The Eclipse

The Eclipse

Charles getting ready for the eclipse. The umbrella was to keep the camera safe, until just the right time!


We were there! Tennessee, right in the zone. The center of the zone. That would mean two full minutes, or more, of witnessing the total eclipse of the sun. I have seen a partial eclipse before. There is something eerily awesome about watching the moon take a bite out of the sun. But I had never seen a total eclipse before.

No words could ever describe the awe that I experienced that day! Even these incredible pictures that my son, Charles L A Smith, took, cannot portray the incredible impact of actually witnessing that glorious event in the heavens. That dazzling image, and the fact that I was able to share it with my son, will be a cherished memory, tucked safely, in the corner of my mind, for the rest of my life! 

That first bite out of the sun.

Watching, waiting, anticipating!

The sun is almost gone, slowly being hidden by the moon.

Soon, soon!

There was that tiny bit of sunlight left, still too bright to look at with out the special glasses. Then suddenly, immediately, the sky, which had been getting dim, went dark, and you could see the stars. But that was not the reason for the collective gasp, that was followed by a moment of awed silence, before everyone broke into ecstatic cheers. That was caused by the shift from golden, brilliant, sunlight, to extraordinary, long, silver, rays, flaring out from behind, what was to us, the dark side of the moon! 

The heavens do indeed declare the glory of the Lord!

SPECTACULAR!

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The Journey

The Journey

A Record.

For you, gentle reader, who did not know, this all started when my father passed away in February, and Charles and I took a train back for the funeral. I was doing better there, in Kentucky.  We didn’t realize that it’s because it was the winter time. We went to Kentucky and it didn’t work. Looking back at my emails, I believe we left Arizona somewhere around March 14th. One of my emails to my pastor in Arizona was talking about the fact that the van was overheating a few days later.  It got more interesting as we went along.  We arrived in Kentucky on April 12th, we found the property that we were renting on May 1st, and then the creek dried up! You can read a previous post called, Saying Goodbye, to see what happened there.

After we left Kentucky, we set out for Arlington, Virginia, and that was … interesting. Going to Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia, was actually very healing.  It was the trip getting there, that was downright interesting. We were at Gentry Auto in Corbin, Kentucky, which is a great auto shop if you ever need one. I think that all of the work was done on our vehicles by the 24th. Even now it’s becoming a blur, which is why I want this record of what happened! I think we actually left Corbin, Kentucky on July 25th and we did not get to Arlington until August 13th. 518 of the toughest miles we traveled. If we got in 60 or 70 miles a day, we were grateful, because I was not doing well, the van was not doing well, Charles was not doing well, and we were still fighting a mold/mildew issue in Charlie’s truck. We actually wound up going to a remote free campgrounds in Virginia, to take care of the issues with Charlie’s truck. The Pines campgrounds north of New Castle, Virginia. There were a couple of times when I wasn’t sure the van was going to get up the hills, or should I say mountains! This is the Appalachians were talking about. There were also times when I was smoking the brakes getting down the hills. But the campgrounds itself was beautiful, quiet, remote, with no cellular signal at all, and no electricity around for miles. I slept better the 3 days that we were there, than I have in a very long time.  They even had a totally cool, old fashioned, hand pumped, well, that had the most delicious water! 

We found this on our last day there. Here you can see Charles mugging it for the camera. He is such a pistol!

The situation was difficult at best. Mold is something both, Charlie and I, are extremely susceptible to. There was one bright shining spot in the middle of that madness. I actually got to meet a friend of mine, in person, for the first time! Someone who I have only known online. That was quite a surprise, but a wonderul one! Thanks to my friends good help, we were able to clean up, and paint the bed of Charlie’s Truck, and continue on our way to Arlington. For the record, my van does not like mountains, and Virginia has them everywhere! But we got to Arlington, and had a very special time together at my husband’s gravesite.

 We left Arlington, Virginia on August 13th, and limped our way down to the Rhea Campgrounds, near Spring City, Tennessee. It took 4 days of what seemed like very hard pushing to get through that 548 miles. By that time, the van was not running well during the day, and was starting to choke down going up hills. But when you consider how long it took for us to get to Arlington, we thought we were doing pretty dag gumb good! We were at Rhea Campgrounds for two weeks and had a chance to recover, from a lot of difficult issues. While we were at the campgrounds, there was one spectacular event!

We were also able to witness the total eclipse of the sun. We were right in the center of the zone!  Yes. That was a deliberate choice on our part. When we realized that we were going to be in the right part of the country, at just about the right time, we started looking for ways to get to a good spot so that we could see this incredible Heavenly event. When we first got to the campgrounds there were just a few campers. That number increased greatly that weekend, but on the day of the eclipse, it was crazy!   At least double the number of people came, from what they thought they were going to get there in Spring City, and they knew it was going to be packed. 

Here is Mr Photographer! Behind him you can see that there are people lined up on the boat dock. We had a Primo spot there at the campgrounds!

The total eclipse itself was awe-inspiring. I didn’t know it would be that way. I have seen partial eclipses, where the sky gets dim, and seems almost like an old black and white photo, but this was incredible. We had been watching, as the moon slowly crept over the face of the sun. Until there was just one tiny bit of golden sun, still shining out from behind the moon.   Then suddenly that disappeared, the sky got very dark, and you could see the stars, but it was the sun itself that caused the collective gasp, and then cheers, from the hundreds of people who were there. Incredible, long, silver, tongues of fire, came leaping out from behind the dark circle of the Moon. It was extraordinary! I did get one picture, which I have yet to download, but even if I showed you, it would not be enough.  If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, you know that seeing it in a photograph, or even seeing it in a movie, cannot compare to actually going there, to see it, with your own eyes. The eclipse was so far beyond my first awe inspired glimpse of the Grand Canyon, that it’s hard to describe the sense of wonder and awe that came over me!

The heavens do indeed declare the name of the Lord!

Most of our time at the campgrounds, was spent taking it easy.  It was certainly a great place to do that!

I did mention we had a primo spot! Can you believe it! This is a free campgrounds!


Beautiful, simply beautiful!


Here is The Boy, kicking back, while working on some photos!

Laughing with children as they put the rope swing in my camp to good use!  

That grin says it all!

Oh my! Hold on tight!

 

Yes! Those rocks made me very nervous too! But they all did well! Except for Charles! Ask about his swing off the rope! Okay, I will give you a hint on how it went. He is 6’2 tall!

It was there at Rhea Campgrounds, that Charlie came up with the concept we called The Mad Dash!

More on that next time!