According to the National Centers for Environmental Information (ncei.noaa.gov), the Monday, Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, visible in the United States alone, will only be totally viewable from Kansas City, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; Salem, Oregon; Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee—but everyone in all 50 states will be able to view at least a portion of the event. Scheduled to last around 90 minutes, this eclipse will be the first to cross the U.S. since 1979 and the first since 1918 to travel from coast to coast. Millions of Americans and overseas visitors are expected to head out in search of the perfect viewing spot—here in Idaho, a friend put a room in her house up on Airbnb.com in January in anticipation, and someone reserved it within an hour.
The influx and movement of all of these people will mean bumper-to-bumper traffic, especially in cities lying in the path of the eclipse. Travel times are expected to increase at least fourfold, and the temporary population of resort towns will likely explode. National and local officials suggest packing emergency supplies like water, blankets, food, flashlights, etc., in preparation for the possibility of getting stranded in traffic overnight.
I can be something of a doomsayer, so my personal plans have vacillated. I certainly do not believe the eclipse is a harbinger of the apocalypse; I have just been imagining worst-case-scenarios of motoring along a winding mountain road with a few thousand other excited eclipsers. If my car doesn't overheat from hours of stop-and-go driving, the National Guard will arrive, tell us the road has been closed for some top-secret reason, and say we can either stay in our cars for what might be a few days or risk hiking out of the area through the nearby forest. Since I watch way too many horror movies, of course something or someone would be lurking nearby.
Logically, I know my worries are probably unfounded. Plus, I have an ace in the hole: my smart, nerdy husband. He's as excited about seeing the eclipse as a kid going to Disneyland, so I'm going to try and channel some of his joy and get excited about it, too. Mickeclipse Mouse, here we come!