Watching a total solar eclipse is high on everyone's bucket list, but along with the hype comes a lot of problems we know are coming. Plan ahead and know that eclipse trip you have been dreaming of, is the dream of millions so you will have company.
Imagine a small town of a few thousand. It has a grocery store or two, maybe three or four gas stations. A few days before the eclipse, cars start rolling in. And they don't stop.
Some people drive up with a hotel booked, plenty of food and even some extra fuel, just in case. Some people planning on going to see the eclipse will be well stocked and well prepared.
The problem is there will not be many of these visitors. Many will fall short of what they need for the trip. When they decide to pop in for some last minute supplies like food, gas, a place to stay, or even the bathroom, these little towns just may not have what visitors need because they will be overrun like never before.
This is going to be an amazing spectacle of nature. A rare moment where the moon is the exact diameter in the sky as the sun, and, for a 70-mile swath of America, it will cover the sun for two to four minutes.
I have seen a total eclipse first hand and it is amazing. It's eerie, cool, amazing, awe-inspiring all at once and everybody should see it if they can.
My concern, and the concern of many, is the last minute roll-of-the-dice to try and see the eclipse.
If you think you will wake up early the morning of the eclipse or even the night before and just drive up Interstate 5 to see the eclipse and drive home, you are likely driving into a scene like a disaster movie.
Nobody wants that to happen, but experts are looking at the potential for people on the move in places like Oregon and have done the math. If you have a million extra people and their basic needs coming into Oregon, and a decent amount of people within the state moving to the total eclipse zone it will overwhelm many places.
If you plan on making the drive expect many places to run short on fuel, food, bathrooms and other basic services like cell phones, parking, and lodging. It would be a good idea to think outside the box for that Eclipse trip. And even though it may seem silly, bring supplies in case you need to do an overnight in your car if the roads are clogged, gas runs out, a traffic jam snarls any way out, etc.
We have seen a test drive of mass migration from one are to the next with hurricanes and many of the issues experienced in the past may be coming on the main roads in and out of the total eclipse path so be warned, think ahead, and plan for everything.