Day 14 – 128 mi…Missing the once in a lifetime eclipse.


We spent the morning watching the eclipse on the Weather Channel, as it was once again completely overcast and misty in Alaska in August. (Yes, one should weigh the propensity of mosquito peskiness to the number of obscured vistas when choosing the time of year in which to venture into the great Alaskan wilderness.) I thought I might get a chance to capture at least the partial eclipse from Fairbanks, but the weather has foiled most of my attempts to savor the typical Alaskan sights – snowcapped mountains, the Northern Lights, stars…

I so appreciated the texts from friends and family showing me what you were seeing from your stellar viewing locations on such a beautiful sunny day. It was the next best thing to being there. I cannot lie, watching the people in Madras, Oregon experience the wonder did bring tears to this astronomer’s eyes.

We stocked up on supplies (food, beer and wine), spent a bunch of money ($40) at the carwash…the truck cannot go through the drive-through machines with the Tepui on top, so you have to feed quarters by the dozen into the hand wash bays, and headed to Amy and Garrett’s to pick up the gliders. (We cannot thank you enough for helping out!)

Our encounter with derelicts was much more tempestuous than we originally thought. As we prepared the tie-down straps for the glider, Jorge noticed that one had been cut with a knife. As he inspected the glider bag, he found that the cut went through the protective outside rain bag. (Don’t worry Mike, it did not make it ot the glider!) As we thought back to the morning we discovered the stolen jerry can, we realized that the other can was laid precariously on top of the tent. Now, we believe that the thieves were attempting to steal the glider and the cans, but were thankfully interrupted and left in a hurry. We aren’t sure what they thought the glider was…it looks kind of like a long, foldable kayak to a lay person, or what they were going to do with it once they took it off the truck. After all, it weighs about 75 pounds and is approximately 20 feet long.

Remember, we prepared for the long ‘treacherous’ trip up the continent’s challenging northern roadways. We have five brand new Cooper Discover tires, carry a Viair compressor and full repair kit, have two extra gas cans, a fifteen-gallon water tank and tow strap to pull us out of any situation. Yet, the most trying time of the whole trip came in the middle of the night by a complete stranger as I lay dreaming about the Northern Lights…

There are not many pictures for this post, because town is pretty boring. We drove past the base on our way out of town and camped at the Clearwater River Recreational area just outside Delta Junction tonight. (Doesn’t the lake photo look like my PhD slow wave sleep data?) We will be on our way to see the Majestic Denali via the Denali Highway tomorrow.

Post Script – Jorge has promised that we will be in direct path of the July 2, 2019 total eclipse in northern Chile.

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