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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website  https://www.ceciliaclark.com/ . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at  https://www.ceciliaclark.com/blog .

Total Eclipse of the Sun at Albany, Oregon: August 21, 2017


We left home on August 18 and drove north. We're hoping to visit British Columbia, Yukon, and Alaska. Our first stop was Ashland, Oregon. We spent two very smoke-filled days in Ashland to see two plays: Julius Caesar (not my favorite and I recommend leaving at the intermission as Caesar has already been murdered by that time) and a fabulous, riveting, amusing adaptation of Odysseus. Mostly, this Ashland stay was to move us a little closer to to the area of the total eclipse.

We spent the night of August 20 in a small bedroom in Eugene, OR, rented through Airbnb. Some price gouging, but still relatively affordable at the late date that we booked and also as compared to other choices. The night in Eugene put us within 45 miles of Albany, OR, and the total eclipse.

Believing all the dire warnings about traffic on eclipse day, we were up and on the road by 4am just in case the roads were jammed. We were the only ones on I-5 at 4:00 am and got to the Linn-Benton Community College around 5:00 am giving us hours to wait before light and before the start of the eclipse.

At 6:00 am the college had coffee going (really just for the tent campers, but we looked like we'd been camping). This turned out to be an excellent place to watch the eclipse. The bathrooms were open as was the shower room. And, since we had lots of time, we walked around the track where tent campers were still sleeping and the sun was still low in the sky.



The eclipse began about 9:05 am. We put on our eclipse glasses to check on the moon's progress across the sun. We also put our cameras on tripods and guessed at where to aim the lens.



Since the moon's progress was very slow, we checked out what others were doing while waiting for totality.




There were groups with lots of scientific equipment to record wind speed and temperature drops. There were also several informational boards about what we would see and how humans are connected to the heavens. This is my favorite paragraph:
When a star explodes it scatters all of its atoms into space and eventually they become incorporated into new stars and planets around them. The spectral lines of carbon, oxygen, and iron that we see in the spectrum of the Sun are there because other stars lived and died long before ours. The iron in your blood was formed in the ancient hearts of stars. With every breath we take we breathe in the oxygen those stars left for us. They are a part of us. Every atom in your body other than hydrogen was once an atom in the heart of a star.
This eclipse is called the "Great American Eclipse" because it crossed from coast to coast. This has not happened for 99 years and will not happen again in our lifetimes. At 63 years old, this was my only chance to see a coast-to-coast total eclipse so close to home.

About 10:17 am, the moon finally covered the sun. We took off our eclipse glasses and we could finally look through our cameras. Not having any experience with taking photos of a total eclipse, I followed a suggestion I read about online. I set my ISO at 100 and began at f/16 and 1/4000 sec shutter and worked my way down the shutter speed scale. The last photo was shot at f/16 and 1/10 sec. I think, the progress should have been reversed because by the time the largest part of the corona was showing, my shutter was set at the slowest allowing in the most light. Probably won't have another chance to photograph a total eclipse though.



Totality lasted 1 minute 52 seconds in Albany. As it became dark, the temperature dropped significantly and it became windy. While I registered these sensations, I was mesmerized watching the eclipse through my lens. I used a 300mm lens with a 2x converter to get 600mm. It was much better than seeing it with only the naked eye.

After totality, we noticed that the leaves of the trees had become like pinhole cameras. The eclipse created lovely Asian-like designs on the sidewalk.



We drove out of the college and back to I-5 north soon after totality was finished. At first we thought we were ahead of the forecast traffic gridlock, but we soon realized that we were actually behind the gridlock as we came to a total stop on I-5. We were meeting our former neighbors, Lee and Elaine, in Chehalis, WA, just 155 miles north. It took us 7 hours to get there. It was a long day.

For once, I feel like it is the journey and not the destination that is important. I don't care if we get to Alaska or not, but I'm going to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Memorable restaurants:
Fisherman's Market, Eugene, Oregon - downtown hole-in-the-wall kind of place with fabulous food.

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