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Great American Eclipse August 21

Anybody else taking a trip to see the total eclipse?

We are driving from SF to Oregon two days before, have tickets to the state fairgrounds in Salem (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry presentation) but will be staying 50 miles away in Portland since that was the closest I could find in my price range last February (current estimate is 6+ hours to cover that distance on eclipse day.) This will be my husband's first eclipse, my fourth (Mexico 1992, Turkey 2006, China 2009)

And if you're seeing the eclipse from your front yard -- lucky you!!

Posted by
288 posts

From Colorado, we are driving north to Casper, Wyoming. Fortunate to have a yard to camp in in Casper. Wyoming has been sold out for quite some time.

Posted by
4637 posts

Seattle where we live will have 97% eclipse but even 3% make a big qualitative difference. So we planned Madras Oregon far from the ocean to have higher probability of clear sky. Many others had the same idea and area around Madras will be zoo. Over 150 thousand people, so we changed to Weiser, Idaho instead and will be staying at private ranch in our trailer and tent for a reasonable price. (2 couples). Laura B., I am afraid that Salem is still quite close to the shore and there is some possibility that the sky could be cloudy.

Posted by
325 posts

We are getting up very early on the 21st and driving from Rapid City to Nebraska. We are confident that we have chosen a good location for viewing the eclipse. We are crossing our fingers for good weather!

Posted by
265 posts

I could just step out on my deck and witness this special event.

However I have some friends that live on a farm near the Nebraska and Kansas boarder and their patio is located on the center line of the eclipse.

I cut out a newspaper clipping about the upcoming eclipses 20 years ago. And have been waiting that long for Aug 21, 2017. And it is almost here.

If you are within driving distance of the total eclipse path it would be worth making a trip to see this rare event. The towns in the path in this area are expecting huge crowds.(doubling and tripling the normal population of their towns) And they are saying you better be in place a couple of hours before hand. So pack up your picnic basket and lawn chairs and hope for clear weather.

Being around a group of people to see the crowds response to the eclipse is one part of the event I am looking forward to seeing.

Posted by
8625 posts

I am afraid that Salem is still quite close to the shore

~50 miles is "quite close" ?

Posted by
5697 posts

Agree with Ilja -- there's about 30% chance of clouds in Salem. High desert like Madras would be better chances ... But nothing is guaranteed. In 2009 we had rain the night before in Shanghai, drizzles and cloud cover all morning until a teeny hole opened up just around where we could see the sun so we were able to watch for about a half hour including totality.

Posted by
5697 posts

P.S. If you will be viewing even a partial eclipse, make sure to protect your eyes!!! Our local space / astronomy museum (Chabot in Oakland) is selling eclipse viewers for $3 each and as of August 3 has them in stock. A science museum near you may have them. EBay had them much cheaper, if you don't mind delivery August 23 ...

Posted by
1143 posts

Friends of mine are camping in Madras Oregon and invited me to join them, but after giving it a lot of thought I decided against it. Their "campsite" is in the middle of a field without a shade tree or toilet facility in sight and I really really don't like huge crowds.
(They said that they are thinking of it as prep for a natural disaster ...)
Laura B, if you can leave a bit sooner than 2 days before, I would recommend it. I think that half of Northern California will be on the road that weekend.
And please take some good photos to share at our travel meeting!

;-)

Posted by
1353 posts

Keith is right - wyoming sold out quickly! We are going from Boulder to an RV park near Casper WY. I started looking for a spot last January and everything was sold out. The city of Casper is charging 100.00 a night to park in the parking lot of their recreation center. I'm paying 50.00 a night to park in the RV park owner's field:) He's hoping to get 200 RV's into his field! He told me he had gotten calls from as far away as Ireland! If it turns out it's going to be stormy or overcast we'll probably just stay home for the 90%.

Posted by
5576 posts

Thought briefly about driving to Someplace-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, ID until I saw the prices for a Motel 6, and all the projections of traffic everywhere. I live in Seattle (97% totality here) and have friends who have booked a spot in a field near Madras, OR to camp in. No thanks. I've seen a total eclipse before. I'm going to watch this one on TV. You all enjoy it out there.

Take good care of your retinas.

Posted by
4637 posts

Yeah David, logistics will be problem. I hope we solved it by going 3 days ahead and camping at private ranch in Idaho for a reasonable price.

Posted by
5697 posts

@Sharyn, I don't photograph eclipses, because the professionals do it better and with better equipment. Maybe some pix of the crowd before/after totality. (Assuming, of course, that we can actually get there.)

Posted by
3660 posts

I'm also going to Nebraska, that makes 3 here. I thought that Nebraska would be relatively unvisited but maybe I'm wrong. Was able to reserve a hotel just a few months ago using points (and in the totality zone) implying low interest to me.

Posted by
921 posts

I'm lucky that I can step outside and see it. The areas around where I live are preparing for crowds coming from other places, planning events, and at least one school district has called off for the day. Though I love to travel, I'm glad I don't have to travel for this event!

