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After taking a scenic drive through northeastern California, a section of the state I’d never seen, we finally ended up on highway 97 bound for Bend, Oregon. We and all the other people headed to the area for the Great American Eclipse.
Dan and I have two totally different plans when it comes to the eclipse:
Traveling when everyone else wants to travel
When I was at Family Travel for Real Life 6, I got to hear Julianna Barrett give a talk on special event travel. She offered tips and tricks for travel hacking when you want to be in the same location as everyone else.
Her insights were great; however, I generally avoid event travel like the plague. I have no desire to be at Times Square on New Years Eve. Or in NYC during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.
The eclipse is another story, however. I’m super excited for the opportunity to experience this natural phenomenon, even if it means sucking it up and dealing with a ton of traffic (which I can’t stand).
As expected, the cost of hotel rooms was sky-high, but I was able to pull out a night at two different Hiltons this weekend. Points for the win!
Traffic already bad in southern Oregon
I knew immediately after we merged onto highway 97 that we might hit some traffic snarls between Klamath Falls and Bend. The traffic was thick, but it was moving steadily around 55 mph. Not great, but we’d get to Bend soon enough.
Obviously, the influx of cars had ticked off some locals. Someone had posted a sign stating simply: “Eclipse Canceled. Go Home.” LOL.
We hit a slow patch near Chemult, but things cleared up within 5 minutes. However, we hit a complete wall near La Pine. This was a moment I wished I would have had my wife turn on Siri, since she could have directed us around most of the traffic and probably saved us 20 minutes. Instead, we alternated between completely stopped and about 5 mph for a good 30 minutes on highway 97. It was awful.
If you’re still not on the road for the eclipse, I highly suggest you get going, and/or check local traffic conditions. Things are getting clogged as millions of people travel to the path of totality. My money is still on Monday, though, as the worst traffic day.
I want to offer all of you eclipse travelers a few safety points:
- Map out some alternate routes in case you get stuck in traffic. After yesterday’s experience, I am doing this for Monday.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to the eclipse path (if you’re not there already) and then home
- Stock up on food, water, and fuel before you get to the eclipse path (gas stations at one Oregon town ran out of fuel a day or two ago)
- Don’t drive like an idiot. We saw a number of these yesterday.
No matter what, though, enjoy the wonder we are going to see.