As I am sitting at my computer my outside world seems to finally be thawing from the snow and ice we have been encased in for months. This is the winter that just won’t leave! In fact just yesterday it snowed enough to cover the ground in parts of our state. To keep what shred of my winter sanity is left, I am spending time thinking about last year’s camping season.
Some of you may recall this thing that happened last summer. It was a huge thing. A total solar eclipse. Many of you may have experienced it. We sure did. It was visible here in the USA and we found ourselves right smack in the middle of it! I learned of the eclipse early and started making plans. St. Joseph MO was considered to be “Ground Zero” for the eclipse; the area with the largest total darkness view time, where the solar eclipse would happen right at the mid day. St. Joseph is only an hour north of our home.
You may recall that our friends, The Master’s family, spend a lot of time at a private family campground, Camp Katmandu. Located just west of St. Joseph MO near White Cloud Kansas, as a crow flies it is maybe 30 miles west of St. Joseph. So, I reached out to the Master’s family, who had graciously invited us back to visit, and inquired about visiting the weekend of the Eclipse. They happily said yes, and my spirit soared as I realized we would be about as close to ground zero as I wanted to be with little to no crowds!
No one could have guessed how crazy Missouri was about to get over the eclipse. Missouri State Parks along the path actually started making reservations a year out vs their normal six month window. Not only campgrounds but lodging across the state sold out. Business closed for the day. Schools cancelled classes. NASA came for goodness sake.
As the date approached, my perfectly laid plans started to crack. Eventually, I watched them crumble away. The eclipse was on a Monday. Despite school district after district cancelling school, my daughters school was not going to cancel. I was trying to decide if my plans would be cooler than the school plans but the school district kept their plans under lock and key. Like DEFCON 1 lock and key. I am still shocked the school district decided to have class and turn the eclipse into an educational experience. On a side note: my daughter has had perfect attendance in school for the past two years. I dunno why but this is very important to her and there was no way she was going to miss school for an eclipse.
As if battling perfect attendance against a lifetime experience that would last 3 minutes is not bad enough, Wayne decided to go and get a new job this summer. When he negotiated his new start date, guess what date he picked? Yep, August 21. Double Whammy!
Thankfully, Meeghan forged ahead and planned a perfect Pre-Eclipse weekend party at the River.
The weather the weekend prior to the Eclipse was perfect. Hot, sunny, cloudless skies. Uncle Bud treated everyone at Camp Katmandu to a steak dinner Friday night. After dinner we enjoyed a campfire around the hexigon swing and fire pit. It was a nice evening to catch up and say hello to friends.
We spent a weekend watching the river flow and wondering how the fishing was. The men folk even helped clean the daily catch when the fishermen returned. We visited Papa and Grandma Master’s home and played with their farm animals. We enjoyed family meals and good conversation. There was no shortage of chuckles when we shared the Eclipse Milk from a local dairy farm; extra dark cookies and cream milk that was almost black. Beyond that, it was a relaxing weekend, one that allows you to sit back and watch the corn grow.
Our gracious host even offered to let me stay at the river by myself if I wanted to stay and watch the eclipse from there. Worried about the traffic on the way home and making it back by the end of school, I reluctantly passed. I made plans to watch the eclipse at home with my college bestie.
I am thankful we had such a wonderful weather and company during the weekend prior to the eclipse. On the actual day of the eclipse, Ol’ Mother Nature had other plans for us and we fought with rain and dark clouds all day. Triple Whammy! The next total solar eclipse visible in the USA will happen in 2024. I have already put the family on notice.