08-22-2017, 08:52 AM
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The day before the eclipse, my wife and I decided to drive to Casper, Wyoming from our home in Fort Collins. We left at 230am Monday, and arrived in Casper at 6am. Drove around town to see what was happening, and then decided to go catch a nap in the Walmart parking lot. We saw their sign up on a hill when we entered town.
Wow, parking lot was full of RVs, people camping in tents in parking spots, loads of cars, trucks, motorcycles -- even about a dozen folks belonging to a Miata car club. (I suggested to my wife that she look closely to see how to pack light on a trip!) A guy in the club told me they bought lounge chairs in Walmart for $5.37, and had no room to take them afterward, so we could help ourselves to as many as we wanted. :)
A grassy hill adjacent to the Walmart parking lot was full of tents, telescopes, cameras on tripods. Next to us was a guy that worked for concert promoter Barry Fey years ago, and was providing music for fellow eclipsers. I requested Dark Side of the Moon and he fulfill ed my request.
Since Casper was on the totality centerline, we were witness to a magnificent show. We had perfect conditions -- clear skies, not too hot temps in the 80s, and sitting under a canopy, we could feel a cool breeze. During the totality, it was eerily quiet. I guess birds go silent, I heard no dogs, and it got almost chilly. The temperature dropped to 61°.
I did not take any eclipse pictures. Instead, I left that to the experts, and just enjoyed the show. In the twilight darkness of totality, I was reminded of old movies where night scenes were filmed during the day, with heavy filters on the movie cameras. It was strange.
A big shoutout to Walmart. Very gracious hosts.
I'm ready to do it again, but with a slight change. Don't drive home after he event. Wyoming said over a 1/2 million cars were on the roads heading back toward Colorado. I believe it. It took 3+ hours to get there, 9+ hours to get home.
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