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  • Sherry Ickes

On the Line of Totality - Eclipse 2024

eclipse collage with images of sheryl, the eclipse, lake erie, tv coverage, and snacks

When I first heard that the eclipse was going to pass over the United States in 2024, I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of, as the phenomena of the sky is an interest of mine. In the past, I have seen partial eclipses before, but never have I witnessed it while being on the line of totality. And for awhile, I kept it in the back of my mind and waited for the moment to come.

Fast-forward to August of 2023, and my daughter and husband surprised me with hotel reservations that were located on the line, in Northern Pennsylvania. Beyond being ecstatic, I was grateful that we had a room reserved, considering how sparse the availability was becoming already. So, I waited again for the calendar to flip to April and for the car to packed and ready to go (Even purchased a shirt that was perfect for the occasion).

The trip up, just an hour south of Erie, was a pleasant drive, and included a side-stop in Ohio for a refill of gas at a much cheaper rate than in PA. Heading back into our home state, filled with beautiful landscapes, brought us out to where we needed to be, and the hotel worked out better than we had anticipated. We were able to watch it unfold in the back parking lot, along with many other travelers from all over. Some had picnics set up, or were cooking food on grills, as others chatted with friends as they readied their cameras to capture the event on film.

It certainly was a sight to behold, as the moon gracefully slide in front of the sun. We could hear the birds hushing their tweets in reaction to the darkening sky, and the sensored lights of the Auto Zone, across the driveway, kicked on in the twilight that consumed our spot. You could feel the temperature drop from the cooling air that brushed against the skin, which was one aspect I hadn't really thought about. The entire episode had taken less than three minutes from partial-to-full-to-partial again, allowing an intense amount of light to shine in the sliver that had become visible once more. (We could even see some solar flares on the edge!)

Was it cloudy? Yes. But when it came time for the eclipse, we were lucky enough to have plenty of glimpses through the fluffy puff balls. And after we saw all the traffic coming down Rt. 74, from Erie, we were extremely thankful to not have been trapped in that mess! It was a solid line, straight out of the movie Independence Day. We saw it on the way up North, to visit Erie for the first time, of which we ended up continuing our northern journey over the New York border for a few minutes. It was a gorgeous sunset that evening, dazzling upon the shimmering surface of Lake Erie up and back.

murder in the woods at lake erie

With all of the traffic on the way home, it took us so much longer on the return trip; especially when they decided to remove all access to the gas pumps at one of the rest stops. This was alerted to all drivers via a flashing orange and black sign, stating that this would be the last stop with gas in 97 miles! We were fortunate to have enough fuel to reach, and sit, through all of the construction that plagued the Turnpike for most of the ride. Though, it was intriguing to see all of the past turnpike memorabilia at one of the rest stops (The poor employees were swamped with all of the people traffic, and most of the food items were being devoured faster than they could be made).

Overall, the trip was loads of fun and we managed to pack some really neat traveling in a couple of days. It was a great experience that I am so glad we took, with a few state park stop-offs along the way. What's better than accidentally finding a hidden treasure of a park?

Thanks for reading. Catch ya on the next explorative adventure! #eclipse2024 #eclipse #pa #traveling #pennsylvania #exploring #lakeerie

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