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2017 Eclipse Blog / FAQ’s eclipse day experience!

Every person who chases eclipses finds something special in each one of them. We like to say that by chasing eclipses, we get to experience a “trip of a lifetime” about every other year or so! As with all things in life, it is not the destination (“We saw the eclipse”) so much as it is the journey, the adventure, the risks we take in deciding to leave our houses and venture forth into the world. By doing this, we discover and experience things that we never could have even known were out there to be discovered and experienced!

You can read many of my eclipse stories on my personal site, – and you will see what I mean.

Your experience with the 2017 eclipse was unique and, I hope, FUN! I know some folks got clouded out, but most of the people along the path got to experience at least a bit of totality – and that’s what it’s all about. I hope you’ll decide to post some of your memories and stories on our Eclipse Memories section!

Here is my personal, very quick story:

We had decided very early on to go to Carbondale IL, and participate in the football stadium. Late planning showed that might not be a good option, dragging 10 people and a baby around in the 100 degree heat, with very little prospect of shade and tons of traffic. So, we decided to stay at our hotel east of town and make a viewing party out of it.

Things looked good for us at the hotel, up until about 10 minutes to go before totality. A huge cloud was approaching, and it was not going to dissipate (unlike its much smaller convective brethren) as the temperature dropped. We debated for about 10 seconds as a group, and decided to head south to try to get out from underneath this huge mass that was going to be upon us in much less than 10 minutes.

The traffic light at the exit of our hotel stole a precious minute and a half from me, and I knew everybody in the group was counting on me to find a suitable location. We drove in a caravan down the road like mad fools, with me making split-second decisions as to which way to turn to get into the clearing. We drove as long as I dared, until 3 minutes to C2 and a very safe looking cloud clearance overhead.

The huge cloud was moving very slowly toward the Sun, but I believed it would not get to the Sun in time to spoil the show. We threw the cars on the side of the road, having ditched all of our equipment back at the hotel. We ran down the road until we got into a clearing.

I still don’t know how I scrambled my very large self up the hill to the embankment of the reservoir, but we made it to the top with 45 seconds to spare, and that is where we saw the eclipse from. We got every second of totality, but because ALL of our equipment was abandoned back at the hotel, I have no pictures to prove it – only the memories of a beautiful eclipse, and the thanks of about 20 people who would not have seen it otherwise.

Those who stayed back at the hotel saw about 30 seconds of totality through a lucky hole. But we got it all, and I have number 13 in the bag!

A true Eclipse Chase for the record books!

24 Responses to “’s eclipse day experience!”

  1. Dark Penguin says:

    Moncks Corner was an absolute disaster–nothing but clouds, thunder, and lightning. Meanwhile, if I’d stayed at my hotel down by the water, I’d have been able to see it. I came across the country to be here for this, as did many others at the viewing party I attended, and this is what we got.

    Nature can be an iron plated bitch sometimes.

  2. kittens says:

    i saw the eclipse in kentucky it really kicked ass cant wait for the next one

  3. Sybil says:

    We did the same thing. We were just outside the stadium and at t-10 minutes decided to hop in the van and drive about .5 miles south to an off ramp and watched it from there. What an amazing sight!! Glad we can repeat it in 7 years!

  4. Bob B says:

    Travelled with my dad from Chicagoland to Nebraska to see the eclipse, and on the big day, we ended up in remote Arnold in west central Nebraska, dead center on the totality path. Watched the neatest 2 minutes of our lives in clear skies, as the eclipse was perfectly positioned in between two wispy clouds. Neatest thing was seeing all the park’s outer streetlights come on and the crickets start chirping in that 2 minutes of darkness! Very cool!

  5. Mark Powers says:

    We saw the eclipse from a great spot at the entrance to Anna Ruby Falls in Northeast Georgia. Some cumulus clouds threatened to come in from west but the Appalachian Mountains seems to block them.
    A blob of Rogue clouds covered the Sun for a few seconds about five minutes before totality. But I guess the penumbra cool the atmosphere which caused the clouds to dissipate.
    With about 3 minutes to go (2:33pm), there was not a cloud in the sky and we knew it was going to be great.
    The sunlight seem to take on a sepia color as the moon begin to cover the Sun. And it was almost as if people in the trees were pixilating as light faded.
    There were maybe 100 souls from all over the US wearing funny paper eclipse glasses as the Diamond Ring and Bailey’s beads appeared and WHAM !!!
    It was spectacular !!
    It took a few seconds for the crowd to process the fact that the sun which in our before had Shone so brightly was now completely obscured by the moon.
    People started to laugh. People begin to applaud. But mostly we will all awestruck.
    Bright sunshine had become the Deep Indigo of the last stages of Twilight in the middle of the day.
    The sun had been eclipsed by the moon. The corona was magnificent and Venus hovered in the Southwest.
    There are no photographs or video tapes of an eclipse that will ever do it any justice.

