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What went wrong and what went right?

90 replies to this topic

#76 DrkNite

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 07:15 PM

Wrong (mostly minor):

 

Drive to Indianapolis, which should have been 3 hours, was almost doubled - rain and likely eclipse traffic.  When we left to start the drive, I stopped at Harbor Freight near my house to pick up a cable that I would need to power my laptop from a battery/inverter, only to find that they didn't carry it anymore.  I ended up having to buy a small battery charger that included the cable I needed. To top it off, I didn't need to use it at all as I was able to minimize my laptop use in the field. 

 

My plan to wait out traffic at a local Walmart parking lot until late Monday night fell through after the area it was in seemed shady.  Ended up going back to the hotel and renting a room for an additional night and left at midnight.  Left my laptop charger in the 2nd room, and the hotel hasn't found it.

 

Google maps may have lied regarding how much traffic there was on my route back home (more later).

 

My timing to manually start the sky stack scripts for capturing the eclipse was a bit off for C2 and C3, so I didn't capture the Bailey's beads and diamond ring shots I expected to get, although I did at least 1 good one of each.

 

Annoyingly, all of the 1/60 sec exposures on my camera (Nikon D3500) suffer from mirror slap distortion in the vertical plane - the diamond ring and corona out to .2 R images exhibit "ghosts" of the lunar limb (and prominences) at the top and bottom of the moon.

 

 

Right:

 

Cloud cover was thin and high clouds.  I didn't think they were that bad, but looking at a few pictures taken just before C2 showed it to be more extensive than I thought.  Fortunately, it did not have a major impact on my photos (other the corona details being muted).  cleardarksky.com predictions came through again! 

 

My photos came out well for the most part.  Focusing was sufficient and didn't change between C1 and C2.

 

The parking lot I observed from was on the next street over from the hotel - and hardly used.  Maybe about 20 people present for the eclipse, and I had a nice unobstructed view.  I got there at the same time that the attendant had arrived, and was only charged the normal $7 parking rate for the lot.  The attendant told me I was lucky - they were to charge $20 for parking due to the special event, but since she wasn't setup yet in the booth I got the price that the self-pay station charged.

 

The drive home starting at midnight EDT was traffic-free, and I got home in about the normal 3 hour drive time.  Google Maps kept showing a backup about halfway there, which turned out to be false.  When I got to the area that was supposed to be backed up and checked it again, the map suddenly updated to show no traffic delays at all.

 

The prominences!  Easily visible in the viewfinder of the camera and the naked-eye prominence at approx. 6 o'clock position was exceptional.

 

Overall, a highly successful trip to view the eclipse with my son.


Edited by DrkNite, 11 April 2024 - 07:23 PM.

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#77 Matt Lindsey

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 08:16 AM

Right:

 

-Ohio weather

-family and friends to share the experience with

-Eclipse in the Yard event at Ohio State Reformatory

-traffic a non-issue

 

Wrong:

 

-my camera tripod decided to break apart for the first time ever during set-up

-somebody flying a drone right next to the sun during totality



#78 dghundt

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 08:47 AM

Right

  • perfectly clear skies in VT/NH
  • playground on the observation field
  • gentleman selling maple syrup they just made a couple days ago, learned about his farm and processing
  • my child is 7 years older and really got into this eclipse.  Fun to witness that
  • my wife super excited about going to this one
  • no traffic, stayed in hotel day prior and evening of the eclipse.
  • great naked eye visual observation and discoveries  (large prominence at 6 o'clock, planets, 360 deg sunset, odd pre totality light, pin hole camera fun for indirect observing)
  • meeting equally crazy eclipse chasers that were all very nice
  • No camera, GEM, and associated gear this time - no fiddling, trying to get it all right, then the post processing.  I caught a great photo and wide angle time-lapse last time, but didn't need to do that again.

