Anatomy of an Eclipse Trip – POST ECLIPSE – August 22, 2017
Sunlight lit up the hotel room as Gary pulled back the curtains and exclaimed, “Look at those clouds.” I laughed. Today is the one day where nobody cares about the weather. I wouldn’t mind going through a whole day without watching a weather report.
What’s the world like after a total solar eclipse? Pretty much like it was before. Even just 24 hours later, Michael said that it felt like the Moons encounter with the Sun was a week ago. Ginger got home to California and started to feel an emotional low. “It was so incredible, and now it’s hard to process everything.”
Mostly everyone in the eclipse path got to experience the event, and this helped to prevent large crowds driving toward sunny locations at the last minute. The stories were everywhere. The big news is that President Trump was attempting to watch the partial solar eclipse in Washington DC without the use of solar glasses. Glendo State Park on centerline was prepared for 100,000 people, or at least to the best of their ability. They received some 30-50,000 depending who we talked with. Traffic was slow going everywhere. Dean Bauer who left well after the Moon retreated from the solar disk stayed away from the Interstates, and it still took him 7 hours to arrive at a destination that was only 4 hours away. This was common, but the main problems associated with the eclipse didn’t occur. There were no fires started by careless eclipse watchers. There was no traffic gridlock that lasted for days. Martial law didn’t have to be introduced. In our area there was plenty of gas, food, and hotel rooms (or at least camping). After yesterday’s main event we had a celebratory dinner in town where you had a choice between pulled brisket or pulled pork. This was a measure adopted by local restaurants to get as many people through as possible, but not appreciated by Ginger, the vegetarian in our group. And even with the modest crowds in small Guernsey, not really necessary.
As we left Guernsey State Park we drove by a stretch of western prairie that just yesterday was crowded with tents and campers.
Today, a row of porta-potties and a lone stranded car are all that remain. Our long ride back to Pennsylvania was filled with stretches of highway that were mostly empty or regular traffic.
So it’s back to work, but with a difference.
For a brief moment, those people who dared to venture into the path of totality had their lives enriched by a spectacle of nature so awe inspiring it has to be seen to be appreciated. For me, I just shared a total solar eclipse with my son, and sharing that experience is one that will be with both of us forever. It makes me smile and wonder where he will be in the world when he shares a total solar eclipse with his own children someday. In the meantime the next total solar eclipse to go across our country will be on April 8, 2024. And wherever there is a total solar eclipse there will certainly be friends gathering to share in this cosmic ballet. I hope to see you there!