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, www.totaleclipses.com – 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.
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 us, 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 looking up at the clouds through my sunroof, making split-second decisions as to which way to turn to get to a clearing. We drove as long as I dared, until we had 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!