Monday, August 21, 2017

"The moon gets its time in the sun"

Last January when Marie heard about the eclipse in August she mentioned how fun it would be to drive to Idaho and see it. Then a few weeks ago the topic came up again. This time Sarah expressed interest even though the celestial event was happening two days before her mission departure. Let's do it.

First task was to order NASA approved eye protectors.

Next task was to decide where to go. At first Idaho Falls seemed the natural choice--it was a straight shot north on I-15. Then talk of traffic delays and big crowds turned my attention to Wyoming. Alpine at the north end of Star Valley seemed to be the easiest destination, but then I thought it might get spill over crowds from Idaho Falls and Jackson. My third consideration seemed to be the best bet. Head up Provo Canyon to I-80 east, turn north on US 189 and head through Kemmerer, Big Piney (the "ice box of the nation") and Daniel until the Zone of Totality is reached. We made a good choice.

Our destination was about 4 1/2 hours away so this morning we departed at 6:06 hoping that we would not be delayed by heavy traffic. No worries. Central Wyoming was full of high plains of sage brush, but not many cars.

 Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass proved to be a great lullaby.

After crossing the Green River at Warren Bridge we entered the Zone of Totality. There were clusters of watchers gathered at open spots along the way. Clouds loomed overhead so we pushed northward a few more miles. We finally turned right on a ranch road and headed northward. The Wind River Mountains loomed in the distance. Eventually we crossed a cattle guard into the Teton-Bridger National Forest.

We settled here.

A tail gate brunch. We grazed as we gazed.

Will broke his left pinky last Wednesday in a soccer tournament.

In between looks at the moon as it slowly crossed over the sun, I sat and took photos of the many grasses in our meadow.

These siblings sure do like each other.

At one point along the way Sarah noted that today was the day that "the moon gets its time in the sun."

About half covered.

I didn't bother with many photos of the partial eclipse because I didn't have the right equipment or the know how. But this attempt (taken with my eclipse glasses on) revealed a crescent reflection of the nearly covered sun.

Starting to get cool and dark.

Full eclipse (off come the glasses). It brought audible exclamations of surprise and delight. So cool, but too short.

Will in the dusk-like dark.

Post eclipse stupor.

There was a steady stream of cars driving south, but only a few slow downs. For the most part we were able to drive the speed limit or a little above. Once we hit I-80 the only traffic jam we met was at a broken traffic light in south Provo. 

A non-controversial monument in Marbleton. It pays tribute to the farmers, ranchers and miners who settled the area.

Kemmerer is the home of the first ever J. C. Penney Store. No time for shopping. We had to get home for final mission preparations and for Will to go by the  jr. high to give his locker combination a few more practices before starting seventh grade tomorrow. Today was a most excellent last hurrah before the start of mission and school.

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