Total Eclipse of the MetaFilter: US August 2017 edition August 4, 2017 4:13 PM   Subscribe

A catch-all Meta for MeFites to organise, enquire, wail about accommodation prices and relate their experiences about the August 21st 2017 solar eclipse which crosses the continental USA (total eclipse in 14 states, partial eclipse others and in three other continents). Please don't look at the sun directly or with dodgy glasses, but you can use your smartphone - though just don't miss it. Exclusive, traffic will be nuts, and some will do the Carbondale double. Disclaimer: other eclipses are available for other dates and countries. Obligatory link. posted by Wordshore to MetaFilter-Related at 4:13 PM (108 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Oh cool. Thanks for this.

I'll be spending two days driving from Boston to Nashville with (I hope) my family, spending a lovely day at the Marriott by the airport, and then driving back. It better damn well be clear.

Was going to maybe post an Ask about where to stay mid-way but I guess if anyone in this thread has an idea, I'm all ears. I was thinking maybe Roanoke on the way down, maybe Hersey, PA on the way back. Would like the first day of driving each way to be the longer one.

More and more I'm thinking about not bothering to photograph it. It's not like there won't be pictures of it available and I don't want to miss a second of totality.
posted by bondcliff at 4:19 PM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

ok but what about the two el clasicos which will take place the week before

what about my needs
posted by poffin boffin at 4:45 PM on August 4, 2017 [4 favorites]

Dammit; missed a link to the most essential eclipse map of them all, the Sunsquatch one.
posted by Wordshore at 5:28 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wait, New York City's getting a partial? I had no idea, I thought we were too far north.

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd been thinking about making a post like this. You'd think that maybe there'd be meet-ups in the few larger cities within the path of totality.

Here in Kansas City, north of the river is just within the totality -- where I live (Lake Waukomis) included.

St. Joseph, about 40 miles north of me, is right on the centerline, as is Columbia to the west -- almost exactly halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, so I expect it to be especially crowded. I figure it's too late to make any plans to be in either town, but I've not ruled out trying to head toward the centerline in a very rural area.

I recall Wordshore mentioning in the call-in podcast that he might be across the pond and out this way -- is that the case?

Regardless, it seems to me that it might be helpful to use this thread in conjunction with IRL to coordinate some possible meet-ups in big cities in or quite near totality (Portland, Omaha, KC/STL, Nashville).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:52 PM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

We're getting about 90%. I can't go anywhere, because it's a busy day at work, but I've rescheduled my lunch so I can run outside and watch it. They're issuing eclipse-watching glasses to all the incoming freshpeople along with the condoms in their "welcome to college" packets.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:53 PM on August 4, 2017 [4 favorites]

My workplace is the corner office in a WeWork place - but our windows face NORTH and west.

However, there are only four of us, and the office is sufficiently cool enough that if I propose we all run outside for even just a few minutes to check out how things look, they'll all be like "yeah!" and do exactly that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Don't forget the Eclipse Playlist thread!
posted by bleep at 7:56 PM on August 4, 2017 [2 favorites]

Metafilter: solar eclipse glasses and condoms. So love this place.
posted by Melismata at 8:09 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

How much is the Bay Area getting, 60% or something? We were invited to go camping with some friends near, I guess, a music festival in Oregon? But I freak out in large crowds, so I said no. Now I'm thinking I've robbed us of a once-in-a-lifetime chance...

Fun fact: Wendy Carlos, composer and synth pioneer, is also a noted eclipse photographer.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:51 PM on August 4, 2017 [4 favorites]

I recall Wordshore mentioning in the call-in podcast that he might be across the pond and out this way -- is that the case?

Alas no; remaining in Ye Olde Englande to make good use here of the socialist medical system while it still exists. My original plan had been to go to the Iowa State Fair, eat something extremely unhealthy on a stick, then hi-tail it to Chicago and get an Amtrak to Carbondale in time for The End Of Times. But that's not to be; hopefully will make the next one.

I know several other Europeans heading stateside for the big day, a few already there. Getting the feeling that the path of totality is going to be kinda busy in places...
posted by Wordshore at 9:12 PM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

They're issuing eclipse-watching glasses to all the incoming freshpeople along with the condoms in their "welcome to college" packets.

That is indeed anticipating quite a busy and exciting two and a bit minutes.
posted by Wordshore at 9:16 PM on August 4, 2017 [17 favorites]

They're issuing eclipse-watching glasses to all the incoming freshpeople along with the condoms in their "welcome to college" packets.

Surely just buying some tinted condoms would have been cheaper, and easier to reuse after the eclipse?

I've been thinking I should figure out where to get the glasses. I remember seeing an eclipse as a kid, and it will be neat to see one again.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:52 AM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've been thinking I should figure out where to get the glasses

If you're in the US, libraries!

Solar eclipse 2017: List of libraries giving away free solar eclipse glasses

Eclipse Resource Center For Libraries
posted by Room 641-A at 6:12 AM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

I hit refresh over and over and over and snagged one of the camping spots in Oregon in the totality. Wheee! The Parks and Recreation department tells me that if I'm not at my campsite by 1:00 PM on Saturday they're giving it away, and I live near Seattle and can't leave home until Saturday morning, so, well, here's hoping traffic isn't too bad. How bad... can... traffic on I-5 be... really....


