2017 Great American Solar Eclipse

A trip to Oregon to see the state and the Solar Eclipse

Day 4.  Another full day on the Oregon Coast

All week long we had been seeing many RVs.  We do not know how many more due to the eclipse and they vary greatly in size.  We passed this cute one that is probably one of the smallest we saw.  

Another nice memory of this trip.  Seen in Tillamook.

Banner seen in Nye Beach.  "People occupy a very small place on the Earth - Le Petit Prince".

We saw some truly huge logs washed up on the shore at Yachats Beach.

This is Thor's Well, which is a 30 feet opening that is 30 feet deep and fills and empties with the waves of the ocean.

Another beautiful area is the Heceta Head Light House.  This is the view from the walkway up to it.  The hill side on the left was covered with flowers.  On the right you can see the Sea Lion Cave in the distance.  The view and weather on this day was magnificent.

The Heceta Head Light House.  The assistant inn keepers house down the
hill is now a B&B.

The famed Sea Lion Cave is privately owned by the family of the Sea Captain that discovered it.  It has two entrances to the ocean.  One is on the right and most of the light streams in from there.  In the distant back middle you see the northern opening.  In the middle of the cave there is rock island, and the brown spot is a large bull sitting on top.  He was there in the cold breeze the whole time while the rest were outside sunning themselves.

The cave is very long and extends upwards.  This deck walkway is positioned in the upward part and you can see the view down the cave.  In the dis
tance you can see the rock island in the main cave and the Sea Lion bull sitting on the island.

We spent the night in Florence.  We found out on arrival that it coincided with the 2017 Northwest Ford Bronco Roundup.  There were vintage Broncos everywhere (about 400) in all kinds of trim.

We stayed the night at the Waves Motel, where I shot the how-to video for the bincolar projector.

Day 5. Heading back inland.
One of the most beautiful waterfalls of this trip was at Salt Creek Falls.

The total fall on this one is 286 feet.

Salt Creek continues into a beautiful valley.

The final stop before heading to the eclise was Crater Lake.  The water is so still and clear you can see the bottom along the shore line.

When we arrived at the Lake the entrance was filled with smoke.  We were told at the entrance that we may not even see the lake from the rim.  However, once we got driving along the edge, we were rewarded with a spot that was clear.  

So far the trip had gone great, but on the night of Day 5, we hit a major problem.  We had made reservations on hotels.com to stay at River Vista Vacation Homes.  However when we arrived near night fall we were dismayed to discover that someone else was staying already in the cabin named "Fir".  These cabins do not have full-time front desk staff and are instead run by phone by the manager.  We tried to reach this person, but could only receive voice-mail.  As night fell, and with very poor cell phone connection, we were able to use the phone at the nearby country store.  After many times being put on hold with hotels.com and being disconnected on the land line, we gave up and found a place to stay at the Roseburg Inn (formerly the Loma Linda Inn).  It was a harrowing night, but we were ok.

The next morning, I got a call from Randy the manager of the River Vista, who was very apologetic.  It appears the ball was dropped by Hotels.com.  The main lesson here is to not use hotels.com, but to contact the local hotel directly.  In the past we have found this is cheaper anyway as you avoid the commission.  In the end the Roseburg was cheaper and was closer to the highway and on the way to Madras.

Day 6. We head to Madras.
Our original plan was to see Crater Lake on Day 6, and then head to Madras.  But on the evening of day 4, we felt it was safer to drive a longer amount on Day 5 (8 hours), so that we arrive earlier at the Eclipse camp site.  

We passed through Sisters and we could still smell smoke in the air.  At this point we were driving in the path of totality, and traffic was not terrible.  We knew that even if we were stuck right there, we would still see the total solar eclipse and that was a good feeling.

As we got closer to Madras, the traffic was quite congested and data connection was poor.  So we could not get the benefit of Google's traffic reporting.  We eventually made it past the town of Madras and onto the small airport where the camp site was located.  We were assigned a spot and parked.

At this point we met our neighbors, and one of them was Prof. Jim Cornish from Univ of Alberta.  He had a nice setup with a pair of large solar filtered binoculars and a solar telescope.  He also had two friends with him with similaar equipment.

With Proj Jim Cornish with his solar viewing equipment.  The wooden rig on the right allows you to move the binocs without losing sight of the Sun.

The camp site was called the Solar Port, and there was a Solar Festival there on the grounds of the Madras airport.

About 400 small plane owners flew in and camped near their craft.  One flight was lost and crashed killing two unfortunately.

We met this pilot and his nephew who are NASA fans.

Lots of nice planes present.

Our camp site.  Agnes and me slept in the tent and the kids in the minivan.  This is when it really paid off to have the van.

The sky on the night before the eclipse was really amazing.

Day 7. Eclipse Day

This is the view through Proj Jim's telescope as shot with my phone.  You can even see the sun spots.

Part way through the eclipse.

Totality is closeby.

Not a great image, but I captured this myself.

Captured at the moment of the eclipse.

Picture from another person shows the ISS transiting the Sun during the eclipse.
This is a composite of several pictures.

This picture from Madras made it onto CNN.  I will write Aubrey to see if I can get a copy.

We knew 'first contact' would be at 9:06 am.  Overnight, the temperature had dropped down to 51F (11C), but we were ok in our warm sleeping bag.  Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night was a big cold, but you were treated to a sky full of stars.  We packed up everything and ate breakfast at our campsite while nervously occasionally looking through Proj Jim's scopes.  The moment of totality was around 10:20 am and I shot a video of the minutes leading up to that point.  What was interesting is that we could see the peak of Mt Jefferson in the West, and we expected to see the cloud covered peak disappear at some point.  At the time of the full eclipse we actually saw Mt. Jefferson disappear into the darkness and then we saw the diamond ring.  The color of the light everywhere was like a silvery grey.  As soon as the diamond ring disappeared we saw the corona, and it was really beautiful.  About 3 times the diameter of the Sun!  

At the end, we used one of the scopes to see a red prominance, which looked like big red mushroom cloud of fire rising up from the Sun's surface.  It was an amazing view and I will be looking for pictures shot at Madras via Google search to save a copy.

For months we were worried about the traffic going to the eclipse.  It turned out to be a non-issue.  We even had someone arrive near our camp site on the morning of the eclipse and they reported clear roads.  The problem turned out to be traffice _leaving_ the eclipse. After the moment of totality, people started to leave.  We decided to leave as well.  The free lanes in the camp site turned into a parking lot and we did not move.  We would find out that the traffic north and south was blocked for 17 miles, and it took us four hours to leave the area, and about 6-7 to reach the town of that night's hotel.

Fortunately, we were prepared.  We had arrived at the camp site with a full tank of gas, plenty of food and water, so we just crept along with everyone.  Agnes had hoped to see Multnoma falls that day, but by the time we reached Cascade Locks, it was near night fall.  We decided to have dinner and call it a day.  It had been an amazing day anyway.

We had a nice final dinner of the trip by the river at the Thunder Island Brewing Company.
Good bye and thank you Oregon.

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