Should I Stay or Should I Go?
August 17, 2017 6:02 PM   Subscribe

I've had it it mind to go watch the eclipse. I'm in Maine, have family in Ohio who I could visit, then drive to the tip of Kentucky to view it. Weather is looking a bit iffy, but probably okay. I would have to leave tomorrow morning (Friday), so that I have plenty of driving cushion. I have seen an annular eclipse, very cool.

Pro: Eclipse

Con: Traffic, 1300 miles each way, possibility of cloud cover, it's a lot of driving, there will be an eclipse in Maine in 7 years (I'm 63, but plan on seeing it), traffic.

Currently unemployed, so not spending vaca time. Advice on this plan being dumb and a better plan welcome. I can afford gas, but will be car-camping or staying at friends'. I do that a fair amount, current vehicle is not optimal, but ok. Small dog will be with me. I just can't decide, and am having fog and exhaustion from staying out late for an event last night. I am 50% packed, but the camping gear is usually ready to go. Should I stay in Maine, where August is beautiful or go watch the eclipse? I even have the glasses, but can use them in Maine.
posted by theora55 to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
I'd go! We have two little kids which is why we're not driving to somewhere - anywhere! - on the path of totality. Eclipses are fabulous and, while I also plan on seeing the one closer to home (we're in MA) in 2024, seeing two would be even cooler!
posted by lydhre at 6:06 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I vote to go! Sounds like a fun adventure especially if you go in with low expectations and just see what happens.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:51 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm driving from Chicago to north Carolina to see family and eclipse. Say it's worth it!
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:04 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'd go. Going places and doing stuff is usually a good idea. The eclipse could be really cool and even if it isn't that great, you'll probably see something interesting or have some new experience you won't have if you stay home. The main problem you might run into is finding a place to camp. We're driving down to South Carolina to see the eclipse and a lot of campgrounds there are already filled up. If your family in Ohio are close enough to the eclipse path that you can head out to see the eclipse from their place and then go back there to sleep, I say go for it!
posted by Redstart at 7:29 PM on August 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

It's 1300 miles each way, but it's not 1300 miles of traffic each way. And you've got the time. I'd go for it. Maine will be beautiful again next August.

(But it's easy for me to say that, because I'm not the one doing it. I keep going back and forth on whether I'm going to drive a hundred miles or so each way from Atlanta, and will probably make the call early Monday morning based on the weather.)
posted by madcaptenor at 8:36 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a question whose answer depends on how much you like driving. Me, I hate driving. So I'm not getting my kids in the car and driving 6.5 hours into a lunatic traffic jam in order to hope it's not cloudy and see the eclipse, then having to do it all again on the way home. But I have friends who will drive a few hours just because they like to drive. If I were one of those people, I'd totally do it.
posted by escabeche at 8:39 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'd do it.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:49 PM on August 17, 2017 [2 favorites]


There will be another total eclipse closer to you in 2024. It will cut across upstate NY and Vermont but it will be in April when the weather will probably not be great. This is your backup plan. However, a lot can happen in eight years. Who knows where you'll be or even if you (or any of us) will be around then.

This is a total eclipse that is cutting across the entire US. The first time since... I don't know how long. Certainly not in any of our lifetimes. You have the urge. Not everyone does, which is fine, but you do. You feel it. You know what this means. It's supposed to be one of the most amazing things a human being can witness. You should witness it.

Someone once said that we tend to regret the things we don't do, rather than the things we did do.

FWIW, I was regretting not getting my shit together in time, then about a month ago I decided I didn't want to regret doing nothing. I found a hotel. My family and I begin a road trip to Nashville tomorrow. Even if the weather turns bad, at least I can say I tried.

You should try. At the very least you've had an adventure and seen a bit of the country.
posted by bondcliff at 9:00 PM on August 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Argh! Bondcliff beat me by two minutes. Weird timing! Here's the details on the 2024 eclipse that will go right through Maine.

"It's better to regret something I have done than to regret something I haven't done." That has pretty much been my mantra lately. (yeah, Sweat Loaf)

I'm hitting the road in the morning.
posted by intermod at 9:01 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd look at weather forecasts before making up your mind. Weather underground's graph forecast has a cloud cover layer you can turn on, while at 4 days out it's not going to be super accurate hour by hour, it's close enough to get an idea what clouds will be like on Monday. (I know something about its acccuracy level because I keep an eye on it to plan out how much solar power I'll have available.)

Also the western tip of KY might not be the closest point to you. There's a big arc through TN that's probably around the same distance to you. You've got the flexability to pick an area that's not going to be cloudy on Monday.

Then too, finding a place to camp in an official campground near the eclipse is probably going to be challanging at this point.
posted by joeyh at 10:19 PM on August 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

You might like this video about why it's worth seeing the eclipse: “The reason to see an eclipse isn’t because it’s rare—it’s because of how it will make you feel.”
posted by barchan at 8:19 AM on August 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm driving 10h on Sunday to make it to TN (have housing lined up).

Another vote to go. Am taking off from work so the kids will have something to talk about to their kids.
posted by scooterdog at 8:44 AM on August 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I didn't go. Arthritis/ inflammation flare-up means driving 18 hours is a beast, and I just couldn't face it. I'm so happy those who went had fantastic weather. I went to the park with my glasses, shared then with lots of people. In Maine, you couldn't tell there was an eclipse unless you looked with glasses or used a pinhole lens.
posted by theora55 at 8:04 PM on August 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

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