I understand why they give the sites away, because they want the maximum number of people to be able to enjoy them. But I do wonder what the plan is for people who show up late at their reserved spot and it's already occupied.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:27 AM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

My library does have some eclipse glasses to give away, but they say their supplies are limited, and it looks like they're trying to save them for kids, especially low-income kids. And that seems fair. The Washington Post article about dodgy glasses lists several chains that the American Astronomical Society says you can trust, and a bunch of them have local stores. I also think I might go to the hobby store and see what they have, because I kind of love that place, despite not really being into model planes or table-top RPGs, and I'm glad to have a chance to give them my business.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:34 AM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

It will be about 90% where I live.... whatever that means. I wonder if that's 'enough' to get the experience or if I should drive down to South Carolina?

For some unknown reason, I'm incredibly excited that there's a nearby eclipse - sadly, going to Nova Scotia isn't an option - the lear jet is 'not available'.
posted by mightshould at 11:10 AM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thanks for that head's up, ArbitraryAndCapricious. I'll call my library and ask about the supply and intended recipients before I go down there.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:23 AM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I checked lowes home improvement. They sell ISO certified eclipse glasses -$2. I hope they have some available when I go in.
posted by mightshould at 12:16 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

We're aiming for wilderness camping somewhere in central Oregon (not at an organized campground, just on public land out on some forest road). Not sure how it will go, but we're going to try!
posted by hippybear at 12:22 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Good time to test the sub-orbital platform, Rayban.
posted by clavdivs at 1:07 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Boulder County, here. We've been planning to drive north to Wyoming or NE to Nebraska and hit up some sort of public lands, but reading some of the stuff about expected traffic I'm starting to wonder how good of a plan this in fact is...
posted by brennen at 1:59 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

i live in the 90% eclipse zone and will have the time free to romp in the occluded sunlight, but the eclipse will be happening during an interval between two eye surgeries so my vision is going to make the experience probably distinct from most people's. Looking forward to it.
posted by ardgedee at 3:27 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a friend coming to visit us here in Eugene from the 19-22nd, one of my oldest and dearest friends whom I haven't seen since my wedding. We'd been planning on doing a road trip up to Mt. Ranier that weekend ... because until I saw this thread I could have SWORN the eclipse was going to be on August 12, not August 21st. I've seriously been thinking about how glad I am that he wouldn't be here during the chaos they're warning us about, and how nice it will be to just sit home in our 99% eclipse zone and let the circus go on around us.


He's now looking into changing the dates but that may or may not be possible - stay tuned for the AskMe about how to do an interesting road trip in ANY direction out of Eugene that weekend.
posted by DingoMutt at 3:49 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Solar Eclipse Of The Heart
posted by hippybear at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am starting to get nervous about the traffic and taking three little kids, and also going will mean we miss the first day of school in a new school district, and it's only a week after we'll have moved. So what I'm saying is I'm starting to think about punking out and just enjoying the partial eclipse because I AM AWFULLY TIRED from all this house-moving stuff and I don't know that missing the first day of school would be my best parenting decision.

Our hotel reservation is an hour outside of the totality path. I suppose I could even go to the hotel the day before and punk out the day of if traffic is really that bad. I dunno.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:19 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

BuzzFeed has some good information about traffic concerns.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:33 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Wow, that buzzfeed article makes me feel a little better about not going to Oregon for this.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 7:06 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

We have a pimped out condo in Sun River, OR next to the OSU observatory but we're 30 miles from totality. A year ago when I booked it, I thought no problem we'll just drive up after breakfast and then I realized oh fuck, every single person living and visiting the area will be on the highway. So, I guess I'm getting up at 5 am and sitting in traffic for several hours. Later, a week of river rafting and biking and swimming. But surely we are having a meetup around Bend, OR?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:41 PM on August 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

Slarty: research surface streets and backroads to get to a place. Don't take major arterials.
posted by hippybear at 7:59 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

We're heading out in the wee wee hours of the morning and taking only backroads, to a place chosen in part because it didn't come up in any "places to see the eclipse" searches I did. Also because if we actually get there with something close to a reasonable trip time, there's a few trails and hikes to do.

We bought our glasses from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, along with a Total Eclipse of the Heart shirt for my wife.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:16 PM on August 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

Where can I get some cheap UV filtering sunglasses to watch this thing. I'm reading more and more articles about people selling shades that don't shield UV, ie scammers. I need my vision (as we all do).

posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 2:57 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

The non-profit Astronomers Without Borders is selling bulk solar viewing glasses if you know a number of people who want them. They're also looking for donations to give glasses to schools. This winter I bought their OneSky reflector telescope, it's great if you're looking for a good, relatively inexpensive telescope.
posted by lharmon at 6:10 AM on August 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

I fly into Nashville with a slated arrival time of 9:50a, so I assume that I will still be waiting on the tarmac in Boston during totality.
posted by dmd at 7:19 AM on August 6, 2017

I added a playlist to Spotify from the results of the Ask thread on eclipse songs.
posted by Philbo at 9:01 AM on August 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

A year ago when I booked it, I thought no problem we'll just drive up after breakfast and then I realized oh fuck, every single person living and visiting the area will be on the highway.

