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Total Eclipse of the Sun 2017

Even though clouds and rain dominated the central Midwest on Monday, August 21st, we took in and enjoyed our Eclipse Trip 2017. We drove major roads to SW Iowa and cut over to smaller state and county roads where the views were more intimate and traffic less.  Rolling hills of the Iowa Southern Drift  added variety for the eye and pastures and unmowed roadsides softened the landscape, providing habitat for pollinators and birds. This is a very low population area of Iowa.  Only about 7000 people live in the entire county and Bedford, IA, has been losing population since the 1930’s.  You can buy a house there for $25,000.

Our campsite at Lake of Three Fires  near Bedford, IA was surrounded by other eclipse seekers. Set on fingers of ridges, the campground would normally have been empty on a Sunday night, but on the solar eclipse eve, campers kept streaming in.  All quiet. All intent on finding a good location to view the upcoming eclipse.  Met many folks from Minnesota had braved I-35 and I-80 traffic and a terrifically scary and strong lightning storm that blasted through southern Iowa and lit the sky all night. One fellow pulled in at 4:00 a.m. The night brought a chorus of coyotes, a lone owl hooting and an amazing lightning show to the north.
Then, the rain. But, that did not deter any of us. We scattered across NW Missouri and doggedly drove toward clearing skies, finding a small window in Maysville, MO. The rain stopped, clouds thinned and we set our chairs up on the lawn of the county courthouse along with a bunch of other folks. Eclipse watchers clustered about along gravel roads, in farms, and in small towns.
We were able to see the sun on and off through thin clouds. While we had only glimpses of the sun itself as the moon “took bites out of it”, the experience and the surrounding activities were fascinating. The day gradually darkened and then just at totality it went black!  Street lights came on.  Nighthawks appeared in the sky and chimney swifts circled chimneys. Pigeons roosted on the roofs. Bats briefly fluttered about. People donned their glasses, chatted, and “oohed” and “awed” exclaiming loudly, “I can’t believe this!”  “How cool is this?!”  And, finally, one woman joked, “Why are we all so surprised?”
After a couple of minutes it got  lighter rather quickly and we hopped in to car for the 270 mile drive back home.

It was one fun trip and a lovely diversion from the regular fare of “news” that we are subjected to daily.

More anon. Enjoy this short Splice video of our trip.

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