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TEXAS Lodging - Information and Updates

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#1 Bryguy

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Posted 18 March 2023 - 08:51 AM

Because the two biggest hotspots for this eclipse is Mexico and Texas, I'd like to see this thread be for those that are actually traveling to Texas.  For those that live in Texas, your local weather reports would be nice, and, any rumors or facts that you hear about local hotels, B&B's and other rental businesses would be greatly appreciated.

 

So, if you have already booked a room or rental in Texas, or are getting ready to, this thread is for you.

 

For 2017's eclipse, there were rumors and facts about hotels canceling and then re-registering at much higher rates. I think now is an important time to start this thread. 

 

According to a lot of the online hotel and rental (vrbo, airb&b, expedia, etc) sites every hotel and just about every under $300 a night rental / cabin in the large and small towns show booked (Johnson City and East to Fredericksburg, Blanco, Kerville, Boerne, Comfort, Uvalde, Leaky and so forth - basically all of Texas Hill Country). It has been like that for months (hotels since last summer). But, the facebook discussions on the 2024 U.S. Total Solar Eclipse Discussion Group page has people saying that they have recently spoken to the hotels in Kerville and Fredericksburg and the hotels are saying they have not yet opened their reservation books for the April eclipse dates yet. So, which is it, have they booked all of their rooms online through the various travel .com sites or not? If they have, are we looking at mass cancelations and re-bookings at even higher pricing for those booked? How have the international tour groups secured their lodging if they are not booking yet? Curious and antsy minds need to know.

 

So, if you are already booked in Texas and you are notified that your reservation is canceled, or they are demanding more money per night or they will void your reservation, post that up here.


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#2 Bryguy

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Posted 18 March 2023 - 09:11 AM

Now, I'm going to start this off. I booked a room through vrbo which states the host has 24 hours to decide on accepting the reservation or not. My reservation at the wine castle's boutique hotel was accepted. Several days later (I think 4 or 5 but could have been more) they emailed me saying the price is triple what they advertised and what I had already paid. I had to decide pay the extra or cancel. I canceled, they definitelyare not wort $750 a night. A couple days later, they were re-advertising at the original rate. That lasted about a week. And no, I did not try to rebook.

 

Within those several days of booking and canceling, my half dozen alternative cabins / small houses were now sold out. To say the least, I was steaming mad.

 

Right now, I have a reservation with Lone Star Cabins. I guess now we'll have to wait and see what happens.

 

In a few weeks the airlines will start opening bookings for that week. I don't think they book less than a year out.


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#3 mikemarotta

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Posted 18 March 2023 - 09:27 AM

Allow me to recommend Cleveland, Ohio. 

 

We bought a home last year just outside the path of totality. It was a trade-off. I told my wife that if this is the home she wants, then I do not need to see a total eclipse. They happen all the time all over the world. If you want to see one, all you need is a reserveration on a jetliner and some willingness to be someplace even more alien than Texas. How about Egypt in 2027?

 

Best Regards,

Mike M.


Edited by mikemarotta, 18 March 2023 - 09:27 AM.

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#4 Alan D. Whitman

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Posted 18 March 2023 - 01:39 PM

For 2017's eclipse, there were rumors and facts about hotels canceling and then re-registering at much higher rates. I think now is an important time to start this thread. 

 

According to a lot of the online hotel and rental (vrbo, airb&b, expedia, etc) sites every hotel and just about every under $300 a night rental / cabin in the large and small towns show booked (Johnson City and East to Fredericksburg, Blanco, Kerville, Boerne, Comfort, Uvalde, Leaky and so forth - basically all of Texas Hill Country). It has been like that for months (hotels since last summer). But, the facebook discussions on the 2024 U.S. Total Solar Eclipse Discussion Group page has people saying that they have recently spoken to the hotels in Kerville and Fredericksburg and the hotels are saying they have not yet opened their reservation books for the April eclipse dates yet. So, which is it, have they booked all of their rooms online through the various travel .com sites or not? If they have, are we looking at mass cancelations and re-bookings at even higher pricing for those booked? How have the international tour groups secured their lodging if they are not booking yet? Curious and antsy minds need to know.

