My suggestion is… Add the Solar Eclipse to your bucket list.

Eclipse Shadow Art

It’s hard to even describe in words. When folks who are unfamiliar with phenomenons are focused on the question, “How or why is the solar eclipse such a big deal?” or the bitter citizens who barely grasp any unique opportunities in life and live slowly. How would you respond? Do you react based on emotions, or do you sit back and try to comprehend the messages prior to your response?

Well, this is my response. If you missed the eclipse, I HIGHLY suggest you plan to witness the phenomenon in 2024. Plan now! Yeah, you can watch the eclipse from the comfort of your home and in front of the damn TV, but you won’t ever be able to experience the feelings that the solar eclipse gives this atmosphere. Especially when it emerges to darkness in the mid of day. There is an effect in the environment that the eclipse reveals, that no other abnormality event does.

Not even the highest resolution of live streaming nor photography can really emphasis the emotions behind the two minutes and a few seconds of change in this experience.You witness animals react differently, even us humans, get some type of sensation. For me, it was a calming sensation in the midst of darkness. The beauty that is captured with the moon’s moment placed in front of the sun is unspeakable. It is just another part of evidence that we are all connected, not just with one another, but with the rest of the universe.

Now on to my road trip story…

Lincoln Memorial Bridge

My friend and I drove down Sunday afternoon. Mind you we got all the way to Marion, IL in 6.5 hours that night. That’s about 370 miles from where I live. Just remember that minor fact. We were some of the crazy solar eclipse road trippers that planned this less than a month out of the event. So, we packed only our necessities, and just camp out at a truck stop for the night. 

When we got to our destination, it was packed. There was no where to park at the truck stop due to liked minds traveling down to this event. It took about 30 minutes for us to find a spot, so we could set up our sleeping quarters in the Subaru. It surely was summer down in Southern, IL. We had to crack open the windows and the sun roof to get air into the vehicle. It wasn’t too comfortable early on the night, but it was interesting to just sit there, listen, and observe the atmosphere that was created by the curious population, world-wide. You couldn’t help, but embark the excitement that everyone else was inkling. 

As we woke in the morning, you can just sense the summer heat that was creeping in to challenge our patience. The weather wasn’t the first thing we noticed; we noticed all the vehicle swap outs from those who were sleeping along with us when we went to bed, to those who were currently sleeping next to us as we woke up. One of those individuals was a sweet elder lady named Mapie, but ‘Map’ for short. She had an accent, but we failed to ask about her background. She drove down from Chicago during the late hours of night. My friend did most of the talking with her, since I am not a huge morning person and when it comes to meeting new people, I am a bit shy and reserved. Shocking, I know.

The Vault Cafe

After the bit of sharing road trip stories and the advice she shared with her experience of road tripping across America, my friend and I adventure to a small local joint called, “The Vault Cafe.” The people of Marion turned their old bank into a cute and hot brunch spot for locals. For a minute, I felt I was on “Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives” with Guy Fieri while finding this delicious and unique spot. The food was delicious and filling, and the prices were just right. The hospitality from the employees was just on point. I gave them a five star review! So in 2024, if you are planning for the next eclipse, look for this spot!

After we got done eating, we headed to Ray Fosse Park in Marion. The priority was to find shade, because the forecast was calling for a heat index of 100-105 degrees. So shade and drinking our beverages were a priority while we patiently wait for the eclipse. We got to the park about 10-1030am, with a few other participants. Everyone was friendly regarding conversations, or just sharing a smile with one another. It’s like we all found more individuals that belonged in our ‘love for Science’ tribe across the states. I set up my camera and just waited. 

Camera shot through solar glasses

The eclipse started roughly at noon. It was the start of a twilight zone. The start to the total eclipse seemed rather quickly, while the two minutes and some change of the total eclipse felt completely in the moment. Time had stood still. It was beyond gorgeous and a calming effect on my half during the totality. Darkness of day, and I had never felt so carefree in my life. My soul, mind, and body just embraced the mystic muse. If I could rewind back in time, this is surely an experience I’d love to repeat. Like I said, words can’t really explain the experience, no matter how long I drag this post out.

The traffic was extremely painful in the first 170 miles driving home, as it took us 6.5 hours to go only that amount of miles. With music, the Wazer app to chat and joke with other Wazers on the road, and the locals waving at us from off the Interstate, while we participated in the parade of traffic moving like molasses, I can’t help, but be proud and present a smile on my face for having the courage to find myself in the middle of the celebration and beautiful chaos of this once in a lifetime opportunity! Road rage had to wait another day.

This is a trip I’ll never forget and I plan to do it again in 2024, but better prepared. This event has helped remind me, no matter how big or small choices may be in life, live it with no fear and with all the passions in your life. That is where your happiness resides. Even if the smallest moments can bring people together, embark on it, don’t try to crumble the moment. Remember, it’s a moment of togetherness, but it’s also temporary. Let the people have that precious moment. Live life with the pride and love that comes from within. Don’t let negativity dictate your life or make you feel bad. As long as you aren’t harming anyone or yourself, physically, emotionally, or mentally, do you!


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