Wrong

  • No good coffee when I woke up.
  • Totality didn't last an hour as I had hoped

Edited by dghundt, 12 April 2024 - 02:59 PM.

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#79 jrussell

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 11:35 AM

A lot went right, a lot went wrong. My main takeaway: have a backup plan, and have a backup plan to your backup plan, and a backup plan for that.

 

My original location was a hotel in Gatesville. I ended up changing my mind and decided to camp out instead which worked out as the hotel ended up canceling all the reservations that had been made about a week after I had canceled mine. I had made a list of multiple alternate locations in case I needed to travel from the campsite location because I had learned here the ability to be mobile could be very important and I wanted to be ready. Then because of cloud concerns, I gave up on that location a couple of days before the eclipse. I ended up finding a location that turned out to be better than the one I had given up on. However, the location I ended up at? Not even on my radar during all my advance planning.

 

I have an ETX 90 I bought a solar filter for and used it during the annular last October. I also ended up getting the material from my local club to make a sun funnel. I wasn't really planning on using the sun funnel, but I wanted to try one out, and also thought it would be good as a backup even though they aren't meant to be used on reflecting telescopes. So I felt like I was set. I was even thinking I might try and do a little EAA with the ETX for the eclipse. Then a few weeks ago I started having problems with the drive in the mount. Started trying to fix it but problems started cascading with every step I took. There was no way I was going to be able to have it repaired in time even if I was able to fix the problems. I have a Dob, but didn't want to use it simply because of the size of it, having to get a new filter, etc. As luck would have it, I had bought a used Celestron Starsense refractor for the phone dock to put on my Dob. I've been trying to sell the scope, but it haven't had any luck so now that was going to be my scope for the eclipse. I thought about using the solar filter I had for the ETX, but I'd have had to modify it some, then modify it again so it would fit on the ETX again. Big nope, too much trouble. Once again as luck would have it, I had the sun funnel.

 

So in spite of my plans, I ended up in a location I never originally considered. Used a scope I might not have had in the first place, but fortunately did. Used the sun funnel with it, which originally was more of a curiosity. In the end both of them worked perfectly and I really enjoyed using the sun funnel. Like I said, backup to the backup to the backup.


Edited by jrussell, 12 April 2024 - 12:01 PM.

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#80 geovermont

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 02:13 PM

 

Right

  • perfectly clear skies in VY/NH
  • playground on the observation field
  • gentleman selling maple syrup they just made a couple days ago, learned about his farm and processing
  • my child is 7 years older and really got into this eclipse.  Fun to witness that
  • my wife super excited about going to this one
  • no traffic, stayed in hotel day prior and evening of the eclipse.
  • great naked eye visual observation and discoveries  (large prominence at 6 o'clock, planets, 360 deg sunset, odd pre totality light, pin hole camera fun for indirect observing)
  • meeting equally crazy eclipse chasers that were all very nice
  • No camera, GEM, and associated gear this time - no fiddling, trying to get it all right, then the post processing.  I caught a great photo and wide angle time-lapse last time, but didn't need to do that again.

Wrong

  • No good coffee when I woke up.
  • Totality didn't last an hour as I had hoped

 

I'm pretty much with dghundt on how well it went here in northern Vermont. I did undertake some photography, but it did not distract too much from the naked eye, all-encompassing event. And as a 25-year veteran weather observer I can testify as to how exceedingly unlikely the fine April sunshine was. And since I slept at home before and after the event, the coffee was just how I like it. The eclipse was, however, definitely too short!
 


Edited by geovermont, 12 April 2024 - 02:16 PM.

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#81 Astronomy4You

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 05:17 PM

What went right: this is the shorter of the lists.

 

  • I was along the centerline
  • My talk/presentation with TPR was good.
  • Clouds cleared for a few seconds during totality so I was able to see some of the eclipse including a huge naked eye prominence or two.
  • Telescope I brought along for visual worked great. Just no sun to obsever for most of the time
  • I got some eclipse pictures albeit blurry ones. 

