Here they go again! The greater Huston are was trashed by a lingering hurricane last week. Now our peeps in Florida are getting the actual storm of the century! Right now this thing is 400-600 miles across and sustaining winds at around 180mph.
I’ve got my camera. Telescope (with sun filters) and a full tank of gas. So why not drive about 700 miles to see the eclipse in totality?
I can’t think of a reason not to.
21:45:pm local . 3:45amUT
Finishing packing and getting the final junk in the car. Hopefully out by 10.pm.
Actually go out around 10:30. Not too shabby! I drove Hwy14 to I25. Then I25 north for like forever. People told me I’d see a lot of traffic, but I was alone for much of the trip. It was really dark too. No moon and cloudy so it was like driving through a tunnel. It was lonely!
I had a two hour margin, used up one hour of that sleeping. My work schedule was in flux this week (worked a day shift then a night shift the next day.) Somewhere north of Denver the sun came up.
Then when I crossed into Wyoming I started getting into traffic.
Which just got worse as time went on. I was getting worried that I might be late, perhaps I got the time wrong (all the times were in Universal Time and with DST it’s easy to be off by an hour.)
I finally pulled out at the Dwyer Junction Rest Area which I thought was inside the band of totality. The maps I’d thoughtfully printed out were unhelpfully still sitting on my desk at home. Since there were thousands of people here, it looked like a good bet.
Did I say thousands? How about tens of thousands. The large rest stop was full of people. I went down the road about a mile and found a spot. There were people camped out as far as the eye could see – waiting.
And I could see a chunk had been taken out of the sun.
So I quickly set up, telescope (with solar filter.) Camera (also with filter) and myself to watch the show.
It got dark fast. Like that bit from the Truman Show. The lights faded as if someone turned a large potentiometerand snuffed out the Sun.
A strange object was where the Sun once was. A dark spot with an electric glow around it.
Then, just as abruptly as the sky darkened. It was daylight again.
I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted. I discovered to my utter shock that my trusty Nikon was almost out of juice when I started using it. The battery was flat (well it was same battery that came with the camera – I should have known better.)
So, the shortest night was over and it was daylight. People were packing up. I hung out and chatted with people for a while. Then napped for a couple of hours. I figured most people would have cleared out by then.
Boy was I wrong!
It was the trail of Armageddon, the zombie apocalypse. I’ve never seen so many people on the road (with the possible exception of Interstate 4 after Disney World closes.) This went on for hours. People in some of the small towns were out taking pictures of the slowly passing parade. The population in Wyoming is a little over half a million, about the population of Albuquerque! And I thought that I was living in a sparsely populated state!
So I pointed the truck south (after more rest in palatial Cheyenne Wyoming. ) I ran my trucks GPS for the first time and found out that it’s on “road rally mode.” Somewhere in Colorado it took me into the weeds and over a 10,000 foot pass. I’ll have to do that route in the daytime because it looked interesting. Except it was at night, cloudy and no moon.
Anyway. it was a fun trip. I could have spent a week or two doing it (probably will next time)
This is the official weblog of writer, computer geek and general near-do-well G Allen. He lives in a moderately large town somewhere in the unfashionable West United States. He's written several short stories, working on a couple of novels. He also plays both professionally and otherwise with various bits of computer gear.