When I was a kid about Isaac’s age, my family got to see Haley’s Comet. When I heard there was a chance to see a total eclipse that was crossing the entire continental US, I knew I wanted our family to be a part of that.
However we got involved so late in the game there weren’t even campsites available. Anywhere we could find to spend the night was almost $1000 or we could sleep in our truck in a parking lot with thousands of other people and some honey buckets. So after awhile of trying to figure out how to make this happen, we decided to drive down the day of the eclipse.
It got closer to the day and reports were coming in regarding the traffic issues and travel times, and we decided driving down the day of just wasn’t going to happen. I was pretty bummed out that we weren’t going to get to see the total eclipse.
Jason pulled a rabbit out of his hat and saved the day by booking us a hotel outside of the Zone of Totality. We headed down Sunday morning, stopped at OMSI, had a beautiful and non-stressful drive and basically just had a nice time getting to the hotel. Pip kept Jason awake all night as she slept with him while I slept with Isaac. Pip felt like she needed to protect us all night so every time someone came down the hall or the elevator made a noise, she would make a noise.
Despite the lack of good sleep, we all woke up early, checked out of our hotel and headed south to the eclipse. There were several other people checking out at o’dark thirty. We assumed they too were headed for the Zone of Totality.
As I pulled out of the hotel and turned toward the freeway, Jason looked down at the freeway which was brake lights for miles. He said, “Go straight. Go straight.” So I went straight over the freeway and Jason the Navigator began tapping away on his phone. We found a beautiful 40mph road that took us south through some amazing country. We were definitely going faster than the parking lot ummm freeway, and we were enjoying the sunrise, cool old houses and farmland as we went.
We arrived in Monmouth at a little park with a playground, a stream, an actual toilet and only one other car. Slowly people trickled in and set up chairs and blankets. We seriously couldn’t have asked for a better location. The people were our kind of people – looking for a good place to watch the eclipse without huge volumes of people. Everyone was nice as well. There were a few other dogs and a handful of kids. It was perfect.
2 minutes of Totality.
Thanks to Jason for making it happen and thanks to God for getting us there safely.
The return trip wasn’t horrible as we took farm roads all the way back to Washington. We stopped at a farm stand and got ice cream, hit a playground or two, and even enjoyed a little gravel road in the middle of nowhere. We found out later a friend of ours left at basically the same time as us but took the freeway home. His freeway drive took 2 hours longer than our backroad drive and was obviously way less pleasant. From Longview on, it was a bit of drudgery as we did get on the fairly clear freeway a little after Longview. I was quite tired by the time we pulled into our driveway, but it was totally worth it.
Now here are the photos – some taken by me and some by Jason. Enjoy!
At the hotel:
At the park where we saw the Eclipse: