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Picking exact spots to watch the eclipse in Texas

48 replies to this topic

#26 MattPenn

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Posted 25 April 2023 - 09:03 PM

I have two reservations, one in Cancon Tx and the other in Broken Arrow OK as a backup for weather.

 

I would avoid clogging smaller back roads near people's property. Also, many areas are farmland and large pieces of equipment use them on a daily basis.

Do you mean Concan?  I'll be staying there, and working with a school group in Knippa... likely observing from their school grounds.  I'm part of a team organizing the Dynamic Eclipse Broadcast Initiative, building on work we did back in 2017.



#27 speedster

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 02:04 AM

In TX, you have a lot of choices.  I don't recommend hoping to find a random spot on a country road.  You can pick a small town on the path, get a motel room, and set up on the motel property.  The smaller towns are less likely to attract big crowds and if you base in a hotel  you have the amenities that go with it.  For example, we will be in Gatesville, dead center, at Comfort Inn which is surrounded by open area.  Same scheme in going to Sonora for the annular in October.  Sonora hotel backs up to the large county park.  Someone previously mentioned Killeen and that would be good too although a metropolis compared to Gatesville. 



#28 xonefs

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Posted 26 April 2023 - 04:12 PM

In TX, you have a lot of choices.  I don't recommend hoping to find a random spot on a country road.  You can pick a small town on the path, get a motel room, and set up on the motel property.  The smaller towns are less likely to attract big crowds and if you base in a hotel  you have the amenities that go with it.  For example, we will be in Gatesville, dead center, at Comfort Inn which is surrounded by open area.  Same scheme in going to Sonora for the annular in October.  Sonora hotel backs up to the large county park.  Someone previously mentioned Killeen and that would be good too although a metropolis compared to Gatesville. 

 

I just booked that same gatesville one as an option. looked like it was the last room.

 

Now what are the odds of hotels in towns like this canceling eclipse reservations last minute and raising the rates? I had heard that happened a lot in 2017 and I will be flying in. 


Edited by xonefs, 26 April 2023 - 04:44 PM.


#29 t-ara-fan

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Posted 21 May 2023 - 08:44 PM

both scopes running.  

That is convenient.  Your signature only lists long FL scopes.  Are you going to try a short FL i.e. 300mm to capture the full corona?
 



#30 Jimmy462

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Posted 22 May 2023 - 05:47 AM

We have been contemplating Durango Mexico.  Easy to reach by air from Dallas and plenty of hotels.  Does anyone have any experience with this area?

Hi Lou,

 

After crossing over at Nuevo Laredo, my brother and I had driven across the high plains down there from Monterrey through Torreón through Durango and on to Mazatlan before heading south towards the centerline back in '91 for the 6-minutes 57-seconds of totality we enjoyed along the Pacific Coast in Palmar de Qualtla!

 

Lovely country down there, and even lovelier people! On our drive-through, we discovered Durango was well on its way towards being a smaller, yet bustling, city back then, with modern roadways and infrastructure, and I'm sure things have only developed further over the intervening years.

 

I'd considered revisiting Mexico for this event but our small entourage is a bit older now and air travel, as such, for a few of us would not be a good option. I would so love to retrace that earlier adventure, nothing but the fondest of memories and experiences with all the locals we met along the way!

 

It sounds like some grand adventure is on your mind, kind sir, I say go for it! As for our ragged band of troupers, we'll likely find some remote patch of dusty road somewhere in the Great State of Texas...not too far from civilization and medical care. wink.gif

 

Clear skies, smile.gif

Jimmy G

 

P.S. "Peoples Guide To Mexico" was an indispensable travel book for us, everything from how to, um, "negotiate" with with local traffic enforcement (:lol:) to being prepared for the rural gas station, er, "shakedown" from the local children! Ha! (Both of these happened to us, BTW, thankfully we were pre-educated in reading that book!) Link to information (provided for educational use, I have zero affiliation)...

 

Peoples Guide to Mexico

https://peoplesguide.com/

 

...a spot-on travel guide for the, um, uninitiated beginner! ;)


Edited by Jimmy462, 22 May 2023 - 06:02 AM.

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#31 Jimmy462

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Posted 23 May 2023 - 06:12 AM

Like many others, I'm planning on going to Texas. Looking for spots to watch the eclipse from, hoping to not be among a huge crowd, I'm looking at secondary/dirt roads outside of towns. Looking at satellite and street view images a lot. I'm not finding a lot, roads are narrow with no good place to park for a couple hours. What's nearby are often driveways, gates, and houses. Are the locals going to be ok with seeing cars nearby along the roads? Don't want to be provoked with someone guns blazing!