    After nearly two minutes of totality Baileys beads reappeared followed the the brilliant diamond ring appeared ! Our pupils had dilated in the darkness in the diamond ring was spectacular like a hot white welders arc.

    We were all veterans now, and most of us put our funny paper glasses back on to watch as the moon went on its way.

    People that were strangers prior to the eclipse shook hands some hugged. But each of us took away something that only lasted a moment. It was a special moment that happens only once in a lifetime.

  6. Rocxy Lemmon says:

    I got to see this for my first time and I took my friend and his girl and we loved it!

  7. Chuck says:

    We were nearly in the same boat. We were going to watch from Goreville, but the weather scared us. We relocated 100 miles east to Hopkinsville. Worked GREAT! So sorry you were shortchanged.

  8. Karen Gray says:

    I watched the eclipse in the huge temporary campsite provided by the town of John Day, Oregon that has a population of only 1700 people but that prepared for and carried out the hosting of the thousands that showed up with amazing (truly!) success. The day was clear and campers nearby shared their telescopes with us and others in the vicinity. It was spectacular and the corona so much bigger than I imagined. I was delighted to see that the prediction of it’s appearance by Predictive Sciences, Inc. was right on! Like all the many people I spoke with in the campground and in the town, I was totally happy with the location and the people there to the degree that the people-side of the experience was as memorable as the eclipse. If anyone is ever in John Day, stop and enjoy that exceptional place and recall that special day of Aug. 21, 2017.

  9. DH Jonathan says:

    I had planned on driving from Texas to Nebraska for the eclipse, but on the morning of August 20th, the weather reports made me change my mind. I drove to Denver, spent the night at a hotel which I left at 3:15 in the morning, and went to a truck stop just south of Douglas, Wyoming. It was an unforgettable experience, especially since I got to do it with my son. My latest blog post has the full story and a video which leads up to the moment of totality.

  10. We were heading to the big Bald Knob Cross near Carbondale and decided to deviate a few hours before showtime.

    We made it to the Little Green Men Festival near Hopkinsville, KY.

    Weather was perfect there.

  11. Bill W says:

    Deck of cabin southwest of Tetonia, Idaho… Teton Mountains as backdrop. Absolutely cloudless high altitude skies. Saw it all: shadow bands, Bailey’s beads, diamond ring coming and going, striated corona. Feel free to fill in with words to describe how we felt and what we saw. I sure can’t. We all babbled like idiots. Two of our group climbed Table Mountain, in midline of totality and shivered uncontrollably with 2-300 other brave souls in the sudden 30 degree temperature drop at ten thousand feet. Already planning for 2024!

  12. April Rohlich says:

    My friends and I drove up from Texas to Pawnee City, Nebraska. We were very fortunate to find ourselves in the perfect spot for viewing the eclipse. We were at the Schilling Bridge Winery and microbrewery. We had 2 minutes 37 seconds of totality to share with about 1500 joyful folks from as far as London, perhaps further. We are ecstatic with the memories!

  13. Bob says:

    Where is the Eclipse Memories page…?

  14. Miguel says:

    An amazing eclipse experience for me and my wife, on a great setting: the summit of Bald Mountain at 6800 feet elevation in Baker County, eastern Oregon. I’d always wanted to experience totality from a mountaintop, and I knew the U.S. eclipse was the one to go for, with plenty of wonderful locations to choose from, EE.UU. Coming all the way from Spain, we had planned a three-week vacation across the western States of the U.S. which we had been much looking forward to also, as we’d never been there before, either me or my wife. So the eclipse just seemed like the perfect “excuse” for the tour. And we weren’t at all disappointed. The national parks are just awesome. San Francisco and Seattle are great cities. And the eclipse was a total success, with not a single weather worry right from the start, much unlike 1999 in France (last-minute success) and 2009 in China (rained out). Radiant blue skies (the much-dreaded smoke from Oregon wildfires was not to be seen anywhere around) and 360° clear view. We thought we’d be basically alone on the mountain, but far from it, we found quite a crowd, both on the way to the top and on the summit itself, with many tents scattered all over the area. All the people on the summit were Americans, as far as I could gather, both locals and from other States, with some of them very surprised and delighted to share those wonderful moments with visitors from “Oh really, Spain!”. Most of them were “eclipse newbies”, and since I had already experienced I was hailed as a “veteran”, much to my pleasant surprise. Well, long story short, doubtless the best of my 4 totals so far, with unimaginable light and color changes, both up in the sky and on the mountains and landscape around us. The feeling of being swept over and engulfed by the moon shadow can’t be conveyed with words. “Unreal” of “extraterrestrial” might come close but there are really no words, as anyone having experienced totality knows.

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