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The traveling to Texas thread

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#26 kfiscus

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Posted 01 March 2024 - 05:57 PM

^Interesting.^



#27 Seachange79

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Posted 02 March 2024 - 12:15 AM

My current plan is to drive from NOLA to Gun Barrel City, TX on the 7th and leave on the 9th. I'm on vacation from work for the entire week, so my plans are as flexible as they need to be.
I have a list of 12 alternate locations, spanning from near Uvalde, TX to Poplar Bluff, MO, weather depending.

#28 sbsbbugsy

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Posted 03 March 2024 - 12:46 AM

Another thing for people traveling to Texas:

 

GET A PAPER ROAD MAP/ATLAS OF TEXAS! And, if you will be in a major city, get a map for that city too. Cell service and WiFi may be spotty or non-existent in areas where use is unusually high. Your smartphone may only be good for taking selfies of you being lost. A dedicated GPS navigation unit should still work, since it relies on satellites.

 

Also, learn how to fold the map. This is a skill that takes a bit of practice and patience. smile.gif


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#29 Alan D. Whitman

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Posted 03 March 2024 - 11:46 AM

Another thing for people traveling to Texas:

 

GET A PAPER ROAD MAP/ATLAS OF TEXAS! 

And accurately draw the path limits on the map with a ruler. If you are chasing holes in clouds in an area some distance away from your intended observation site on some backroad that you did not expect to be on, you need to know where the path limits are, not just be hoping that you have not gone too far. Of course, chasing on roads that run along the path, not across the path, is wise. And note MEE's thread about the western limit not being as far west as some eclipse path maps will show.


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#30 Starry_Spruce

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Posted 03 March 2024 - 07:43 PM

Another thing for people traveling to Texas:

 

GET A PAPER ROAD MAP/ATLAS OF TEXAS! And, if you will be in a major city, get a map for that city too. Cell service and WiFi may be spotty or non-existent in areas where use is unusually high. Your smartphone may only be good for taking selfies of you being lost. A dedicated GPS navigation unit should still work, since it relies on satellites.

 

Also, learn how to fold the map. This is a skill that takes a bit of practice and patience. smile.gif

In my experience, the GPS on the phone still works without WiFi or data. But google maps, etc. does not due to the need for data/wifi. The workaround (besides the paper map of course) is to use an app where you can pre-download the background tiles for the area of interest. I use GaiaGPS.

 

...

NO car rentals left in Austin Texas.


Edited by Starry_Spruce, 03 March 2024 - 07:44 PM.

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#31 bonjorno

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Posted 03 March 2024 - 10:35 PM

I've found that chamber of commerce websites are good sources of viewing site information for whatever location you're going. They list parks, recreation areas, fairgrounds etc, none of which I would have found on my own.


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#32 sbsbbugsy

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Posted 04 March 2024 - 11:08 AM

One other small thing to think about bringing . . .

 

 . . . toilet paper.  grin.gif


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#33 SporadicGazer

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Posted 04 March 2024 - 11:28 AM

  ... But google maps, etc. does not due to the need for data/wifi. ...

Google maps has (at least had) a download / offline option which stored all the data for your "trip" locally on your phone.  It works pretty well for us, if you don't vary your route too much.  I bet you'd work OK if you stored your three most likely routes from WiFi before you hit the road.

 

I'd still want a paper map / atlas as back up. "Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2024" (Espenak, Astropixels Publishing) looks very useful as a back up.  I think I'd still hit up AAA for regional and metro maps of the area I was heading to though.


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#34 Daniel Dance

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Posted 04 March 2024 - 11:42 AM

Watch Texas being entire smoke filled during the eclipse.  The winds are out of the North right now keeping the smoke down South, but once the winds change and starting blowing from the South, watch out!



#35 chvvkumar

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 09:11 AM

The big thing I am concerned about it is Rattlesnakes since I plan to tent camp for three days and will try to shoot some DSO stuff on the night of 8th and will be walking about at night.


