Outdoors,  Thoughts

Totality 2024









A year ago we made reservations for a hotel in Copperas Cove to see the total solar eclipse as it made its way through Texas. When the 10 day forecast started looking pretty dismal for most of Texas, we scurried to make alternate plans, just in case. In the end we ended up driving to the Lindale area in NE Texas to stay with Chris’ mom and step-dad for two nights after we made a detour to Sabine National Forest for some botanizing. But the hourly forecasts for Lindale were still iffy and so on Sunday night we started looking at possibly driving to the Tx/OK border, or even into southeastern Oklahoma itself. Then Monday came and suddenly the NWS Fort Worth’s cloud cover outlook was looking better for DFW. We’d always had going to my parents in NE Tarrant county as an option, though they were on the far western edge of the eclipse totality. In the end we opted to head to Chris’ mom’s other house in Collin County (Plano area) because we knew we’d have access to a bathroom and a place to chill out for a few hours that wasn’t somewhere on the side of some road. It turned out to be a decent decision until the very last 10 minutes before totality when low level clouds began flowing in. Cue the panic! Would we miss it after all of this?? I didn’t even have my shoes on and the three of us jumped in the car quickly and started driving through the neighborhood, heading west, then north, before turning west on a bigger road. I watched the clock as the minutes ticked by, closer to totality. I had Chris pull over on one little pulloff and we got out but the clouds still sucked, though it was getting dusky. I thought it was happening but it wasn’t…it started happening as Chris flipped the car around as we got back onto the bigger road. I couldn’t believe it—it was so sudden and OMG WE WERE GOING TO MISS IT! I told Chris just pull over, I didn’t care where…I wanted to at least hear the wildlife come out for those few minutes even if we couldn’t see anything. He found a spot in a neighborhood and we got out and OMG THE CLOUDS PARTED SLIGHTLY and WE SAW IT! I’m sad we lost 30 seconds of the event but the remaining time was amazing. I was torn between watching and enjoying and then getting a few photos, plus watching Forest enjoy it, and rinse, wash, repeat for 3 minutes. I mean, the whole event was absolutely bonkers! I had read and heard many people who had observed the 2017 event say that totality is drastically different than even 99% and wow, did we learn that!

The one thing I was looking forward to hearing if we’d stayed back at the house were the elementary school kids a few blocks away. We heard them come outside about 20 minutes before and I was really looking forward to hearing their cheers and amazement as totality happened. I’d watched a video of some elementary kids from the 2017 event and it was really touching and when I heard the kids come out that day I knew it would be similar. So, we missed that, but still, seeing all of the people in the neighborhood out and witnessing it with just all the random people…it’s really one of those community events that everyone can enjoy together. I liked how everyone on the street had their lawn chairs out in the hour prior, just waiting and watching. It was disorienting seeing UPS and Amazon out delivering packages. I wanted to say, forget packages, stop and watch this cool event! I’m sure they stopped for totality…who wouldn’t?

I think how bright it got right after was so fascinating, too. It was so quick! We drove back to the house and grabbed our stuff and basically turned around and got on the road for our four hour drive (plus who knew what traffic) back to Houston. We got on 75/45 in North Dallas and wouldn’t you know, 20 minutes after the event the skies were so clear?? Ahhh! Traffic was fine until we got to Ennis and tried to stop at a Braum’s for ice cream. The Braum’s had a line in the drive through and nowhere to park so we got back on I-45 and then the traffic was painfully slow the rest of the way until we got off in Madisonville to take our usual backroads to our house. We didn’t even bother stopping at Woody’s in Centerville for snacks and a restroom break after we saw the line of traffic on the access road, too.

Oh, and would you know? we could have stayed in Lindale. It turned out fine and Chris’ mom and step-dad ended up having a great view of it there! I think many locations in Texas ended up having a better view of it than expected, especially if you were north of Austin.

It’s been a few days now and I’m still reeling from the whole thing. Next time, whether I wait for the next North American one or travel elsewhere (eyeing that one for Iceland and Northern Spain in 2026!) I will just watch it, no photos. Well, maybe one photo! 😉

If you got to see the solar eclipse, I’d love to hear how it went for you!


  • Donner

    Glad you got to see it! We were in the MO Ozarks with Dirt Stew and Dormouse (AT’10) I’ll hopefully put together a trip report in the next couple of days. So agree that 99% is verrry different from 100% !

  • Patrice La Vigne

    I’ve heard from people about the 2017 totality event & I was skeptical. I was happy we had 90% in NJ, but it didn’t blow my mind. I did hear a morning dove for a few seconds & that was interesting. Now hearing what you are saying about totality versus 99% makes gets my attention!!! Glad your scrambling worked out!!!!

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