The Great American Eclipse
I have an agreement with my ex that I can use the car once a year for a road trip. So when I found out in 2017 that there was a total eclipse that would cross the entire US, I had to see it. I worked out that the last place I could see it before it headed out into the Atlantic was just outside Charleston SC, so I made plans. Plane ride would be expensive, and hotel rooms were already gone, so this was definitely road trip and motel rooms.
I thought it would be a great once in a lifetime experience so I invited the boys. Jeremy was tied up at MIT, but Ben was off from school. At first he didn’t want to go, but said that what he really wanted to do was learn scuba diving.
So I set him up to take the course in New York, and go diving in the Keys with me. We would take in the Great American Eclipse on the way.
We stayed at friends in Virginia on the way down to Charleston, and made it in a relatively easy two days. The next morning I was fluttery with excitement, dragging Ben to be early at the appointed spot for the maximum time of totality. I had reconnoitered the whole thing remotely with Google Maps street view. Forty miles out of Charleston there was a school parking lot with open views that I was planning on using.
We got there to discover a crowd of cars and campers, and a full parking lot blocked off by police. I pulled out and onto the side of the road, next to a family from Maine.
We waited. The high clouds parted. And at the exact time predicted on the NASA site, slowly a bite started appearing in the sun. Together with everyone else, we donned our special glasses, and waited for totality, as the moon ate more of the sun.
Which came quietly. Not as dark as I had expected, like a heavily overcast day. We walked around. Over two minutes.
Then drove on, still in awe.