Hi nemesis256,

 

To get your thread back on topic after my previous post...

 

Re: "guns blazing"...

 

As I'm sure other backroads explorers will attest, there are a few specific out-of-the-way communities one will stumble upon in this broad country where out-of-state license plates or the, um, appearance of being an out-of-towner might be greeted with less-than a, er, neighborly fellow-American welcome.

 

Now, It is not my purpose here to inject any sense of blanket characterizations here or to paint with a broad brush in regards to remote communities, but I can recommend (based on my decades of backroads travel) that folks traveling to some of those, er, quieter and less-visited parts of our country should be mindful and respectful that certain individuals one might encounter in one's travels might not share in the same common "sense of welcome towards their fellow citizens" as most other folks.

 

But, by way of a few personal experiences...I've been skedaddled from a 2-pump gas station with a steaming overheating car in need of repair on the DelMarVa, to being flagged down by a passing patrol officer in the "deep south" who noticed our plates and turned around to pull us over just to offer us a, uh, strong recommendation into us reconsidering our day's dirt road itinerary to perhaps not continue along a certain route as "some of the folks down that way won't take-kind to seeing your brother's Massachusetts license plate" :lol:, to being reluctantly-provided or, er, declined service based on our, um, outward appearance in all sorts of locales!

 

Having shared those tales, these amount to less than two handfuls of experiences in over 5 decades of my travels and folks reading along here should consider those experiences as both something to be mindful about and that they're anecdotal. :) I bring all of this up as folks, by no means, should consider "guns blazing" the norm!

________________

 

My plans for next year will be similar to yours as I generally prefer to eschew the crowds for Solar Eclipse viewing as I prefer to take in the event in a more natural environment. We'll be based from my daughter's place in north Texas (which lays within the path of totality, though near the edge) and plan for a day's outing to view from the centerline.

 

As I'm sure anyone else who's been perusing internet maps will attest, there is clearly a dearth of public town parks or other public access areas in rural Texas along the centerline and one will need to be creative in seeking out some small pocket if their goal is for, um, removed/quiet viewing.

 

I'll be heading down next month for a visit and we'll be taking a few day-trips in search of such locations and seeking out event-day permissions should they be necessary. Rest assured I will be actively avoiding any location being discussed on the internet, and y'all won't know where we saw it until sometime after Tuesday, April 9th next year! Ha!

 

Well, that's me. ;)

Jimmy G


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#32 jrussell

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Posted 23 May 2023 - 09:27 AM

For those still searching for a location, over on FB there's a few groups dedicated to the TSE next April, and at least a few people with farms along the path of totality have posted that they're offering to allow a certain number of people to boondock there for a day or two. I can't speak to what they're charging as I haven't looked into them, but it's an option that may not be getting publicized elsewhere.


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#33 587Ranch

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Posted 22 June 2023 - 03:43 AM

Hi nemesis256,

 

To get your thread back on topic after my previous post...

 

Re: "guns blazing"...

 

As I'm sure other backroads explorers will attest, there are a few specific out-of-the-way communities one will stumble upon in this broad country where out-of-state license plates or the, um, appearance of being an out-of-towner might be greeted with less-than a, er, neighborly fellow-American welcome.

 

Now, It is not my purpose here to inject any sense of blanket characterizations here or to paint with a broad brush in regards to remote communities, but I can recommend (based on my decades of backroads travel) that folks traveling to some of those, er, quieter and less-visited parts of our country should be mindful and respectful that certain individuals one might encounter in one's travels might not share in the same common "sense of welcome towards their fellow citizens" as most other folks.

 

But, by way of a few personal experiences...I've been skedaddled from a 2-pump gas station with a steaming overheating car in need of repair on the DelMarVa, to being flagged down by a passing patrol officer in the "deep south" who noticed our plates and turned around to pull us over just to offer us a, uh, strong recommendation into us reconsidering our day's dirt road itinerary to perhaps not continue along a certain route as "some of the folks down that way won't take-kind to seeing your brother's Massachusetts license plate" lol.gif, to being reluctantly-provided or, er, declined service based on our, um, outward appearance in all sorts of locales!

 

________________

 

As I'm sure anyone else who's been perusing internet maps will attest, there is clearly a dearth of public town parks or other public access areas in rural Texas along the centerline and one will need to be creative in seeking out some small pocket if their goal is for, um, removed/quiet viewing.

