Solar Eclipse Trip - August 14-23, 2017

These pictures are from our trip from Amsterdam, New York, to Grand Island, Nebraska, and back to see the 2017 solar eclipse. Pictures are mostly from my Fujifilm Finepix HS50, some from iPhones and iPads.

My eclipse pictures aren't great, but even good pictures would do nothing to convey the overall experience of a total solar eclipse. If you ever have a chance to see one, get in the shadow!

Monday, August 14 - Amsterdam, New York, to Cleveland, Ohio

We got on the road about 9:30 from Amsterdam, then around 10 from Johnstown after dropping off Ella. We took 30A and 5 to Palatine Bridge and Canajoharie and got on the Thruway there. After a rest stop and a driver switch, we got a late lunch from The Anchor Bar in Williamsville [Picture]. Our next stop was at the Evangola State Park to check out a Lake Erie beach for a couple hours [17 Pictures] [6 People Pictures, 1 Movie]. Still full of wings from the afternoon, we had a small Moe's dinner in Mentor, Ohio, before continuing into Cleveland, where we were at the downtown Comfort Inn (near Cleveland State University) for the night. [28 Pictures from the Roads]

Tuesday, August 15 - Cleveland, Ohio, to Perrysburg, Ohio

We had the whole day to check out Cleveland, my first time doing so in many years. We started by taking the RTA trolley to 9th, then walking up to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame [4 Pictures]. We enjoyed the morning there, and got a small lunch at the main food court, some good little pulled pork sandwiches [7 Pictures] [13 People Pictures]. When we saw what there was to see, we walked next door to the Great Lakes Science Center. Much of the first floor is the NASA John Glenn visitor center, and the upstairs is full of all kinds of science exhibits, mostly physics [7 Pictures, 1 Video] [8 People Pictures]. From there, it was a walk back to the RTA trolley stop, where we got a ride to Public Square [5 Pictures] [3 People Pictures]. We walked through there, then grabbed an early dinner at Michael Symon's restaurant: Mabel's BBQ. Some of the best ribs and brisket we've ever had and really not expensive at all! Our car was still at the Comfort Inn about 15 blocks away, but we decided to walk it. The walk was mostly enjoyable through the Playhouse district, other than the mentally ill person who thought I was taking his picture gave us some trouble. In the end, some good samaritans stepped in and got him away from us. We got back to the car without incident [5 Pictures]. Route 2 and Ohio 20 gave the best route out of Cleveland at afternoon rush. We got to Perrysburg for ice cream then checked into the Comfort Suites a little after 8 [8 Road Pictures].

Wednesday, August 16 - Perrysburg, Ohio, to Louisville, Kentucky

We were on our way from Perrysburg [Picture] around 9, and made our way right to Wapakoneta for the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. We spent a couple very enjoyable hours there [15 Pictures] [8 People Pictures, 1 Movie]. Next, lunch at a Skyline Chili in Troy, and then south through Cincinnati and into Kentucky. We checked into our hotel on the southwest side of the Louisville area then it was back into the city to see the Louisville Bats lose to the Pawtucket Red Sox [15 Pictures] [7 People Pictures]. [43 Roads Pictures]

Thursday, August 17 - Louisville, Kentucky, to Valley Park, Missouri

We were able to take our time in the morning before checking out and heading into Louisville. We spent a few hours at the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, which was very enjoyable [10 Pictures] [21 People Pictures]. We then got some lunch from a little Mexican place downtown. We took the scenic route, US 60 and the Audubon Parkway, along the Kentucky side of the Ohio River out to Henderson, then crossed into Evansville, Indiana [8 Pictures] [1 People Picture]. We made a brief stop there to check out the waterfront. The whole area took a while to get through because of construction, a bad gas pump in Henderson, and lots of long traffic lights. The ride across Illinois included a windshield crack on I-64, then dinner from Moe's and Jimmy Johns in Mount Vernon. We crossed into Missouri and St. Louis a little before sunset and were in for the night in Valley Park after 8. [51 Roads Pictures]

