Tough call. There are a lot of winding roads in these off-the-beaten-path areas. There are limited river crossings over the Missouri, Mississippi, and Meramec Rivers so that's something to keep in mind. Honestly, my initial thought was Hermann, MO as well. For me that's easy because I already live along Hwy. 94 in St. Charles. And I agree with you regarding the concern about the traffic on the interstates. I could see MO-94, MO-100, US-50, and US-67 being problematic as well especially on the east side of the eclipse path towards the STL metro area. The best advice, which it sounds like you don't need, is leave early and get to the centerline. At least you'll be in the path of totality and won't miss out even if you do get stuck in a traffic jam. As long as the clouds stay away I'm confident you'll get a show. I'm less confident about how long it'll take you to get home thoughOK, I'm pondering where we (husband, daughter and I) ought to go to view the eclipse. We live within what is, under normal conditions, a 2-3 hour drive from the closest points along the totality path (roughly from COU to MDH). We should, at least in theory, be able to leave home before sunrise (4-5 a.m.), get to the path in plenty of time to get situated, see the eclipse, and be home by dinnertime. However, these are not likely to be "normal" conditions if tens or hundreds of thousands of people are streaming into the totality path and clogging major interstates such as I-55 and I-70. I don't even want to think about what traffic conditions in and around STL will be like. Plus, we'd prefer a less crowded viewing venue outside of the major cities where all the bus tours and hardcore eclipse buffs are headed.
With that in mind, I am currently contemplating two possible broad target areas that seem to be a bit "off the beaten path" but still close to the centerline: Monroe, Randolph and NW Jackson counties in IL, including the towns of Waterloo, Kaskaskia and Pinckneyville (but NOT Carbondale, which is sure to be a zoo); or Callaway, Montgomery, Warren, Franklin and Gasconade counties in MO (including Fulton and Hermann). Obviously, the closer to the centerline the better, but I'll be happy with any location that gets at least 2 minutes of totality. What are the non-interstate road conditions like in these areas, and how quickly would we be able to move from these locations if necessary due to cloud cover?
Does anybody know if a welding mask is suitable for viewing an eclipse?
I'm getting ready to book my "backup plan" hotel in Salina. Fortunately, many hotels a couple of hours or more outside of the totality path don't show any signs of being booked any time soon. If clouds are a threat in the Midwest, I will start heading west Sunday morning, stay in Salina and head north in the morning. There are an abundance of secondary roads from Kansas into the Nebraska totality path, so in theory, traffic should be at a minimum.
James, that is interesting about the eclipse glasses. I bought a pack of 20 from an Amazon seller. I would think there would be some major (including criminal) liability for putting people's eyesight in danger. I might try posing the question to an experienced eclipse chaser.
I think that's a massive over-prediction. My guess is that you will be able to find spots along non-interstate and non-major highway roads right in the middle of the path of totality with absolutely no one else around provided you're more than a few miles from a major city. Out in the country, there aren't going to be THAT many people flocking in to see it. The vast majority of people live in the cities and it is highly unlikely that any substantial fraction of them will travel more than a few dozen miles or so away to get a good spot.I do expect many small towns within.the path will be overwhelmed, with food and gas supplies being exhausted. I'll have provisions for that, but I'm increasingly thinking I won't need them.
Is anyone besides me targeting small towns that have NO eclipse related events scheduled because we hate crowds? ?
Thanks Marc, I hope you're right, I am envisioning that there will be cars lined up on both sides of the road within the path of totality, particularly near the centerline... If that's true, I am worried about getting there early enough for a spot, as the nearest hotel room I could get is 3 hours away.
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