The Eclipse of 2017 is nigh upon us. Watch parties are springing up all along the Band of Totality. So where will I spend those darkened moments on August 21st?
I assessed my options and noted four possibilities: Three involved travel to either Ste. Genevieve, St. Marys or Potosi. But another option is becoming increasingly more appealing as I read of the predicted car-apocalypse on the highways. I could just stay on the deck of my St. Louis condo. But my kids said nay, nay. I must partake of this solar event from a prime site. It will be more blog worthy, they said, than reminiscing over a taco casserole.
The Band of Totality
Russ said I could ride to the Ste. Gen event with him. There would be 5 in the car and I could have the front seat and they would leave early. Still I demurred. I have questions. What if the highway turns out to look like the park lot at Wally World on half-price-ticket day?
I read we should take food and drink enough. Enough? How many days are we talking about here? And what foods? Protein bars would be easy and not need refrigeration. But if we’re forced to picnic in the dark on Highway 55 perhaps a Tupperware container of finger foods would brighten the day. Maybe some small, cucumber sandwiches with the crust removed or pimento cheese on marble rye would be an elegant way to stave off hunger along the roadside.
I searched my closet. What does one wear to so cosmic an event? Everyone I know has a black tee shirt with some astronomical message on the front and/or back. I took a look at the eclipse attire being offered online. My favorite read: “I Blacked Out in Arnold, MO.” I saw one Missouri-inspired shirt that read “Show-Me Totality” and another: “Get You Eclipse on Route 66.” I passed on the one saying, “I Got Mooned in Missouri.”
For me, I’m thinking my plain black tee shirt (total eclipse) would be appropriate, the one with the small spot on it, which could be explained away as planet Earth. And because the temperature drops and the wind picks up during an eclipse, a sweater might be in order.
I’ll need to get the special glasses, too. They look as flimsy as what you’d wear to view Journey to the Center of the Earth, but I’m told they’re strong enough to block out the harmful rays. Beware of cheap knockoffs and sunglasses won’t do the job. Solar savants say not to miss the moment by taking photos either—leave that to the pros.
Okay, I’ve got that all down. Now when should we leave for our Journey to the Center of the Eclipse? It normally takes an hour to reach our destination. I suggested leaving about 7-ish in the morning. That way we can play bumper cars with both the rush hour traffic and the eclipse chasers.
If we don’t make it in time, I read that the best thing to do is pull off the side of the road to avoid motorists, who will likely be gawking, texting, and driving—all at the same time.
I’m determined not to get overly stressed about this solar spectacular. I will take this in stride. (Breathe.) I’m prepared. (Breathe.) So wherever I am at E-Hour, I plan to relax, slip on my sweater and goggles, and pass out the cucumber sandwiches.
Have a Happy Totality!