Much more, of course, after I get home and have a chance to download the pictures from the DSLRs and the video from four different cameras. But for now, let’s say that it was an exciting and wonderful day with a fair amount of adrenaline expended.
We woke up to clouds.
By the time we hit the road, there were thunderheads starting to build.
We were heading to NE Kansas (the Sabetha area) or SE Nebraska (Humboldt or Pawnee City).
By the time we got to St. Joseph, it was raining. At times raining hard. Once out of St. Joseph and across the river into Kansas, we saw a bit of a rainbow. The good news is that a rainbow is a hopeful sign? The bad news is that in practical terms, you only get rainbows with rain, which means clouds.
We stopped in Hiawatha, Kansas to look at the maps and search for guidance. It basically looked bad and/or worse with a wide line of storms and clouds stretching from Tulsa to Minneapolis. Our only hope was to try to get to the far side of it to the west. We had about three hours before totality and decided to go for it, heading toward Beatrice, Nebraska.
A few miles shy of Beatrice, it was looking worse ahead of us, but maybe clearing just a touch behind us. We looked for a way to head south and ended up between Beatrice and Filley, Nebraska. With time running short, only a bit over an hour to totality, we made our stand.
Note the video cameras on the liftgate and on the luggage rack, as well as the two cameras on tripods. This was about thirty minutes before totality and we could all clearly see the partial phases. Everyone had our eclipse glasses and it was just amazing to see the moon moving across in front of the sun. Astonishing.
And in the last five minutes, the clouds got thicker again.
We got lucky in that the clouds stayed thin enough to see all of totality. We couldn’t see all of the corona and there was no way to see any other stars or planets, which we would expect to see easily with a clear sky.
But we all did see totality, the full 2:38.4. We ended up less than a mile off of the center line.
How lucky were we? Less than ten minutes after totality ended, the sun was totally obscured. We saw almost nothing of the partial phases following totality.
Some days it’s better to be lucky than good. Today we were both.
How is totality? Almost beyond description. It truly is an astonishing, bizarre, beautiful, and moving experience.
I was wearing a head-mounted GoPro – it will be interesting to see how much actual squeeing and burbling I did.
A quick glance at the photos on the cameras shows that, while there aren’t THOUSANDS of pictures that will just awe and amaze you, there are probably one or two that don’t completely suck.
I’ll get back to you when I get home and have a bit of time to process, both my thoughts and my photos.
Final thought – if you EVER have an opportunity to see a total solar eclipse live and in person, TAKE IT! Find a way to make it happen, accept no excuses.