 

What went wrong:

  • I agreed to give a talk for a local radio station's eclipse event that locked in into a cloudy area so I couldn't move along the eclipse path for clear skies
  • The area was cloudy and overcast for most of the day.
  • Since I couldn't see teh sun I couldn't get good focus on anything with 2 different DSLRs.
  • 2nd mount I brought wouldn't locate or track the sun properly.
  • The backup 2nd mount I brought with me couldn't slowe to the Sun (granted I got it back from being repaired 2 days before I was scheduled to leave for the eclipse site.
  • Main mount tracked ok.
  • Camera automation program SetNc was off timing with the actual eclipse.

 



#82 dalbert02

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 07:54 PM

Wrong:

  • Drove from Miami to San Antonio and it took 24 hours because of construction delays and accidents, Google said it would take 19 hours
  • Spent two nights in a nasty VRBO rental, dust 1/4" thick in places
  • Got a flat tire, valve stem was dry rotted and cracked
  • Drove through some severe weather on the way home through Baton Rouge to Tallahassee
  • Drive home took 30 hours due to bad weather and flat tire 
  • Heavy cloud cover prevented viewing totality or anything after it
  • Spent $2,500 on gas, food, accommodations
  • Used 50 hours of vacation time

Right:

  • Met some cool people in a park
  • Park was rather empty even though it was in the path of totality
  • Took some cool pics and vids
  • Experienced dark skies, cool weather, cool winds, and odd animal behavior in the early afternoon
  • Made it home alive, found out I drove through several tornado hit areas


#83 otoien

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 11:26 PM

What went right:

-Not in the path of totality, but thanks to work travel in SoCA I was able to experience the partial phase that otherwise would not have been able to in Alaska where I live, and the sky was clear.

-My timing allowed me to skip back outside after getting the boarding pass for my next flight at LAX airport.

-The terminal 6 drop-off area was overhanging and shading the sun at the side walk, but part of the road happened to be blocked off with cones for unknown reasons so that it was safe to stay out there.

-I was able to stay past the max phase before I needed to board.

-First person encountered was an African-American enthusiastic shuttle driver with the right eye protection. She took a very cool picture of the two of us.

-My handheld shots with Nikon 300mm f/4 PF +TC-14E +Baader Astrosolar film OD 5 worked very well (favorite capture about 10 min before the max phase attached with the moon about to swallow up sunspot region AR3633 at the lower left while AR3628 remaining safe in the middle).  

-Most others that gathered did not have eye protection so I showed them images on my screen + helped providing instructions on how to observe using multiple pinhole projections from a pierced piece of paper. 

What went wrong:

-A couple of pinhole projection observers misunderstood and tried to observe through the paper with the holes, holding it up to their eyes!! I corrected them at the last moment.

-I forgot to ask the shuttle driver to email the cool group picture to me before she had to leave.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2024-04-08-1104N-1415.JPG

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#84 Exeligmos

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 11:21 PM

What went right:

- Seeing my second total eclipse.

- Seeing it with my stepdad. He is the last person who would be interested in astronomy, but he tagged along anyway. He was thrilled by the eclipse.

- The cloud forecasts. The various weather forecasts and cloud outlooks were excellent, even if they were quite stressful to follow.

- The observing site. I wasn't 100% sure of the observing site even after leaving the hotel in the morning. I would have to go with my gut feeling by observing the clouds as I drove down I-55. We settled on the Jackson civic center. That was a good place to settle in, use the facilities, and see what they had to offer. There were probably a few hundred people in attendance. While walking around to burn off time, I noticed a really nice setting across the street. There was a large church with flat land that overlooked a small lake and an unobstructed horizon to the south. Plenty of parking was available.

- The clouds did not interfere with totality. When we arrived in Jackson MO, there was a large patch of high clouds in north Arkansas that was moving our way. It passed mostly south of us and completely left the sky in time.

