Eclipse planning

Sunday, 23rd July 2017; 1:09 pm

countiesOne of the disappointing things about being a “seasoned” scooter road-tripper is that there isn’t a whole lot of planning needed for it anymore. I have all the gear I need. I’ve previously figured out what to pack for a 5-day/4-night trip. I even know already what route to take from home to Indiana.

But there are two things I still need to plan for this trip: a route through the terra icognita of Indiana and Kentucky, and what I’m going to do when I get to the Zone of Totality. (Cool name, innit?)

I’ve identified the campgrounds I’ll be staying at. The first night’s will be a departure from the usual: it won’t be a state or federal facility. The Indiana state parks won’t let you camp for only a Saturday night: you need to reserve it and pay for either Friday or Sunday night too. So instead I think I’ll be staying at a private campground in Crawfordsville. On Sunday and Monday nights, I have reservations at Lincoln State Park (adjacent to Abe Lincoln’s boyhood home) as my staging ground for scooting into/out of the Zone of Totality. (I really like that name.) And on Tuesday night I plan to stay a Mississinewa Dam in Peru (the town in Indian, not the country).

The map here shows the counties I’ll be riding through (in red). Hypothetically, I could take the same route home as I’m taking to get there, but I don’t want to spend two whole days just retracing my steps, so I’m veering to the east of Indianapolis instead.

The red county at the bottom of the map is Christian County, Kentucky, where I’ll be viewing the eclipse. The city of Hopkinsville, which is in this area, has a web site linking to various sites in the area that will be hosting eclipse viewers, charging a fee for parking, a spot on their lawn to camp for the day, etc. But especially with my small “footprint” – just my two feet and a small scooter – I figure I should be able to find a spot on my own. Any place with a view of the sky will work, after all. To be honest, I’m a little torn between wanting to find a place by myself, or doing it in a crowd. Totality is only 2 minutes and 40 seconds, so I have to pick one or the other.

The main point of the trip is to experience the eclipse, so I don’t want to get too wrapped up in photographing it. But I’m still going to be bringing along photo equipment. My main camera will be my Fuji Finepix HS20EXR, with its 30X optical zoom. As a backup/supplemental camera, I’ll bring my old ultrazoom, an Olympus SP-500UZ, which has a quaint 10X zoom and only a 6MP sensor… but it was good enough for my earliest scooter trips. Both have manual exposure control, which I think will be useful for photographing the eclipse. And of course I’ll have my iPhone’s camera, which will be good for snapshots along the trip.

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