I've had a place in central WY I've been planning to go to for about 3 fucking years - it was going to be PERFECT. I expected some crowds around the area but not the specific spot I've been thinking about. It's been slowly dawning on me this summer that every single person in N. CO and then some are going to to be traveling to the same area and it's not like WY has a shit ton of highways and all the "backroads" are gravel. And even if the specific spot is empty, even if we get there early - that's not what I'm worried about. It's the ride home when EVERYONE will return home all at once. I've found myself seriously considering not going now because I'm weighing 3 minutes of totality against HOURS of traffic - not just traffic, STUPID traffic - on the 2 roads that exist and then I-80/I-25 going back to Denver.

But on the other hand, I've been practicing "Clair de Lune" on my cello for months so that I could play it while wearing eclipse glasses during the totality. (I wanted to play a song that gave a nod to the power of the moon. Fun fact: NASA has a moon song page.) Although half of me thinks that it might be really quiet during the eclipse and I want to hear that, if there's a ton of people then maybe the silence won't matter. Anyway, seeing all y'all's specific plans makes me think I'm being dumb about not wanting to battle the traffic.
posted by barchan at 9:07 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

barchan: I plan on staying Monday night at my camping spot, in the hopes that traffic will thin out a bit.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:40 AM on August 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think the best way to deal with this is to just accept the traffic and plan for it. Put a cooler in the car so you don't have to stop for food, make sure you have water, fill up the tank before you start out. Imagine you were going to a music festival or something where spending six hours getting out of the parking lot is just the price of admission.

I'm at a hotel that is in the path of totality so, assuming the sky is clear, I won't have to go anywhere. I'm beginning to worry about the traffic the day before and the day after though, with everyone flooding in and out of Nashville.

From talking to people who have seen a total eclipse, it sounds like it will be worth traveling to, even if it only lasts two minutes.
posted by bondcliff at 10:15 AM on August 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

We're flying into Denver the day before and heading into central Wyoming. I haven't been able to get a hotel room anywhere closer to the path of totality than Fort Collins, Colorado, but I keep checking. I'm counting on waking up stupid early to drive into the path of totality but am trying to offset the risk of traffic. I've already got paper maps for improvising, and will have a cooler full of food and water and will keep the gas tank as full as I can on the way in. I'm prepared to sit in traffic afterward, and have several days in Rocky Mountain National Park to look forward to.

My biggest concern is not actually being able to get to the eclipse zone on Monday morning in spite of the precautions I'm trying to take. I'd be grateful for any thoughts or advise from MeFites in the region (barchan? Gygesringtone?) — please feel free to MeMail me.

I hope everyone reading this has success with the eclipse plans they choose, whether trekking somewhere else or enjoying what they can see from home. I wish you all the best of luck!
posted by Songdog at 11:03 AM on August 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

- Carbondale eclipse viewing meetup?

RANDOM FACT Carbondale is smack in the path of totality for 2017 and again in 2024.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:53 AM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, traffic going south is going to be really bad after the eclipse. Especially on I-25. I intentionally reserved a camping spot for a couple days after the eclipse that's on the north end of the totality. If everything takes about as long as I'm planning, we should get to watch the eclipse at our planned spot and then be set driving against the main flow of traffic feeling sorry for everyone trying to get back to Denver. If it's quicker, we can make it to our spot, find a day use area to hang out in until the eclipse, and if it's way longer (well over double what it would take on a regular day) we should at the very least be able to take some back roads and find a shoulder to pull over on.

I'm seriously so very excited about sharing this with my kids this that I really can't stand it. Like I want to just high five them constantly.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:04 PM on August 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

The mountain I'm kind of thinking of visiting that afternoon (Max Patch!) is at 99.26% coverage and that might be enough for me. Brevard and Bryson City are going to be crazy. If you want to come down to Asheville for 99% of the eclipse or make the leap to 100% less than an hour away, let me know, my spartan and slightly horrifying accommodations are always available for visiting Mefites who like large slobbery dogs and fat shedding cats. My friends are all saying gloomily that it's going to be cloudy, though.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:24 PM on August 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Driving up into the path from Atlanta, probably. Although if it's too cloudy or if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and don't think I can handle the traffic (because we have traffic if the sun just looks at us wrong) I probably won't bother.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:39 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tagging along with friends in Oregon. Luckily I'm on vacation at that time - I'm already expecting traffic to be terrible coming back.
posted by invokeuse at 9:42 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Driving from Eugene to camp on the property of friends in Madras-one of the sweet spots (totality+likelihood of clear skies). Friend invited us a year ago, which was the first we'd heard of this eclipse thingy-took a long time for us to realize how lucky we are. Planning on making it Friday through tuesday to avoid most of the traffic-we hope-and may camp the first couple night with friends who snagged a group site at Paulina Lake. Excited for the kids to experience it! Had our emergency management guy at work say that their biggest fear is either a co-occurring disaster like a fire, or overcast skies (likely at the coast) that cause these masses of people to decide to up and move to catch it.
posted by purenitrous at 9:56 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Welp, this thread makes me feel fortunate that I can watch totality from the backyard. Even though I'm just barely within the path of totality. I expect that all traffic north of the river is going to be bad, if for no other reason than all the people in the metro area south of totality will think it will be no problem driving north five or ten miles.