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#36 kasprowy

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 09:18 AM

The smoke would likely just dim the sun. I'd be more concerned about the fact that the chance of clear skies in Texas is only about 10% (at most) better than Cleveland.

https://eclipsophile...entre-cloud.png

Edited by kasprowy, 07 March 2024 - 09:19 AM.


#37 bunyon

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 09:51 AM

"Texas" is a big place. But, yeah, clouds are going to be a worry for pretty much anyone not in Mexico. 



#38 jrussell

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 10:05 AM

It goes off topic but I feel compelled to say I'm at least equally worried about the yahoos going down on their own to defend the border. But, honestly, way more concerned with clouds and smoke.

 

Mods, feel free to delete but, then, please delete the one above.

Yahoos defending the border with all that implies huh? Then you'd love the shootouts we have in the middle of the street at high noon every day. They generally start with "Thar ain't 'nough room in this here town fer th' both o' us Rattlesnake McGee." It gets excessively violent from there. Kind of like a Sam Peckinpah movie. You know, because that's what we do here.

 

Any other stereotypes I can reinforce for you?


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#39 bunyon

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 10:11 AM

I know plenty of gun owners. I am one. They're like everyone else. Some good, some bad, some really, really dumb and mean. 

 

I mostly just don't like Texas because it makes Oklahoma windy. 


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#40 jrussell

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 10:19 AM

Only thing keeping us from floating off into the Gulf is that Oklahoma sucks grin.gif


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#41 chvvkumar

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 10:22 AM

Let's not get side tracked please. 

 

Back on topic, they are expecting about half a million visitors to a town of about 25k population.

 

https://www.kut.org/...e-traffic-surge


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#42 jrussell

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 10:38 AM

Texas and Oklahoma bash each other for sport.

 

But, as you say, back on topic. There's a lot of towns in the path that I think are only just starting to really have an idea of what they're in for. Ennis and Hillsboro in particular have for months been beating the drum of "come here". I know the city of Ennis has stated they expect between 50k-200k people coming in. This in a town with a population of about 22k. Bell County (Belton/Temple/Killeen area) has declared a state of emergency for the eclipse. Newspapers and newscasts are finally starting to do "You think the 2017 post-eclipse traffic was bad, hold our collective beer and watch this" stories. In another thread the term carmageddon was used. I fully expect that to be a more than accurate term for this.


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#43 chvvkumar

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 11:44 AM

Texas and Oklahoma bash each other for sport.

 

But, as you say, back on topic. There's a lot of towns in the path that I think are only just starting to really have an idea of what they're in for. Ennis and Hillsboro in particular have for months been beating the drum of "come here". I know the city of Ennis has stated they expect between 50k-200k people coming in. This in a town with a population of about 22k. Bell County (Belton/Temple/Killeen area) has declared a state of emergency for the eclipse. Newspapers and newscasts are finally starting to do "You think the 2017 post-eclipse traffic was bad, hold our collective beer and watch this" stories. In another thread the term carmageddon was used. I fully expect that to be a more than accurate term for this.

Ha ha true, it is hard to read tone over text so apologies for misreading the tone of the conversation. But, I do remember the bashing from my days living in Houston (Katy) smile.gif


Edited by chvvkumar, 07 March 2024 - 11:45 AM.


#44 vodakjack

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 01:20 PM

I was heading to Utopia, but there's apparently a HUGE music festival there so am heading to Leakey instead. If all else fails it will either be Mason or as a last resort in Broken Bow Oklahoma. In my experience, stay far away from big metro areas and pick a place well off the beaten path away from interstates.

One thing I'm hearing is that NOAA expects an early and active severe weather season. This obviously doesn't bode well for clouds, but a lot of times behind the dryline there can be sustained winds in excess of 50mph. This happened more times than I can count when I used to live in the region. 


Edited by vodakjack, 07 March 2024 - 01:26 PM.

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#45 jrussell

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 01:30 PM

Ha ha true, it is hard to read tone over text so apologies for misreading the tone of the conversation. But, I do remember the bashing from my days living in Houston (Katy) smile.gif

I remember spending a month in Houston one weekend long ago...



