• 2024 Total Solar Eclipse Camping — Sunday

    Eclipse Camp (Sunday April 7, 2024). 2024 Total Eclipse. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    This is my third and (most likely) last total solar eclipse. 1999 in France and 2017 in Missouri being the first two. Ginger wanted a more open view of this eclipse, prompting me to find a small Farm Road that offered clear views of the sky, near the center track of the eclipse in the Mark Twain National Forest. Checking aerial views online, it looked like there were several likely spots along the road that had been used by RVs during the pandemic (when campgrounds closed).

    My original plan had been to hike into Irish Wilderness, but Ginger wanted to keep the hiking distance short, and I wasn’t going to complain because we’d have to pack in all our water (several gallons), as there would be three of us. Ginger and Lanie, sharing the Duplex tent, and me in my hammock. I did offer Lanie my spare hammock, but (for now) she says she prefers to remain a ground dweller so that critters cannot walk underneath where she is sleeping.

    To avoid traffic, we decided to set off on Saturday, spend two nights in the forest, ready for the eclipse on Monday.

    We drove up and down the farm road checking out places to park before deciding on the first one we passed ¯\(ツ)/¯ I dubbed the place “Pottyville” due to the various abandoned commode seats that had been left behind, presumably when all the RV-ers decamped back to the regular campgrounds.

    We bushwhacked about half a mile from the road into the forest and set up camp.

    Saturday and Sunday were overcast, with a fair bit of wind — too much Saturday night to let us have a campfire — and even a short pattering of rain at one point. Sunday night the wind eased off, and Lanie kept my Firebox Nano woodstove going all evening.

    Monday was forecast to be clear with some slight high-level cloud, nothing to worry about.

    Eclipse Camp (Sunday April 7, 2024). 2024 Total Eclipse. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Lanie and Ginger chatting — 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

    Eclipse Camp (Monday, April 8, 2024). 2024 Total Eclipse. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    Eclipse Day, and the weather is looking wonderful. Warm with clear skies.

    We spent the morning chatting before breaking camp around midday ready for the big event which was due at one fifty-seven (by my calculations — which turned out to be correct).

    Eclipse Camp (Monday, April 8, 2024). 2024 Total Eclipse. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Pre-Eclipse Shenanigans — Lanie & Ginger — 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

    Lanie and Ginger getting ready for the Eclipse. 2024 Total Eclipse. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • Pre-Eclipse Shenanigans — Gary & Ginger — 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

    Gary and Ginger prepare for the Eclipse. 2024 Total Eclipse. Photos by Lanie
  • Pre-Eclipse Shenanigans — Doing the Eclipse Dance — 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

    Doing the ‘Eclipse Dance.’ Just before the totality. 2024 Total Eclipse. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

    2024 Solar Eclipse — Composite — Eclipse detail merged with an image of the corona. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

    2024 Total Eclipse — Not too bad for crop of a hand-held picture taken with a seven-year-old mirrorless camera, using the kit lens. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.
  • All over — That’s it for twenty years. 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

    Totality over — time to go. 2024 Total Eclipse. Copyright © 2024 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

    That’s it then. Our choice of location was great, and the traffic on the drive home, while busy for small local roads, was fine. The nearest small town to us Doniphan, Missouri (Population 1,700 in 2020), had around 20,000 visitors — according to someone who was there.

    This Eclipse had been longer, and darker than both of my previous eclipses

    I realized afterwards that I didn’t research the eclipse thoroughly enough, and so wasn’t fully prepared for the event.

    “An eclipse is an eclipse? Right?”

    Wrong! They have different levels of darkness and duration, governed by factors such as how close the Moon is to the Earth. This Eclipse had been longer, and darker than both of my previous eclipses, and that had been so obvious that I had to research it when I got home.

    Heading home, we stopped at a still throbbing West Plains for food and a bathroom break. Well to be honest, we also swapped drivers, and Lanie and I indulged in dirty martinis.

    Keeping to the back roads to avoid the traffic, we dropped in to visit Jim and Carol on our way back to Springfield.

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