman highlights.

For the truly Ironman-obsessed, check out our entire library of Ironman Photos.

In case you missed it above, here is the swim-start movie

For more information on Ironman Canada, click here.

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