I first learned of the predicted US total solar eclipse a year ago and immediately decided that I wanted to see it first hand. As August 21, 2017 drew near, I asked the nerds if they wanted to head out. Only Lori and Tara said yes. Once we purchased the eclipse goggles from Amazon, there was no turning back.
I studied the maps. The "path of totality" stretched from Oregon, across the country to South Carolina crossing a total of 12 states.
We could have gone anywhere but how do you make plans in advance to see an eclipse of the sun when you don't know what the weather will be? My friends Patty and Steve took a chance and booked a trip to Oregon. Steve is an astronomy buff and probably knew that the odds of clear skies in Oregon were high. My coworker Tom went to South Carolina with his wife and friends because they knew people there and wouldn't be totally disappointed if they didn't have clear skies. I, on the other hand, didn't want to take a chance so I concocted a plan to just drive to the closest place along the totality path that had clear skies. The eclipse date was a Monday, so we had 2 days to get to where ever we saw clear skies predicted. Lori and Tara agreed to go as far as Nebraska if necessary.
Luckily, we didn't have to drive to Nebraska. We only had to go to Tennessee. And, we went in style. Crazy Lori rented an RV so that we had our own bathroom and sleeping arrangements in case everything else was booked up. Smart, smart thinking. We only made it to Natural Bridge Virginia on our first day due to late start and horrific eclipse traffic on I-81. It actually worked out nicely. We got to see one of the 7 wonders of the world (as listed in the 1800s :-)) and once owned by Thomas Jefferson. He purchased it from King George III for $2.40.
E-Day arrived and we didn't want to miss out on being on the actual path so we were on the road by 7 AM anticipating traffic jams. Driving the RV on mountain roads is not an easy task but I managed to do a pretty good job. In fact, we pulled up next to a guy from NJ who complimented my driving. He said that he was following us for a while and impressed on how I handled the RV. We made it to our destination - a little crossroads near Tellico Plains called Belltown by 9 AM.
|Path of Totality - Belltown TN|
|Lori and the Minnies|
|Path of Totality - Strangers on the Line|
At the very start of totality, just as the moon is about to cover the sun, the last little bit of light is called "The Diamond Ring". You can see it in this photo.
Then, the sun was totally eclipsed. The effect is called "The Corona" since it looks like a crown shooting out from the dark center. The corona is actually the sun's atmosphere. I was dumbfounded.
|Partial Eclipse with Sun Spots|
It was awesome. Words can't describe it.