(by Nina Klepec) I was invited to go see the total eclipse of the sun with my friends. It sounded like a great adventure, so I readily agreed. We left on Friday morning at 4 am for Oregon and arrived at noon in Klamath Falls, where we went to the County Fair in the afternoon and then on to Ashland in the evening to see the Shakespeare play, “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and back to Klamath Falls for the night.
On Saturday, we left early and made it to Madras, Oregon, right in the middle of the path of totality. Our original plans for camping did not work out, but we were able to stay in the back yard of a lovely couple, Bob and Carol, who took a chance on us. They only asked if we were Christians. I believe we had the best site in Madras for observing the eclipse, there on the top of this hill and in their own yard. We were the only campers at that site and had a terrific arrangement. We set up our tents and relaxed until Monday.
On Monday, Bob and Carol invited us to join their family to see the eclipse from their own front yard and to join the family breakfast beforehand. We also set up chairs for them in the front yard and met the family and friends and it was a party. We each had our solar eclipse souvenir tee shirts on and our special viewing glasses. Around 9 am we were in position. Around 9:12 we were able to observe the first indentation of the moon on the sun. We watched and visited and around 10 o’clock the temperature began to drop (in all about 10-15 degrees) but the sky was still bright with over 75% coverage. At 10:12 our view through the special glasses went dark and as we ripped them off, the eclipse ‘popped’ into view before us. A roar of “ahs” went up everywhere for/from some distance around us.
We could see the corona of the sun in detail and the indentations where we could see moon craters on the surface of the moon. It was sooooo….. beautiful! The sky around it went black and the stars near it came into view. Because we were on the top of a high hill, we could see for many miles. We could look over the side and see the edges of the 70 mile diameter black shadow that the moon over the sun that was caused by the eclipse (approximately 35 miles away). We had a 360 degree sunset like colors in the sky at the horizon all around us.
The eclipse was astounding and apparently even the professional cameras used by CNN could not adequately capture it. I guess it was because of the filters they have to use to protect the cameras that the pictures they showed on TV were not as good as the real thing.
It was a clear day, no clouds, perfect. After two minutes and a few seconds, the totality ended and we had to go back to using the special glasses to watch the rest of the travel of the moon across the sun until about 11:40 am.
Bob and Carol invited us to lunch, then we broke camp and sat around playing ukuleles and singing ‘moon songs’. They invited us into the house (where there was air conditioning—by this time it had warmed right back up again) and we played and sang some of the moon songs to them. We sang “By the Light of the Silvery Moon”, “Moonlight Bay”, “It’s only a Paper Moon”, “Moonglow”, “Blue Moon”, “Moonlight Becomes You” and “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes (Don’t let the moon break your heart)” in honor of the eclipse.
A good time was had by all and we made some really great friends.