Posted by
6483 posts

Wow, when I knew I was going to be traveling to Minnesota over that date, I should have offered up my apartment in Corvallis. Maybe could have pocketed some $$.

Posted by
362 posts

We live in an area that will be able to view almost totality for the eclipse. My plans are to go into the backyard and see what happens.

Posted by
1658 posts

Laura - I'm in Salem and live about five blocks from the fairgrounds where you'll be, so my plan is to literally step out the front door. I've got family lined up to stay with me and they're planning to arrive Sunday morning and leave Tuesday morning. If you happen to camp, the City of Salem just recently decided to allow people to camp overnight in city-owned parks, much to the consternation of locals.

Our Dept. of Transportation is really thinking it could take 6 hours to drive to Salem that day and our State Police have reminded people that it is illegal to park on the side of Interstate 5 (I imagine they could make up their budget deficit just with traffic tickets on August 21!). I'd advise leaving as early in the morning on Monday as you can and pack your patience. It's traffic apocalypse in Portland on a good day. And to non-Oregon folks, a 50 mile drive is absolutely "close" by - more than a third of my co-workers commute from Portland, Eugene, or Corvallis (all 50-80 minutes away) every single day.

And yes, it's possible it will be cloudy in the valley, and at the coast, but even with clouds it will go dark, so I'm going to hope for the best. If it were up to me, I'd choose Madras or Painted Hills, but the fire danger is extremely high and I am too worried about being able to get away if a blaze gets started. For those of you heading that way, please be extra cautious (thanks!)

Posted by
9710 posts

I have read a number of articles from planning organizations in Idaho and Wyoming. Idaho is predicting cell service to go down as well as ATMs, computer sales terminals etc. They are recommending people have full gas tanks and enough food/water to last several days as well as cash. Idaho State Police from North Idaho are being deployed to the area of totality. Gridlock is expected. They are putting out portapotties on I15.

Idaho is expecting 500,000 visitors across a small band of mostly 2-lane roads. Total population is 1.6 million for the state.

Not sure if the apocalyptic talk is overblown or not and no one will know until the day.

I am sick, sick, sick of gouging trolls on Trip Advisor who are advertising their back bedrooms for $250/night or the spot in the hayfield with no services for $400.

--->Rant over, lol!!

***adding a comment to CL's about fire danger. Might be good to pack a fire kit too. A shovel and a bucket or something to carry water if a small blaze starts might be extremely useful.

Posted by
5697 posts

Hmm ... Why am I reminded of Y2K? But better to be overprepared than overwhelmed.
(And thanks for the reminders -- fill the gas tank, pack water, cash, snacks, sunscreen)

Posted by
9710 posts

I know Laura! It feels so much like Y2K talk.

In Eastern Idaho they are concerned about Emergency responders getting thru and/or people being able to call for help if needed.

Another thing that is recommended are paper maps. I've recommended people coming to Idaho get the Delorme Gazetteer Atlas that show all the back roads.

Posted by
248 posts

An Oregon friend and I are going on a Minnesota trip in late August. But first need to see the eclipse. I will fly to Portland from Idaho, and we will view it from her family property in Salem. Two days later we will fly to Minnesota. Hopefully that will give us enough time to survive the aftermath traffic jam and get to PDX. :) I lived in Beaverton, OR and experienced the 1979 eclipse from my yard.

Posted by
308 posts

I live in the 90 percent area, and I can't decide if it's worth it to take off work and drive two hours south to see it.

Posted by
265 posts

A total eclipse is such a rare event. Yes take off work and see a TOTAL eclipse. The TOTAL eclipse is the thing to see!!! 90% will almost be a non event. IMO

Posted by
237 posts

Laura--we also have tickets to the OMSI event at the fairgrounds. We've had them since Christmas (a gift from our daughter, who used to work at OMSI) and we thought we'd be fine since we live in Portland. That appears not to be the case. For quite a while the OMSI website was predicting a 2 1/2 hour drive to Salem, but the most recent email last week dropped the bomb about it taking 6 hours. We had made a dry run to the fairgrounds a couple of weeks ago and the folks there were pretty skeptical about our plans to leave Portland at 4:00 am. Honestly, we may opt to stay home. Portland will still offer a decent eclipse experience I think. Depending on where your hotel is you might be able to find a nearby park or open space that would give you a good view of things.

Posted by
5161 posts

I am headed to Bend/Madras. Along with a few thousand of my fellow watchers.......

I've decided the only way to do this is with patience and the idea that I know that there is going to be traffic headaches, so relax, enjoy and take my time. I will also have a full tank of gas and plenty of food and water in the car!

Posted by
4637 posts

Rita, I live in Seattle area where there will be 97% eclipse. It's only 3% from total one but it makes a big difference. I will drive to Idaho. Originally I planned Madras, OR but they predict it will be an absolute zoo with 150 thousand visitors. If you have an opportunity to go to the place with a total eclipse, go.

