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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > My eclipse trip cut short report.

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DWeikert

York, PA

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Joined: 02/07/2006

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Posted: 08/24/17 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The plan-
-Leave 8/15,
-Arrive Jackson WY midday Friday (8/19), stop at a local fly shop and get info on the upper Gros Ventre (pronounced Grow Vaunt)river, then head back into the Gros Ventre Wilderness to find a place to camp and fish over the weekend then watch the eclipse Monday 8/21 (also my birthday).
-Tues 8/22, pickup a Nat Parks Senior pass in the office in Jackson then head to a reserved campsite next to Hebgen lake near West Yellowstone.
-Wed 8/23 Report to the fly shop in West Yellowstone at 0800 for a guided float trip. Was going to leave the river selection up to the guide.
-8/24 - 8/27 Hopefully get some suggestions from the guide as to where to fish these days. Otherwise, I'd use the float tube and try to get some of the gulpers on Hebgen or Quake lake but ideally the guide would point me to some of the smaller, lesser known/fished streams/rivers in the area. I was going to give a big tip. Even if he didn't offer suggestions, there's no shortage of fishable spots in the area, in and outside the park.
-8/28 maybe 8/29 head for home.

Reality-
Left 8/15 as planned and spent Thursday night at a rest area inside Wyoming. Putting me on schedule to be in Jackson midday Friday.
Alas, Friday morning I'm awoken by a phone call from my brother (thankfully I was at a spot that had 1 bar). Mom had passed overnight. They needed an idea when I'd be back to schedule the service. At that point the thought processes weren't running too well so I told him I'd call back after coffee and some thought. Obviously the float trip was out of the question so I called the shop and cancelled. I was inside the window where cancelling meant I still owed for the trip but they offered condolences and refunded my deposit. If I stayed for the eclipse I wouldn't be home until the following Thursday and didn't want the family to have to wait for that, so I sent a text to the brother and told him I was on my way and would probably be home Monday. I started back and in a little while the brother called and suggested I at least stay for the eclipse. The soonest the service could be held was the following Thursday or Friday anyway. So I told him if I stayed I could be back for Friday, Thursday was questionable. That appeared to solve a discussion between my brother and sister so the service was scheduled and I was going to stay for the eclipse. Pretty sure Mom would've wanted me to.

Instead of heading up to Jackson I thought maybe I could find a spot closer to Casper and shave several hours off the home trip after the eclipse. I despise dense campgrounds and all the sites I found were exactly that, and appeared to be setup for serious crowds. Not what I was in the mood for so I reverted to plan A and headed back toward Jackson. By now I had eaten up most of Friday so spent Friday night at a rest area only a little closer to Jackson than I was the previous night. Saturday I skipped the Jackson fly shop and headed straight back into the Gros Ventre Wilderness. Turning off the main road toward Kelly WY I became concerned. About every 100 yards for the first couple miles back the road there were a pair of port-a-pots. If enough people show up to make that necessary, It may take forever to get out of here Monday. But by this point I wasn't going to change the plans again and just figured I'd leave as soon as possible after totality and hopefully avoid some of the traffic (remember that thought). For the first several miles after I passed Kelly every campsite was not only occupied but had multiple occupants. About 15 miles back I finally got to a spot that was available and still secluded.

[image]

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Took a short hike down to the river and man that sure looked fishy. Although I saw zero bug life and there was no surface activity.

[image]

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Actually, I take back that bug life comment. I decided to at least get setup for some photography and low and behold, there on my camera...

[image]

Unfortunately, the solitude couldn't last.

[image]

And by Sunday evening there were 2 other campers within 50 feet of me. Still far better than what I saw building around Casper.

So, I just settled in, watched the sunset, and thought about what Mom would've thought of the view...

[image]

Sunday I decided to prepare for eclipse photography and also prepare so post totality all I had to do was throw the cameras and tripods in the truck and immediately roll. Since I wanted a quick tear down I figured I'd just use the cheap fixed tripod I brought instead of the motor drive equatorial mount I use for my telescope. Seemed like a good idea until I actually tried to frame the sun in the camera (yes, I had a solar filter). Once I did get it in frame it left the frame so quick I knew I wasn't going to be happy with this. So, out with the telescope tripod, and I'm glad I did.

[image]

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Unfortunately all photos I tried to take of the corona during totality were overexposed. I did not expect it to be that bright.

I also tried to take some video of the shadow bands youtube (not mine), but my new waterproof camera apparently needs to have some incantation cast upon it to take videos other than turning the wheel to select video and pressing the shutter release. Did see them on the paper I had laid out, just no videos.

Immediately after totality ended, I quickly dissembled and got on the road. Obviously, not soon enough. This was the line waiting to get onto US 191.

[image]

Then there was the poor little town of Lander. Both southbound lanes on Main Street were a parking lot. After inching through town for about 20 minutes and moving 2 blocks I used the GPS to bypass main street and come out on the other side of town. Turned out the traffic extended beyond town.

[image]

All told that jam took about 90 minutes before the road opened up. Alas, there was one more backup where 287 joined 220.

[image]

If you open the following image and zoom in, you can see the traffic backed up on 220 that I was going to have to try to merge into in about 5 miles.

[image]

The rest of the trip was nearly uneventful. It's amazing how much time you can make up when you go the speed limit as opposed to leaving the cruise set at 65 as traffic permits. I will say that I am very happy with that spare tire auxiliary tank I had installed. Instead of refueling 3-4 times/day on a 3 day drive, I had to stop 5 times on a 3 day drive. I prefer to take rest breaks when I need them, not the truck.

Finally got home last night and had a surprise waiting for me in the driveway.

[image]

Fortunately it was fairly easy to drag it out of the way. There are times being 6'2" 250 has it's advantages...

Hope everyone else that traveled for the celestial event had a safe and memorable trip.

* This post was edited 08/24/17 11:01am by DWeikert *


Dan
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2010 Northstar 8.5 Adventurer


midnightsadie

ohio

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Posted: 08/24/17 11:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

great pics thanks.

jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 08/24/17 11:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice TR! I was in town not at totality path and didn't take any worthy pictures.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 08/24/17 12:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Please keep posting your pictures.


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ulvik

Smoky Mountains

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Posted: 08/24/17 12:21pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great Pics! Also very sorry for your loss!


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coolmom42

Middle Tennessee

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Posted: 08/24/17 12:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great photos! My condolences on your loss.


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narcodog

Georgia

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Posted: 08/24/17 12:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, you were luckier then me. I Got Livingston, MT for the Fly Fishing Festival then had the intention of fishing for about a month. My wife called and said I needed to head home, she was ill, that was no problem. I did miss the celestial event out west and the fishing but heck that's life. As far as the eclipse here at home everything was visible until the last the last10% when the clouds moved in. Oh well that's life.

2012Coleman

Florida

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Posted: 08/24/17 12:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice pics - why didn't you just spend the night?


Experience without good judgment is worthless; good judgment without experience is still good judgment!

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NGaMountains

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Posted: 08/24/17 01:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for sharing your trip and photos, and sorry to hear of your mother's passing.

I stayed home at 97%, and it looks like no matter where you went to experience totality, no matter how remote, it was impossible to escape huge crowds on the roads.


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ScottG

Bothell Wa.

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Posted: 08/24/17 03:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very sorry to hear about your Mom.
My sincere condolences.


Scott, Grace and Wesly
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