August 28, 2017
by David Ryan
A little more than two years ago I wrote a post in this blog about the upcoming August 21, 2017 eclipse. (Please click here to read that post.) August 21, 2017 finally came last week and the total eclipse of the sun was awesome. There is nothing in this this world the same as a total eclipse, and I hope you had the opportunity to see it in person.
My original plan for experiencing the 2017 eclipse was to have no plan and hang loose for the best cloud-free sky opportunity. But when I spoke to my brother in California a couple of months ago, he mentioned to me the difficulty that he was having in finding a place to watch the eclipse in Oregon.
As soon as I hung up the phone, I started checking online for motels in Wyoming and Nebraska and discovered that almost all of the rooms had already been booked and that the few rooms that were still available were going from $400 to $1000. Rather than pay that, I booked a room for the night before the eclipse at a Motel 6, a couple of hours south of the eclipse centerline, in Fort Collins, Colorado. The room only cost $80.
With a room in Fort Collins I figured we could easily get to Wyoming or Nebraska to watch the eclipse. As insurance, I even paid $15.00 for a parking space at the rodeo grounds in Alliance, Nebraska.
As eclipse day got closer, I began studying the weather forecasts for Alliance and other nearby towns. What had been forecasted as a sunny eclipse day in Alliance began to be forecasted as partly sunny, then as partly cloudy, and finally as mostly cloudy. With that bit of unpleasantness, I took a closer look at the weather forecasts for other towns. It seemed that Glendo, Wyoming (where the centerline of the eclipse was to cross Interstate 25) might be a better bet.
On the morning of the eclipse, we were up at 2:00am and on the road by 2:30. Before leaving, we took one more look at the forecast and decided to head north on Interstate 25 toward Glendo. (It turned out that Alliance also had an unobstructed view of the eclipse.)
Even at 2:30 in the morning the traffic coming out of Denver was extraordinarily heavy but moving faster than the posted speed limit. It only took us two hours to get to Glendo, but at 4:30 in the morning the traffic was already backed up coming off the highway.
Here’s the traffic pouring into Glendo at 5:00am.
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