 

So, if you are already booked in Texas and you are notified that your reservation is canceled, or they are demanding more money per night or they will void your reservation, post that up here.

Hotels in Oregon were pulling that stuff in 2017 until the state's Attorney General stepped in and forcefully straightened them out.

 

When I started eclipse-chasing in 1979 it was standard practice to be on the centreline 24 hours beforehand, but that was before total eclipses became the mass migrations that they are now. Even if you could trust the hotels and home owners to honour their bookings, the prices on the centreline are way above my means.

 

I booked a small one bedroom vacation house (one of several such small places all inside the same security wall, all rented by the same woman) in San Antonio a few miles outside of the path for three nights at a total of $327 for the three nights. I booked through Expedia because I feel (hope) that an owner is less likely to play games with Expedia than they are with an individual. And I paid the entire amount in advance rather than just making a reservation, again so that if I have to call Expedia they can come down harder on the owner who will want their listing with Expedia to continue in normal times. After I paid, I checked the prices for a week later and they were the same.

 

We will drive to the centreline very early on eclipse morning.

 

In 2017 we spent the night prior in Pendleton, Oregon which was outside the path but which had good access to multiple roads into the path. The clerk at the check-in desk did make some comment about he wasn't sure that he could honour our low reservation price; I mentioned the state's attorney general's comments; the clerk went to speak to management; and our reservation at the normal price was honoured. We were up at 3am studying weather to decide which route into the path to take, and on the road at 4am. Traffic was not heavy enroute to Farewell Bend State Park on the Idaho border, several hours of freeway driving East. I noticed that every freeway rest area within the eclipse path was full of cars, so people must have spent the night there, and probably observed totality from there. As I said, traffic was not heavy enroute to our destination since people had arrived over a couple of days, but we had the mother of all traffic jams going back to Pendleton after totality.

 

In 2019 in Chile we rented a house for several days at a village two hours north of Santiago. We left at 2 am to drive the seven hours north to the path of totality in very light traffic. We were on the centreline in a large temporary eclipse parking area in the southern part of the Atacama desert with thousands of other people about seven hours before the late afternoon totality. We decided not to drive south that evening because we figured that traffic would be horrendous. Instead, we drove to a town just north of the path where I had months earlier paid for a room for the night just in case we might need it if weather had pushed us north to there. Traffic was slow for the last hour into that town, after we passed the junction with the road up to a professional observatory (La Silla I think it was) where many had paid for a high altitude view of the approaching shadow. The next day we ambled around the desert doing tourist stuff and then headed south, passing the city of La Serena about 6pm. No traffic until 8pm when we ran into a horrendous traffic jam, moving at about walking speed. This was 28 hours after totality! Apparently many Santiago and Valparaiso residents had, like us, decided to wait until the next day to return home, and there is only one north-south freeway in narrow Chile. We got back to our rental house at 4am, and we were well north of Santiago.

 

So my experience has been that staying outside the path and driving to the centreline very early on eclipse morning works fine. The horrendous traffic jams are after totality. I am well aware that we might not make it back to our San Antonio house that evening with all the eclipse-chasers from San Antonio and Houston all heading back east. No problem -- I have slept in my car many nights over the decades. In March, 1968 when I was a little younger, I slept in my little MGA sportscar most nights enroute from Halifax-Montreal-Chicago-Los Angeles-Vancouver. Seeing totality is the only priority, not personal comfort.

 

I am 12 out of 12 in chasing central eclipses, 10 totalities and two annulars, because I know that there are only three priorities in eclipse-chasing: mobility, mobility, and mobility. So, if when we are driving from British Columbia to Texas in my Mustang (its first real road trip because of the pandemic even though I bought it in July, 2020) it becomes obvious from the weather forecast charts that we should divert to somewhere else on the path, we will do so and ignore the loss of the prepaid $327 for the place in San Antonio. But If I had paid an exorbitant amount for a place on the centreline in Texas, losing the money paid for Texas accommodation would be tougher.