I haven't been worrying about glasses because I'm not so interested in looking at the Sun during partial, which I've seen before. But I've heard (here, I think) that the naked eye is safe during totality ... is that wrong? I'm mostly interested in the unique experience of totality, birds going silent, light being weird, etc.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:59 PM on August 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

My friends are all saying gloomily that it's going to be cloudy, though.

"Eclipse: celestial phenomenon in which the sun is totally obscured by a cloud the exact size and shape of the sky." - Armando Iannucci
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:12 AM on August 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'm in a 97% zone, and totality is a short drive away. Not sure where to go. I thought about North KC since that's just a couple of hours, but now thinking of some place on the prairie up near the Kansas / Nebraska border. Quiet would be nice for this.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:07 AM on August 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

This weekend I was in a Walmart that had a full rack of eclipse glasses in the morning that was empty when I had to go back later the same day.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:58 AM on August 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Myself and two other MeFites took advantage of the offer SIU was making in Carbondale -- staying in their dorms for the weekend through Tuesday morning.

Is anyone here local to that area? Can we get an IRL post going?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 6:58 AM on August 7, 2017

I have been planning for this for over 2 years. A group of us are camping near Madras, Or at a set-up called Solartown. We got in early so things were not too expensive, but I really don't know what to expect if we arrive on schedule early friday and have to spend 3 nights in some farmers field.
The town of madras is having a festival with country music and whatnot, so there are things to do and shuttles to get there, but the forest fire haze and heat have me less than fully stoked.

Still, it is an eclipse.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:42 AM on August 7, 2017

It will be about 90% where I live.... whatever that means. I wonder if that's 'enough' to get the experience
99.26% coverage and that might be enough for me

I have not been through a total eclipse but from what I have read and seen only totality is totality and anything less than that will be a markedly different (and lesser) experience. At 90% or 99.26%, AFAICT, you will not experience night in day, you will not see the corona, etc. It's just going to look like it's overcast without it being overcast.

This seems to be because the sun is REALLY REALLY BRIGHT. Like, getting rid of 99.5% of the sunlight gets you down to the illumination level of a typical living room. Not night. So you really do have to eliminate 100% of that light to get the full effect of the eclipse.

I only bring this up because being so near but yet so far seems like a very easy thing to regret.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:45 AM on August 7, 2017 [6 favorites]

ROU_Xenophobe makes very good points about 99% vs. totality, however no matter where you are during the eclipse it will be worth it to spend a few bucks on glasses or a few minutes making a pinhole projector. Even without the darkness and corona, safely seeing the sun with a big dark chunk taken out of it is still pretty neat.

That said, if you have the means to get to where it's going to be total you should probably do so.
posted by bondcliff at 9:50 AM on August 7, 2017

I'm planning to fly into the Southern Illinois Airport just outside Carbondale and camp there Sunday night with my plane and a couple of friends to watch the eclipse Monday. The airport (which is in the path of totality) seems ready to handle the influx and says there's over 80 aircraft registered.

I'd post in the Carbondale IRL eclipse thread but it has closed so maybe a new thread is needed? Anyway it's unclear whether we will be able to get a rental car so I might not be able to stray far from the airport.
posted by exogenous at 11:29 AM on August 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

If anyone is still thinking about driving into Oregon, I found a campsite through this website:
and there are other campsites left, although they are non-too-glamorous. If anyone else is going to be in John Day, speak up!
posted by bq at 12:54 PM on August 7, 2017

After hearing more about the difference between full and near-totality, I'm thinking about making the trek from Denver solo; considering ways I can drive early morning/the night before and then sleep in a Walmart parking lot or on public lands or something from 4AM-10AM or something. I also ordered a few sets of glasses from, which doesn't seem to be price gouging and can still ship in time.
posted by deludingmyself at 6:57 PM on August 7, 2017

This was an interesting read on weird stuff you'll maybe see around the time of the eclipse.
posted by Wordshore at 8:28 PM on August 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

I'd post in the Carbondale IRL eclipse thread but it has closed so maybe a new thread is needed?

metaphorever has just made a new Carbondale IRL post for the forthcoming eclipse.
posted by Wordshore at 6:41 AM on August 8, 2017

I've been practicing "Clair de Lune" on my cello for months so that I could play it while wearing eclipse glasses during the totality

I woke up this morning thinking "I hope the people at the park where I am don't play music," which I wouldn't've considered without your comment. I'm now planning what hike to take away from the campground in the hopes of hearing nature freak out.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:09 AM on August 8, 2017 [5 favorites]

We are attempting the eclipse in Oregon. My family is leaving for a 2 week road-trip this Saturday, from Phoenix to Seattle and back. After camping in the Redwoods we are spending 4 days in Seattle with my sister and driving back down to Portland with her on the morning of the 20th for 3 days to catch the Eclipse then continuing on to Crater Lake (assuming it’s not on fire) then Sequoia/Kings Canyon.

My sister has very specific health issues that limit where she will sleep so Portland was the closest to totality we could stay. Our original plan was to watch the weather, and start driving to the most likely spot at 5am. Originally we were planning on heading Southeast towards Madras on US26, stopping at one of a dozen or so possible places I’ve planned before we hit the town itself. Now I’m panicking.

Do we continue with this plan, but leave even earlier (3 even?) and deal with the nightmare traffic scenario by being uber prepared with water, food and fuel? Do we scrap our plans of heading Southeast, drive to the coast and hope for good weather? Do we drive further east on the 84 at 4am then South to the John Day Fossil Beds? Is there something better?

