We bought a new truck recently, quickly followed by a new camper. My husband and I have owned a camper most of our marriage; and this is our third. What we need as we are older is a bit different than what we needed and could afford when the kids were small. We just needed to be together then. Now, well, we’d like a shower, stove, and a toilet, if you know what I mean.
We live in a place where the eclipse last week was around 97% total, but we decided to drive to Nebraska where we could see it in totality. Our camper needed a shake-down cruise and it sounded fun!
Most of the people around us drove to Wyoming, and there were massive traffic jams on the day of the eclipse.
We avoided all that by going a little further to Nebraska, where traffic was not an issue. It was a good call, in retrospect. After all, there was probably no other reason that we would have visited the lovely Ravenna, Nebraska, had it not been “on the line” for totality. They had a small state park where we sat up our camper and stayed the weekend.
In the morning before the eclipse, all of us campers were joined by many more people who drove up just for the eclipse. It was a slow event, really. It was almost like watching grass grow, except for the unmistakable tingle of anticipation. When I couldn’t see the sun anymore through my dorky glasses, everyone in the park cheered, and we joined in.
I pulled off my protective glasses and took a few photos while it was safe. It was considerably cooler and darker, which surprised me a little (why didn’t I expect that?). The eclipse was strangely exhilarating and exciting. I can’t explain it, but it was undeniable.
I wished I’d had a chance to take pictures of the rolling green farmlands that were pretty in a relaxing, pastoral sort of way. There was no pretension in the small town, and I was slow to catch on to the large amount of drive-through traffic at the state park. I finally realized that the local folks were driving out to gawk at the tourists! They were kind and generous, though, offering us a free half-barrel fire-pit and firewood. The day before the eclipse, a young couple and their girls drove up in a Jeep decorated to resemble an ice cream truck. I might have thought we were dreaming, but the music was unmistakable. The wife handed out free ice cream, courtesy of a few local businesses. Their simple but welcome generosity impressed me. My husband was impressed by the polite highway drivers going the speed limit. Unbelievable!
It felt good to put our working lifestyle behind us for a few days and enjoy the wonder of the eclipse. I hope that you all had a chance to get a glimpse, even if you weren’t “on the line” of totality. With so many people focused on awe and wonder for a few moments, it was as if the weight of the world’s problems were briefly lifted.
Thank you, Ravenna, Nebraska for making way for us out-of-towners to experience small-town hospitality.