Then, when I awoke at 6:00am and turned on the TV I heard someone say…. “Close is OK for horseshoes, but it doesn’t work for an eclipse”.
So… I went back to the bedroom and shook JoAnn awake and said, “Lets grab our eclipse glasses and some water bottles and go see how far south we can get”….! On our way we determined that Debois Idaho might be the closest place for us within the totality band. Three hours and about 230 miles later we pulled off at an exit about 30 miles south of Debois at Hamer Idaho. As we exited we could see about a hundred cars parked around a potato shed dome just to the east of the exit. “That looks like a good place we said and pulled in amoung the others. Shortly after we had settled into our lawn chairs, the moon started over the face of the sun. It took me about 15 minutes to find an acceptable exposure range for my camera…. (“It’s harder than I thought”).
As I looked around our scene, I noticed there were several RV units, lot of pickups and cars from numerous states. All were parked on a dusty lot and most of the occupants were in their lawn chairs.
Nothing about the eclipse was what I expected. As I frantically searched for ecamera settings, the light gradually dimmed and took on an unnatural eerie appearance. My first shots caught the process about 1/3 along. It was really hard to see much change in the light even when all that was left was a small crescent. By then you could tell the light was a little less bright, but you could still see shadows of people and cars, just dimmer. I expected that as it came closer to totality the light would just gradually go away, be darker for a couple of minutes, then gradually come back. NOT SO!! In a matter of 1 or 2 seconds the light just “popped off” as the sun’s rays disappeared behind the moon.
We took off our glasses, a little timidly, and saw the amazing penumbra and sun’s corona appear around a black moon. Forcing our eyes to look away, we were shocked to see how dark things were. You could still see to walk around because of the corona’s light but it was getting very dark. To the west, it looked like night. To the east a rosey sunset like horizon appeared. Stars began to show themselves. Two minutes later, the sun “popped out” again and it gradually became a sunlit day again.
I am so thankful that I heard that person make that statement about “horseshoes”…. I would not want to have missed this experience. Even with the almost 500 mile day, it was a great retirement day….!!