From Bob Minor:
The July 1963 Total Solar Eclipse was also my first eclipse. I was
16, about to be a senior in High School. When plans for a friend and
me to drive from California to Alaska or Canada fell through, my
parents agreed to loan me the family station wagon and drive across
country to Maine for the eclipse.
My father borrowed a Questar from an acquaintance and built a
transistorized power supply to operate the Questar's ac motor drive.
I put together a small refractor from parts from Edmund Scientific.
My recollection is that the objective cost $2.98. I took black and
white images with both. A family friend helped me experiment with a
pyrocatechol developer for panatomic X to help get maximum dynamic
range from the film.
I found a few students from UC Berkeley to share driving and
expenses, and arranged to stay with family friends in NYC for a few
days after the eclipse. My mother made me strap a 5 gallon gas can
to the tailgate just in case we ran out of gas in the Nevada desert.
I signed up for access to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
and with some cash and a Shell credit card borrowed from my Aunt for
emergencies I was off.
The trip included:
-A blown universal joint in Colorado on the way
east, with the second u-joint failing in Nevada on the way back –
repaired by me in the bay of an old gas station using loaned tools
and more enthusiasm than skill.
-A burned valve in Maine – repaired by a very
nice man at a local gas station who only repaired the one valve to
save me money and he did accept my Aunt’s credit card in payment.
-After the eclipse, the car was broken into on
the streets of NYC but neither the Questar nor my film was taken,
only my father’s Exacta camera.
-I lost my wallet just before returning to
California and had only a replacement AAA card for id on the trip
The day of the eclipse had mixed weather, but the clouds cooperated
thru third contact allowing the photography to succeed and providing
a truly wonderful view.
Seems just like yesterday.
Looking forward to 2017 (three Saros cycles or one Exeligmos since
1963) when I hope to share that eclipse with many friends and