- Not using the eclipse glasses right up to the start of totality. It was fascinating witnessing the accelerating fading of the sun, sky and landscape as totality approached.

- That large triangular prominence. I was amazed watching with 7x50 binocs as it slowly emerged from behind the lunar limb.

 

What went wrong:

- Only having four minutes. Too much happens in such a short period. That includes distractions and mistakes!

- Not seeing the C2 diamond ring... Not really. Probably a good idea to not risk catching it too soon.

- Shaky binoculars. I had to lie down in a weird position so I could stabilize them. I did still get a good view.

- Not seeing the full extent of the big triangular prominence. I could just tell it was a loop before my attention went elsewhere. I also didn't notice it with the naked eye just before the diamond ring.

- Not zooming my video back out. I took a video of the fading sun and then totality. I zoomed in to the eclipse but forgot to zoom out when I did a 360-degree scan of the horizon. Fortunately, I did take a second video of a 360 scan.

- The traffic afterward. By now, everyone knows northbound I-55 north of Cape Girardeau was a dumpster fire. It was so bad, we could tell soon enough to exit the road while still in Jackson. We ended up taking a lengthier scenic route home.


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#85 Brad Templeton

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 11:17 PM

So much went wrong.  I tried to do too much.    Almost everything went right in 2017, for Eclipse #7 it was the first time I got poorer results than the previous eclipse.

 

  1.  On my Sony camera, I store different shooting configs in its memories.  Then infrared signals switch between memories and fire brackets.    Turns out the memories are on the flash card, so when I wiped the flash card after my test runs, I wiped the memories.  Only one bracket remained.   At least the pics were good
  2. On my Canon 400mm with 90d, I used autofocus (the advantage of a camera lens over a telescope.)   It beeped and looked OK in the screen.  It was well off focus, all shots were blurry.  Eclipse Orchestrator took some great timings -- all blurry.
  3. On my Canon R5 and 900mm refractor, I did test shots and the focus was good.  But something slipped and the 8K 12 bit video that was to be the new centerpiece is slightly blurry.  Might as well have shot 720p instead of 8K.     No, it's not removing the solar filter, that works fine and keeps focus.
  4. The camera behind us doing a video of us watching it failed for unknown reasons.
  5. Solar finderscope was way off, took a lot longer than it usually takes me to find the sun.  I stuck in a small finder I brought but wasted lots of time and got frustrated.
  6. Fedex missed the overnight delivery of my two rental camera bodies, and they didn't get there until late afternoon the next day (Friday.)    Meant I had less time to learn them and had to slightly slow travel to go past the pickup point.
  7. The camera shooting the wide angle with planets got a good shot, but I broke my #1 rule and fiddled with it for about 30 seconds.  Normally all this is automated, I want to watch the eclipse, not my gear.
  8. Canada customs took my CBD cream.  Legal in the USA.  Legal in Canada.  Just not legal going over the border.
  9. Took almost 2 hours to get from gate to being in rental car with 4 giant suitcases with 2 telescopes and mounts and more.   EWR sucks.   Don't take a long telescope case on the skytrain.

But things did go right of course:

  1. Did get sharp shots from my Stellarvue and the Sony, but not the beads and diamond ring shots that were so nice last time.
  2. Did get a great wide shot with the planets and scenery in HDR
  3. Got an OK video of us watching
  4. I will recover something from the 12 bit video, but at low resolution.  Maybe some AI sharpening can help.    Or I could also cheat and synthesize the movie I would have gotten from my 40 megapixel HDR stills.
  5. Had perfectly clear skies around the eclipse.   Light cirrus below it was present at our  morning site but we moved.  (Moving though is part of why things went wrong.)
  6. Nice road trip before and after in New England and Quebec
  7. Gear all survived airline travel

https://photos.app.g...vJ9izmRpk2eRg26

eggmoon.jpg


Edited by Brad Templeton, 14 April 2024 - 11:50 PM.

