After the show

So you know it took well over 5 hours to drive back north to the original hotel. I used the rest of the evening to refill the fuel tank, return the unused supplies, and pick up another takeaway dinner, this time some average food court Mexican cuisine.

The next day, it was back to Portland for nothing in particular. I happened to end up near Voodoo Doughnuts again and the line looked much more reasonable, so I maxed out the parking meter and took a chance and came away with three.

(donut photo coming)

One doughnut eaten on a sidestreet while I get eyed by a parking cop. We flirt a bit and go on our own ways. I know Chinatown is nearby, so let’s find a late breakfast place. Nothing seems to be open until after 11, presumably lunch hour. Charlie’s Deli claims to have the best sandwiches in Portland. I wouldn’t be the best judge, having never had a meal in Portland, but I have eaten a lot of sandwiches.

(sandwich photo coming)

It’s definitely a good sandwich, and using an app gets me a free cookie. After breakfast/lunch, I head further downtown to find a shop where I have a coupon about to expire. I buy a shirt that is already on sale, plus my coupon brings a $55 shirt down to $18, plus no sales tax. The sales guy tells me he used to live in the SF Bay Area, and that if I have a car and not much time to sightsee, I should go to Crown Point.

Extra eclipse-related traffic turns a 40-minute drive (his estimate) into nearly two hours, each way. It’s crowded with not enough parking spots for the demand. The view is decent, overlooking the Columbia River, Colombia Gorge, and Washington State.

(panoramic photo coming)

A late night thought to hunt for Powerball tickets is discarded.

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The Great American Eclipse

The hotel’s free breakfast is enough to fill you up a bit, but I’d need more, fortunately there are several options across the street. Unfortunately, I don’t have time as there is something much more important going on.

(Partial eclipse photo coming)

There are not as many people out here as I was led to believe. Maybe two dozen at most, this motel can’t be completely full, and probably not the one across the street either (lots of things across streets here).

I talk with others in the parking lot: some staff, a couple of families, and a few couples. Everyone seemed to have eclipse glasses, so no one needed any of my extras. One brought an old-school projection device invented by Galileo.

We can tell that the light is getting dimmer. There is not much wildlife right next to the highway to notice them getting quieter. My GoPro is recording, hopefully I have it aimed well. I know the cameraphone will be nearly useless, and in the last minute before totality, the street lights come on, ruining photographic opportunity, so the DSLR comes off the tripod as I sprint for the side of the highway for less interference (aside from the threat of distracted drivers).

(Totality phase photos coming)

I fire off shots repeatedly, knowing that most will look the same, I also step back and rotate the camera to get the scale of the ground with the hidden sun, but can quickly tell that the manual settings won’t allow a decently lit photo of the full landscape. I’d rather watch the show than play with camera settings, sorry everyone. The video below does a better job on showing the landscape and the oncoming darkness.

(Failed landscape photo coming)

The camera comes back up at the end, in an attempt to capture Bailey’s Beads and the “diamond ring” signaling the end of totality.

(Bailey’s Beads and/or diamond ring photos coming)

It seems the hardest part of this trip was getting a hotel near enough so that I could drive into the path of totality. Plane tickets, car hire, and even the motel directly in the path were quite easy to acquire.

No major traffic issues driving south (less than 1 hour), but driving back North the bes next day took 5.5 hours. Even all the extras water and snacks we were warned to bring were not needed. The warnings suggested to treat this as a disaster zone – all the extra people would drain important resources like bottled water, fresh foods, and gasoline.

Would I do this again? Sure, depending on how easy it is (or how interesting it would be) to get to where I would need to be. I would have gone to Svalbard for a previous one, you know I like the cold. I could try for the Eastern US/Canadian total eclipse in 2024, not sure about Chile/Argentina in 2019 and 2020.

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Before the show

I like hanging out at airports. I get there real early, easily more than the recommended two hours before flight time. I check out a typewriter exhibit and buy a small, overpriced sandwich.

The car rental agent tells me to prepare for the worst – assume it will take twice as long as usual to drive anywhere and I should buy a full tank of gasoline now because gas stations will run out. No thanks, I don’t need to spend $70 for your gas that costs half that anywhere else.

Downtown Portland is pretty active and the people fulfill the stereotype happily. $2/hour (and one hour max) for street parking and the line to buy doughnuts is over an hour. No thanks, I’ll walk around and look at the street markets, the people, and meet a friend-size dog.

While I am here, I should visit the famous Powell’s Bookstore and buy extra water bottles and snacks at Whole Foods (another recommended disaster preparation). Tigard has two Apple stores and a Tesla showroom, not even Portland has that.

The drive to Albany was performed the day before the show at freeway speeds, nothing like the traffic jams that were predicted. With an entire half-day extra, I wander the city center, have a nice burger at a shop that doesn’t usually open on Sundays, and happen upon a group of Pokemon hunters.

The motel off the freeway is near several food options, a grocery store, and a Costco. I fill up the fuel tank (just in case) and buy takeaway dinner. Once I park again, I have everything I need nearby until the show is over.

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Adventures of LEGO Kumail Nanjiani

I’m on the way to Oregon for the total solar eclipse. This is the character Jay, from the LEGO Ninjago Movie and minifigure series. This guy is voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, who has been getting slowly more well-known over the past decade. I had wanted to bring a LEGO figure on a trip, I like Kumail’s comedy, and this figure had a selfie stick, so it all works together.

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Montreal quick summary

5 days, 4 poutines, 6 TimBits, 2 bagels, 0 kebabs

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Meet the new traveling companions

More adventures with inanimate objects!  Soup Ladle Nessie and the Deep Tea Diver join me as I travel to Montreal and Las Vegas.  They take over from Cake Toy Prime and Pop Vinyl Elsa.  I considered naming this duo “Amy and Rory” but will stick with their formal names.


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Traveling this week, stay tuned.

Another trip, another traveling companion.  Who will accompany me on this short voyage north and back?

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