Well after all the hype….was it it worth it? For me and my family a big OMG yes! I had been planning this trip to Madras, Oregon for 2 years, and even made a site visit one year before the eclipse. With a 99% chance for clear skies, this was the place to be, along with NASA, astronomers, and people from around the world. With estimates of 100,000 people converging on this town of 7,000 some advance planning was needed to make it a smooth trip. It was an 18-hour drive from Phoenix, and on arrival our 2 RV’s were already set up and ready at the Solarfest Fairgrounds, in central Madras. The next day family from Klamath Falls, Oregon, Chicago and Moscow, Montana arrived, and later friends from California and Nevada–a full house! (RVs)
For those that arrived early, there were plenty of vendors, main stage entertainment, Native American dancing, and sideshow acts, and a beer tent to keep you entertained and busy. A world map was posted, and you could pin your hometown….soon it was filled with pins from all countries over the world.
Everyone was in a good mood, and there for the same reason. Professional and amateur astronomers were eager to share their knowledge, and let you view the sunspots that had appeared on the sun that week, Their telescopes with solar filters were tracking the sun in the day, or showing you the rings of Saturn at night.
The moment before totality is hard to describe, and many people cant find words…just tears flow. It can be an emotional experience, that is not usually captured in the photos, but something that needs to be experienced. The temperature drops 20 degrees, twilight appears around the horizon, and suddenly the sun is gone, only a black disk appears in its place. In a brief moment it is all over, the sun reappears, light returns. We return to are lives, but are forever changed by the experience.