 

Just because Texas has the best climatology does not mean that it will have the best weather on eclipse day, something that I have had demonstrated over and over during my decades of successful chasing.


Edited by Alan D. Whitman, 18 March 2023 - 02:01 PM.

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#5 Bryguy

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Posted 18 March 2023 - 03:03 PM

Hi Alan,

 

I've been following your posts. I plan on getting to TX the Thursday prior to study weather patterns and scout out various destinations east and west. I'll be renting an suv in case I need to spend the night in it. I would drive down, but due to work issues, I'm already really stirring the pot by going, I must be back by Wednesday.

 

That Saturday or Sunday I might head over to the Albert Dance Hall. We almost rented the house right across the street (sleeps 10) from it which was reasonably priced but $150 a night more than I wanted to commit to for 5 nights. It finally booked two weeks after I paid for my rental 20 minutes away. I'll also hopefully be enjoying a few really dark TX nights.

 

I've seen two totals, one annular and the Venus and Mercury transits. Also seen a few partials.


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#6 RandyF

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:19 AM

We have booked a campground in Camp Wood. Going there tomorrow to see it in person,  


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#7 RandyF

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Posted 23 March 2023 - 08:20 AM

We have been in the San Antonio and Corpus areas for several weeks. lots of clouds!  Have not bothered getting my tscope out of the basement of our rv.



#8 Phillip Creed

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Posted 01 April 2023 - 03:37 PM

My strategy is this--if I have to drive 1,000 miles to the centerline for weather purposes, it makes no difference if it's 900 miles to the hotel and 100 miles on E-day.

But it will make for a MASSIVE difference in price.  And that was my strategy in 2017.  I decided early on to forgo ANY lodging near the centerline due to price gouging.  Places either just inside or outside the path are far more numerous and won't have the demand.

I live in the path in NE Ohio.  Since the eclipse is total ~3 p.m. that day, if I hit the road around sunrise (7 a.m.) I should be able to drive up to 250-300 miles in any direction.  Pre-eclipse traffic is nowhere near as bad as post-totality traffic.  In fact, when we drove from Bowling Green, KY (very northern end of the path for 2017 TSE) to the centerline, there was very little traffic at 9 a.m., 4-1/2 hours prior to totality.

If it's beyond 300 miles from here, I'll then apply the the same 250-300-mile radius and look for spots that are 500 miles and 1000 miles from here.  So I'm looking for lodging that's in the vicinity of Paducah, KY and Texarkana or Tyler, TX, since both are near the southern end of the path.

I will avoid any towns publicizing their centerline location like the plague.  Hopkinsville and its $599/night w/3-night minimum comes to mind.

And I'll add a +1 onto Alan's advice -- it's all about mobility.

Clear Skies,
Phil


Edited by Phillip Creed, 02 April 2023 - 08:18 AM.

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#9 WillR

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Posted 04 April 2023 - 06:46 PM

We booked an Air B+B in Austin a couple of months ago. Great place, great price. Since it is Air B+B, I hope there will be no ugly surprises.


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#10 Bryguy

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Posted 13 April 2023 - 09:44 PM

I saw the Inn of the Hills Hotel and Conference Center in Kerrville opened up eclipse room packages today. I saw five or six rooms. Average is $2600 from the 4th through the 8th. $20 a day for parking.

 

This was one of the places I would have liked to book because they have a couple of restaurants and a pool, plus, a lot within walking distance. I guess I'm keeping the cabin reservation. 



#11 Bryguy

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Posted 14 April 2023 - 07:33 AM

  ^^^^  Sold Out.



#12 parkergm

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Posted 20 April 2023 - 12:15 PM

I booked the Wine Country Inn in Fredericksburg Texas for April 6 for 3 nights (checking out on April 9).  They want about $825 a night plus tax.  I looked at their website and it looks like they may still have a few rooms available.  Fredericksburg is showing that they will have several local parks set up for viewing on eclipse day and they look walkable from the Wine Country Inn.  I enjoy the communal experience of totality so I will try and go to one of the local parks that morning.  I have a small Coronado solar telescope I will set up for viewing the partial phases and looking for prominences.


