A Total Solar Eclipse is Coming- Plan Your Road Trip Now!

Something is going to happen in parts of the United States on August 21, 2017 that hasn’t happened since 1918. A total eclipse is going to occur when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, resulting in a 170 mile arc of darkness from parts of Oregon to parts of South Carolina. For several minutes, the sky will be dark enough to see stars and the sun will be completely covered by the moon.

For something so rare, it’s a perfect occasion for a road-trip, like my family is planning. It seems many others are also planning on visiting these places at the center of totality, as places are filling up fast. You will be able to see a partial eclipse from many other points of the US, but if you want to be in the center of all of the excitement, here are some places where you can spend a long weekend and join in the fun.

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Here are the states and cities with the best viewing spots:  Oregon has several cities; Driggs, Mud Lake, Rexburg, and Stanley, Idaho; several cities in Wyoming; several cities in Nebraska; Highland, Troy, and Wathena, Kansas; several cities in Missouri; several places in Illinois; several cities in Kentucky; several cities that are close but not at the center in Tennessee; Dillard and Sky Valley in Georgia; Andrews in North Carolina; and many places in South Carolina. The full listing is on this extensive web page. Some cities are close to the edge of the path but you’ll see more if you drive 30-50 miles north or south. In this case, close won’t be good enough. You really have to be in the center of the path to see the total eclipse.

One of the best places to find exactly where the path will go is on Xavier Jubier’s 2017 Total Eclipse Interactive Google Map. This very detailed web page also has basic information describing the eclipse and why this one is so special. There are also viewing times listed, many maps, and information on how to prepare for the eclipse.

The highlight of the eclipse when the sun is completely blocked by the moon will be quick, so make sure you get to your spot early. For most cities, totality will only last around 2 or 3 minutes. The complete event going from one end of the United States to the other is only expected to last less than 15 minutes. It should be a once in a lifetime experience, however.

Don’t forget to get some eclipse glasses, but you don’t need to invest huge amounts of money for them. They shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars for a pair. Regular sunglasses or homemade eclipse glasses won’t protect your eyes, so definitely buy a pair made specifically for an eclipse.

The next eclipse of this magnitude in the United States isn’t predicted to occur until 2045, so don’t wait around for the next one to happen. Make your plans now while you still can!

 

 

Garmin Marathon, Kansas-18th state

This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Kansas was my 18th state.

How many of you have heard of Olathe, Kansas?   Now how many of you have heard of the company Garmin?  I’ll bet most of you have at least heard of Garmin, but probably none or very few of you knew Olathe, Kansas is the headquarters for Garmin.  Or maybe it was just me that wasn’t aware of that until I went there.

The start and finish of the Olathe Kansas Marathon and Half Marathon was at the Garmin headquarters.  This race was a nice size with 703 finishers for the half marathon and the average finish time was 2:09:22.  The course is flat except for some small hills near the finish.  Although when I ran this race, the medals were small and cheap-looking, the medals for the 2017 race look awesome!  They’ve definitely stepped up their game.

Olathe is a suburb of Kansas City, which is where my family and I spent the majority of our time before and after the race.  Kansas City was surprisingly beautiful when I was there in April 2010, with so many flowers in bloom, and fountains everywhere. Kansas City, Missouri has more fountains than any other city in the world except Rome, Italy.  We had a lot of fun going to the museums and enjoying delicious Kansas City style BBQ. Of course my husband couldn’t resist saying (multiple times) “We’re not in Kansas anymore” every time we would cross the state border going to and from Missouri. That never got old to him.

From my post-race notes:

“The course was mostly flat with some rolling hills toward the end, going through industrial areas then neighborhoods.  Not particularly scenic, but not bad.  Weather was good- mid to upper 50’s at start and low 60’s at finish.  Water and Gatorade were plentiful. Nice course overall, but nothing extraordinary.  Pacers were great and right on target times.  Finished on a track.  Usual food (bananas, oranges, bagels) and drinks afterwards. Shirts and medals were cheap and very plain.  My finish time was 2:06:01.”

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Garmin Marathon