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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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August 24, 2017

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

We left for Hopkinsville, KY (or as they were calling it - Eclipseville, USA) Sunday afternoon hoping that when we got close the traffic wouldn't be too bad and it wasn't - it was clear sailing all the way to our AirBnB place right over the border in Clarksville, TN. Even before we got out of Huntington, we saw our first eclipse "activity".  Turns out our downtown central library was giving out free glasses and they don't open till 1:00 on Sundays so this is what we saw as we drove towards the library...

The library is the bit of building on the left so the line continued on up to the entrance.  We had our glasses (thankfully!)

The trip took probably about 6 hours with a stop for lunch.  It was a beautiful sunshine-y day and we were keeping our fingers crossed.  After we had checked in, we went out to check the sights and one sight we came across was the local Krispy Kreme donut shop.  I had read that KK for the first time ever was going to make a special donut for the eclipse which instead of having their regular glaze on it, would have a chocolate glaze covering the entire donut.  The very large parking lot was filled with cars so we had to pull in and investigate all that.  They were pumping them out steadily and people were buying boxes of them, I suppose hoping to beat the rush in the morning.  But since Chris was insisting that we get an early start in the morning and KK was open 24 hours, we decided to wait and get them fresh.


Chris was smart enough to reserve a parking space which if I had gone by myself I would never have thought to do.  We had no bad traffic getting to it (the Casey Jones Distillery and, no, we drink wine...) They have huge grounds there  with, on that day, RV's packed into one front "yard" and cars into another one.  Don't know how many people were there - I think a LOT, but it wasn't crowded feeling because they've built a large man-made lake in the back with a landscaped area above and a hill going down to it.  Lots of trees there but at high noon after the eclipse had started, you could sit in the shade and periodically stroll into a sunny patch with your glasses to see how things were coming along.  I loved watching the sun become the moon as it was very gold looking through the glasses and once the sun was more than half covered, it looked more and more like a crescent moon on the rise.  When it first started, it looked like a PacMan with a round mouth instead of a typical PacMan mouth. :)  We had both said we wouldn't take pictures of the eclipse and Chris left all his gear at home so he wouldn't be tempted.  But we both ended up trying to get something with our phones and that simply didn't work.  I did take a few pictures of the lovely surroundings though.

Looking towards one end of the lake on the left, and towards the other end of the lake on the right.  And, incidentally, loving that "lone pine" with all its many empty boughs.

And the picture below is part of a beautiful man-made waterfall they have created going from the top of the hill where we were situated down to the lake.  Strangely enough, they turned it off probably about 15 minutes or so before totality...

There were numerous good-sounding food trucks there and we planned to get a "made on the spot" bar-b-q, but never did get around to it.  We had our Krispy Kremes that morning and I brought a bag of grapes for in the car and actually, I don't think we ate again until about 10:00 that night.  That seems hard to believe...


I truly enjoyed every minute of the experience (partly because I was enjoying it with my son who was thrilled with it all).  The totality wasn't quite what I had been led to expect - it didn't get black-night dark with all the stars out - it got sunrise/set dark with a planet shining near the sun.  But we did see the 360 degree circle of sunrise/sunset around the horizon which was just gorgeous and we did see the lovely corona around the sun during "totality" which the literature said lasted for 2 minutes 42 seconds!  You could feel a definite drop in the temp.

I had told Chris that I thought I had experienced the edges of a total eclipse back when he was not quite 2 and I was pregnant with his sister.  I remember we  went outside and the light got "strange" - kind of golden and the bird/bug noise all stopped.  So he looked at some site that lists every eclipse known to man, I guess, and sure enough in March of 1970 (2 months before his sister arrived) there was a total eclipse and whatever its path was it was enough to impact on where we were living.  

I got tickled at him because the whole time the light was changing as the sun became more and more covered, he couldn't stop exclaiming about how strange/weird/eerie/incredible the light was.  At one point I reminded him that he shouldn't be all that amazed, after all, he had seen it all before. (tee hee)  And look what I managed to dig out...


I won't go into detail on the trip back home because you'd have to live it to understand just how truly awful it was.  We managed to keep our spirits up through most of it but by the time we reached Elizabethtown around 7:00 p.m. after leaving the distillery around 2:00 p.m. and realizing that we had only traveled about 120 miles in the 5 hour period (about 24 miles per hour!), and then finding Elizabethtown almost totally jammed, we pulled over, found a route we thought would work, called ahead to our hoped-for destination to reserve a room and drove another 30 some miles to it, arriving around 10:30 p.m.  Even that little bit of miles went through a small town midway where it took who knows how long to get through the one traffic light the town had.  I'd guess we were in an at least a mile long line of cars - each going through one at a time because it was a blinking traffic light at that time of night.  But we got home early Tuesday and were once again happy we had made the journey.  My big suggestion for traffic control in a similar situation would be to have traffic police at these small town intersection waving traffic through because of course there is hardly any traffic going towards where we were all coming from.

We are already looking forward to the 2024 one.  The one on Monday and the 2024 one's paths intersect in Illinois on a farm.  We wonder if the people living on that land know what a gold mine they're sitting on!

Chris - if I've left out anything important, you can add it in your comment. :)  Sure am glad you came along!

4 comments:

Sis said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It was a wonderful read.

January said...

I've been waiting anxiously for a report! What a good and pretty spot for your eclipse viewing. Maggie and I sat out in the backyard for most of the last 20 minutes of our 86% eclipse. Even that was pretty darned exciting. Fort Wayne gets 99.92% totality in 2024, but we might head the hour or so south just to get that extra 0.08% - maybe we can meet you there!
Sorry for your hard trip home, but it sure sounds like the trip was worth it.

Christopher Budny said...

I don't think you missed anything… It sure was a fascinating event to experience, and despite the traffic on the way home, I'm sure glad we went all that way to put ourselves directly in the path of totality! Looking forward to 2024! And thanks for that picture of me at "My First Eclipse"!

Jamie Falls said...

Love the pictures of the lake and waterfall. The picture of Chris is precious! So glad you had a great time. I gotta say the Krispy Kremes look a lot more exciting than the eclipse!

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