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Total Eclipse 2017

“Nothing I can say, total eclipse of the heart.”

Alright, before y’all panic, no, Corey and I haven’t broken up. The wedding still happened! (That’s my next post. I know I’m way behind in these posts).

I wanted to tell you guys about our trip up to see the total eclipse! Oklahoma wasn’t in the path of totality this time, so we made plans to be somewhere that was. We decided to fly up to Missouri — Jefferson City, to be exact — and make a day of it. We have a friend who has his private pilot’s license, which was super convenient. No annoying airport security for us!

John was kind enough to let Corey take the left seat and somewhat pilot us up there. Also, I was the only one that fit sort of comfortably in the tiny back seat 😛

We met up with John first thing Monday morning, and off we went. The Jefferson City Memorial Airport was our destination for the day. Much to our surprise (though in retrospect, we might have expected it), Jefferson City was throwing quite the party, simply because they were in the path of totality.

Panorama of the Eclipse Village tents and vendors

Naturally, the little airport had a crazy amount of planes coming in for this “once in a lifetime” event. (Disclaimer — it isn’t once in a lifetime if you’re willing to travel. Yes, we’ve already made tentative plans for the next one in 7 years). Across the highway, Jefferson City had set up a carnival/state fair type of area, appropriately named Eclipse Village. There were shuttles running between the Village, the airport, and downtown Jefferson City, so it was really easy to move around! Eclipse Village had vendors of all sorts in booths: tshirts (which we did purchase), makeup, jewelry, stuff you would normally see in that kind of setting. There was also a booth for a meditation group, but they were all meditating, so not much information was gathered there 😛 They also had set up those sketchy carnival rides that are supposedly transportable, as well as the typical fair food (corn dogs, funnel cakes, etc).

Giant inflatable letters delineating the Eclipse Village!

In the downtown area, there were food trucks and other typical fair food setups, and they also had live music from the U.S. Army band! They were playing pop tunes, so of course we had to stop and listen for a while. We did get really frustrated though, because the tunes they played were earworms, and we couldn’t figure out their names! It was fun to see them though.

Army band playing in front of the capitol building!

After exploring for a bit, we grabbed lunch and settled in to watch the main event! Corey had gotten us eclipse glasses ahead of time (and they didn’t get recalled!), so we were well prepared once we filled up water bottles and grabbed other sodas to drink. We just found an open patch of grass in Eclipse Village and sat down. In hindsight, we should have brought a picnic blanket or something, but we didn’t think about it. The DJ that was playing talked everyone through what was going to happen about 5 minutes before totality started — when it was safe to take glasses off, when they needed to come back on, certain markers like Baily’s beads and the diamond ring, things like that. It was pretty painfully obvious that he hadn’t read his script ahead of time, but nobody was paying attention anyway.

It was tough to see anything through the eclipse glasses (I guess that’s the point?), so Corey accidentally cut part of his head off in this picture! Or was it on purpose….

We had done our research ahead of time, so we knew what to expect, but experiencing it was a completely different story. The temperature really did drop noticeably, once the eclipse itself began. It was a gradual decline of between 15 and 20*F, which made for quite a nice break from the Missouri summer heat. When totality hit, the bugs really did start their chirping, like it was nighttime! That was wild (no pun intended). During totality, the horizon in any direction looked like it would at sunset. That was so fun!

This is what the horizon looked like in every direction. A 360 degree sunset!

I think what surprised me the most was the intensity of the sun. Of course we followed the safety protocol and didn’t look directly into the sun without eclipse glasses, but if you weren’t looking at it, you’d never know an eclipse was happening. The day was as bright as normal, except during totality! I expected at least a bit of difference, a fading of sorts, before totality, but that wasn’t the case.

We enjoyed totality at its finest, and then we packed up to head home pretty quickly after that. Bear was home alone, and even though John’s mom was checking on him, I was missing our puppy! Leaving the airport was absolutely nuts. They had hundreds of airplanes parked at the airport, and most of them decided to head out shortly after totality ended. You can imagine the radio chatter!

All in all, it was an amazing experience, and I’m so thankful we were able to go see the full things 🙂

Till next time,

Aiden

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