Posted by
3660 posts

Rita: I've seen an 80% eclipse and it's almost nothing. I'm thinking the highways heading south from SD to NE are going to be very light traffic (where would traffic be coming from, Bismarck?) so it will be easy to do, just some time and no aggravation.

See http://www.eclipse-maps.com/Eclipse-Maps/Gallery/Pages/Total_solar_eclipse_of_2017_August_21.html and download accurate maps for the closest location. Detailed maps are at the bottom of the page.

Here are the places which are closest to the largest number of people who live outside the totality zone (something called a "driveshed"). People are only counted once, so the two Tennessee populations do not overlap. The Sweetwater one is Ohio and Louisville and Buffalo, the White House one is Pennsylvania and Upstate NY even close to Westchester.

Albany OR: 25 million
North of Idaho Falls ID on I-15: 36 million
Sabetha KA: 28 million
Festus MO: 14 million
Goreville IL: 26 million
Sweetwater TN: 20 million
White House TN: 28 million
Santee SC: 75 million

Posted by
9710 posts

Ilja, I think Idaho will be a mess too. Where are you thinking about going? I think the Eastern Idaho area which is dry and flat-ish will have good viewing but will not be ready for an influx of people.

Here's one of the stories I've seen about Eastern ID.

https://www.ksl.com/?sid=44967927&nid=1419

I'm not trying to discourage but just highlight some issues.

If you have reservations in the eclipse area, please reconfirm them. Someone posted today on TA Idaho forum that friends just found out accidentally their hotel (booked a year out) changed hands, is being renovated and is closed.

Posted by
4637 posts

Pam, probably everything in total eclipse zone will be mess. But we took some precautions. We booked camp site in private ranch nearby Weiser which is western Idaho. We will arrive 3 days before the event and leave 2 days after to avoid expected horrendous traffic. Now we just hope for clear skies which in Idaho is likely.

Posted by
1937 posts

Have in on our calendar, and will simply step outside to watch.

Purchased the "proper" eclipse glasses for our extended family at the Adventure Science Museum at $3 each. Lots of feature stories on local news, including warnings not to try to watch the eclipse from one's car while driving on the interstate or, worse yet, suddenly stopping or parking on the interstate in the total darkness (yes, people might be that stupid, I guess). Now local TV station and an optical company making free eclipse glasses available to anyone who picks them up :) Originally the public schools planned to close, but then that was revisited and they are now open, worried there may be too many unsupervised kids looking up at the sun without proper eye protection. Local news story about an attorney here in town who will view the eclipse from above the clouds in a friend's private jet (wow), and it will be his fourth eclipse viewing. That would be fun, if we only had a jet! ;o

Lots of visitors coming to Tennessee, and the airport is supposed to be extremely busy with HUGE numbers arriving/departing before/after. Hotels mostly booked, and we have read stories of people renting out their homes, one guy even offering a tent on his roof to those who might rent it....LOL!!

Hope for clear sky.

(Edit: Local news just now reported estimate of 400,000 to 1.5 million people will travel to TN to view the eclipse.)

Posted by
4637 posts

My friend lives in the zone of total eclipse in Tennessee and probably I could have gone there but I believe that in Idaho there is higher likelihood of clear sky, besides it's closer to my home - less than one day drive.

Posted by
9710 posts

Ilja, I think your Weiser plan sounds good, particularly that you are arriving ahead and staying after.

Posted by
436 posts

I am thinking of driving to western Nebraska (via I76) or Casper, Wyoming (via I25) just for the day. How crowded will the highway be? How early would I need to hit the road?

Basically an 8 hour round-trip drive for 2.5 minutes. Maybe crazy? Or a once in a lifetime opportunity?

There's no lodging available for the night before except one room in Sidney, Nebraska for $1006 for a Motel 6!! So day trip or settle for 90% in my backyard??

Posted by
5697 posts

@Beth, is that estimate of 8 hours round trip based on standard driving time, or current estimates from the state highway people? For us, Portland to Salem (~50 miles) usually 1+ hours, estimated at 6+ hours for eclipse travel. Plus 1-2 hours in Salem to get to event parking. Gridlock!!

Total eclipse IS a very different experience from even 99%. And seeing it in person is very, very different from TV experience, even on a jumbotron. That said, keep an eye on highway news and consider that a "day trip" might start at midnight or 2 a.m., drive through the night, drive around looking for parking near an open field or park, watch 2 hours of eclipse (from first contact to final -- USE YOUR VIEWERS except for the 2 minutes of totality), then join the crowds leaving town.

Do you have people to share the driving? If it works out, could be an awesome road trip.
EDIT - could you borrow camping gear and a tent from someone? Looks like there are RV/camping sites still available on Airbnb.

