Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Long-Awaited Eclipse Post

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks...WEEKS!

By the time I had processed the awesomeness of the eclipse experience and was ready to sit down to share it with you, Hurricane Harvey entered the Gulf of Mexico. My brother and his family evacuated (early, thank goodness - thereby avoiding traffic issues) and came to our house. Between The Weather Channel's continuous hurricane coverage, spending time with the princess niece and all the other stuff called Life, the post was forgotten. They did go home, and very gratefully were spared any damage. Other friends (and people I don't know) were not so lucky. My heart goes out to all of the Hurricane Harvey victims.

Now, there's been another hurricane threatening life and limb in Florida and surrounding states, where many friends and family members, as well as a whole host of people I don't know live. I've been thinking that it would be inappropriate to write a post about a really cool thing when so many people are about to lose, and have already lost, their homes, possessions and even lives.

Then I thought about how Life is a dichotomy.  It's tough and not always fair, but it can be really, really beautiful and wonderful. So, even though we have property directly in Hurricane Irma's path that will most certainly be damaged and/or lost, I need the reminder that this world has much good in it. It's the good with the bad, the bitter with the sweet...Life.

So, let me tell you about the eclipse.

Several years ago, The Husb noticed that there was going to be an eclipse on August 21, 2017. He thought it would be a fun event to witness. Fast forward to mid July 2017. No further thought had been given regarding said eclipse. Until, the news mentioned it. Then, while going over hotel reservations for an upcoming trip to Colorado, The Husb noticed that we had plans to spend a few days in Fort Collins beginning August 20 as part of our trip - and we had made the reservations months before. He was happy, because he figured that we would already be up that way, and we could just drive up to Wyoming that morning to pretty close to the line of totality for a great vantage point.

Let this sink in for a second. By sheer dumb luck, or maybe the universe felt that The Husb could use a happy, we just happened to have reservations 150ish miles away from a most awesome astronomical event. We knew that there would be traffic. We knew we'd have to get up at the crack of dawn. If we had not had those reservations already in hand, however, there was a good possibility that we wouldn't have been able to witness the eclipse in totality. 

I can not begin to explain the degree of eclipse fever we encountered almost a week before the 21st. All the Denver area news could talk about was the eclipse. There were news reports about getting on the road early, the lack of hotel rooms from Denver all the way up I-25 into Wyoming, making sure one had the correct eclipse glasses and what to do if one didn't have any glasses. It was crazy!

Finally, the day arrived. 

We got up at 5:15 and were on our way by 6:15. We turned on the Waze app and it got us to the highway, avoiding the most congested intersection. We headed towards Torrington, 
Wyoming. There were a lot of cars on the road, but it really wasn't that bad. 

As we got closer, the road was getting fuller. We came up to a rest stop and thought it would be a good idea to utilize it in case before the traffic became impossible. We pulled in and pulled right on out who we saw her many cars were parked and how many people were waiting in line to use the restrooms.

So, off we drove. About 20 miles south of Torrington, the traffic was still light enough that we decided to look for a last chance place for a potty break. We found what was basically a bar that was open. While standing in a short line for the WC, a local man recommended a back way that would take us to a little town called Lingle. His son had reported that there was a two-mile back up getting into Torrington that was basically a parking lot on the highway. We thanked him, did our business and were on our way.

After a few miles, we came upon a couple offering part of their land by the side of the road. It was $10 to park, but they had amenities! They had parked their travel trailer with two bathrooms there, and they had drinks and snacks. 

By then, it was about 10:00. In thirty minutes, the eclipse was about to begin. There were a few other people who had parked there and everyone was settling in for the show. We ate sandwiches with the fixings we had brought along. The air was charged with the electricity of anticipation.

Of course, I had eclipse knitting with me.

Here's The Husb assuming eclipse watching position.

When the eclipse started, I put on my NASA approved glasses and saw a cookie bite taken out of the sun. It steadily got bigger and bigger. The light around us started getting eery.

Finally, totality started! The corona was magnificent! It was much darker and cooler. The temperature got down to 71 degrees. Venus appeared in the sky. There wasn't a sound around us, except for the periodic "whoop!" from a fellow watcher. Otherwise, all of nature was at a standstill. I cannot adequately describe the awesomeness of the experience. It was truly a magical moment.

I couldn't get a good shot of the corona with my iPad. It just looks like a normal sun in the sky; so, I decided to soak it all in. For about two minutes, we enjoyed the corona without our special glasses. I felt so alive and connected! 

There's supposed to be another eclipse in about seven years. Totality runs right thru Dallas. I'm already making plans.

MK out.

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