We're in Beatrice NE. Which has better prospects? Drive in MO and continuing to get as close to Hopskinville or Nashville or is it better to head west as close to Casper as possible? We need to check out by 11am CDT.
Anyone experienced in making such calls?
Also, is ot a potemtially tragic mistake to even leave? I would want to be sure wherever we go or get stuck will have as good as if not better prospects than where we are leaving.
i'd head toward Casper. Douglas, Wy still looking great!
Thanks for the advice, everyone who said they were heading west. I had not originally known if I would be able to take this trip as I didn't know if my mom would be able to make it and I wasn't going to leave her alone. Part of my selling point (and I had thought of this at least last year) is we could go to NE and then to SD where her niece lives who she hasn't seen in 6 yrs. They are practically sisters.
Initially, when I read the forecast late Fri or early Sat and we were still packing (with only a room in Beatrice Sat), I mentioned going to Nashville, both Beatrice and Nashville being about 9-10 hrs from DFW, and Beatrice to Nashville also being about the same, but Nashville to Madison, SD being far more than from Beatrice or from Wyoming.
Went ahead with plan, leaving later than I had hoped, met a woman from Houston and her father from Dallas going to York, NE at the Oklahoma visitor information center just north of the Red River (They had purple Eclipse T-shirts on) and my mom met a man going to KC who didn't know what he was going to do after that.
Went smoothly through OK and KS up to Newton and then getting onto country roads (and it was late because we had to stop several times), going by KS-15 which went most of the way to Beatrice, (but not in a single chunk. It wasn't continuous.) it was a lot of driving on dark, two-lane, undivided roads. Got to Beatrice at midnight.
After posting here, to see what others were doing, headed to Lincoln and then west on I-80 to Scottsbluff and considered staying there but my phone (which would die in Scottsbluff before we left, with my mom's going low too) showed on Weather Underground a forecast that clouds would clear out of Eastern Wyoming faster than the Nebraska Panhandle. I thought Scottsbluff would be OK but wanted to be as close to 100% positive as possible.
At the travel information center in York, a man was telling the attendant he was headed to Casper bacuse of the weather and a woman said the same and she said she thought that is what most people are doing. Passed a car a couple of times with "Eclipse Glasses $6" written on it.
It was hard finding US-26 out of Scottsbluff. Finally I asked someone and she told me how to get there and it is near Walmart. I met a woman from WY in the WM parking lot there (she was talking to a couple nearby) who had picked out the perfect spot and was planning to get there by ATV and had the GPS coordinates (My phone was dead by then) and she thought it would be OK in Scottsbluff but since my phone was dead and I had no GPS, I wasn't talking chances. She thought Casper would be a zoo. this, however, didn't bother me. I wanted a decent crowd nearby.
We took US 26 toward I-25 and unfortunately missed the turn in Lingle and got on 85 north a good distance (It didn't seem right to me but there were no signs and few landmarks.). Finally, finding an 85 sign, turned around and eventually got on 26 again and got to Dwyer Junction rest Area, intending to get up early to make it to Casper.
This was a tent city. Hundreds of it not a thousand cars there, people pitching tents and a few in sleeping bags directly on the ground. I've never seen this before. We got up in time to beat the crowd to the bathroom (line grew very quickly after that) and I heard from some people who said 25 was like a parking lot. They had left and turned around to stay there. I was told by someone else this area had just under 2 mins totality, so I figured we would try for Glendo right on the line.
Took a few sunrise pics and video with my mom's phone that was now down to ~12%.
Someone else pointed out 25 (visible from the Rest Area) and it was one fifth of the traffic it had been when she was on it at 2am and she thought we could make it to Glendo, so we set out. Got back on 25, clear for a while then maybe a mile from the Glendo exit, right lane backed up. Finally gave up on it and got into left lane with intent to go up past Glendo an exit and turn around, but when we got to ORin Junction Rest Area, about 6 miles up, stopped there. Nice crowd, a bit smaller. Some continued up the road and there was a ridge just beyond the rest area with poeple there too.
I tried to find the length of the totality (hoping someone would know exactly. Got some clearly wrong answers, like 2:40). Finally found some astronomers, one who invited me to look at the sun, pointed out two groups of sunspots (I saw three in the center and two on lower left, but I think he told someone else there were four in the center.) There was another man there with him who had a Alliance shirt on and he made the last minute decision to leave too.
They were projecting the eclipse using a pegboard and also he had a clever idea, poking holes to spell out "2017" for a projecting. A family nearby used Ritz crackers to do the same.
Also, after watching the Alaska Airlines eclipse video, I was thinking the umbra was supposed to come from the direction of the sun, but he pointed out it would be coming from the west and if I got up to a high ridge, we could see a sunset for 360°, so I got my mom, hesitantly, because she is on a walker, to the top of this ridge to see the mountains in the west disappear in darkness, watch totality, and see the 360° sunset.
There was also a young guy from MO whose parents live in CO who was talking to people, taking photos and took our pics for his website and looked through our welding glass.