My husband and daughter(9) are super into astronomy. They really would be devastated to miss this (I’d be mildly bummed, mostly for them). I’m excited and prepared for the rest of the trip but this is casting a (literal!) shadow over everything.
posted by Lapin at 9:00 AM on August 8, 2017

I keep seeing random people on social media say some variation of "Hey, just got me a pair of glasses for the eclipse and they were only 99 cents from [dodgy sounding website] so I am all set and ready to go!" Am seriously bothered that in the weeks after the eclipse, there's going to be hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans with damaged or ruined eyesight - for life, not temporary - because of this.

Even here in the UK where our partial or total eclipses in recent times have often been cloudy, there's been cases in the news afterwards of people who are now partially blind for life (and that's after the intervention of socialist medical care here; I dread to think of how much it would cost to do emergency eye repairs in the USA, especially if there's a post-eclipse rush - that's if they can fix damaged eyes at all).

Please take no chances with flaky glasses at the eclipse folks, and maybe check that relatives and friends aren't taking chances too.
posted by Wordshore at 9:25 AM on August 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

All you really need to view the eclipse is a Ritz cracker.
posted by bondcliff at 10:03 AM on August 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

This Smarter Every Day video is a pretty good overview of what to expect and how to observe it.
posted by bondcliff at 9:06 AM on August 9, 2017

Do we continue with this plan, but leave even earlier (3 even?) and deal with the nightmare traffic scenario by being uber prepared with water, food and fuel? Do we scrap our plans of heading Southeast, drive to the coast and hope for good weather? Do we drive further east on the 84 at 4am then South to the John Day Fossil Beds? Is there something better?

this seems to be the nightmare scenario that the planners in and around Madras are expecting. those roads are expected to have nearly 10 times the normal volume from sunday onward. they are 2 lane winding high desert roads with exits very very sparsely spaced. you will likely not have access to services (gas, water, bathrooms) as the eclipse approaches.
In reality no one really knows exactly what to expect, but the articles from the local oregon news seem to paint a grim scenario for those hoping to just roll through the path of the eclipse. Authorities want to keep the roads moving for the sake of emergency vehicles and local businesses (haha), but know full well that people are going to just pull over (on a road with no pull offs) as the eclipse time approaches.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:36 AM on August 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

My neck of the woods will be somewhere between 70% and 80% total.

I'm much more excited for the 2024 solar eclipse - almost 4 minutes of 100.00% obscuration goodness!

Of course it's Western New York in April, so that means it'll be overcast
posted by Lucinda at 10:20 PM on August 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm heading to Columbia, SC for the eclipse. If you know any must-see sites in Columbia, let me know, I guess?
posted by maryr at 12:32 PM on August 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

With the long range forecast pointing towards clouds & maybe storms in our general area, we've revised our plans. Or, more accurately, decided not to have any plans until a couple of days before. The path curves around us, so there's lots of good sites within a 2-5 hour drive radius across multiple states. At least one should be cloud free. Maybe.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:20 PM on August 11, 2017

Earliest report looks like that corner of Kentucky will be sunny. Planning to drive from Maine, visit relatives in Ohio, and spend the night before in Kentucky's eclipse path. I'll be able to camp or car camp. Advice on locations welcome. If the weather looks iffy, I'll bail, as it's a lot of driving.
posted by theora55 at 2:20 PM on August 12, 2017

We have reservations at Rocky Mt. Ntl Park Moraine Valley campground for the eclipse but we’re wondering how easy it will be to get there. We were thinking of tootling on up I-25 from Santa Fe on Sunday. Now I see that I-25 will be apocalyptic (AND it’s move in day for CSU and CU). Yikes.

So to avoid the mess on I-25, we are thinking of going up early on Sat along the backroads but aren’t sure if we can get any campgrounds in CO. Any Mefi Coloradans know some good back road campgrounds from around Poncha Springs to I_70? National Forest sites will do. I think most campgrounds are gonna be packed.

This is the Cosmic Woodstock of 2017.
posted by jabo at 8:50 PM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I got a sheet of these stamps for my birthday. They are really cool. The words that mark them as postage are so small they hardly look like stamps.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:28 PM on August 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hey, I'll also be in Nashville. I'm driving down from New England via NJ. If anyone wants to meet in Nashville or somewhere along that route, let me know. Still deciding our route.
posted by thefool at 2:44 PM on August 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm going to south middle Tennessee on Saturday with two of my sons to visit my dad and aunt over the weekend. Then I only have to make it about 100 miles or so to get to totality on Monday. I thought that would be the easy part, but now I'm not so sure, though there are lots of quiet backroads in Tennessee that don't usually see a lot of traffic. I'm not going anywhere near I-65 or I-24, at least not before the eclipse. My real concern is making it back to Indianapolis in time to get some sleep and get to work on time on Tuesday.

My other real concern is I can't find any eclipse glasses anywhere. That adds to my concern that A LOT more people are going to try to get to this tiny strip of rural America than I had anticipated even a couple weeks ago since demand for them has greatly outpaced supply. (If any of you have extras, I'm willing to pay up to $50 or so for three pairs if you can get them to me by Friday. Memail me. Seriously. I trust everyone on mefi more than I trust anyone on eBay. Yes I have known about this for years and should have bought them then, but I was stupid so I didn't.)

