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September 12, 2017 > A once in a lifetime experience

A once in a lifetime experience

Submitted By Arlene and Mike Frazier

It took months of planning for our trip to Madras Oregon. The reasonÉ an event a mere two minutes and three seconds long. But what an eventÑ a total eclipse of the sun.

Upon arriving in Madras, Orgeon on August 20, (the day before the eclipse) we stocked up at a local supermarket, where, according to a cashier, visitors from all over the world had been doing the same.

Temperatures in the eclipse-viewing fields around the town were brutally hot, but the evening cooled off nicely. On the morning of the eclipse, skies were clear, with some low clouds sailing past around 8 a.m. Visibility was good, thanks in part to the GovernorÕs temporary ban on campfires. Forest fires in central Oregon had been clouding skies but cleared in time to view the eclipse.

At 10:19:36 a.m., the wind rose and the temperature dropped as the eclipse achieved totality. ÒIt was like a light switch,Ó said Mike. The crowd gasped as the corona burst into view. Suddenly planets and stars were visible. The corona was unexpectedly large and bright, an extremely bright white color with subtle hints of blue and green. It was an unworldly sight! A solar flare shot out and enhanced the show. As the moonÕs shadow gradually receded to reveal the solar disc once again, someone in the crowd began playing ÒHere Comes the Sun.Ó

Once the eclipse was over, euphoria gave way to the ugly truth that most everyone needed to get back to work the next day. Though fellow eclipse-fans (and even their dogs) proved to be considerate and friendly, getting out of the field and back onto the road proved challenging!

Many whose schedules werenÕt so pressing stayed parked for several hours. Even so, delays first estimated to be 20 minutes to two hours turned into seven hours. Rest areas were mobbed, and people who couldnÕt wait to get to the Ôtraveler servicesÕ were, well, using the roadside. For us, the trip of two-and-a-half hours going north (from their Northern California campsite) took 12 hours going south.

Despite all the hardships, the trip was worth it. ÒThe experience was once in a lifetime.Ó

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