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#86 OJN

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 06:23 PM

Right

- travelling from Europe to the US with the eclipse in mind

- following cloudy nights for information

- diverting from western Texas to western Arkansas on Apr 06 as new home base

- chosing Petit Jean SP as primary viewing location while scouting on Apr 07

- using Eclipse Orchestrator 

 

 

Wrong

- leaving Little Rock as early as 5:30 am to avoid traffic - way too early in retrospect

- not being prepared for moscitos becoming active with fading light

- at some point during totality being confused wether the sun will move left to right or vice versa in viewfinder

- not checking for shadow bands

- having reservations on Apr 09 in Big Bend NP - 1000 miles in 2 days is too much at least for Europeans

- not bringing a 3rd DSLR for imaging

 

It seems there are more wrongs than rights by just counting, but summarizing it was perfect.


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#87 Alex Swartzinski

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 06:12 PM

Right:

 

- My gamble to stay near the edge workout! Through ridiculous luck, I observed (some of) totality through a gap in the thin wispy clouds. Time-lapse video confirms these findings. As sunlight reemerges, that small (mostly clear) gap in the top left is evident! I just can't believe the sun/corona was uncovered by the smallest of margins after a thin (yet consistent) layer had been around since noon. What cloud cover we did see didn't obstruct the view, but it's great to know that we had a "clear" perspective for at least a few moments. It was dumb luck that the cloud rolled through in the manner that it did.

 

LUCKY.JPG

 

- No traffic. A side benefit of my site was it's more rural surroundings. I took backroads home and it only took an extra 30 minutes. The freeways were jammed hours after I got home! 

 

- People. The park was absolutely packed, but it was a great atmosphere and post eclipse celebration was a really fun time! 

 

- Diamond ring/bailey's beads. It took lots of restraint not to pull of my glasses when everyone started to cheer, but I saw the grainy and uneven light of bailey's beads as the sun slipped away! The diamond ring was beautiful as totality came to an end. I'll never forget that inky black ball of the moon with corona streamers dancing and a white orb emerging from behind. It was an amazing way to end the show. 

 

Wrong:

 

- We got there super early! I did this to minimize stress, but it worked the other way. Upon arrival to the park, I had serious doubts when looking at forecasts. All of my tools predicted different levels of cloud cover/cloud thickness. It was nerve-racking sitting there hoping I was making the right call... 

 

- Sunburn. The sun was always shining, even through the thin layer. This was good since I knew we would see something, but I should have put sunscreen on... 

 

- I missed the bright prominence. I was too busy looking at the corona/sky surroundings. Thankfully, I can see prominences through a solar telescope. I can't see that gorgeous inner/outer corona structure until I enter the umbra once more.

 

Overall, I don't think this first total eclipse could have gone much better. I saw bailey's beads, inner/outer corona structure, Venus and Jupiter at 3:10 PM, and much more. This 100 seconds will forever be one of my top observing memories....


Edited by Alex Swartzinski, 16 April 2024 - 07:00 PM.

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#88 R Botero

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 06:59 AM

Almost nothing went wrong for me/family in Mazatlan besides the high level clouds so mostly positives:

 

  • Good flights and comfortable location in Mazatlan
  • Great (sea)food and great beachfront
  • Good location on rooftop of building rather than in crowded beaches
  • Good spot to observe and image from
  • Hardware and software worked flawlessly - SharpCap script was perfect
  • Got some images despite high clouds
  • Longest eclipse (4th) I've observed
  • Views in stabilised binoculars were magic
  • Had a very good holiday afterwards and family was happy; it was not just about me/astronomy

Some negatives:

 

  • The clouds.   Definitively ruined the corona (pictures) and visual to some extent.  2017 streamers were so clear!
  • Car hire company cancelled a car I had booked for the 8th which I was to use to travel up the mountains towards Durango were it was crystal clear mad.gif

 

Roberto

 

2y33xGJEpdTw_16536x0_PBe27Uwd.jpg


Edited by R Botero, 17 April 2024 - 07:01 AM.