 

I'll be heading down next month for a visit and we'll be taking a few day-trips in search of such locations and seeking out event-day permissions should they be necessary. Rest assured I will be actively avoiding any location being discussed on the internet, and y'all won't know where we saw it until sometime after Tuesday, April 9th next year! Ha!

 

Well, that's me. wink.gif

Jimmy G

 Most small towns around us have already had at least one town meeting just about the April Eclipse. Llano, Lampasas, and San Saba I believe. 

 Locals will be on high alert not for eclipse chasers but because 10's of thousands of less than stellar people from Austin may be trying to use the crowds to do who knows what. We are used to quiet, almost no traffic and no crime. But almost everyone out here is super nice to all people...until they think something nefarious is going on and then you better jump back LOL


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#34 havasman

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Posted 22 June 2023 - 10:00 AM

Like many others, I'm planning on going to Texas. Looking for spots to watch the eclipse from, hoping to not be among a huge crowd, I'm looking at secondary/dirt roads outside of towns. Looking at satellite and street view images a lot. I'm not finding a lot, roads are narrow with no good place to park for a couple hours. What's nearby are often driveways, gates, and houses. Are the locals going to be ok with seeing cars nearby along the roads? Don't want to be provoked with someone guns blazing!

To you it's just a little dirt road out of the way in the boonies. To folks that live there it's the way out, the path to their extended world. Guns blazing is a gross overstatement but you will not be welcome if you decide to block the roads. Not recommended. Country roads are not for strangers to park on and the mostly private property along them is intentionally private.

 

The best option would have been to book a place in a State Park along the advantageous band but those have surely all been booked for a long time to those that planned ahead. Best plan on being part of the crowd at this point. Or wait for the eclipse path to come to you. I too do not want to be part of a throng so I have passed on an invitation to join friends at their lake house dead center on the path because I'm not driving 275 miles back home on roads way overcrowded with out of towners in a grand rush. I'll be on the driveway here at home with no crowds but maybe a few neighbors and a cop pal & his small family.


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#35 jrussell

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Posted 22 June 2023 - 12:07 PM

To you it's just a little dirt road out of the way in the boonies. To folks that live there it's the way out, the path to their extended world. Guns blazing is a gross overstatement but you will not be welcome if you decide to block the roads. Not recommended. Country roads are not for strangers to park on and the mostly private property along them is intentionally private.

 

The best option would have been to book a place in a State Park along the advantageous band but those have surely all been booked for a long time to those that planned ahead. Best plan on being part of the crowd at this point. Or wait for the eclipse path to come to you. I too do not want to be part of a throng so I have passed on an invitation to join friends at their lake house dead center on the path because I'm not driving 275 miles back home on roads way overcrowded with out of towners in a grand rush. I'll be on the driveway here at home with no crowds but maybe a few neighbors and a cop pal & his small family.

I would probably just stay home too since I'm in the path of totality, but I want those extra couple of minutes. I have a couple of places in mind to go but reservations for them haven't opened yet. Of course, if it comes down to the only clear skies being at home, I'll be more than happy cancel my reservation for wherever and sit my butt out in the front yard.



#36 Broz22

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Posted 30 June 2023 - 05:59 AM

We've clearly left the Texas hotel reservation thing too late. We spent the past two days looking at every hotel on the path in southern Texas finding almost nothing. There were 2 rooms in Gatesville at over $400 a night and we finally found a room in Waco that was cheap and available because it was a smoking room and no one else would take it. I have trouble with the smell, but will put up with it for a shot at viewing the eclipse. We rented an RV in Denver in 2017 for the eclipse with the intention of going to Wyoming with a group of old college friends (emphasis on old). Every RV parking space and campground in Wyoming along the path was long since gone when we tried to make reservations so we ended up parked in the field of a converted schoolhouse in Arnold, Nebraska that had been repurposed into kind of a flop house hotel a long time ago. Didn't matter that the basement shower looked like something out of the Bates motel, the eclipse was spectacular - cloud cover until 10 minutes prior to the start, then totally clear until about 10 minutes after the end, and then clouds again.  I don't think I've ever been that lucky except when I got married. Hope this one turns out as well as the 2017 adventure. Oh, and I second the thought that you shouldn't hope to just stop somewhere on the road. Reports from Wyoming were that the 2 lane roads were completely clogged and really annoyed the locals. I don't think Woodstock was too much fun for the folks that lived there.

