Jason Rekulak from Philadelphia is camping with his family at a goat farm in McMinnville, Oregon.
He realized last minute that an already-planned family vacation to the West Coast would bring him within a few hours of the eclipse’s path of totality and rushed to book a place to stay.
"I thought we were going to be staying at a Holiday Inn and probably watching from a parking lot,” Rekulak said. “But instead, we're going to be on a 500-acre goat farm.”
The operators of McPhillips farm, where he and his family will be staying, assured him that the event would be family-friendly and inclusive. The guests will include drag queens, senior citizens, and the farm’s friendliest goats.
"I don't know if the goats will actually watch the eclipse themselves, or if they'll have glasses or how they'll react when the Earth goes dark. It will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me,” Rekulak said.
Listener Mary Langenbrunner wrote in to say she’s thinking of serving tequila sunrise cocktails and moon pies to her neighbors. (Get it? Eclipse-themed snacks!) Addy Hale from Clemson, South Carolina, will be hosting friends at her house, which is smack-dab in the path of totality.
"We have a big field, so we're inviting all of our friends and we're throwing an eclipse party. We'll be cooking out and enjoying everybody's company. And I think everybody is really excited to be in the path of totality right in our backyard!” Hale said.
Listeners who don’t live so close to the eclipse’s path are getting themselves there in interesting ways.
Paul Darbo is taking his annual motorcycle trip with his son up the West Coast to watch the eclipse in Salem, Oregon.
“I’m very excited, this is going to be an extremely exciting day for my son and I,” Darbo said.
A husband and wife from North Carolina are kayaking Lake Monticello in South Carolina during the eclipse.
The World listener who wrote in with the farthest journey is Christine Fik, who’s bringing her infant son to Carbondale, Illinois, for the eclipse.
“I am so excited to be able to share this with my son!” she wrote. “Pretty cool first birthday road trip!”
An eclipse memorial
The eclipse-watching trip that Damir Pevec is organizing to the Grand Teton mountain range will be more somber than most. Her daughter, Aleksija Pevec Kays, who was battling breast cancer when she learned about the eclipse, hoped to watch it herself with friends and family.
“In April she heard about the total eclipse and was ecstatic about it,” Pevec wrote. “She asked me if I can get some friends and family to experience it all together.”
Kays picked out a location outside of Jackson Hill, Wyoming, to watch the eclipse. But in July, she died of breast cancer.
Shortly after she passed away, Pevec and more than a dozen other friends and family members decided to pursue the trip anyway, as a memorial to her.
“So … we are departing Santa Barbara and Los Angeles for the Grand Tetons to view this incredible phenomena in her honor and in her memory,” Pevec wrote in an email to The World.
A lifelong dream fulfilled
For listener Kathy Shrout of Preston, Kentucky, this Monday marks the end of 51 years of anticipation.
“I have waited since I was 10 years old … to see this eclipse,” Shrout said.
When Shrout was a schoolgirl, a teacher gave her a Little Golden Book about the solar system that listed the dates for future eclipses.
“I knew I’d never go very far from Kentucky, and I happened to see one way off in 2017 that would hit the edge of Kentucky and Tennessee. And I thought to myself, ‘Well, I’ll never live that long!’” Shrout said.
But she never forgot the date. At the time, Shrout was obsessed with outer space and desperately wanted to be an astronaut.
“It stuck in my head, all these years, it stuck in my head. I think I’m just so enamored about that I can’t stop thinking about it once I found out,” she said.
Shrout is taking her family to Sweetwater, Tennessee, to camp out Sunday night and watch the eclipse together Monday. She says she’s driving her family crazy with her anticipation.
“It's an exciting thing for me, and I can't stop talking about it,” Shrout said.
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From PRI's The World ©2017 PRI