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#89 zjc26138

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 07:17 AM

The one that went wrong is BYEOS did not control both cameras.  In the main session my R7/AT60ED combo went off without a hitch. For some reason  BYEOS camera 2 would not cooperate with my 60Da. Kept dinging meaning there was an error. So I had to manually take some astro photos with it. Which means I got a lot less photos than I wanted to. Thankfully not the end of the world.

 

I still ended up with way more photos this time around and I managed to capture 3 different perspectives (drone, 200mm lens & AT60ED).



#90 nimbulan

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 12:37 PM

Right: The weather

Wrong: Everything involving photography.  My telescope bugged out and wouldn't align/track properly (seems to be a power issue I thought I'd fixed,) my automation script just straight up vanished when I tried to load it (literally never seen anything like that happen with a computer, ever) and I had to abandon the telescope and do all my photography manually with a regular lens.  The corona composite is going to be rather unimpressive compared to what I'd planned, but at least I got some decent magnification looking through the camera's viewfinder for a good chunk of totality.


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#91 Drew57

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 12:40 PM

Challenges:

> Nine-year-old iEQ30 Pro GEM developed DEC board main chip failure 2 weeks before event. Repair/Tune-up service from iOptron completed day before leaving for TX, intended load C5 bumped to tripod. Mount on it's way back home now all up to specs.

> C90 MAK deemed too tight AFOV with available EP's for tripod use and left behind leaving two scopes, but C5 had to go on it's intended tripod anyways.

> Persistent clouds throughout event. My widefield timelapse effort part one was under exposed due to clouds thus abandoned to visual efforts.

> Packed drawing and watercolor papers but forgot to bring the pencil case and watercolor travel kit.

 

Went right:

>2670 miles round-trip driving with 2009 Toyota 4Runner "Adventure Mobile" solid, comfortable; never skipped a beat. My brother best wingman/navigator you could hope for. Driving & traffic uneventful with two days cushion prior and after eclipse.

>Very fine location at secluded cabin and accommodations, 1.7km from centerline.

>Had a group of friends as my guests at cabin in Rio Frio, best company we had a great time. Evening fires in the ring where I blew some harmonicas for the guests; John Mayall, Paul Butterfield, a couple of classics, some jazz efforts with A Natural Minor diatonic. Lovely to hear stories and banter when relaxed & introspective around a fire...

>We had excellent meal plan, ate like Kings & Queens.

>Local clouds during totality opened up and we had a fantastic totality plus through the scopes...beautiful. Loved the prominences and corona especially through Mak the Newt. Same thing happened 2017 in Liberty, MO...historic rain/flooding but totality sweetness.

>Soaked in the cool healing waters of the Frio River, crystal clear relaxing when it got hot.

>Abundance of hummingbirds and other birds during our stay at the cabin.

>Very nice hiking near our location near the Rio Frio, secluded and cool things to see.

>Guests hosted my brother and I at their historic Stone-Yancey House in Liberty, MO during return trip; plus we got the full tour and slideshow on the restoration efforts they made prior to opening as B&B. Nicest persons you could hope to meet; they hosted me for the 2017 eclipse.

>A guest became enamored with my 8x25 Nikon TraveLite Binoculars and traded a Canon 7D and three very nice lenses for it.

>Had fun in each of the cities visited during the vacation, ate more excellent BBQ than you can imagine, good Thai food also. Purchased another proper "cowboy" shirt in Denton, successfully dodged buying a Stetson or fancy cowboy boots. Surprisingly no TSE T-shirts or bling available in Rio Frio.

>Made it home safe & sound another happy landing.

>Can now avail all the great eclipse photography from fellow CN members.


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