Wednesday, April 10, 2024

My Eclipse Report

 My Facebook feed is filled with friends showing off their pictures of Monday's Total Eclipse, and
rightfully so.  This is a rare enough event unless you chase these things down.  The next time we in the USA will be able to see one without much effort is 2044.  Hopefully, I'll be around to see it.

We went to Litle Rock, Arkansas to see the Eclipse because it was one of the nearest places to see the Totality.  Nightingale also found a place that had a good, cheap package that included food and activities like Rock (wall) Climbing, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and archery.  There were some STEM activities too.  I found these kind of annoying because the person running them was doing it in a Folksy performative manner.  That might just be the remnants of my city slicker ways.

Nightingale booked this trip a long time ago but at the two-week out point, the weather forecast wasn't good.  It was going to either be cloudy or thunderstorms, which would have made the Eclipse hard to see.  I wasn't worried because we still had some fun activities planned.  

As luck would have it, as we got close to The Tuesday, the forecast improved.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.  It seems this was the case in a lot of places.  Bad weather was predicted but turned out favorable.  Maybe the moon blocking the Sun had some influence on that?  I dunno!

For this event, and presumably others, they divided us into groups with a schedule.  When we arrived Saturday evening, Nightingale was worried we'd get screwed out of fishing and canoeing because the rain that didn't come during the Eclipse was looking to arrive that afternoon.  However, it shifted to the evening but didn't actually arrive until we had gone to bed that night.

Dr Steven Smith

We had a guide who was pretty knowledgeable.  The only thing I will report is that both he and everyone else said "Y'All" more times during this trip than I have heard in my 3 years living in The South (yes, it pains me to write that).  

The also had a guy from NASA come and give a talk.  It was mind-blowing.  I learned a few things and enjoyed it very much.  We only stayed for an hour because our collective ADHD brains can only take so much.  

About the Arkansas 4-H Center: So the thing about this place is that apparently, it is a multifunction Center.  

It is a spectacular setting for your next conference or retreat. We provide a conference center available at reasonable rates for educational organizations, businesses, civic clubs, schools, church groups, government agencies and professional organizations. It is ideal for conferences, retreats, meetings, workshops, and training sessions

To be sure, it is quite affordable.  On Its website, it seems like it has great food options for normal events.  For this one, the food certainly wasn't 5-star.  Or even 4-star.  I'd say it was a step above school cafeteria and a step below hospital cafeteria food.  It was edible and the first night I had one of the best side salads I've ever seen in a cafeteria.  And most evenings they served chicken tenders which Boris would eat.  

About the Totality:  I've seen eclipses before, but I don't think I've ever experienced a Total Eclipse before.  It was truly amazing and worth the 3-hour drive.  A lot of people showed up with telescopes and other eclipse-viewing devices.  

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