After a hiatus on blogging, I’m back. There are some fans of the blog that were worried about me, and I appreciate that some reached out to make sure I was OK. Although not flying quite as much, I’m still out there and will be more active writing. I have a little catching up to do too…
So – the eclipse.
If you have an airplane and the total eclipse of the sun is two hours flight away – what more excuse do you need? In addition, my cousin and his wife, Fred and Jenny, live in Sunriver Oregon pretty darn close to the “line of totality” and graciously accepted my “invitation” for Betsy and my son to come stay with them. Um – and the dogs.
Fred is active on the search and rescue team and he spoke of a traffic and potential search and rescue event that the area had never seen before. Millions of people were expected to descend on the Bend/Redmond/Madras area in Central Oregon just east of the cascades and some were expected to try to climb Mt. Jefferson and other mountains to view the eclipse and potentially get into trouble.
So the SAR team set up a control center at the Sheriff’s station and were prepared for the worst. Luckily it never came. Forest fires had already closed off access to the mountains and the semi-apocalyptic warnings about crowds had apparently scared off some people so the traffic wasn’t too bad.
In fact, we had planned to just fly into Sunriver airport (just south of the line of totality), stay at Fred and Jenny’s and just climb a nearby cinder cone (mini-volcano) to view the 98% eclipse. Luckily, that morning we happened to do more research and came to find out that 98% doesn’t do it. Even a sliver of the sun destroys the magic of a total eclipse. So we jumped into Jenny’s car and headed north to a hill north of Redmond. (We could have made reservations and flown directly into Madras airport but I thought that may turn into a circus).
The eclipse itself was spectacular – definitely an awe inspiring event. Its something like jumping out of a plane, visiting Burning Man, or standing in the middle of a place like Machu Picchu. You just can’t adequately explain it – you have to experience it. It was awesome!
We headed back to California that afternoon and I was a little nervous about air traffic as I knew there were likely many of us heading back home. It is one of many times that I really have enjoyed the new ADS-B technology, as there were a couple of guys nearby and it was easy to avoid them.
Thanks for friend and talented photographer/artist Kai Kopitzke for the use of his eclipse photos. Kai had his own adventure backpacking into the Tetons with camera equipment to get these beautiful photos.