Posted by
1353 posts

Beth - I also live in Boulder. I believe the "field" where we're spending the night still has some room. PM me if you want the contact info - or you can look it up - it's River Bend RV park in Glenrock WY. We're leaving early Sunday morning to avoid traffic. Have you checked Glendo Wyoming? I think they may have some lodging left. I also believe they have set up some large lots for viewing. Check out their website: //www.glendoeclipse.com

Posted by
233 posts

Gonna try. I'll be driving from Atlanta to Charlotte that morning, so the plan is to stop in Greenville, Anderson or Clemson, SC or somewhere nearby. I'm expecting terrible traffic. Plus, the weather is probably only going to be 50/50. A tropical system is developing in the Atlantic, but hopefully the clouds will clear out by then.

Posted by
237 posts

For those traveling to Oregon, you should be aware that there is now concern that smoke from various forest fires may obscure eclipse viewing, even in Portland, and some areas have been closed, especially in the Mt. Jefferson National Forest area, because of fire danger.

Posted by
208 posts

LOL... my neck of the woods has been experiencing a dreary, dismal excuse of a "summer" this year. We are all dying to SEE some sun -- the last thing in the world I'd want to see right now is a solar eclipse! I feel like it has been eclipsed since last summer!!!

This reminds me, though, of when we happened to be vacationing in Costa Rica (around 1998-2000???) when there was a solar eclipse, and the best viewing was -- Central America! We were primed to see it, but wouldn't you know -- it poured all day. It just went from being a grey day to being darker and more dismal... as though a big storm would be rolling in.

Have fun. But, you can have it! LOL.

Cheers,
Vivian

Posted by
1000 posts

I'm planning to drive to my SIL's house in north Georgia on Sunday - home on Monday after its done. Usually it's only about an hour and a half drive. They live out in the boonies so hopefully traffic won't be terrible on the back roads.

Posted by
1937 posts

I'm in shock about the quote Beth found for a Motel 6 room night....$1006 a night!!!!! WOW!!!

But, funny they included the iconic 6 in the price ;o

So glad all I have to do is walk out in the backyard with my cardboard eclipse glasses (vetted to be safe).

Public schools have now reversed their originally-reversed decision (lots of factors had to be considered) and decided to close afterall that day. Traffic is expected to be a zoo.

Posted by
3304 posts

Egregious hotel price gouging, mobs and mobs of tourists, endless vehicle traffic clogging the roads, the terrible potential of eye damage including solar retinopathy from fake solar eclipse glasses sold nearly everywhere....no thanks!

A long weekend in Cape Elizabeth is calling!

Posted by
5697 posts

Well, after thinking about 6+ hours on an unfamiliar road -- mostly in the dark -- and the same amount of time going back, I checked Airbnb in Salem. Found there are additional people who have been enticed by high demand (and prices) to put their spare rooms up for rent. So we will be paying about 3x the cost of the Portland bargain motel for a room with double bed and shared bath in Salem -- but we will be arriving in Salem on Sunday afternoon and driving about 5 miles to the fairgrounds in the after-dawn light Monday morning. (But nowhere near $1000 per night!!)
And the motel in Portland can re-rent the room at current prices!
Now just hoping for clear skies (no clouds, no rain, no smoke) -- and, of course, hoping that the Airbnb room actually exists.
Life is an adventure!!

Posted by
3685 posts

Y'all are scaring me now.

We will be in Portland for my husband to race at the track the weekend of August 19th. We typically leave the race trailer at the track Sunday night, have a leisurely Monday morning, go to the track, hook up the trailer and head north to Puyallup. I got glasses at Starizona thinking we'd use them to view at the motel or while we're hooking up.

I checked the event calendar, and it looks like business as usual with a racing school on the 21st, so I guess I needn't fret about massive crowds there. But now I'm much more concerned about getting on I5 and heading north. It's bad enough getting across the bridge over the Columbia River on a normal day.

Posted by
8625 posts

Lo--- Well you will have an hour head start on all the folks coming from the Albany Salem area, so it should be no worse than 'normal', just the regular miserable--- just be ready to roll as soon as the eclipse event is over

Laura B-- finding your way from Portland to Salem would have been fairly easy, even in the dark.... all you had to do just follow the taillight in front of you :-)

Posted by
9710 posts

Lo, I hate to say this but yes, I think you should be worried. I would make sure your tow rig is fueled on Saturday or Sunday or whenever you can do it ahead of Monday. Have cash, food and water.

Posted by
1 posts

We live in Chester, IL - 2min40sec totality - our little town will be buzzing from what I hear. I plan on staying home and bbq'ing poolside. We have a large open area with no obstructions. Hoping Mother Nature comes thru for us. If someone needs a last minute spot and doesn't mind roughing it, I might be able to help, no guarantees though :)

Posted by
325 posts

We are headed out this morning for the first and longest leg of our quest to see the eclipse. We have two cases of water, cash, and lots of food. We will have a full tank of gas as we head out very early Monday morning to our final destination. We are still confident that we will be able to reach a spot within the totality band. We are crossing our fingers for good weather!

Safe travels, everyone!

Posted by
3660 posts

Weather forecast is deteriorating a bit every day, kind of a bummer to go and not see the corona.

Posted by
6635 posts

Current forecast for Kansas City area is "mostly sunny" on Monday. The northern half of the metro area (including the airport) is in the totality zone.

