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!

 

 

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Louisville Half Marathon, Kentucky-7th state

Lucky number seven?  No, not really.  By this point, I was starting to feel mostly back in the swing of running post-baby and post-ITBS.  I chose this race because I had never been to Louisville, Kentucky and I thought it would be a fun city to check out and since it’s along the Ohio River I knew it should be a flat course.  I also thought the weather should be nice here in October, and it should be ideal running conditions.

As far as I can tell, the Louisville Half Marathon I ran in 2006 doesn’t exist any longer but there is The Urban Bourbon Half Marathon in Louisville in October, which sounds way cooler than the race I ran to be honest.  The Louisville Half Marathon I ran was similar to the Columbus Distance Classic, Ohio- 6th state in that it was unexceptional in almost every way.  The course, t-shirt given out, and medal were all just ho-hum and ordinary.  I was able to get my finish time back down close to where I wanted, so that was good at least.

For things to do, I missed the boat on that as well.  We didn’t really do much in Louisville, partly because I had a cranky infant who didn’t want to be cooped up in the car after such a long car ride, but partly because I just wasn’t in that mind-set at the time for planning things to do after the race.  It was still relatively early in my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states and I was still learning as I went along.  If I were to go back to Louisville, I would definitely check out the Louisville Mega Cavern which sounds awesome and Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co..  When I was a kid I went to see the Kentucky Derby with a friend of mine’s family and that was pretty exciting, even to me then.  If you can’t swing that you can always go to the Kentucky Derby Museum.

For my race entry, I received a long-sleeve technical shirt of pretty good quality and a nice but simple-looking medal.  This is the first race where they were giving out shirts made of technical material.  Given that it was such a small race and this practice of handing out shirts made of moisture-wicking technical material was just beginning to take off in popularity, it was a pretty big thing then.

From my post-race notes:

“Parts of course ran along Ohio River.  Chilly at start but warmed up.  Other than that, course was unexceptional, but mostly flat.  Finish time 2:00:29.”