Hey Everyone!! Sorry to be gone so long, but we had to take care of a serious medical issue with Liz that kept me away from the blog and us off the road. I’m happy to say that after three emotionally filled months with numerous tests and countless trips to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fl, I think we are on the mend. Without burdening everyone with a long explanation, Liz’s vertebrae were collapsing with little or no trauma to her back. She also had a break in one of her shoulder blades and three fractured ribs. Geeez! One MRI indicated an area of concern in her spine that was thought to be cancer. The doctors thought this potential cancer was weakening her bones and allowing them to break easily. However, fortune was on our side and thanks to God the biopsy turned out be benign. So, it appears that she is dealing with severe osteoporosis, which presents its own issues but is certainly preferable to cancer. For now, two vertabrae were replaced by a surgical procedure called kyphoplasty. It has helped reduce the pain and stabilized her spine. Thanks to all our friends and readers who sent prayers our way.
Now on to the main subject of this post. On August 21st of this year there will be a total solar eclipse. Taken from Wikipedia – The August 2017 eclipse will be the first with a path of totality crossing the USA’s Pacific coast and Atlantic coast since 1918. Also, its path of totality makes landfall exclusively within the United States, making it the first such eclipse since the country’s independence in 1776. (The path of totality of the eclipse of June 13, 1257, was the last to make landfall exclusively on lands currently part of the USA.)
Consequently, this is a significant event with the opportunity for people to view it from a large part of the United States. The next total eclipse will occur in April of 2024 but will not cross the entire country. It will come from the southwest through Texas and head northeast through Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Vermont before entering Canada and then back through a portion of Maine. Since I have a better idea where I’ll be this August than in 2024, I’m going to give it a shot this year.
Our current plans have us heading to Illinois towards the end of August so we have quite a few areas of opportunity in our travel path to view this event. Of course, it doesn’t matter where you are on the path if the weather doesn’t cooperate. It could only take a few misplaced clouds to ruin your experience. We plan to be in Greenville, SC where there is an observatory located at the Roper Mountain Science Center. In this area of South Carolina the eclipse will last around two and a half minutes (the time of total eclipse varies from a little less than two minutes to a little less than three depending on your location). The science center will have programs all weekend and into Monday that help make the viewing of the eclipse more interesting. Here is a link:
As you can imagine camping in the immediate Greenville area is already booked. I would guess that this will be the case in many areas in the “path of totality.” We found a place about 40 miles away with space available. However, you may want to consider not anchoring yourself to one location and remaining flexible to move with the weather forecast. It could mean parking at some temporary location at the last minute to observe the event, but the flexibility of moving would certainly enhance your odds of a good viewing area due to weather.
Finally, I should advise everyone viewing the eclipse, whether total or partial to wear appropriate viewing glasses. Regular sunglasses are NOT APPROPRIATE. Approved eye ware is available on the internet for only a few dollars. Alternate methods of viewing are also available, but involve indirect techniques which may not be as spectacular.
There is a lot of information out there if you want to take the time to do some research. Below are a few sites that I found helpful.
Interactive Google Map