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#13 kasprowy

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Posted 20 April 2023 - 12:39 PM

I couldn't imagine spending upwards of $2600, or even a few hundred, for an event with no guarantee that you'll see anything. I'm camping for $18. If weather cooperates, so be it. Historical cloud cover for that day in Texas is ~50%. Even though I have relatives very near the path of totality in Texas, I am staying in Illinois, with the same cloud cover chances. 


Edited by kasprowy, 20 April 2023 - 12:56 PM.

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#14 Phillip Creed

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Posted 24 April 2023 - 07:47 AM

I couldn't imagine spending upwards of $2600, or even a few hundred, for an event with no guarantee that you'll see anything. I'm camping for $18. If weather cooperates, so be it. Historical cloud cover for that day in Texas is ~50%. Even though I have relatives very near the path of totality in Texas, I am staying in Illinois, with the same cloud cover chances. 

Maybe the cloud climatology is comparable, but the temperatures likely won't be.  Comparable temps for April 8, based on 1991-2020 averages:

Carbondale, IL:  66°F high / 43° low
Fredericksburg, TX:  77°F high / 51° low

Temperatures will likely drop 10°F or more by totality, so figure mid-50s for Carbondale but still close to 70°F in the Texas Hill Country.

But climate is a general expectation, and weather is what you get.  And had the eclipse happened on April 8 of THIS year, there'd be a LOT of disappointed folks in Texas.  So for $2,600 (??!!!), they better throw in a foolproof cloud filter down there in the Texas Hill Country for that outrageous sum of money.

I live in NE Ohio, so I'm almost half-expecting to drive to see totality even though I live in the path.  But I *will.  not.* reward price-gougers.

 

Clear Skies,

Phil


Edited by Phillip Creed, 24 April 2023 - 07:48 AM.

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#15 swaroopshere

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Posted 24 April 2023 - 09:22 AM

We booked an Air B+B in Austin a couple of months ago. Great place, great price. Since it is Air B+B, I hope there will be no ugly surprises.

WE had booked an Airbnb in the city of Marble Falls, about an hour from Austin, back in Oct 22 for the eclipse. Last week the property owner reached out stating that they 'sold' the home and can no longer honor the reservation. Yes, unfortunately they can do that and AirBnB has no control except penalize the owner for not being able to honor the reservation, pretty much a slap on the wrist. :( We scrambled for a few other properties on Airbnb, this time reaching out to the owners before booking, asking them if they can honor the reservation. Surprisingly, they have a similar tone of "oh we are considering selling the property, so it might be gone by the time your reservation comes, so please look for another one". Yeah, things looking ominous on Airbnb too :(  



#16 bunyon

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Posted 24 April 2023 - 09:23 AM

Eh. In general I agree, but I don't think it's price gouging. Hotel/lodging rates spike for any big event. Look at rates around the Super Bowl or New York at New Year's (or Albuquerque at balloon festival times). All of us pinging hotel websites constantly for the same dates tips them off and drives up rates. If you look at airbnb or vrbo, you can see that there is a ceiling. There are still available lodgings but they're five digits, not four.

 

I mean, I won't pay $2,600 a night, either. But someone, lots of folks, will. And it isn't like I need that room to survive or something, like gas after a hurricane. It's just a market at play.

 

 

The satellite imagery for April 8, 2023 was sobering. SW Texas looks the best in the US but it's still basically a 2 out of 3 shot. Adding in all the costs of travel, I will be paying a lot of money to be in west Texas. But that's how it goes. Hopefully we see something.


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#17 Wolfwatcher

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Posted 24 April 2023 - 09:56 AM

We got bumped in 2017 from a reservation made months ahead in Jackson Wy, even though we had successfully booked through a third party booking site, and for a pretty penny indeed. The next day was told the hotel could not honor the reservation, and gave us an option for a cheap rate at a later date. Wound up camping on a farm (new AirB&B since the owners quickly caught on about what was happening with bookings in Casper), which turned out to be superb for viewing. Now, we are booked in upstate NY (OK, the probabilities we see the sun are much lower, but the location on the western shore of Lake Champlain is very appealing anyway, and is close to where we already planned to be next spring).