Posted by
3685 posts

Bummer to report.

It turns out my husband does not have a reservation for Sunday night in Portland. When he made the reservation for the race weekend months ago, they had no availability. Gee, I wonder why? Of course he had forgotten all that and only remembered when he called to reconfirm his reservation a couple of days ago.

So we'll be heading back north on Sunday evening instead of Monday. We'll see what we can see from Sumner, WA if there's no cloud cover. If there is, it'll just get dark.

The concern now is for the trip from here to Portland this afternoon. I expect a slow crawl after we exhaust all the backroad options and are forced onto I5 south. The truck is full of diesel and ready to go. The race car and trailer are loaded. As soon as he gets back from attending a funeral in Tacoma, we'll go to the shop, hook up and start the trek. No more coffee for me!

Posted by
1353 posts

We're planning on heading up to Wyoming on Sunday morning. I wish I had a better idea of what the traffic situation is going to be on I-25. Wyoming is predicting an extra 600,000 people will invade the state, but that is just an estimate. I would prefer to leave tomorrow, but son has to work Saturday evening. We too will be all gassed up, with all the food and water we will need! Supposed to be mostly sunny skies:)

Happy viewing everyone!

Posted by
4637 posts

Lo, Sumner, WA will not have totality. That will be much more south in Oregon.

Posted by
5697 posts

@Lo, bummer indeed!! I just looked at booking.com for Portland and it appears that some people are cancelling reservations (maybe double-booked, or changed their minds because of traffic, clouds, wildfires) and there are a few rooms available in the $200+ range.

Posted by
3685 posts

Ilja -- I know. C'est la vie! We'll just have to take the 90% we get.

Laura -- I'm not surprised. He's paying about $170 per night for Friday and Saturday night at the Oxford Suites Jantzen Beach. Although he doesn't like to drive home after a long day of racing, he's actually looking forward to it so as to avoid the traffic.

Even if there was a room available, I think the eclipse watching ship has sailed. We got a call this morning from someone who lives SW of Portland and invited us to come to their place to watch. Not gonna happen.

Posted by
21720 posts

Headed to Nebraska tomorrow. Hopefully a little ahead of the crowd. The old family farm north of Kearney is dead center in the path. Even bought a new car on Tuesday. Has 12 miles on the odometer. What started out last year as just a couple of cousins getting together has evolved into a undeclared family reunion that could approach 100.

Posted by
1353 posts

Have fun Frank! They've been talking about the traffic on the local news. I'm hoping it will be spread out enough over 3 days so it won't be too bad. Make sure you fill up with gas before you leave!

Posted by
5697 posts

Wow, Frank -- way to make a family reunion memorable!! But what are you going to do for the next one ?
Congratulations on the new car, too.

Posted by
1855 posts

Nephew flew in last night from Denver and we will leave Sunday morning where we have rented a cabin in Natchez Trace State Park and will drive around 40 miles to totality to view the eclipse. When I reserved this cabin 1 1/2 years ago, the lodge was already completely booked. Safe viewing everyone!

Posted by
436 posts

Hi Again!
A few answers : my round-trip estimate is on clear roads.
My adult daughter and I will drive together, so we can take turns.
Thanks for all the info I read in this thread, I have learned more and now I am committed to go to totality.

I got eclipse glasses, great tip since most places have run out now.

The traffic predictions are scary but I've survived I-70 ski traffic and these roads are flat and dry.

I do have camping gear but $80 a night for a "tent site" is ridiculous - these fields don't exactly have tent platforms like campgrounds. But Glendo is a good tip and kicked off more research.

So we have no reservations and a variety of viewing options. Glendo is closest, Fort Laramie is free, Agate Fossils National Monument in Nebraska is also free, Alliance could be worth the added drive time and maybe see Carhenge 🚗. In any case, we plan to be self contained and bring our own food, etc.

Clouds predicted for Monday will make the final choice of our destination.

So far, the webcams show no traffic
cotrip for Colorado. Wyoming and Nebraska also have webcams which showed empty roads when I checked earlier. Will tomorrow be a zoo? No one knows.

Our debate is when to leave - either when my daughter gets off work around 4 (then sleep in the car somewhere) or leave in the middle of the night to arrive around dawn??

I have gotten excited about this, so let's hope for clear skies!

Posted by
21720 posts

About noon today we made the run from Denver to North Platte - I76, I80. It was very, very busy. . Traffic moved along but at no time was there less than 8 fo 10 cars around. In prior years on I76 there are many times when you are the only car in sight.

Posted by
3660 posts

We are leaning on going despite weather forecast now downgraded to poor. There are no clear weather options to drive to, either, From SE Nebraska, at least within 4 hours.

So going in not expecting to see the sun for any part of the 3 hour eclipse, if we see something that's a bonus.

Posted by
1353 posts

Tom_Mn when I watched our local news it looked like the forecast had improved for Nebraska.