If you're going to try to do this anywhere in the country, make sure you have plenty of water, food and a full tank of gas.

(If I miss this one, the part of Indiana where I live will be one of the best places in the country in 2024 to see that eclipse, but seven years is a long time to wait!)
posted by double block and bleed at 4:12 PM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

For those heading to Madras, good and bad news. The bad news is that they are expecting 100K people, and in order to keep roads passable for emergency vehicles, some roads (not the highways) will be closed. Also, the fire danger is the highest of five levels and there is still some smoke in the air. They are warning people not to idle their cars while parked on dry grass. The good news is that the current forecast is for highs in the 80s, and Oregon National Guard will be helping to direct traffic. Not, admittedly, a lot of good news.
posted by wnissen at 5:07 PM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

What does "properties to notice" mean, on that map? (I won't be in Madras, just curious.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:11 PM on August 14, 2017

I downloaded this app the other day and ran the demo over a couple of hours. It looks like it's going to be really useful to time everything. It uses GPS to give you the exact times when everything is going to happen.

I've built a solar filter for a video camera and hope to take some shots with my dSLR as well. I'm getting pretty pumped.
posted by bondcliff at 5:23 PM on August 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

What does "properties to notice" mean, on that map? (I won't be in Madras, just curious
I believe that "notice" has been verbed in this case to mean distributing notices to residents. The residents along those roads will be given passes to get through the closures.
posted by wnissen at 9:18 AM on August 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I woke up this morning thinking "I hope the people at the park where I am don't play music," which I wouldn't've considered without your comment. I'm now planning what hike to take away from the campground in the hopes of hearing nature freak out.

Yeah, I've reconsidered my plan since actually voicing it aloud! I had a similar thought - I hope people don't try to play something from their cars and then realized I was being a dumbass myself.
posted by barchan at 10:20 AM on August 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

For those who can't make it to totality and/or are hoping to share the event with kids, National Treasure Emily Lakdawalla is here for you. She's making it her mission to reach out to folks who don't have the luxury of traveling to totality and will only experience a partial eclipse. Scroll down to the bottom for localized handouts in English, Spanish, and French.
posted by bondcliff at 10:31 AM on August 15, 2017

I had a thought last weekend for all y'all going into Wyoming and areas about traffic.

I think treating this like a hurricane evacuation might be a great precaution in terms of having extra food, water, baby wipes, cash, etc. But this weekend seeing a lot of signs about how they were limiting over-sized and hazardous cargo travel made me think about the availability of gas stations in general in WY. We seriously are talking areas with signs like "next services 122 miles" or even more, and that "next service" could be a Sinclair with 4 pumps and one bathroom, so now I'm wondering a bit how all that limited number of gas stations might handle a lot of extra traffic. I'm wondering if gas stations might . . . .just run out of gas. A town like Glendo is expecting 20k people but normally has a population of 250 plus interstate traffic to serve. And that doesn't even count traffic headed down from Casper that day. See what I mean?

Also after talking with someone in the Wyo Highway Patrol, I get the feeling that while the state's been planning for the eclipse it didn't exactly hit them how much they needed to plan for a pretty long time, unlike other states - so while they've been scrambling to catch up it could be a shit show. Or it could be fine! They have no real idea. (And that they have no real numbers isn't great either - they were expecting 250k in April, seem to be keeping to that number, but it's a big shrug). They're really concerned about fire danger from cars sitting on the side of the road in some areas too so I've noticed a lot of trucks out picking up litter and mowing the last few days. So keep that in mind, folks - they might be ticketing those of you parked on the side of road if you're a tad premature and they're bored. But though I understand it, officials seem more concerned about getting some extra tourism dollars than what they might do to help people out.

Anyway. I've noticed Cheyenne is booked solid, and that's some significant miles south of the totality, and just hearing how many people are going north. . .well, a few little things like that make me think the good folks running the state might not have planned as well as they might have, or have left it up to the locals in different areas so planning may vary. So for those of you headed into my home state, it could be a little dramatization on my part maybe bring a little extra gas and food/water than you thought to. But let's hope I'm wrong and everything goes smoothly!

For highway conditions in WY: but if it's overloaded, try the old map:

There's also a mobile app: IOS:
posted by barchan at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add the state viewing location map (click on that layer to it up) where they'll have spots set up:
posted by barchan at 11:09 AM on August 15, 2017

Not surprisingly, with a few days left, there's an uptick in the frequency of new eclipse AskMe questions.
posted by Wordshore at 10:22 AM on August 16, 2017

Also, Bonnie Tyler on a cruise ship, singing that song during the eclipse will be a thing.
posted by Wordshore at 12:24 PM on August 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

Drive safe out there.
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:40 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

This eclipse is a great gift to my dad, his house in SC is right on the center line of totality and so family is gathering there from a couple states around.

He's got a large field and much larger woods that would be suitable for camping if mefites are looking for a spot near Due West SC.
posted by joeyh at 10:36 PM on August 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Before it's too late, can I also request a syzygy tag?
posted by TedW at 7:29 AM on August 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

posted by TedW at 8:57 AM on August 18, 2017

I changed plans and am headed to western NC tomorrow morning, camping at the airport. It sounds like general aviation airports along the path of the eclipse will be too full to handle Monday arrivals. Very excited!
posted by exogenous at 10:32 AM on August 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Finalized my plans: Arrow Rock State Historic Site in Missouri. Forecast to be mostly sunny between early morning and late afternoon storms. On the Missouri River so should have some nice views. Hoping I can take my nieces with me.

