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Making The Drive for the Great American Solar Eclipse

August 16, 2017

The Great American Solar Eclipse will hit the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017. Stretching from the Northwest (Oregon) to the Southeast (South Carolina), the eclipse will cast a shadow that’s estimated to be 70 miles wide.

So why are people traveling to the eclipse? The idea behind this drive is to put yourself in the eclipse’s “path of totality,” or basically somewhere along the route of the shadow, enjoying an unforgettable astronomical event.

facebook eclipse

So, now you’re ready to load up the crew into the family station wagon, but where do you go for the best experience?

Start your search by visiting NASA’s detailed Eclipse Maps 2017, which overlays the shadow on the United States so you can figure out where the closest viewing spot is in relation to you. For us on the West Coast, that spot would be up in Oregon, where an estimated 1 million tourists will be making the drive to John Day or a similar small town in the pathway.

John Day, OR is almost smack-dab in the center of the path of totality, with the eclipse stretching around 35 miles to its North and South. These tiny towns in Eastern Oregon aren’t exactly equipped to handle the droves of people expected to visit for the eclipse viewing on Monday and have already released advisories and traffic warnings.

It’s also important to remember that these towns are not urban areas stocked up with everything you may need to get from Point A to Point B. There could be hundred mile stretches without gas or service stations. And you may need to forget about cell phone service or a quick stop for snacks along your journey!

Having your car in tip-top shape before you hit the road could mean the difference between viewing the total Eclipse or just viewing the underside of your hood.

Before trekking off the great unknown, be sure to have your ride checked out immediately before the journey. Topping off fluids, grabbing that oil change you're due for, and telling a technician about that clinking noise under the hood is a good idea for everyone on the road.

Avert your eyes!

Although during a total eclipse the moon will completely cover the sun and you can technically look at it, you should not stare at a partial eclipse with the naked eye. You'll definitely need to invest in some sort of eye protection, but make sure to use a reputable vendor, as we learned this week with Amazon.com.

Wondering how to find a reputable vendor? NASA and the American Astronomical Society have given this information on reputable vendors and urged folks to look for the international safety standard number "ISO 12312-2."

So now that you have your travel mapped out, your car's been serviced, you topped off on gas and fluids, and you have your proper eyewear ready to go - it's time to enjoy the eclipse!

  • Oregon: August 21, 2017 from 10:18 AM PDT to 10:24 AM PDT (John Day)
  • Idaho: August 21, 2017 from 11:27 AM MDT to 11:34 AM MDT
  • Wyoming: August 21, 2017 from 11:36 AM MDT to 11:48 AM MDT
  • Nebraska: August 21, 2017 from 11:49 AM MDT to 1:04 PM CDT
  • Missouri: August 21, 2017 from 1:09 PM CDT to 1:20 PM CDT
  • Southern Illinois: August 21, 2017 from 1:20 PM CDT to 1:23 PM CDT
  • West Kentucky: August 21, 2017 from 1:24 PM CDT to 1:28 PM CDT
  • Southern Illinois: August 21, 2017 from 1:20 PM CDT to 1:23 PM CDT
  • Tennessee: August 21, 2017 from 1:27 PM CDT to 2:34 PM EDT
  • South Carolina: August 21, 2017 from 2:39 PM EDT to 2:48 PM EDT

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About the Author

Kimberlea Buczeke is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

1 User Comment

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By , August 17, 2017
can you only see the eclipse from these spots or can I see it from where I live to