Beth - I've been watching cotrip and mapping it on my phone to get current time estimate. It never got too bad today. Looked like it peaked mid afternoon, but even then didn't look too bad. I'm hoping the majority of people didn't wait to leave tomorrow! We plan to be on I 25 by 8:15 or so. I'll post if I can after we get on the highway.

Posted by
325 posts

Beth, we have friends that are going to G!endo. Last night they talked to relatives that are already there,and they said so far the crowds were low. Good luck!

Posted by
3110 posts

Our son made it to a 99% place in Oregon yesterday and are staying with family. They said the I-5 traffic was steady for hours but moved right along. Tomorrow they plan to drive with the local family to a 100% location. We're "stuck" in D.C. and may wander over to the Air and Space museum to join the festivities.

Posted by
1353 posts

Traffic on I 25 is not bad at all right now. Heavier than normal but moving pretty well.

Posted by
5697 posts

Made it all the way to Salem on I-5, no problems on Sunday afternoon.
AND enjoying our first Airbnb experience with hosts who are also doing it for the first time.

Posted by
5576 posts

Driving around Seattle this weekend, there's no traffic on the roads - it's quiet, peaceful, almost deserted, it feels very strange, like it's Christmas Day or some other holiday where everyone is either sitting at home, or has left town to visit family. You can actually come and go as you please, with no crowds, no congestion, no delays, no hassles. It's wonderful, reminds me of the way the city was before the current overcrowding disaster started about 5 years ago. I love this eclipse already.

Posted by
1937 posts

Just watching the Eclipse on TV from Madras, Oregon, hearing the crowds cheer on TV and the beauty of the Eclipse professionally filmed.
We are ready for it to head to Nashville (the largest city on the Eclipse path). Weather is perfect here today :)

It's been fun to watch local coverage in Nashville of people from all around the world who are here in Nashville and in close-by Kentucky, large family gatherings centered around the Eclipse, NASA and other scientific visiting professionals, etc.

Those of you in the path, we are sure in for a treat.

Posted by
5697 posts

Just watched from Salem, Oregon -- perfect!! Two days of driving for two minutes of totality, well worth it. Traffic jams didn't materialize (but we won't know until we hit the road for home tomorrow)

Posted by
5576 posts

Enjoyed 90-something-percent totality here in Seattle by stepping outside.

My favorite effect was looking at the millions of mini eclipses/crescent suns projected on sidewalks and other horizontal surfaces where the sun poked through countless little pinholes in the tree cover overhead - that was really pretty.

Posted by
1937 posts

David, my husband noticed the mini crescents on the sidewalks/driveways, too. I would have missed them.
We went across the street to help our 85/87 year old neighbors get out to see it. When it was all over (and it happens quickly), the wife said: It reminds me of getting married....all the prep, all the planning, and then IT'S OVER :)

But, what a special event it was. Husband got lots and lots of great photos!!

I have not heard any terrible traffic reports here, other than the typical accident back-ups. I think folks have eased into town and then will ease out of town over the next few days.

Posted by
3660 posts

Woke up in Lincoln NE with clouds and billowing storm clouds coming from the SW. Drove west @ 90 mph on I-80 on a hunch (radar inconclusive) and lucked out near Grand Island with blue skies. Wonderful view of eclipse after resigning ourselves to a miss and trying again in 2024. Boys were quite impressed with the "black hole in the sky."

Posted by
1937 posts

Tom, how cool you "went for it" and got to experience it :)

Posted by
5576 posts

Next eclipse up: April 8, 2024...from the west coast of Mexico arcing up through the central US, New England, out to Newfoundland.

Note to self: book that room NOW, or else deal with $2500 for a night in a Motel 6 somewhere in rural Arkansas...

Posted by
325 posts

We had clear skies at Agate Fossils Bed in Nebraska and the setting was perfect! The eclipse was spectacular!

Posted by
921 posts

We had a very few clouds, and fortunately they didn't cover the eclipse. We had just over 2 minutes of totality, and it was even better than I expected! So glad I got to see that. And convenient it was from my own backyard!

Posted by
16787 posts

Clear sky in Shawnee National Forest in southernmost Illinois. Maximum time of totality at 2 minutes 42 seconds. Drive down was busy and only a few delays on I-57, mostly in construction zones.

The drive home reminded me of the situation at ball games and other events. Some people come quite early to tailgate in the parking lot, others to watch batting practice, most show up at the official start time and some are satisfied to show up by the 3rd inning. But once the last out is recorded, everyone wants to go home NOW. So what should have been a 9 hour ride home turned into 12 hours as every possible road north was clogged simultaneously.

The 2024 eclipse will pass through the exact same spot in Shawnee National Forest. I'll be prepared next time.

Posted by
3304 posts

But once the last out is recorded, everyone wants to go home NOW. So
what should have been a 7 hour ride home turned into 12 hours as every
possible road north was clogged simultaneously.

The 2024 eclipse will pass through the exact same spot in Shawnee
National Forest. I'll be prepared next time.

What would you do anything differently next time that you learned yesterday?

