So I chose not to fly

The weather was a crapshoot, and I didn’t wanna waste my one chance to see Totality.

I wimped out. I’ve missed several through my years, due to work and/or weather, and I damned well wanted to see Totality.

I chose the safe route.  Yeah, I’m a wimp. Fuckit. (I guess the best place forecasted to be was somewhere in Maine, as they had perfectly clear skies…but I didn’t want to fly that far without some serous planning that I didn’t do when I got up that morning…)

I could have gone to Mt Vernon Il, but they said 32% cloud cover.  Partly cloudy. Scattered/broken at 12K….. Bloomington, Indiana  was forecasted 43% same way.  Turns out both areas had pretty clear skies at the time of totality, but I didn’t wanna gamble. If I had gone the 32% would have been in front of the sun….. Murphy loves me, and not for my cooking, if you get my drift.

Ft Wayne, at the edge of the totality (99,8%) was forecasted scattered high clouds, 7% cloud cover. Farther east, it was supposed to be clear for a few miles, then increasing cloud cover. I chose the car so I could move around if Ma Nature chose to mess with me. The 340 is faster, but you can’t (generally) land except at airports. No flexibility (and I could not get a rental car on short notice at KFWA, I tried). I wanted more flexibility. I chose to drive. (Originally, the forecast was for Ft Wayne and east to be clouded up, but like most 3 day forecasts, that changed.)

I headed east. 3 hours of driving, down US 30, but I went past Ft Wayne into the “totality corridor” and started looking for a place to stop. I ended up at a church/school parking lot (the St. Louis Besancon Catholic Church)  and asked at the parish office if It was Ok. The lady said she had no objections, so I set up the car and the camera and began watching. Just whisps of clouds. Gave her a spare pair of those eclipse glasses and she was thrilled.

I was the first, but not the last. there were about 20 cars, some with many kids, others with only one or two people, started pulling into the parking lot. It was never crowded, but there was a lot more than I expected in a rural church parking lot 20 miles east of New Haven Indiana.

Soon enough, something took a small bite out of the sun. The it slid ever more over the disc of the sun, and eventually, Totality occurred. Funny how about 85 % coverage doesn’t seem very dark. I guess our eyes adjust. But then things changed: The color of the sky seemed…different. Almost monochromatic, like a carbon-arc light…It also got cool, as the solar insolation was cut off as the sun was obscured.

Then things happened fast. About the time that streetlights came on, and we heard a rooster start crowing. Then the shadow (very quickly) slipped over the sun and it got kinda dark

Totality IS different than 98%. Quite different. For just over 4 minutes, I had a view of the corona around the edges…the “beads” are kinda cool, too. The crowd, oddly went totally silent after one “OOH!”

All too soon, it was over (where have we heard that before?) but in this case, it suddenly became light again. then at about say, 8-10% of of the sun exposed, it was like any normal day again.  Soon enough, I was packing up and heading home.

Here are some photos, Note: I’m not a photographer, I don’t have a really good camera, I was trying different filters and I really don’t know what I am doing. They were, mostly, taken with a camera on a tripod.

Crappy pictures, But I was there and I took ’em.

You can find better pictures, by professionals with better equipment, all over the web. Yea, most of ’em seem to be what I saw, more or less.

Did I make the right call by not flying south? I dunno. I did get to see a really beautiful phenomenon that I will likely never get a chance to see again. Had I gone south, It might have been different. I believe they had good viewing weather, but my luck fortune doesn’t run that way, generally, so I hedged.

Either way, I’m happy with the choice I made (best call with the data available at the time) and I got to see what I wanted to see.

If you wanted to see it, I hope you did. If not, I hope you have a chance to see it someday. Totality IS different that “almost” totality.




4 thoughts on “So I chose not to fly

  1. Glad to hear you took the chance and succeeded. The difference between totality and almost totality is extreme.

  2. You went, so that counts. We also decided to go even with the cloud cover being predicted. The experience of the totality was worth it.

  3. Complete totality and clear skies in Indy (well the NE ‘burbs). My view was what you saw

Comments are closed.