Verily’s Geek Adventure

There hasn’t been a total solar eclipse anywhere near my location since before my birth and the geek inside me was thrilled to realize that I would be driving distance from the epicenter of the eclipse path this week. I started making my plans about 3 months back when I was arranging my summer schedule.  Although folks knew I was going, I resisted any “hints” that maybe I needed a travel companion.  I also resisted a concerned neighbor who thought I would be safer if his adult son (who was also traveling to see the eclipse) went along with me.

I headed out on Sunday morning with directions, a cooler full of food and drink, several books, two GPS systems and two eclipse apps on my phone. I35W was its normally fun summer mess of road work with no work happening, but I eventually made it to Osceola where I roomed for the night.  Relaxation, reading and an early bedtime were the only things on my agenda.

My alarm went off at 4 a.m. – not knowing what traffic into St. Joseph would be like, I didn’t want to take any chances. Was on the road by 4:15 and made it to the East Hills Mall at about 6:30 a.m.  I chose that location as it was right in the middle of the epicenter as well as being on the edge of the city (hoped that would help with traffic after the eclipse).  There were people already parked in the lot, but not too many.  As the morning wore on, more and more people showed up and vendors got their tents all set up.  There was music inside the mall and most of the stores were having eclipse discounts. Parked near me there was a family from Sioux Falls who had painted their van, a guy from Jordan with a SERIOUS camera, a young couple from Texas who played cards while waiting, a woman who had flown in from California the day before and an older gentleman from Iowa wearing his safari hat.

It rained twice before the first stage of the eclipse happened and both times everybody scrambled to get their camp chairs and equipment back into their cars. In between the showers the sun came out, making the humidity jump.  When C1 began (when the moon begins its trip in front of the sun), the clouds were still breaking up a bit so we could see the progress.  It looked like a big cookie with a bite taken out of it.  Due to the clouds (and me just using the camera on my phone), I never got a good photo.

Then about 25 minutes before totality, the clouds closed up and it started to rain again. Just like folks who can’t wait until the end of the 9th inning, folks started to pack up their stuff and head out.  By the time of totality, it had stopped raining, but was still cloudy, so while we didn’t see the total eclipse, it did get very dark and cool.  Then, like a little miracle, about 2 minutes after totality, the clouds broke up for a minute and those of use remaining got to see the sun covered 90% – just a little bitty sliver of light.

I had said several times that I would be skedaddling back home after the eclipse but the non-construction zones on 35W with the extra traffic made the 6 hour drive into a brutal 10½ hour drive. I tried to get either of my GPS systems to re-route me, but nothing worked out.

Even though the driving wasn’t great and the weather wasn’t great – I had a great time! I’m glad I got to see what I got to see and if I’m still around in 2024, I’ll try to get to Indiana or the boot heel of Missouri.

What makes it an adventure for you?

32 thoughts on “Verily’s Geek Adventure”

  1. i seriously considered going on the eclipse sojourn but discovered my daughters first day at her new college was the next day so i passed
    2024 will likely find me camping out

    i have to put x’s on my calendar for adventure these days or i miss out. sitting in a chair is capable of encompassing my entire day if i’m not careful.
    work, to do list and internet surfing suck the life out of me so i do try to plug in fun and adventure as the spice of life. adventure doesn’t have to be outdoors but it helps
    adventure usually requires an unknown element or two and allows for a variable to play into the equation
    travel is often part of it but local reach out is a regular occurance too.
    it helps to have spicy new stuff in the mix
    i came home for lunch on eclipse day and got my daughters and wife gathered around me 5 minutes before peak in our backcyard the clouds made the gray green day feel like fall duck hunting day but it wasn’t
    it was hot and humid and when the sun came out shade was your friend but at the hour of the eclipse the clouds were 90% and not much shoes then as we tried to get the colander to work (not) i was daring enough to hold my hand up as the sky opened and look through the crack in my fingers to see a cloud was rolling in and lo and behold the cloud blocked out enough that it was a perfect view of the moon blocking out the 90% or whatever it was and we had our moment
    all 4 of us saw and shared the 5 seconds the sun moon cloud combo made our eclipse moment resonate. adventure… sometimes realizing the moment is enough
    monday it was

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m taking English 1117-45 this semester, ‘Reading and Writing Critically’. I can’t help but think of tims posts as I’m doing my homework.
      What’s that phrase about everything can be an example of something…? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. what’s the cheese curd situation
      my son is terrified that the rumor the cheese curd folks got the boot because of a paperwork snafu is true
      saturday is our first trip to the gmgt

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      1. Cheese curd situation is good. I saw two regular curd vendors and one garlic cheese curd vendor. Didn’t go in the food building so there might have been more!

