We had a pre-trip trip when we decided to go to Nebraska last weekend to see the total solar eclipse and, yes, it was spectacularly worth it! We’d heard the dire warnings about traffic – have enough gas, food, water, etc. so we packed up the car and left about 5 AM on Sunday for Alliance, Nebraska. Taking the “back roads” of CO 14 to Sterling and heading north to Sidney (Home of Cabela’s who are not open at 7 AM on Sunday morning) and further north to Alliance, we made it in 4 hours with no traffic.
Mark and Vivian Payne found the Well’s Ranch who mowed a field and rented out space for campers and tents so we met them there by looking for the University of Iowa flag, set up the tent in the Nebraska wind, and hung out in the sun, watching more and more people arrive for the grand event the next day. About 850 people watched the totality in total at Wells Ranch. While the vast majority were from Colorado, people came from as far away as Switzerland, London, Minnesota, California and Texas .
We enjoyed some margaritas and wine and a cold beer with our munchies and appetizers.
Mark and I were a bit panicked at 4 AM Monday morning when we looked out the tent and saw nothing but heavy fog. By 8 the fog cleared and by 10 we had clouds and blue skies.
The eclipse was spectacular! As the moon covered more and more of the sun, wispy clouds floated across the sky and made the sun look very much like the Halloween pictures you see with a witch flying across the moon. The temperature dropped 15 degrees during the eclipse. We all agreed that those 2 1/2 minutes flew by. Be the end, Mark muttered something about planning a trip to Chile or Argentina for 2019. Next time, we’ll take some binoculars to see sunspots and flares during the eclipse.
The trip back to Fort Collins started about 4:30 but about 5 miles outside of Alliance we could see cars for as far as we could see so decided to run around and either put up the tent in the wind again or find a hotel room. Victory! The Quality Inn in Alliance had a lovely room complete with a shower and A/C that worked well. We even found a pizzeria across the street after we made a visit to Carhenge outside of town. Tuesday morning we left at 7:30 Am and were home by 10:45 without running into much traffic until I-25 between Cheyenne and Fort Collins.