Friday, August 18 - Valley Park, Missouri, to Marshall, Missouri

This was mostly a day in the St. Louis area. We spent the morning with Brooke and baby [6 Pictures] in Valley Park, lunch with Charles and Jill at Three Kings, then back to Brooke's for a bit during the afternoon. We were able to make a dinner stop to see John, Elizabeth and kids [5 Pictures] before driving a few more hours west to Marshall for the night, seeing lots of DOT warnings about the heavy eclipse traffic expected for Monday. [5 Roads Pictures, 1 Movie]

Saturday, August 19 - Marshall, Missouri, to Papillion, Nebraska

We didn't get going too quickly from the nice Comfort Inn. Before leaving Marshall, we drove a loop through town and saw the start of their 3-day eclipse festival [6 Pictures]. We made our way along US 65 and US 36 to St. Joseph, Missouri, where we got lunch at Chick fil A (which was going to be closing briefly on Monday so its employees could enjoy the eclipse!) [Picture]. Every town along the way is in the path of totality in just 2 days and is preparing for people. After lunch, it was just a couple more hours, mostly up I-29, to Papillion for the rest of the weekend, starting with a little birthday celebration [11 Pictures]. [32 Roads Pictures]

Sunday, August 20 - Papillion, Nebraska

Our free day in Nebraska. The only picture is one from a morning hailstorm. [Picture]

Monday, August 21 - Papillion, Nebraska, to Grand Island, Nebraska, and back

Eclipse Day! We got up for an early departure to a raging thunderstorm in Papillion. The weather looked more promising to the west than to the south, so we chose Grand Island as a destination. We were in the rain with lots of lightning part way out I-80 just before 7 [Video on YouTube]. We drove out of it before we got to Lincoln, where we switched to US 34 for a leisurely, uncrowded drive the rest of the way. Once in Grand Island, we first made a quick stop at the Wal Mart [5 Pictures, 1 Movie], which was pretty full with eclipse viewers, but then decided to move over to L.E. Ray Park, with probably 1000 others [29 Pictures] [17 People Pictures]. We were set up there around 10:30 and waited, hoping the clouds just to the south would stay just to the south and east. They did, at least enough for us to get a spectacular show through the high cirrus clouds. If anything, the high clouds might have enhanced the view of the sun's corona during totality. The whole thing exceeded even our very high expectations. It's hard to describe it all. The slow dimming especially as totality approached, the very quick darkening when totality began, of course the seemingly impossible view of the sun's corona during totality, being able to see the brightness in the distance like a not-quite-right sunrise in all directions, then the quick brightening when the first sliver of the sun became visible again. Being able to experience those minutes made it worth all of the time and expense it took us to get in the shadow. [72 Roads Pictures] [3 Eclipse Maps]

Tuesday, August 22 - Papillion, Nebraska, to Elkhart, Indiana

We got on the road from Papillion around 10 AM CDT. After stops for gas and local eclipse newspapers, we left the Omaha area into Iowa. We quickly ran into traffic on I-80, so took US 6 for about 50 miles. That was a nice ride - relaxing and scenic but still pretty quick. Lunch was from Chipotle and Chick-fil-A in West Des Moines. We took I-280 through the Quad Cities, then made a dinner stop at Culver's in Morris, Illinois. By the time we got to the Chicago metro area, the traffic was not bad at all, and we got into Elkhart before 11 PM EDT. [38 Roads Pictures]

Wednesday, August 23 - Elkhart, Indiana, to Amsterdam, New York

Our start was reasonably early from Elkhart. We hit a small snag literally across the street from the hotel, where our attempt to get onto the Indiana Toll Road was stopped when no one was being allowed past the toll booths. Not a big problem, though, since we were able to take a U-turn on the ramp and then a county road up to the next exit. The ride was good from there, with stops for gas near Toledo, lunch at Skyline in Brooklyn, and gas again from the Senecas in western New York. The only traffic we hit was in the Buffalo area around rush hour (where we also encountered a downpour). A mostly uneventful last day of a wonderful trip. [15 Roads Pictures] - Sun Dec 31 11:39:55 EST 2017