John


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#37 JMW

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Posted 02 July 2023 - 11:58 AM

I made 5 nights of RV reservations at Marathon Motel and RV Park. They cater to astronomers with an observing field and will will use it a base camp for 2 days of exploring Big Bend Park and two days driving about 3.5 hours to the centerline for the eclipse. It will be a great area for 5 nights of astronomy. We will leave the travel trailer at the the RV park for the day and drive into the eclipse area the morning of the eclipse. All the big populations centers of Texas are either east of the eclipse or within the eclipse are to I don't see a problem with traffic gridlock coming in from the Big Bend area towards the center line. We will be staying in Marathon from Friday night before the eclipse to Tuesday night after the eclipse. We will take a half day trip towards the center line on Saturday before the eclipse and figure out potential observing options so we will be better prepared for eclipse day. I am thinking the community of Uvalde Texas.  "Big celebrations" are being planned by Uvalde County.

 

We are doing an 18 day road trip with our Artic Fox 22G travel trailer from Reno.  Plan to visit southern Utah on the way to Texas and see the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas to visit our son's family on the way back. It looks like it will be 3500+ mile road trip. Fortunately the money I am not paying for hotels and eating out can pay for gas.


Edited by JMW, 02 July 2023 - 12:14 PM.

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#38 bignick243

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Posted 05 July 2023 - 07:48 PM

The freaking hotel prices are insane! JFC!

 

I ended up following JWM's lead and getting a rv spot at the Marathon RV park. I wasn't planning on taking my RV but living out of my car for 4 days or so wouldn't be a whole lot of fun. I'm planning on finding somewhere around the Amistad reservoir. I didn't want to be out that far from the path but there's really not much of choice. Plus it looks like they kinda cater to astrophotographers.

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#39 mcroghan

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Posted 06 July 2023 - 04:40 PM

Those hotel rates have just got me absolutely livid. Logged into the website to see for myself, minimum of $2800 a night at this time. Right off of I-10 behind a truck stop in the middle of west Texas. Give me a break. I've probably stopped there for gas in the middle of the night like a lot of us. We all saw this coming, but really ... $3500 a night?

Edited by mcroghan, 06 July 2023 - 07:43 PM.


#40 R Botero

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Posted 07 July 2023 - 04:41 AM

Incredible.   If you get started soon, one could buy some land, build a hotel, rent it at those rates and be in profit by 9 April 2024!



#41 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 06:14 PM

Like many others, I'm planning on going to Texas. Looking for spots to watch the eclipse from, hoping to not be among a huge crowd, I'm looking at secondary/dirt roads outside of towns. Looking at satellite and street view images a lot. I'm not finding a lot, roads are narrow with no good place to park for a couple hours. What's nearby are often driveways, gates, and houses. Are the locals going to be ok with seeing cars nearby along the roads? Don't want to be provoked with someone guns blazing!

I recommend only going to publicly accessible locations.  If you are parking on the side of the road when you are not having an emergency, it should not be a numbered main road and it should not be in front of someone's private property (it should be public land).  Ideally you want to avoid roadsides altogether and should try to find a public park instead.

 

I have compiled a list of publicly accessible locations in Texas for the upcoming Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14:

 

https://www.nicolesh.../locations#list

 

Hope to see you there!  You can message me privately if you want to try to coordinate a public observing site for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14.



#42 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 06:18 PM

I'll be staying near Del Rio, Texas on a DIY adventure.  I am salivating at the thought of eating at as many of the local Mexican restaurants as possible!!  A friend from Colorado whom I met in Alliance, Ne during the 2017 event, wants to do an on the cheap, DIY car adventure into Mexico.  I passed.  Not for me.

I am planning an on-the-cheap do-it-yourself car adventure to New Mexico for the upcoming Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14.  I got hotels reserved but with the weather I don't know where I'll end up.  At minimum, planning to bring 15 gallons of water in case I get stranded in the desert or anything.

 

I don't have a passport though so I can't get into Old Mexico.  Maybe by April 2024 I can get up to Canada though.



#43 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 06:22 PM

Doing a little browsing on the Explore Scientific website and noticed they're offering what they're calling Crossroads of the Eclipses Expeditions. It's a viewing location they've arranged on a private ranch near the point that the center lines of the annular eclipse this year, and the total eclipse next year overlap. They offer the location for a few days for both. Camp sites w/o hookups on the site, apparently a food truck, bathroom facilities to be provided. $199 for the annular in October, $599 for the total next year. Makes me a little more inclined to just watch from my backyard, although I'm still looking for someplace a little more remote and a little closer to the center line.

Thanks for posting about this.  I searched everywhere for anyone offering eclipse expeditions for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14 but was never able to find anything.

 

I just found the link but they are not exactly on the centerline.  They are just a little bit off.  So might not be worth the cost?

