Preparing to Go Dark: Eclipse 2017

How often do you have an honest-to-goodness, kinda scary adventure these days?  One where you really and truly don’t know how things will turn out?

I am talking about my upcoming trip to Jackson, Wyoming, for the 2017 solar eclipse. Normally, I go on a trip, and then I write about it.  A predictable and sensible approach.  For the eclipse, there is no telling what will happen.  I may never return.

Image of Eclipse

Eclipse – Maureen’s Fancy Artist’s Rendering

You may be thinking, “Seriously, how can the 400,000 nerds visiting Wyoming cause this much suspense?”  And yet, here are various warnings from the week:

“I can tell you right now your cell phones aren’t going to work.”  Idaho Falls Fire Department

“We are placing 50 portable toilets scattered on U.S. freeways.”  Idaho Department of Transportation

“Residents should stock up on essentials including groceries, medications, water, tarps, emergency generators, and camping equipment.” Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

“Visit the banks/ATMs early, as ATMs may run out of cash due to the visitation surge.” Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

“Be sure to purchase fuel for your car whenever possible.”  Travel Wyoming

“Do not think, ‘We’ll just pick up what we need when we get there.’ Supplies, cash, fuel and restaurant meals may be limited.” Town of Jackson

“It is anticipated that there may be no internet access the day of the eclipse.”  Town of Jackson

“[Fake eclipse glasses] damage the cells in your eyes, they damage your retinas and the damage can be permanent.”  NASA spokesman

“I think the biggest issue we may have is traffic.”  Idaho Falls Police Chief

“Portland rental car agencies overbooked their cars and are cancelling reservations.” Rumor started by Maureen’s friend, Robin

If you are feeling stressed by these warnings, there is no relief in sight. Here is another one from the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police.

 “The state’s marijuana laws will be strictly enforced.”

In such dire circumstances, it is good to have a plan.  Mine goes something like this:

  • Take an Uber from Salt Lake City Airport to Jackson because both my car rental reservations are cancelled.
  • Vow never to use a port-a-potty on the side of the freeway, even in a horrendous traffic jam.
  • Stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer for use in the port-a-potty.
  • Figure out why I would need a tarp to prepare for an eclipse??
  • Fight with my husband, because I insist on topping off at EVERY gas station we see.
  • Determine if paper maps still exist and then carry one after my mobile phone dies.
  • Try to remember how paper maps work.
  • Create a strategy to avoid being mugged, because all bad guys will know that all  nerds are carrying wads of cash from the ATMs.
  • Fight with my husband again because I ask him 100 times, “But how do we KNOW the eclipse glasses aren’t fake?”
  • Lose my husband because I stomp off angrily after our fight and can’t remember how to find him without my mobile phone.
  • Miss work because I miss my flight because I run out of gas because I am stuck in traffic.
  • Remember not to smoke pot.


To read more deep insights on the eclipse, see:

Eclipse 2017: Was It Worth the Hassle?

Wyoming Solar Eclipse 2017: A Watch Party with Mimosas?

Eclipse Frenzy 2017