Posted by
16787 posts

Stay over night locally and travel home the next day. 2024 will be about an hour later in the day. This year blessed with near perfect weather. In the future, who knows?

Posted by
3932 posts

2024 is very close to my neck of the woods - I was a bit blasé about this one because - well, it wasn't anywhere close to me...but 2024 we can drive a few hours to New Brunswick, so we may just hit that one up!

Posted by
6483 posts

Nicole, I was looking at the path for 2024 and already decided that if I'm still around I'll head for NB. I loved my vacation in the Maritimes many many years ago and it's a good excuse to go back.

Posted by
3932 posts

I'm hoping we can just make a day of it. I've got a few years to figure it out...lol. And make some friends who live there and have a spare bedroom if we want to make a night of it :)

Posted by
237 posts

Laura--I'm so glad you didn't take my earlier advice to watch the eclipse from Portland!! We decided to make the trek to Salem after all, despite the warnings of apocalyptic traffic. We left Portland at 2:00 AM so as not to be too late for the event--and arrived at the fairgrounds at 3:00. So much for the forecast of 6+ hours! The view from the fairgrounds was spectacular (loved the drums too--gave some added drama, not that any was needed) and so much more awe-inspiring than the 99% view we would have experienced in our own backyard! It took us 4 hours to drive back home at noon, but we were so thrilled with the eclipse experience that, even in our sleep-deprived state, we didn't mind too much. Hopefully things are moving better today for your trip home.

Posted by
5697 posts

PJ, glad you made it to the OMSI viewing -- but I wonder what happened to the 6 hour trip, too! We left Salem Tuesday morning, NO traffic so far and we are almost to the California border.

Posted by
6483 posts

If Salem had been the only place in Oregon to see 100% the traffic predictions might have come true. But there were so many places that were just as good and people were smart enough to spread themselves out over the state. Glad the traffic nightmare didn't materialize, especially for the normal commuters in the area. I was driving through Wisconsin on Monday and stopped to watch the 80% that was available to me and even that was pretty cool. I'm enjoying all the wonderful photos and videos that have been posted online.

Posted by
436 posts

The drive to Wyoming was easy, we went up on Sunday evening, no traffic and full speed. It was fairly easy to find an at-large free campsite.

In the morning with clear skies, there was no traffic to our viewing spot. There we had plenty of room to set up chairs and a picnic. I got the feeling the epic traffic had been over estimated.

We really enjoyed the eclipse!! From first touch to seeing the diamond at the start of totality, the sun with a hole in it, the dancing corona - wow, then all too soon the second diamond burst out. We watched until final touch, then packed up. Some folks left immediately after totality and we hit the road shorty after final touch.

We found the epic traffic and at first it felt great, part of the eclipse experience in a way. But 13 hours for a 3.5 hour distance was crazy. For long stretches in Wyoming there are only ranch exits with no services, sometimes not even shoulders on the Interstate. We eventually took a break at a spot on a ranch road but the traffic didn't stop or lessen in volume and we eventually rejoined the crawl. And the cell service went out. All the way to Fort Collins there was no end in sight but from there we could take the backroads home. Epic traffic jam, the worst I've ever seen, worse than what I have seen in Manhatten or Boston or Paris.

If I go to the next one, I would wait at least until the next day to drive home.

Posted by
1353 posts

Beth I hear you! We had no traffic on the way there on Sunday.

We really enjoyed viewing it from Glendo WY (had plans for Glenrock, but my brother in law changed that). We waited to leave til around 6 when traffic seemed to be letting up. The drive home took us over 7 hours when it should have taken just over 3. We talked to some people getting gas in Cheyenne who said they left Casper at 1 (it was around 10:30 in Cheyenne).

So glad that my inlaws live in the path of totality for 2024!

Posted by
1000 posts

I made it up to the upper right corner of Georgia to my SIL's house. We sat in her driveway and watched in awe. Left about an hour after that and what is usually a little less than 2 hours took me a little over 3, but hearing some of these stories, I'm not even going to complain. It was well worth the trip. I hope I get to see the 2024 one, too!

Posted by
5858 posts

Our plan worked out! We are in Eastern Iowa, up early, on the road by 5:30 AM, checked the cloud cover and NOAA cloud forecast and decided to go with Plan A (Central MO). The nice thing was we could have made anywhere from SE Nebraska, KC, All of MO, Southern IL and even parts of KY and TN if needed.

Wound up in a small town (Swiss, MO) and had a great view, Grandkids even were impressed.

Already making plans for 2024.

Posted by
3660 posts

Lessons:

There are a lot (mostly?) day trippers to eclipses so traffic the day before grossly underestimates traffic leaving after. I'll admit for us adding 1 hour to a 7 hour drive is pretty tame compared to others here. We were able to leave the interstate with other options, an advantage of the Midwest with its farms and continuous settlement vs the West.

Weather data that assists eclipse viewing is hard to come by. Satellite imagery conflates opaque rain clouds with insignificant high clouds. I did not find useful information and looked at dozens of images and read dozens of forecasts. If you wake in a crappy area like we did it's hard to know what to do.