 

Did the booking through IHG, which just opened many of their reservations for April 7 2024, yesterday. But online, many also show "no rooms available" for the 7th. Called the hotel directly and managed to get a reservation made for less than $200. Person at the front desk knew about the eclipse and had happened to see the 2017 one. She understood our interest very well, and because my wife is a diamond member with IHG, she made the reservation even though there were "no rooms available" for the 7th.

 

I"m from Texas originally. Good luck with those bookings! Have relatives just inside the zone in central TX, so if all else fails can fall back on that resource if necessary, unless my relatives catch on and decide to charge us $2000 to camp in their backyard....


Edited by Wolfwatcher, 24 April 2023 - 09:57 AM.


#18 jrussell

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Posted 24 April 2023 - 09:57 AM

As a lifelong Texan, we have a saying about the weather here: If you don't like it, wait five minutes. In the spring that can particularly be true.



#19 kasprowy

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Posted 24 April 2023 - 10:18 AM

Maybe the cloud climatology is comparable, but the temperatures likely won't be.  Comparable temps for April 8, based on 1991-2020 averages:

Carbondale, IL:  66°F high / 43° low
Fredericksburg, TX:  77°F high / 51° low

Temperatures will likely drop 10°F or more by totality, so figure mid-50s for Carbondale but still close to 70°F in the Texas Hill Country.

But climate is a general expectation, and weather is what you get.  And had the eclipse happened on April 8 of THIS year, there'd be a LOT of disappointed folks in Texas.  So for $2,600 (??!!!), they better throw in a foolproof cloud filter down there in the Texas Hill Country for that outrageous sum of money.

I live in NE Ohio, so I'm almost half-expecting to drive to see totality even though I live in the path.  But I *will.  not.* reward price-gougers.

 

Clear Skies,

Phil

My friends and I camp, in a large canvas tent (albeit with a wood burning stove), at Maumee Bay State Park (which is in the path of totality) on Lake Erie every January. It's the midpoint of us in Chicago, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. We embrace the cold. 50's or 60's would be hot for that time of year. It was in the 20's last night. 

 

In reality, if you're staying anywhere in the US (and that includes Texas), it's a 50/50 chance that you're going to see it. If you want to maximize your chances, you need to go to Mexico. I was lucky to see the 2017 eclipse in southern Illinois, so I'm not as strung out about getting this one if the weather turns (i.e. I will not be doing a spur of the moment, early morning, 300~500 drive).


Edited by kasprowy, 24 April 2023 - 11:03 AM.


#20 speedster

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 02:58 AM

Not at all unusual for VRBO and Airbnb properties to show no availability a year out.  That's part of how the platform works for hosts.  Some properties are only temporary rentals but many are not.  You have to call the hosts for reservations that for out.

 

Fredericksberg is a popular destination.  Price are always quite inflated but there are several rentals.

 

To avoid getting cancelled, stay with the major chains.  We just booked Comfort Inn in Gatesville for $136, refundable.  Relatively new property surrounded by open area and free of tourist crowds. 


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#21 jrussell

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 10:17 AM

To avoid getting cancelled, stay with the major chains.  We just booked Comfort Inn in Gatesville for $136, refundable.  Relatively new property surrounded by open area and free of tourist crowds. 

That's where I had just booked as well. I just looked and they have one room left available. I honestly half expect the "oops, we just realized we could be making more money" cancellation others have experienced. I have a couple of backup plans that are less set in stone if it does though. A friend suggested Ennis since it's pretty much in the centerline too and closer to home, but I told him that was probably going to be where everyone in Dallas was going to head to. I don't mind sharing the experience with others, I just don't want it to be throngs of people so I've been concentrating on more remote areas.



#22 sgw1009

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 04:41 PM

I too received a phone call from the nice folks at the Super 8 in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Since then I have filed a complaint with Booking.com (whom I booked the original reservation through), and who are looking in to resolution.  I have also filed a complaint with Wyndham.com and with the Texas Attorney General's office.  Can you say price gouging?