Should be fun.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:26 AM on August 20, 2017

Just rolled into Scottsbluff National Monument. 19th car in the gate and 4.5 hours to spare.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:36 AM on August 21, 2017

So I just noticed something.

The peak of the totality is going to be about two minutes in length. Which I just learned is about the same length as Pink Floyd's song Eclipse.

We're going to be in my office, most likely peering out the window. At 2:44, I will put that on as we watch.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 AM on August 21, 2017

Matt is tweeting out pictures of the viewfinder of his camera - it's already started in some places.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:05 AM on August 21, 2017

Here in England, I'm flicking between coverage on Sky News and BBC News. The latter have a voiceover making it as dull as possible; Sky consists of Kay Burley in a field in Oregon being very excited with lots of people also being very excited, and also has the better coverage.

I'm also eating a Twinkie I bought in Iowa six years ago and (perhaps unconvincingly) pretending that this is pretty much the same as the solar eclipse experience.
posted by Wordshore at 10:25 AM on August 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:19 AM on August 21, 2017

Yeah, right where I live, there was cloud cover with intermittent breaks all during the partial, then literally in the minute before totality, a very dense cloudfront moved across the sky, obliterating any view. It got dark during totality, but there was nothing to see. I did hear that my step-sister farther south, right on the edge of totality, was fortunate with a perfectly timed cloud break as totality began, as seen from the top of her work building. She said it was amazing. It wasn't really amazing where I was.

But, you know, it was the backyard. I figure if I just expected the total eclipse to come to me, then I shouldn't be too disappointed if it turns out to be hidden by clouds.

Oh, when I went out to the backyard to watch and record it, I noticed that the fountain and the AC were noisy and I wanted to record the supposed silencing of the birds thing. So I grabbed the plastic chair and promptly walked right off the porch onto the grass as if I were a normal person, forgetting that the step was too high for me, and I promptly fell straight forward onto my face in the grass. I'm a little sore, but not really any harm done.

I am putting it on YouTube, though, mostly to show family our spectacularly bad fortune. :)
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:16 PM on August 21, 2017

We went, we camped in the middle of fucking nowhere in eastern central Oregon (NF Road 7370 out of Granite, if anyone cares), we were utterly alone in a very silent and very star-filled forest, took a beautiful hike that went up until we decided we would rather go back down, we sat and watched nature and read books and ate tuna salad because who wants to cook and talked and the next day had our minds blown by what looked like someone took a hole punch to the sky and surrounded it with gossamer.

I'd seen photos and movies. I was NOT prepared for what it was in real life.

I wish my big campout plans had worked out, but this one moment (and the tedium of the drive back, in which we ditched the interstate early and took backroads and small highways north across eastern OR and WA and had a truly beautiful drive in which we were always moving forward. Right now, the traffic on the interstate up out of OR into the Tri-Cities area is still listed as fucked.

All I can say is, if you haven't seen one, and you can get to the one in 2024 moving north-to-south across the country, it's worth the effort. It's SOOOO worth the effort.
posted by hippybear at 8:03 PM on August 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

- Awesome composite photo from Jasman Lion Mander, seen from Oregon
- Impressive rock climbing pose by Ted Hesser
- Video of the eclipse, seen flying above the clouds
- That 82nd Airborn photo is "an illustration," or a fake

And my best photo and an interesting shot through a eclipse-safe lens, from Santa Fe, NM, both taken with my iPhone, which are pretty basic in comparison. It was a cloudy day, so I didn't expect to see much, but I was pleasantly surprised what I saw through eclipse lenses, and honestly pretty happy with my super basic photo of the moment. It felt like it was really overcast, so the effect wasn't as pronounced as hoped. Still, we had a fun at-work gathering of folks for about half an hour.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:13 PM on August 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ended up at Falls City, Nebraska after the forecast called for rain at Arrow Rock and everywhere else, while Falls City was supposed to be partly sunny. Was overcast at Falls City too, but the town was fun. Had a block party going, everyone singing along to "Sweet Caroline" on the PA, and the people were lovely. Went into an art gallery and admired the paintings of eclipses and cows. Unfortunately, the local artists didn't think of combining the two. I would have bought one.

As totality neared, the clouds would not break. I looked at radar and seemed to be a little clearing to the south. We drove out of town, found a spot to park on the edge of a cornfield. Clouds never did completely break and I didn't get to see the coronoa. But did get a few views of the sun just prior and post totality. Where we were was on a small ridge and we had a 360 view of the horizon. Darkness above, and the halo of light surrounding us like sunrises from every possible angle.

Eerie silence as the darkness approached. No birds. Frogs in the creek were quiet. At totality, an angry owl woke up in the woods and started hooting ferociously. Somewhere farther away, a few coyotes gave out tenetive and almost worried yips.

Took a few photos of the sun near-totality, and the horizon halo at totality. The last photo in this small gallery is of the elementary school in my town. Love seeing the kindergartners and first graders sprawled out in the playground with their glasses on.