I think it's probably best to get up early and leave from home then drive to a confirmed blue sky location ignoring forecasts then spend the night.

Posted by
21720 posts

As I posted earlier we hit the old family farm north of Kearney Nebraska. Near perfect. We were one degree off of dead center of the path. Skies absolute clear and the house is on top of a hill so we had a surprising 360 degree sunset. It didn't get as dark as I thought it might.

On the Monday morning during the hour drive to the farm we saw people setting up on the side roads and fields but traffic was light in central Nebraska. We hung out until six or so before heading back to North Platte NB, mostly on I-80, and again traffic was light. I think since so much of Nebraska was in the path, most people only had to drive a few miles so there wasn't that much traffic activities. It work very well but I put almost 900 miles on my new car and it got very dusty. The return to Denver today was uneventful.

Posted by
3660 posts

Frank: everything east of York in NE was clouded out. So all those in Omaha or Lincoln who wanted to see it lined the interstate from Grand Island to York. I-80 at 2 pm was stop and go from GI to past Lincoln, 125 miles. Parallel US highways 30 and 34 were also stop and go. Even hwy 77 Lincoln to Sioux City was very heavy all the way to I-129, over 3 hours driving from the totality area.

Also this sad news apparently still tied up traffic for those leaving eclipse via I-80 in the afternoon.

http://www.kare11.com/mobile/article/news/local/crash-kills-mn-woman-in-heavy-eclipse-traffic/466318126

Posted by
8625 posts

Laura--- good thing you were headed south from Salem .... The n/b traffic on I-5 was doing 6 mph on Monday afternoon

Getting out of the parking lot in madras took 3 hours

Was fortunate to have family in Salem who had no one visiting so we could join them

Watching on tv just does not capture the "magic" of the actual experience

Feeling the temp drop was unexpected, but was a logical circumstance after thinking about what was happening

Dallas in 2024!

Posted by
325 posts

Here's the report I wrote to post with my pictures on Facebook:

August 21st had finally arrived! I woke up at 2:50 AM to start the journey to our viewing destination, Agate Fossil Bed Monument in northwestern Nebraska. Five family members headed south in our truck at 3:25 from Rapid City. I had talked to the ranger the week before, and he told me there were about 500 mowed parking spaces and they were opening the gates at sunrise. We had read warnings of massive traffic jams, but the most vehicles (eight) we saw at one time was when we were stopped for a slow moving train. As we got close to our destination, we were last in a line of three vehicles. We turned off the highway and were greeted by employees and volunteers that offered us glasses and information and then directed us to the main area one mile down the road. Traffic was a little more backed up there, but we were parked within five minutes. I would estimate we were about the 80th vehicle in that main lot. We got the last spot in the row, so my husband backed in next to the area that was taped off for protestors (none showed up). This parking spot made for a VERY easy exit six hours later. Less than five minutes later, my sister and her husband pulled in. The gang was all there!
We walked down to the visitor center and acquired more freebies. We also stamped everything we could think of with the specially made eclipse stamp. Then we walked the couple blocks back to the vehicle, pulled out our chairs and coolers and watched the traffic as we waited. The staff did a great job of insisting one parking area was completely full before they would allow parking in the next area. They wouldn’t allow parking on the shoulder of the road until all off-road parking was filled. Porta-potties were scare, so I didn’t drink any of the 100 or so various beverages we had packed (we had been warned to bring plenty of water and food, and we did). The partial eclipse started around 10:25. It was fun to put the glasses on periodically and see the progress. It started to get darker slowly, and the crickets started to chirp. I put on my jacket because the temperature seemed to be dropping.
Just a minute or two before totality, two planes appeared in the northwest sky and flew over us. Then it happened, around 11:45, TOTALITY. There was an outburst of cheering, and then we were all mesmerized for 2:20 minutes. It was: spectacular, magnificent, awesome! The time went by way too fast and we had to put our glasses back on. We watched briefly and then decided to make a run for it. We threw our chairs in the back of the truck and we were on our way back to Rapid City. Because of traffic, the drive back took about 40 minutes longer because of traffic.

We were fortunate to have clear skies, manageable traffic, and a very scenic viewing location. I think all of us felt very fortunate to be able to experience TOTALITY.

Posted by
5576 posts

We got the last spot in the row, so my husband backed in next to the area that was taped off for protestors (none showed up).

Eclipse protestors, eh? The anti-science, NASA-is-a-hoax, it's-all-a-guvmint-scam crowd failed to show up, hmm? What a shame. I saw posts on the internets questioning why government agencies were handing out special glasses, claiming that really you could stare at the eclipse with the naked eye and you would be just fine...the blind leading the soon-to-be-blind as it were.

Posted by
5697 posts

April 8, 2024 is on my calendar ... Not sure where, but I plan to take a week for time-before and time-after relaxing. And since I'll be pushing 80(!) the accomodations and transportation options may be a bit less spartan. Maybe an Amtrak sleeper ??