Evadman wrote:I was lucky enough to be within driving distance of totality, but barely. Drove 5 hours to get there, [...]
I would do it again in an instant.
Much the same. We spent the weekend before in Charlotte, NC, having driven up from FL. Night before we went down to Greenville, SC. We hadn't picked a specific spot ahead of time, because I knew the weather might be fickle, so we researched from the motel and picked a destination for the morning. Settled on an obscure county park with 2 minutes and 26 seconds of totality, and restrooms. Got there around 11 am, and took two of the last parking spaces. (We were 4 adults and 380 pounds of dogs, one car was not sufficient.)
Folks continued to come in, I'd guess around 200, not an unfriendly group, but not a lot of mingling. Mostly each group staked out a tree to relax under between check ins on the partial, and then we sort of ringed the field as totality approached.
I had been in total nerd mode for upwards of a year, and partial nerd since I saw the clouds get dark in '79.
A couple things I read proved very helpful - 1) Don't bother (much) with photos, let other people get that. 2) Make sure you pay attention to more than just the sun, because a) there is a lot else to notice and b) your brain likes to turn videos into gifs, it won't store more than 8 seconds of the same thing. So I had my list of things to look for/notice and my phone app that spoke some of them at appropriate times. - I think my favorite was the shadow bands. The crowd reaction as folks noticed and told folks near them to look at the ground, who then reacted, and told other folks - A wave of awe around our ring.
Someone described the difference between totality and 99% partiality as the difference between going to your favorite restaurant, and going 99% of the way there. I'd say that expresses it pretty well.
From there we headed to Columbia, where we had identified a dog friendly restaurant, at about 6 pm we joined the throng heading to FL, which took an additional 5 hours for one car, and 7 for the other (due to a gap in cell phone coverage during the time that they needed the GPS to route them around the traffic.)
Plans currently being made for 2024, and 2045, where totality will be just south of us.