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Total eclipse

I saw the eclipse inside the zone of totality at Franklin, North Carolina. Franklin is in the Great Smoky Mountains and is inside the Nantahala National Forest. I was with two friends, and we turned it into a tailgate party followed by dinner in Asheville.

This was my second total eclipse, so I knew what to expect: roosters crowing (check), birds confused (check), and cold chills imagining how terrifying a total eclipse must have been for our early ancestors, who didn’t know what was happening. Some of the locals were trying to make money off the eclipse and were charging $30 for parking. We found our own place — a business that was closed, with two big shade trees in front. We trespassed there (politely), and no one seemed to mind. In fact two carloads of students from Charlotte, admiring our spot, stopped and asked if they could join us, and of course we said yes. There were people everywhere.

The traffic jams were epic. On the way from Asheville to Franklin, there were two severe traffic jams caused by fender-benders. The return trip to Asheville should have taken little more than an hour, but instead it was four and a half hours of stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic. Still, everyone was patient and polite — no honking and no rudeness. Everyone seemed to be trying to make the best of it. Some people got out of their cars to share food and drink with friends they were traveling with. Stopped traffic is a bit spooky to me. It puts me in mind of conditions like those in the movie “War of the Worlds,” or zombie apocalypse movies (of which, for the record, I am not a fan).

We had reservations for dinner at the restaurant that is reputed to be the best in Asheville — the Admiral — but we had to call and cancel our reservations because we were so delayed. We ended up at the Storm restaurant in old Asheville.

A friend who watched the eclipse in Athens, Georgia (well outside the zone of totality), texted me this: “The light here was like I always imagined Lothlorien: golden but slightly dark around the edges, like early dusk except the sun was overhead, so it had this surreal quality. It was mildly mood-altering. Lovely.”

When I took the photo above, someone else was driving.


  1. Jo wrote:

    My oldest great-grandson was born on August 21st, so I journeyed to South Carolina to help celebrate his birthday.
    I dared not chance traffic on I-95 & I-20, my normal route. Driving the back roads is a pleasure I don’t always have on my trips there, but enjoyed it immensely. The eclipse was mind-boggling.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Backroads are the way to go… How nice to be able to combine those two events…

    Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

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