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Eclipse Day part 2

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The minutes ticked by slowly waiting in our hotel room for the eclipse to begin. I obsessively checked the weather forecasts while the kids watched TV and played on their iPads. I kept glancing outside, watching other hotel guests arrive or leave, while some sat on the benches outside the doors. We had planned to setup shop in the grassy area just across the street from the hotel, which would afford us a nice view of the sky. Added bonus:a few shade trees could help keep us somewhat cool in the muggy heat.
But something just didn’t feel right to me about sitting right outside the hotel. For one, there were street lights everywhere. I knew the lights would pop on as soon as it became dark and I didn’t want to compromise our view. I began to search for nearby parks and found one about 2 miles away. Tiff agreed with me that we should try heading there (it was 10:15 at this point) and see if there were any parking spots. There was a playground and soccer fields, so we figured there would …

Eclipse Day pt. 1

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It's finally here. We've been watching forecasts all weekend long and it's been a rollercoaster. Right now it's mostly sunny here. The forecasts through the time of the eclipse say partly cloudy. I sure
hope they hold up. As long as heavy cloud cover doesn't roll in, we'll be golden. It doesn't seem like the town is crazy busy...yet. There's still 3 hours and some change to go before totality, so anything can happen before then. We'll probably end up finding a grassy spot with a shade tree or two to view the eclipse. We didn't do a very good job of looking for a viewing party, which may have been fun but I don't mind the experience being a little private to our family. I plan to setup my phone on a tripod to capture our reactions. I doubt I'll bother trying to capture the actual totality happening--I just want to experience it. There will be plenty of much better videos/photos taken of the event than I'll ever be able to manage with…

Eclipse Eve

We didn't do a ton today. We shopped a little, drove around the town, ate some Japanese food at a local place and now I'm getting ready to watch the next episode of Game of Thrones. So glad the hotel room has HBO! We scored a puddle jumper suit for Fiona from the local Goodwill (brand spanking new, no less!) and she was loving it in the pool.

The forecast isn't looking real promising. Most of Missouri will be under cloud cover. We may be making a hasty retreat from our current position in the wee morning hours in hopes of finding a less cloudy locale. I've been looking up weather forecasts of many towns around us. Most are the same. I think we'd have to drive a long ways to get a better forecast at this point and I don't know that I want to brave the hordes of traffic for another dice roll. Our hotel and this town aren't very busy tonight--something I didn't expect. Perhaps others had checked the forecast and already made other plans? Or maybe not many …

Arches, Cave Dives and Hangry Feasts

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Well, Saturday was interesting! We started the day by heading to the Old Courthouse in STL to get some tickets to ride to the top of the Arch. Along the way we noticed a cool phenomenon. Something I dubbed a "Poor Man's Eclipse", where the sun was being blocked by the Arch. It looked pretty cool and with the weather forecast calling for clouds and possible thunderstorms...it may be the closest to an actual eclipse that we get to see (we hope not). The Arch was quite the specimen and if you're ever in the area, you should definitely check it out. We watched a video documenting the construction and design of the Arch and it was really something to see. Those men and women who worked on the Arch must have been made of steel themselves. Many were 600 feet above the ground walking around without any safety harnesses (it was the 60s after all, where either they didn't give a damn or they didn't have time to be scared). We rode to the top in a tiny little tram that…

Gateway to the West

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It was a long drive, but we've arrived in Saint Louis. The kids did great and the traffic wasn't too bad yet, which makes me happy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I noticed a few of the traffic signs in Illinois stated "Eclipse Aug 21. Expect possible delays through Aug 22."

We'll be hanging around the city for the morning and early afternoon before heading south to our temporary home for the next few days. Right now the forecast is predicting a chance of a
thunderstorm on Monday...I sure hope that forecast doesn't hold up! It's still a few days out, so we'll see what happens.

On a side note, the Drury Plaza Hotel at the Arch is fantastic. I can't recommend it enough. The patio outside the pool is outstanding, offering a great view of the Old Courthouse and the Arch. They offer free drinks and some food (hot dogs, chili, nachos, mini tacos, salad) from 5:30-7PM, so we didn't have to spend a dime on dinner for the night. Lunch consisted o…

Prepping for the Eclipse

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We'll have to drive around 9-10 hours to see the total eclipse. We've decided to leave early on Friday in hopes of beating the major traffic rush that will likely occur from Saturday through Monday. Naturally, I have a pretty big checklist of things we're gonna need for this trip. I tend to stress myself out over planning for as many different situations as I can figure, especially now that we have children in tow. Back when it was only my wife and me, it wasn't such a big deal.

The kids alone have their own set of things that must be prepared:

iPads/Fire tablets/laptops/miscellaneous digital devicesTravel Bingo cardsBooksSnacks. Lots and lots of snacks.No less than 30 charging cables and bricksMany sets of headphones/ear buds (for my sanity and theirs)Since we'll be traveling through areas with no cell coverage I have to download some of the kids' favorite YouTube videos to keep them happy. I don't like them burying their heads constantly in a device, so th…

The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017

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In a little more than a week, a major astronomical event will be coming to America. I've never experienced a solar eclipse before. I'm not entirely sure what to expect. Based on the words and experiences of others, it's something that cannot be accurately described--a monumental, life-impacting thing to witness.

My family and I will be heading south to Missouri, a state I've only ever driven through briefly, in order to witness the totality. I can only imagine the emotions I will feel as the moon blocks out the sun for a brief moment, altering and confusing the world around us. I cannot wait to see the reactions of my children as they witness the event alongside us. I imagine this event will feel to me like the first time I managed to find Saturn in my telescope. The raw emotion of looking upon something so profound with my own eyes, millions of miles away, was indescribable.

My hope is that this eclipse ignites the wonder in all of us, reminds us that we're all ju…