Need Advice re: Traveling to See the Eclipse

I haven’t made any advanced plans to view the August eclipse such as booking a hotel room and a flight but I’m hoping to find a way to see it in person anyway. I don’t know anyone who lives in the eclipse path who I can stay with so I’m on my own. How can I pull this off?

I live in the SF Bay Area and I probably have a car I can use. Given my time restrains I think I could travel as far as maybe Wyoming to see it but I’d rather be closer. Oregon would be the best but it seems like there are a LOT of people who will view it there. Particularly in the East near the Cascades as that area apparently is noted for having the statistically lowest cloud cover (25%) along the entire eclipse track.

I have at least a few different issues to deal with:

  1. The lack of available lodging in or near the eclipse track that day.

  2. Whether the sky will be clear where I am and the possibility of driving somewhere else if I need to (how blocked will the roads be with others trying to do the same thing?)

  3. How much it will cost. I’m prepared to lay out some money for this but don’t have a lot. Of course I’ll have to pay for gas and food, etc., but I can’t afford to pay some hotel’s vastly inflated prices for that day.
    The rough outline of a idea I have is to drive to a small city/town that’s maybe 150-200 miles away from the eclipse track and get a room from August 20 - 22 hoping that it still has a room and is not too expensive. Then, following the weather forecast, I would choose some relatively accessible area to drive to on the 21st to see the show and then drive back to the hotel room afterward.

I can see there could be problems with this plan though so I’m looking for advice on how to better this idea or even any ideas for a totally different plan.

Thank you all for your help.

I just spent much of the past hour or so dinking around on some hotel reservations sites to see room availability in and near the path. I’m in the Midwest, and it was no surprise to me that they’re pretty much all sold out in Carbondale and Jefferson City, which are in the center of the totality path. However, there are still rooms available in some of the less-prime viewing areas, and just outside the path, they are plentiful, at least for now.

Where I view it will depend on regional weather conditions.

I live in Portland. If I don’t mosey down to the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge (which is absolutely on the path of totality) for a picnic I reckon my front porch will do. Late afternoon in August I’m not going to worry any about cloud cover.

I hear tell that every campground is way booked, most hotels are too in any town along the path of totality.

I have a hotel room reserved in Eugene, OR, for the night before, but I’m having second, third, and fourth thoughts about using it, because people are saying the traffic on I-5 will be a nightmare, and I hate driving even in normal traffic.

Rent or borrow a RV. [Or you could just sleep in your car or a tent]

That could work but the RV rental would be beyond my financial means.

As for sleeping in my car, isn’t that frown upon by Johnny Law? And where would I do that. In a rest area? And I’m beginning to wonder how bad the traffic will be. I don’t mind traffic jams as much as most people do but if the delay is so great that I’d miss the eclipse then that would be a bummer.

How much is your room, if I may ask? How far are you coming from ? How bad do you expect the traffic to be?

I actually grew up, and still have family and friends, in Indianapolis. I could drive from there somewhere to see the eclipse. But from the average cloud cover statistics I’ve seen much of the Midwest had a good chance (on average) of being overcast.

I found some hotel rooms in Rock Springs Wyoming that have decent rates (around $60 - $80) but that’s about 200 miles from the eclipse belt. I don’t mind the drive but I’m worried about traffic. Just how bad do you all think it will be?

My husband checked out rooms in Kearney, Nebraska, and found some. However, he did not reserve one, I don’t think (this was a couple of weeks ago). I would think there will be some because nobody wants to go to Kearney, but also, because of that, I don’t think there are a lot of rooms there.

We plan (very rough plan) to drive there. Normally we could get into the path in about 2-1/2 hours, but there will be construction and I guess there could be a lot of traffic. If we go to Wyoming, there will for sure be a lot of traffic because there always is on I-25, but if we go to Nebraska…it should be not so much traffic. Because there’s not a lot, of anything, in western Nebraska. except sunflowers.

Dispersed camping on National Forest Service land is perfectly legal.

We have a small plane but the airports along the path are going to be very crowded indeed. We plan to drive up a couple days in advance and just camp wild (or sleep in the car). We’ll bring all the food and water we need and plan to avoid the interstate and most state highways.

I am going to central Oregon.
I had to change my original plans, because the expected crowds are supposed to be off-the-charts.
I was told by a Parks employee that a trip that normally takes 1 hour might take 12-18, and to bring extra gas and food, because people will be getting stuck…



[li]Google “2017 Solar Eclipse path”[/li][li]Go to & zoom in to find a town along that path[/li][li]Go to Expedia or Orbitz & search for hotels in/near that town.[/li]
[li]The last website will give you housing costs & google maps will give you distance, which can be used to calculate driving costs, based upon MPG of your vehicle.[/ul][/li]
SF has some of the most expensive hotels in the country, less populated area will cost significantly less. Central/Eastern OR & ID are not the most populated states & because it’s not just one town there where this is happening traffic shouldn’t be too bad in any one town.

I’ve been to Punxsutawney for Groundhog’s Day. Punx is a two-stoplight town that you wouldn’t miss much if you blinked on 364 days of the year. That 365th day, they get tens of thousands of visitors & even then traffic is measured in minutes, not hours.

Even if traffic is awful, if you go a day early, you’re in no hurry to get there.

Here in south east idaho they’re expecting around half a million visitors.

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It is probably too late for you to acquire some relatives who will voluntarily move to Oregon on your behalf. That’s the ‘save’ for us. Both hubby and I have first degree relatives living there that we can lean on.

I am worried about traffic. We may have to settle for watching the eclipse slightly outside the zone of totality, since the relative we plan to stay with is in south Portland. But we’re hoping to get up early enough to drive into the path of totality then sit and wait. Gad, on a Monday!!

It’s a morning eclipse in Oregon, not afternoon, if I understand things correctly, so the clarity of the sky in the afternoon isn’t going to be a help. We’ll probably go all the way up, and the skies will be overcast the whole time!! And we will be saved a second time by our relatives who will be a fun visit anyway.

I’m curious. Were you planning to be up in the air during the eclipse and view it from up there? Or were you going to use the plane to get somewhere to view it on the ground?

Do you have some airline miles you can use?

Kansas City International Airport is in the path of totality. As in, step outside of the terminal, and you can watch the eclipse.

If you can find a cheap flight from the Bay area, you’re in.

Of course, you might have to spend Sunday night at the terminal, and they might not look favorably on your sleeping there, but you can probably find a corner someplace to curl up for a couple hours.

Would you prefer St. Louis? The airport is just outside the path of totality, but you can literally hop on the MetroLink and ride it to totality (or transfer to a bus that will take you a little further south)

But it’s not as though they don’t have wide open spaces for those visitors who’ll likely be there for a day or two at most (depending on where exactly you mean in SE ID).
We’re heading to Rigby from northern Utah.

The room was about 60 bucks. I’m coming from the Seattle area. And I expect the traffic to be a solid mass inching along after the eclipse.

If I had been smart, I would have gotten a room for the night after the eclipse, instead of the night before.

The room is non-refundable, but with the circus this has become, I’m thinking it’s worth a try to tell the hotel that if they will let me give the room back without penalty, I’ll let them take it without penalty, because now they can probably rent it for twice what they’d be getting from me.