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Living in the Moment: Total Solar Eclipse #MondayBlogs #totalsolareclipse

If you’re new to my blog and want to know how this road trip began, click here for the first post. For our time in Casper, Wyoming, click here.

Now from where I left off last week, we still had a couple of days before the main event. Most of Sunday was spent doing a “dry” run. My husband set up the canopy and a couple of chairs. The eclipse takes a couple of hours from start to finish so you do need to have some shade and a place to set your bum.

The motel had a large gravel turnout for semi-trucks and that’s where my husband wanted to set up. In fact, he had scoped out the area on Google Earth weeks before we arrived. The primary concern was to make sure his Canon T3i and laptop were communicating. My husband is the “gear head” in the family. He brought his camera, laptop and solar telescope on this trip. Doesn’t sound like much until you factor in the tripods, lenses, and sundry other small and irreplaceable accessories. We had to attach a platform to our Prius, effectually extending our trunk, to accommodate his gear. In contrast: Just give me yarn and two wooden needles and I’m good 🙂

Making sure all the equipment is going to work … and that we’ll have shade.

The dry run was successful and the rest of the day was quiet. We were conserving our energy. After an early dinner at a local (and really, really good) BBQ, we walked around a bit, trying to wind down so we might sleep. It was a lovely evening.

Night sky. Evansville, WY

And then we saw that an RV had set up in the gravel turnout where my husband had been earlier that day. Dang! We were afraid of that and yet Greg hadn’t wanted to park the car out there too soon. Worried that other eclipse chasers might turn up in the wee hours of the morning and take all the good spots, Greg parked our car in the turnout, on the other side. At least it was still visible from our window.

The moon was scheduled to “kiss” the sun around 10:22 am and move across, with totality at about 11:43 am. We would have totality (the moon completely covering the sun) for about 2 minutes. Everyone at the motel was up early, in part because no one really slept, including us. We were all on pins and needles.

And then there were the newcomers. To our disappointment, a trio of young people from Colorado were parked right next to us. There was plenty of space still in the turnout, but, no, they had to park right next to us. They had only driven up to see the eclipse, to drink, smoke, whistle loudly, whoop and holler and make a general nuisance of themselves. The less said about them, the better.

Of course, I had to take a “before” picture.

The sun as it usually appears … big, bright and bold.

Once the partial eclipse began, nothing else matter. I spent the next hour viewing the movement of the moon through my eclipse shades, a pair of solar binoculars, or the solar telescope. Although I don’t consider myself a gear head, I spent a lot of time looking through the solar telescope and trying to take pictures. The following is my favorite.

A crescent sun. Taken with my iPhone through the eyepiece of Greg’s solar telescope.

Up until totality, there was little evidence that anything extraordinary was happening. The sun was blindingly bright right until the moon snapped shut over it.

The total solar eclipse taken with my iPhone.

For the photo above, you’ll have to use your imagination because what I saw with my naked eye was a black disk ringed with white fire. That’s the best description I can give. It was the most beautiful sight ever in my life. I did get choked up. My eyes were wet but I didn’t cry. I didn’t want to miss anything. I only had two minutes to sear this image on my brain.

But I did take the time to look behind me and see … twilight.

Twilight at 11:44 am.

Although the total eclipse lasted just over 2 minutes, it felt like 8 seconds. It was too soon when the first sliver of sun emerged and everything went back to normal. I can understand now why some people become eclipse chasers. Thankfully, because of Greg’s expertise, we will get to relive the experience over and over again. And this, dear friends, is what I saw with my naked eye …

One of still photos from my husband’s time lapse of the Total Solar Eclipse.

My husband is a perfectionist so it will be a long while before he’ll have the time lapse ready for viewing. But he is also playful …

The Total Solar Eclipse and the partials.

Next up: the drive from Hell and on into Santa Fe, New Mexico!

Categories: Travel

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

21 replies

  1. Wonderful recap, Marie! Such stunning photos! My goodness!

    I’m sorry you had rude “neighbors” at this event. Thanks for putting up with them and taking us along with you as you watched.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Priscilla! I think the young people next to us were hoping they could start a party. Unfortunately for them, pretty much everyone was serious about viewing the eclipse. The kids actually left as soon as the moon started to move out of the sun’s path even though there was still an hour or so left of the partial eclipse. Their loss 😉


    1. Ha ha! Yeah, “hell is other people” was definitely on a loop in my head for awhile. But, yes, I would put up with them again if I had to. The experience, the photos were definitely worth it 😁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Carrie! We are still thrilled by our experience. The young people actually were worse when the total occurred. They wanted attention so badly. We managed to ignore them enough to take in what we could, like my shot of twilight. So glad I thought to do that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll go ahead and just repeat what everyone else has said about the photos: Wow. That crescent sun is dynamite, along with all of the others.

    So sorry those darned kids came by and stirred up what could have been a perfect moment in time, but, hey, what’s a good story without conflict. 😉

    Looking forward to the next entry!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your eclipse experience and your husband’s pics. I have a Canon T3i as well, but I’m not as well-versed in using it as I should be. Photos like this make me want to get back in the habit of learning more about my camera again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The camera was originally mine (🙃) but I was so overwhelmed by it that I encouraged my husband to use it. Glad I did 😉 He has since gotten another Canon so I’ve no excuse to not try again with the T3i. It really is a great camera.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I know I commented on this gorgeous post. Maybe it was on Facebook? WP and I are not getting along lately. I hope it’s WP’s mind and not mine that is going.

    Liked by 1 person

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