#23 SkipW

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 05:32 PM

I too received a phone call from the nice folks at the Super 8 in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Since then I have filed a complaint with Booking.com (whom I booked the original reservation through), and who are looking in to resolution.  I have also filed a complaint with Wyndham.com and with the Texas Attorney General's office.  Can you say price gouging?

Yeah, I got the follow-up call today (I got the initial call on Saturday, it rolled to voice mail and I returned it Sunday with questions). My $66 confirmed reservation will not be honored. Period. The new rate is $499. What's an increase by a mere factor of almost 8 among friends, right? I, too, declined, and had already complained to Wyndham and just got a kiss-off reply. "We did not intend to book rooms for the eclipse this far out. We goofed. That's the new price. Yada, yada." Too bad... you did book rooms that far out and some of us are extremely PO'd. Their reservations page is still taking reservations for rooms exactly 52 weeks from now. I also notice that, as of today, rooms with check-in date Apr 8th, 2024 are now miraculously available for just under $500.

 

Honestly, I do not think this fits the legal definition of price gouging. There has to be an element of necessity for that to apply, like fuel, food, and lodging prices on evacuation routes during a mandatory evacuation. Eclipse watching is an elective activity, and the law of supply and demand is in effect - I don't have a big problem with that if that's what's offered and I can take it or not. This clearly is bait and switch, however; "oopsies... we advertised that room for this low price. But now that you have it, it's much more now that most all alternatives are gone. Do you still want it?" I don't know if that's illegal in Texas or not.

 

Fortunately, I think I have secured a room in a Holiday Inn not terribly far away and still in the path of totality (three nights for about the jacked-up price for one at the Super 8), but I have to check out in the morning and find some place else for the night of the 8th. If IHG pulls the same BS, I may camp with some acquaintances from the Austin area. I'm going to cancel my room for the nights of the 5th and 6th at the Kerrville LaQuinta (another Wyndham property) at my leisure. If at all possible, Wyndham is not going to get another nickel from me, ever, which is too bad, because I had considered at least some of their properties to be pretty good value.



#24 hdt

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Posted 27 April 2023 - 08:43 AM

I booked (and had confirmed by the host) an AirBnB (airbnb.com) in Eagle Pass TX for one night, arriving Sun. 4/7/2024 and leaving Mon. 4/8/2024. Rate is reasonable (similar to a 2023 hotel rate).

 

I plan on driving from Albuquerque NM starting Fri. 4/5/2023 (it's an 11 hr drive to Eagle Pass), and stop and spend some time in some parks along the way Fri. 4/5 and Sat. 4/6. I plan on arriving in Eagle Pass mid-day Sunday, and spend some time driving around scouting for city parks on "sides-of-the-road" to set up to see the eclipse on Mon. 4/8/2024 morning, depending on cloud cover.

 

I may extend the stay at the AirBnB by one night, or find a hotel on 4/8 within a short drive (50-100 miles). I won't try to do a long drive immediately following (or even 4-5 hrs following) the eclipse itself.

 

Any guidance from folks knowledgeable with that area, both for local places to see the eclipse and for interesting parks along the way, would be greatly appreciated.



#25 Phillip Creed

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Posted 27 April 2023 - 10:26 AM

All y'all did was persuade me to stay away from Texas.  I absolutely refuse to reward such price gougers or any bait-and-switch tactics.  "There's gold up in them thar hills"

I booked at a hotel in Jonesboro, Arkansas.  $125 w/tax.  Plenty of lodging still available around there, too.  True; they could do the bait-and-switch, "your new price is now an arm and a leg", too, but there's a lower chance since they're just barely within the path.

Plan is to drive to the centerline from there -- if I need to.  I live in NE Ohio on the southern end of the path, so I have the option of cancelling that reservation several days out if it looks good either here, or close enough for a short drive from home.

Clear Skies,

Phil


  • Dave Mitsky, CharLakeAstro and kasprowy like this



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