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        1. need to be sure that the two old time cheese curd founders are there next to the horse barn and the one next to the GOP headquarters coming over by WCCO Radio

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  2. It all reminds me of June 30, 1954 in Robbinsdale, MN. My mom got us up and while we watched the Today show (broadcasting from St. Paul with a cage full of chickens) the moon covered the sun right outside the picture window in our living room. I didn’t even have to get out of my pajamas.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Wow, sidetrackken, I used to be “Barbara in Robbinsdale.” We lived 27 years there till we moved to Winona last summer. You grew up there? (We were on June, south of 36th St., by Sockachi Park.) On the blog here,

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      1. We lived for a couple years at 37th and Toledo. It was across the street from the old Robbinsdale dump. The north part had been leveled and turned into a park. Not long after we moved, it became the site of Robbinsdale HS and the south end of the dump was leveled for athletic fields. The house and its neighbors are gone now for the 36th/Hwy100 interchange.

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        1. Highway 100, Lilac Drive, used to be almost serene and gracious, with generous picnic areas and WPA-built picnic tables and beehive-shaped barbecues.

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  3. I really need to rethink my attitudes, since the first thing that comes to mind when I read today’s lovely post is,”No adventures for me, please! ” I sound like a pre-adventure Bilbo Baggins! How did I get this way!?

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  4. What makes it an adventure is to leave our plans open-ended enough to allow for spontenaity and impulse. We take short one or two day excursions whenever we can and do enough research ahead of time to have some idea what’s available. That means we know where there are museums, public gardens and arboretums, woolen mills and yarn shops and used bookstores along our route, plus anything of historical significance. We don’t necessarily visit any or all of those objectives. Sometimes something better presents itself.

    Yesterday we took a little drive down to Mantorville, just to poke around a bit. We looked in a couple of antique stores and took ourselves on a walking tour of some of the historic houses. We had thought that perhaps we might proceed from there to Owatonna, but on the way to Mantorville we got sidetracked in Oxbow Park, a nice county park and zoo just out of Byron and we spent so much time there we only had time and energy for Mantorville.

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    1. Hey, Welcome to the neighborhood. There are some fun gravel roads through Oxbow park and winding through the countryside. Did that this summer, came out at the main highway again and headed home.
      Passed a tractor and thought ‘Gee, that looks like the one I saw earlier. Huh.’ and then got to a stop sign thinking ‘I don’t remember a stop sign there before.’
      I had gotten turned around in the park and was on my way back to Mantorville instead of Rochester. Oops.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, what makes it an adventure is having some aspect of the outcome being unknown. From now on I’d like small adventures – the move to Winona was a really BIG adventure, and has turned out well, but wow I wouldn’t want to try that again at this age.

    When in France, we met a couple who had experienced a tour where, instead of everything pre-planned, they would all meet in the morning at wherever they had slept. The tour guides would explain to them the options for the day, give out maps and instructions, possible lunch and dinner places, and then “turn them loose.” (I believe they could be reached by cell phone.) So you weren’t entirely at sea, but got to do some exploring on your own. That sounds perfect to me – I looked up the company when we got home, seemed to be no longer in business…

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  6. I sat here starring out at the bay, waiting for the sky to get as dark as night. Only one thing seemed odd: the waves began to go in circles, then in the opposite direction they always do. I was really disappointed, though, that it didn’t get totally dark for a minute or two.

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    1. I knew it wouldn’t get totally dark, but I was kind of surprised that 83% totality wasn’t darker than it was. One of my cousins went to Greenville SC, where the there was complete totality and very few clouds; she was amazed at the wonder of it all. Granddaughter and I went to the Science Museum with many, many other people and were taunted by the clouds for the final 7 or 8 minutes. They closed in during the peak, but the crowd was friendly and enthusiastic and we had a good time, saw a pretty impressive sight, and got a great temporary tattoo as well as eclipse glasses. It was a good day and no traffic to speak of on the 12 minute ride home.

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    2. As celestial events go, I think solar and lunar eclipses are visually disappointing, they simply don’t live up to the hype – at least they don’t to me. That said, I would have loved to have seen the waves change direction in Crystal Bay, a much more potent reminder of the powerful forces of nature, I think.

      I read in the news about the disastrous break in a salmon net in Puget Sound that resulted in the escape of many thousands of non-native (Atlantic) salmon escaping into the Sound as a result of the unusually high tides resulting from the eclipse. The powers of Mother Nature in a grand display.

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