 

https://www.explores...es-expeditions/

 

I'll see if I can call them tomorrow to get any more info.


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#44 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 05 October 2023 - 02:55 PM

Thanks for posting about this.  I searched everywhere for anyone offering eclipse expeditions for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14 but was never able to find anything.

 

I just found the link but they are not exactly on the centerline.  They are just a little bit off.  So might not be worth the cost?

 

https://www.explores...es-expeditions/

 

I'll see if I can call them tomorrow to get any more info.

I couldn't get hold of them on the phone so I sent an email.

 

I don't see the GPS coordinates listed, but it says within 1 mile (2 kilometers) of the centerline.  That's still pretty far off.  I'm currently only considering locations within 0.2 miles (0.3 kilometers) of the eclipse centerline.  These are all free and open to the public, so I'm wary of paying money to be further away from the eclipse centerline if there are free sites available that are closer to the centerline.

 

The bigger problem is that the website says there are no cancelations or refunds.  That is just not practical.  I have no idea where I am going for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14 and could end up anywhere from Texas to Utah.  All of my hotel reservations have free cancelation so I can change plans at the last minute.  It would be a huge waste of money to get tickets in Texas only for it to be cloudy and you end up having to go to New Mexico instead.


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#45 Cajundaddy

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Posted 05 November 2023 - 07:03 PM

Like many others, I'm planning on going to Texas. Looking for spots to watch the eclipse from, hoping to not be among a huge crowd, I'm looking at secondary/dirt roads outside of towns. Looking at satellite and street view images a lot. I'm not finding a lot, roads are narrow with no good place to park for a couple hours. What's nearby are often driveways, gates, and houses. Are the locals going to be ok with seeing cars nearby along the roads? Don't want to be provoked with someone guns blazing!

There are hundreds of day use city parks, state parks, county parks to choose from under totality.  Get there very early, enjoy the show.  No reason to be out in the brush with the snakes, cactus, and wild hogs.


Edited by Cajundaddy, 06 November 2023 - 08:09 AM.

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#46 DandyMan

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Posted 05 November 2023 - 07:59 PM

I couldn't get hold of them on the phone so I sent an email.

I don't see the GPS coordinates listed, but it says within 1 mile (2 kilometers) of the centerline. That's still pretty far off. I'm currently only considering locations within 0.2 miles (0.3 kilometers) of the eclipse centerline. These are all free and open to the public, so I'm wary of paying money to be further away from the eclipse centerline if there are free sites available that are closer to the centerline.

The bigger problem is that the website says there are no cancelations or refunds. That is just not practical. I have no idea where I am going for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14 and could end up anywhere from Texas to Utah. All of my hotel reservations have free cancelation so I can change plans at the last minute. It would be a huge waste of money to get tickets in Texas only for it to be cloudy and you end up having to go to New Mexico instead.

Aquilla, TX is my current goal. Relatively short drive, favourite gas/food stop, couple of options for the viewing.

There is a church which will be exactly under the line and then the local school district owns the land next to that <150 ft from the centerline (according the the maps I'm looking at.) The Texas Star Party is about 5 miles away.

Anywhere from Lampasas to Sulphur Springs is feasably my cloud ducking range.

Edited by DandyMan, 05 November 2023 - 08:01 PM.

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#47 jonbosley

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Posted 09 November 2023 - 12:24 AM

The risk of rain troubles me for Central Texas. I am right in the center line with the eclipse going right over my observatory. It is in our rainy season so it will be a coin toss. 
My advice to people on planning to come to Texas is stay flexible and watch the forecast. Paying for an overpriced tent field might not be the best strategy. 



#48 jrussell

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Posted 09 November 2023 - 10:26 AM

I haven't checked them, but I've seen elsewhere that others are saying the Texas state parks in the path of totality are already booked. The last I looked a few days ago there are a few campsites at a couple of Corps of Engineers campgrounds that are in the path available so those still may be an option for anyone that's looking.



#49 uncle_scrooge

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Posted 20 November 2023 - 09:38 PM

The upcoming solar eclipse outside of Dallas, TX will be here before you know it. RV Campgrounds are already booked, but you're not too late! Southern Star Events is partnering with Old Bison Ranch, an incredibly beautiful 600 acre uniquely Texas ranch, and we will be hosting RV spots that include fishing, live music, food trucks and more! We are also surrounded by incredible solar eclipse festivals. Book yours before the spots are gone!

 

4:22 seconds of TOTALITY!

 

🌌 Bring your telescopes! Bortle Sky is 4.4! 🔭

 

http://www.southernstarevents.org

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