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South of Albany, Oregon


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My wife and I flew out to Sacramento from Little Rock where my son lives and drove a rental Kia up to the Willamette valley with him, and watched the gobsmacking event.

It was never my plan to get stunning hi res photos of the eclipse, but to take in the whole thing, and document doing that. To this end I packed my iOptron SkyTracker Pro, matching iOptron ball head, a long-defective half of a small set of Simmons binoculars, some zip ties and the cheapest octopus type tripod imaginable all affixed to a steel T post. A light and cheap projector that let us see sunspots and the rough edges of the moon. That horrid tripod was bought at a wally world during a lunch break on the drive. My wife and I travel light and none of my real tripods would fit in the overhead. The 2024 path of totality will center my property, and I will be prepared!

Our hosts had several people over for a watch party. Among them were quite a few kids. My rigged up system of projecting the image was a big hit as most everyone hated those cardboard/filter glasses. I guessed at my polar alignment using GPS and a compass and the sun tracked quite well throughout the event. The cheap thin paper I used allowed viewing from the back so several folks could look at the same time. I didn't allow kids to look from the back because of the possibility of one of them looking past the paper at the partial sun.

A jet plane pulled an amazing hook turn and raced the shadow, and dozens of private planes were out watching the shadow zip along. The interstate was completely bogged down in each direction away from the path of totality, and we avoided this using back roads. A friend rode down from the Seattle area and left immediately afterwards. It took him 13 hours of stop and go to get home, which should be a 3 hour ride. Yeah, he was on a Harley. Since my son was born in the south end of this valley we knew about back roads that allowed us a worry free escape.

Having seen several partial eclipses had not prepared me for the suddenness of darkness. We were supposed to have experienced 1:55 seconds of totality, but it felt like 30 seconds, or less. My son captured a great diamond ring with his DSLR. His whole family is coming to our place here in the eastern Ozark mountains of Arkansas for the 2024 eclipse. Crossing my fingers now for clear weather in early April, which can be stormy here.

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Edited by theropod
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