The day before the total solar eclipse, I did what I like to do the most: I took a trip in the opposite direction of everyone else.
About a year ago, our plan was to drive to Broken Bow, Nebraska and camp there the night before the eclipse. Nebraska is expecting 500,000 visitors on Monday. People from all over the continent and world have been staking out campsites since last week. The total population of that state is 1,896,190 and 1.3 million of those folks are in the greater Omaha area and another 285,000 live in the greater Lincoln area. Lincoln is sort of in the path, at least at the 90-something-percent area, but the rest of the towns and villages along that route through the state are barely able to cope with their own shrinking and struggling populations. It ain’t gonna be fun getting into or out of that state on Monday. Nebraska’s roads, away from the Interstate, are poorly maintained and marginally safe at their best: due to unskilled and distracted local and truck traffic. I love US20 across the top of that state, especially as a route to the mountains. Kearney is a town that holds a fair number of fond memories for my family. But on the best, uncrowded weekday afternoon, you can not predict when a trucker will decide to cross the centerline and test your reflexes. Kearney, on it’s best day, could probably put up 500 visitors. Grand Island is long past it’s best days.
So, we (my wife, Elvy, and I) decided to do something different. She’s hot to see the sun go dark, so she is going to try to be where ever she has to be to have clear skies at 11:30AM on 8/21/2017. Not going for the perfect 100% eclipse, but just a good look at what she can get. If it’s clear that afternoon in Red Wing, she’s going to stay home. I’ve been trying to get a few days to myself in Canada for a breath of sanity all summer. I’m back in Guitar Repair and Construction school in another week, so this is my one and only chance at the trip north. So, that’s where I went: to Thunder Bay for a week.
My long-time rule about crowds is, “See where they are going and go somewhere else.”