My Eclipse Trek was a short 3 day there and back again kind of trip that I started hopefully planning through google wanderings 2 months ago and really came together the end of July when Debra agreed to come with me and introduced me to her petsitter D at her party. I read an article on the upcoming eclipse, probably from the Washington Post 2 months ago and learned the term the "Path of Totality", that the eclipses I saw as a kid were only partial, and that all kinds of cool special effects I missed could be seen only if you are in the Path of Totality. So my desire to see this astronomical wonder only started then.

The closest route to the Path of Totality was straight down I-95 to South Carolina. I knew motels in the Path of Totality would have been sold out long already, so I looked at availability in Florence, SC, which also had the advantage of being on the cross roads to the closest point of totality straight down I-95 to Santee, SC, east to Charleston, SC, or west to Columbia, SC. I'd aim for Santee, but tried to do research for good viewing spots around Columbia and Charleston if clearer skies were predicted that morning in either of the latter places rather than Santee. Florence had plenty of vacancies in July, but started filling up fast in August.

I made a reservation 2 weeks before at the Thunderbird Inn , a basic economical 2 star hotel, much like most of the places my family stayed at during our family vacations. It had definitely seen better days, but was plenty comfortable, and yet seemed to put a lot of its budget into landscaping, which was a big attraction for me, because seeing palm trees out the window in the morning would be my solace if clouds spoiled the view we were traveling to see. I could take palm trees and Spanish moss as my consolation prize, as it's been more than a decade since I've seen them. Stretching my back swimming in a pool looking up at palm trees would help make the long drive more doable.



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Though the skies were partly cloudy, my friend D and I were graced with a clear view of the total eclipse today, as we sat on the shores of Lake Marion in Summerton, South Carolina a few yards from the centerline of the path of totality. It was such a quick 2 1/2 minutes of total eclipse! We were so fortunate and my heart goes out to people who were hoping, and especially those who traveled far whose views were totally obscured by clouds.

We saw it. We both missed the first diamond ring because we didn't know you should take off the glasses while you still see a tiny sliver of orange, but we saw the ending diamond ring right before we put our glasses back on. I saw red-pink Baily's beads around parts of the moon's circumference during most of totality--at least I think I did--I didn't know you could see them the whole time. We got to see the wispy corona--I know they vary per eclipse--I think

I didn't register the temp dropping as the moon covered more of the sun, just that I wasn't sweltering anymore and I was feeling really comfortable, so it probably dropped 20 degrees from the 90's to the 70's. Afterwards, when D mentioned it, I was "oh yeah, the temp did drop!"

What was very wonderful is that just before totality, the cicadas in the beautiful Spanish Moss adorned pines and oaks behind us started singing.--so we got the critter special effects as well.

The clouds were pretty sunset on the horizon. We didn't see a lot of stars come out. The brightest one was way off to the right at 3 o'clock--west--I wonder if it was Jupiter or Venus? There was a dim star very close to the eclipse at 11 o'clock--was that mercury?

Another cool thing is before the totality, I remembered to run up and look at the sand under a tree on the edge of the beach and saw tons of tiny crescent suns reflected through the leaves--got pics of those I will post when I can upload them. Thank you [personal profile] spiralsheep for turning me on to that--an awesome special effect. I might have seen some of the pre-eclipse gravity bands on a light gray metal sheets on the pier, but I'm not sure.

As the eclipse receded, the sky looked very dark southeast of us over the lake--I wondered if we were seeing the shadow falling on the clouds out toward Charleston and the shoreline--where it was reported to be cloudy--I don't know if anyone got to see it there--haven't had time to look at reports.

We were so lucky because there were clouds that at times totally obscured the sun as it was receding. D thinks she saw reflections of the moon's face (the man in the moon) on the sun's surface as the moon was receding.

It wasn't a life changing experience, maybe because I'm so wowed by so many of nature's details that many people don't take time to notice--(Eee to see palm trees out in the wild and Spanish moss again!), but it makes me feel very lucky and grateful because it would have been so easy for the view to have eluded us behind chance clouds that were so near. And it has been such a fun adventure to have.

And I have a wonderful new petsitter who spent the night with my cats, and Tuxie slept against her, so finally knowing I can leave my cats in security is kind of a life changing thing for me I haven't had for many years.

I will post more about this brief but wonderful adventure with pics in another post. I hope those of you who could catch the eclipse enjoyed. The viewing glasses we have now make watching even the partial eclipse so much cooler than when I was a kid. And yay for the wonderful NASA feeds--it was so cool to watch Oregon get their totality on screen just as ours was beginning outside while we were finishing lunch in The LakeHouse. What a great day! We were so lucky! Goodnight, my friends! <3<3<3
It's been so long since I've given a good update and I've missed so many birthdays. I keep hoping to post belated birthday pic spams, but I'm just going to give a shout out now before it's next year:

Happy Belated Birthdays to my dear friends [personal profile] hanarobi, [livejournal.com profile] addie71, [livejournal.com profile] jan_u_wine, [livejournal.com profile] julchen11, and any of my flisties I missed the last few months!

The US Coast to Coast Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st! So has everyone in the US gotten their eclipse glasses? I got certified American Paper Optics glasses on eBay and they came in the mail this week. Is anyone in the Path of Totality? Is anyone making plans to travel to it? I've seen partial eclipses before and wasn't impressed, but only learned the last few months that you only get the good special effects if you are in the Path of Totality and even 99.999% won't compare. The closest vantage is 8 hours south from where I live and I've been making tentative plans to drive down. But it all depends on the weather, kitty health, and the shape my achy foot is in. Anyone else planning on traveling to see it?

Much to report but I'll suffice with telling you about my friend D's 65th birthday bash last Saturday in the yard of her farmhouse out west of Baltimore. She hired our favorite local band ilyAMY to play a 3 hour set, and they were wonderful as always and enjoyed the Shire-like setting. I've been meaning to see them for years, but only first saw them last November, when I really needed them, for national reasons you can guess, and it really helped. Anyway, there were tons of cake and food, and more wine and beer, and to top off the hobbitiness, she had some grand fireworks, and people sent off burning lanterns into the sky. It was beautiful. Thank goodness we had a deluge for a couple of days that only ended a couple of hours before the party to keep all foliage moist and keep the celebration from burning the whole damned countryside down, because they would have sent them off anyway if it was dry--yoy! The party was in the middle of my Tuxie-medicating time, so I missed the first couple of hours, unfortunately, but I still had a really fun time. I enjoyed helping break things down and cleaning up and got to chat with some of the band and D's friends at the end. Most fun I've had in a long time. It was glorious.

Also glorious were the peach melba bonbon's that just came in the mail from the most generous and talented chef [personal profile] minoanmiss. <3 OMG, they were yummy and it's astonishing how quickly they disappeared! Those sweets made up for a really frustrating week of customer service annoyances, scam artist encounters, foot aches, and such draws on my time and energy, and together with the spring-like weather today in my beautiful town and purring kitties, life is good.

And thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions on getting a new cellphone a while back. I got an iPhone 7 Plus I am happy with. if you'd like to call or text me, please send me a PM or email and I'll give you the number.

Lots more to tell, but time for bed. Goodnight!
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