There are going to be a LOT of people “near” (for values of “near” up to 600 or 700 miles) the path of totality who are going to decide at the last minute (i.e., in the last day or two, or possibly next Monday morning) to head toward that black hole in the sky.
We’re not those people.
I’ve known about this eclipse for a couple of years and I’ve been actively planning for many months. We picked our target area (Missouri/Kansas) and got our hotel rooms, flights, and rental car months ago.
The joker will always be the weather. We’ll spend Sunday watching the forecasts. If we’re 100% sure it’s going to be “clear and million,” we’ll find something fun to do. In the much more likely event that things are more iffy, we’ll be looking at options. If the local weather absolutely is going to suck, we’ll pick a direction, northwest toward Nebraska or southeast toward Nashville, and make a run for it first thing on Monday morning.
Assuming the weather locally is acceptable, the plan is to get a close to the center line as possible, and thus get the longest duration of totality. Since we’re already in the area, an early run off into the hinterlands to find some small town with a school or shopping center or church parking lot will work. Then sit and wait for the glory.
Closer to the cities and closer to the interstates, it might turn into a circus. Some places will get flooded with over 100,000 people. (See first paragraph above.) They’re going to clog the roads, run out of gas, clean out every gas station and mini-mart in sight, overload and shut down the cell phone system, and generally cause a mess. This is why I want to be elsewhere, in position, sitting on my ass and enjoying a cold beverage as the eclipse starts.
If all else fails, especially if the weather is clear, our hotel near the airport is in the path of totality. It’s just not terribly close to the center line. If it’s clear, we can simply walk out into the parking lot or go down by the pool and see about 1:52 of totality. Maybe not the 2:38 that we’ll get fifteen miles away on the center line, but if that extra forty-six seconds of totality means eight hours of fighting traffic…
Six days out & counting…