Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Three Years of Planning Comes Down to 70 Seconds of Incredible

August 17-22, 2017
Albany, Oregon

We definitely get all of the good, and none of the bad, for our total solar eclipse experience.

Hearing about all the expected traffic and crowds in the path of totality I am dreading the chaos and congestion. Instead there is no traffic on our drive to Albany, stores and eateries in town have no lines, and the RV park is quiet.

After we had to wait for check-in at our last stop because we arrived between 12 and 1, we have to laugh when we again wait for the office to open at Blue Ox RV Park because it's closed between 1 and 2 :-))  The park is well-maintained with asphalt roads and sites, and small dirt space in between. Our level site has FHUs with 30 amp under a tree that we're sure won't get satellite. But it locks on around the branches - more good!

Fluffy Dog's favorite spot during set up :-)
Friday we do laundry and clean the windows. Piper gets a much needed wax job.

Back in SoCal, our grandson Maximus turns one - already! He has the most infectious smile :-))

Such a happy, happy little boy.
Since the crowds don't materialize, we spend Saturday morning in the pastoral beauty of rural Oregon enjoying five of the ten covered bridges of Linn County.

Most bridge crews used hand tools in 1936. Prior to their being laid across the stream, the large chord timbers were shaped with hand adzes.

I love the beauty of the interiors.
Most Linn County bridges are built in the open truss design, but Hoffman's namesake used gothic style windows along the closed in sides.
Gilkey Bridge getting a face lift.

The only red bridge in Linn County (the others are all white), Shimanek is also the longest span.
Built in 1966, this is the fifth covered bridge at this location. The louvered windows are unique, but the 1891 version had a two-hole toilet built into the foundation!

Named for the land owner, John Joseph Hannah, in 1861, the Hannah Bridge crosses Thomas Creek.

With the more common cross pattern, this beautiful bridge has been featured in several commercials.

Thomas Creek 
Gentle ripples along the shore.

So shiny!

The Larwood Bridge is named for Willam Larwood who built a store and blacksmith shop here in the late 1880's, and ran the post office from 1893 to 1903.

Crossing the Crabtree Creek along a small wayside park.
An oddity in U. S. geography, this is the only place where a river (Roaring River) flows into a creek (Crabtree Creek). 

The riffles in the creek make music under the bridge.

Not quite roaring, but the river sounds wonderful.
Sun dapples in the clear shallows.
We finish the day with football, spend Sunday doing the same, and finally find the last pairs of eclipse glasses in town.

Monday is THE day!! The sky is completely clear and the weather is beautiful and warm. I made reservations three years ago, then again a year ago when the first ones were "lost", and I can't believe it's here!

Everybody's ready!
Pretty sweet to step out the front door with a cup of coffee and have front row seats to a phenomenal experience.
I didn't get any filters for photos, and we spend the first hour just watching the eclipse unfold (with special glasses in less than three minutes intervals of course). Our neighbors are all doing the same thing. As the sun darkens, and the shadow approaches, the temperature drops and the air feels different. 

And then we're in the shadow of totality!! It isn't something I can describe - we are both in awe of what we experience. What must the first people have thought of darkness coming and going so quickly?! Seeing stars in the darkened sky where a minute before it was

It is much darker than the cell phone camera shows.
As the shadow moves on we witness the "diamond ring" effect, and then watch as the eclipse undoes itself. The temps rise, the light returns to full strength, and too soon it is all behind us.

Several people pull out later, and we hear that the highways are congested in all directions out of the area. We spend the rest of our day relaxing and every few hours one of us say "That was amazing, incredible, unbelievable, mind-blowing!"

We have a longer-than-usual drive on Monday and the smoke is back. What a blessing that it waited :-)) The good continues as we have another traffic-free drive.

2024 another total eclipse will pass across the eastern part of the country. It's never too soon to start planning!


  1. Love the covered bridges! At yoga the other day we were discussing how early days people regarded the eclipse--probably thought the world was ending without all the relentless media coverage!!

    1. Since they happen so seldom, I imagine they thought if they didn't do "what they were doing at the time" they could keep it from happening again!

  2. I love the covered bridges too! And it's such a pretty area to drive around.

    1. We haven't found anywhere in Oregon we haven't loved (except getting around the crowds in Portland) and this was another very different spot.

  3. I’m so with you on loving covered bridges and their designs. Fabulous pictures. Thank you! Thank you!
    You definitely had the blessings with you to have no congestion at all and a rings side seat for totality. I just couldn’t leave Maine for those hot places to see it but I know it was an awesome experience in the original meaning of the word. Love Tessa in her glasses. She looks totally hip.

    1. I honestly considered cancelling a few weeks ago to get out of the smoke and heat, but am so glad I hung in there. We're back in the smoke now and so sick of it :-(

  4. We have lots of covered bridges back in PA, but the bridges you shared are some of the prettiest I've ever seen. Each one is so very different than the other. I love the intricacies of the roofing and the unique windows/sides in each one. Even a "rest stop" at one back in the day!!!!

    Good to see Fluffy Dog was ready to join in the eclipse fun:) It was a wonderful experience. I am glad we made a little drive south in the country to enjoy the full effect. And our stop here in the Portland area was purely by accident!

    1. We really enjoyed "finding" each of these and seeing their differences.

      Goes to show one doesn't have to plan everything!! What an amazing experience :-)

  5. Tessa is so adorable! Love the glasses. :-)) I'm so glad the eclipse was all that you had hoped for—and that it wasn't crowded for you. We experienced the darkening skies and coolness for a few minutes here in the islands, but it wasn't dark enough for the stars to come out. That must have been amazing! Looks like a fun day of exploring the covered bridges, too. So sorry the smoke has returned. :((

    1. I think a lot of people didn't come to the area because of all the pics of the crowds and traffic around the festival about 80 miles away. Good for those of us who did though! Fingers crossed the smoke continues to move out - I've been looking forward to Joseph for longer than the eclipse :-))))

  6. What a trip!. Can't believe your dog ends up on your table. So funny. You never know where they're going to be.

    1. She's usually where she can keep an eye on both of us :-))

  7. I remember you planned this from the beginning of heading out. Glad you got fantastic weather and a great location. You grandson's are the cutest! Loved all the pretty bridges.