#46 jrussell

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 01:34 PM

I was heading to Utopia, but there's apparently a HUGE music festival there so am heading to Leakey instead. If all else fails it will either be Mason or as a last resort in Broken Bow Oklahoma. In my experience, stay far away from big metro areas and pick a place well off the beaten path away from interstates.

One thing I'm hearing is that NOAA expects an early and active severe weather season. This obviously doesn't bode well for clouds, but a lot of times behind the dryline there can be sustained winds in excess of 50mph. This happened more times than I can count when I used to live in the region. 

Yep, back  when I started planning where I was going to go for this any place that connected the words "fest", "festival",  or variations thereof with the word "eclipse" I immediately marked off my list.


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#47 bonjorno

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 02:03 PM

I keep seeing people in this forum going to places south of the Dallas area. Is that because the weather might be better there as opposed to areas like Clarksville, TX (which is where I'm planning to go)?



#48 RossMacMan

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 02:04 PM

Depending on forecast a few days out, I'm planning to fly to Dallas from the Northeast.  My childhood home where my parents still live is in the path of totality, and I have plenty of connections for good spots on/near the centerline ranging from Sulfur Springs to near Fredericksburg, so depending on day-before cloud predictions I'll pick the closest suitable location near the centerline from my parent's house.  If weather is looking broadly bad in TX a few days out, I'll cancel my flights and road-trip it with the kiddos from Rhode Island to somewhere in NY, VT, NH, or ME.

 

I'm being unusually optimistic (for me), but I attended a presentation on the eclipse a few weeks ago, wherein the presenter told us that 31% of the U.S. population resides in the path of totality, almost twice the figure for any TSE in history. And he guessed the figure for Texas may be as much as twice that. Except for Houston and El Paso, every city in Texas of 500,000 or more is wholly or partially within the path. With that much of the state population having no need to travel for the experience, I'm holding onto some hope that roads away from the major cities won't be as congested as some seem to fear. Fingers crossed, anyway. smile.gif

In terms of traffic in Texas, Houston is going to be the major factor.  There are over 7 million people in the Houston MSA.  My plan for any driving in Texas will be to stay to the west and north of the path to avoid routes that would be utilized by people from Houston.  Any major thoroughfare from there to the path is going to look like a hurricane evacuation (think Rita in 2005) but run in reverse (going toward Houston).  Normally it takes 3 hours to make it from Ennis to Houston.  Based on my experience south of Glendo, WY in 2017 (see the photo I took of SB I-25 just south of Glendo pictured below), I'd be surprised if it's less than 12 the evening of April 8.  In 2017 it took 12 hours to get from Glendo to Denver, a trip that would normally be around 3.  Figure that I-45, I-10, US-290, and TX-6 between the path and Houston are likely to be completely gridlocked for hours if not overnight.  Hopefully TXDOT is thinking about ways to reverse lanes and such, but all their existing plans for this sort of thing involve getting out of Houston, not getting back in, so I'm doubtful there's much they'll be able to do.

Beyond Houston, most folks in San Antonio are going to have to travel a ways west out of town to get to the path, so I-10 west of San Antonio is likely to be extremely congested.  I suspect this will also be the case to a lesser degree on roads west of Austin.

If you're traveling from Houston, just be ready.  Try to keep your gas tank full, and be ready with water and snacks for the interstate to be a parking lot for many hours on your way back (and give yourself plenty of extra time on the way to your viewing destination as well).

And finally - I'll say this.  I was stuck in the traffic jam pictured below for 12 hours.  It was completely worth it and I'd do it again in a heartbeat to be on a clear spot on the path of totality.

 

eclipse_traffic_2017.jpg


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#49 jrussell

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 02:54 PM

For the heavy, hours long backups, especially where there's a long way between exits, there's something I haven't seen mentioned that might not be a bad idea: https://www.amazon.c...T1zcF9hdGY&th=1


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#50 RossMacMan

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Posted 07 March 2024 - 03:18 PM

For the heavy, hours long backups, especially where there's a long way between exits, there's something I haven't seen mentioned that might not be a bad idea: https://www.amazon.c...T1zcF9hdGY&th=1

Just make sure you know what's what if you have lemon-lime Gatorade. lol.gif


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