I live about 5 ½ hours south of the path of totality for this year’s solar eclipse. Naturally, I wanted to take part since my previous experiences have been partial eclipses. Fortunately I know several people who live in the path and found someone willing to put me up for the night.
Since the news outlets repeatedly released warnings about eclipse traffic I took the back roads which added a small amount of time. Of course, in my neck of the woods the main roads are two lane U.S. highways for the most part. The back roads are state highways and in some cases county roads. For the most part the traffic was not difficult. So maybe the traffic will be heavy the day of the eclipse, or maybe I am late to the party.
However, the farther north I drove the more crowded the gas pumps were. Perhaps this was a direct result of the warnings of possible gas shortages. Or maybe people wanted full tanks to go home on.
In addition to the temporary signs warning of higher volumes of traffic, the states I traveled through had other preparations. Lots of no stopping or standing signs appeared as well. As I reached the area that will experience the total eclipse cones and barrels appeared on the side of the road to keep people from parking on the shoulder.
I vividly remember some partial eclipses from when I was a kid. We made pinhole projectors with a piece of cardboard and a white piece of paper. This year I will be using specialty glasses. I will also observe shadows.
Another thing I hope to do this year is to take lots of pictures. Since I will be using my cell phone, the quality may be questionable. However, I plan to take pictures of the social aspect of the event as well as the eclipse itself.
The most important thing is not to look at the sun without special glasses. According to the NASA website it will be safe to look directly at the eclipse for the brief time it is fully covered and ONLY if you are in the path of totality. However, much like experiencing the eye of a hurricane, you do not want to misjudge the timing of the re-emergence of the sun.
I hope many of you take the time to see either the full eclipse or the partial depending on where you live. Be sure to check back on Econogal for a full report.