If you're listening Wordshore, you should add Falls City to your itinerary for your next trip here. I know how much you love the Midwestern US. Falls City is midwestern small town boiled down to an almost pure form. Cobblestone streets, beautiful old courthouse surrounded by a vibrant downtown, and many lovely old houses and churches throughout. Art galleries with cows, antique stores with giant old American maps, a large library with its own art gallery of locals, and surrounded by a gentle rolling prairie. I quite liked the place.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:25 AM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

The clouds in New York ultimately didn't ruin things for me.

There were sporadic clouds from about 2 to 3, but the clear patches were frequent enough that I went down to the sidewalk in front of my building at 2:30. I had a set of the eclipse glasses; I'd played around with them at home; I didn't know that you couldn't see ANYTHING through them normally until playing with them, so I wasn't expecting much. But I got down there and put them on and took a look up - and by God, it was the actual sun and it had something covering a good chunk of it. Despite myself I blurted out "Whoaaaaaaaa!"

A few people looked over curiously at me. There were about 30 or so people on that same streetcorner, all in little groups each trying to see something in their own way. Another few people had their own glasses, one group had a pinhole viewer they were playing with, and another people had a couple pieces of paper and a pinhole in one and were trying to play with that.

I edged to one side so I wasn't right in traffic and ended up next to a group of four dudebros who looked like they were bankers out on their lunch break. They were trying to see something, but they didn't have anything and the clouds were covering at that point, so they asked me "did you really see something in the glasses?" I nodded. "You wouldn't be able to see them now," I said, "'cos of the clouds. But yeah." I answered another couple questions - they tried to remember how long the eclipse would be, what we would see, and such. The clouds broke again and I took another look. Then turned to them. "Wanna try?"

One of them took the glasses, then put them on - and I could tell the instant he saw something because he also blurted out an awestruck "oh woooooow!" He looked another couple seconds, then handed them to one of the others; he also blurted out "woooooooow!" when he saw. Two women near us overheard, and I asked them "do you want a turn?" And they also came over and took turns and had that "oh wow" moment. And so did a passing family of Japanese tourists. And yet another pair of women who had just come down to the street at that point.

I'd cued up Pink Floyd's "Eclipse" on my iPad for the exact moment of the eclipse's peak, but honestly couldn't hear it in the crowd. And I think I actually had more fun passing the glasses around and watching everyone have the same awestruck moment, turning into happy and excited children despite themselves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:50 AM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

Totality was amazing. I hope you all get to experience it some time because photos don't do it justice. It didn't seem quite as dark as I'd expected but I think that was because my eyes had become a little dark adapted as we transitioned out of bright sunshine over the course of about an hour. We easily saw Venus and possibly Mercury.
posted by exogenous at 4:50 AM on August 22, 2017 [4 favorites]

The experience was spooky but in a good way. Before totality the light seemed strange with an odd blue-green tinge, I think because we are used to sunset being orange. Eerie. Birds and cicadias started singing. Then the darkest spot of the sky became where the sun was, with a halo of fire. Eye of Sauron shit. I can imagine witnessing this without expecting it or knowing what it was and being completely terrified. As an added bonus we enjoyed some relief from the blazing sun for a bit as it became noticeably cooler.
posted by exogenous at 6:08 AM on August 22, 2017 [3 favorites]

Impressive rock climbing pose

In Oregon, all across the field, our phones went off with emergency notifications. One told us not to look at the sun, and the other told us to be careful if rock climbing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:28 AM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

After vaguely thinking about it for a week or two, I made my plans to go Sunday morning and left 2 hours later after a quick review of Google Earth + a map of BLM land and this was the view from my campsite. No other humans in sight unless I climbed a hill or looked down the cliff to the river! Lessons learned: Wyoming is big, totality is worth it, don't try to drive home the day of the eclipse unless you like spending 3x the amount of time it should take getting home.
posted by deludingmyself at 7:05 PM on August 23, 2017

Here's the scene at our hotel as we hit totality. I'm the overly-excited guy going "yeah!" a whole bunch of times. I am NOT the guy in the foreground who doesn't quite know how the glasses work.

The exposure doesn't show totality very well, but you can see Venus come out and linger a bit as totality ends.

Here's a sequence of still photos from first contact, through totality, and the end.
posted by bondcliff at 7:29 PM on August 23, 2017 [4 favorites]

American Indian beliefs about the eclipse (Aug. 19, 2017)
The National Museum of American Indian has received numerous inquiries concerning the upcoming eclipse. Part of the museum’s mission is to provide a forum for Native people’s voices, so we went to the Internet to ask, “Does your tribe have any beliefs or protocols concerning the eclipse?” Here are some of the replies, with the correspondent’s Native affiliation (and where he or she is living now).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:48 PM on August 23, 2017 [6 favorites]

We went to coastal Oregon, Beverly Beach. The traffic wasn't at all bad going TO the camp-ground. We went 3 days early. Quite a few people left for central Oregon but we stayed, and it paid off. The view was stunning. The camp was nice, we had room for 3 tents, we could not have a fire but could use our propane stove. People all helped each other and it was awesome!
Seeing totality is a really great experience. None of us had ever seen a total eclipse before. The dogs in camp all barked. Birds took off and the 360 ° twilight was amazing, as were the crescent shadows. If you ever have a chance to see a total eclipse, all I can say is do it! :)
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 2:48 PM on September 1, 2017

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