I’ve been home for two days and I’m finally getting around to writing my blog post of the big event … experiencing totality.  Quick summary – all I can say that it is the first time that a major event has actually exceeded the hype.  It was, without a doubt, one of the coolest things I have ever experienced!

On Monday morning, we all got up early after another cold night of sleeping in tents and assembled for the one hour hike up about 1200 vertical feet covering two miles to the highest ridge overlooking the ranch and the central Oregon valleys to view the eclipse from a prime vantage point.

When we arrived at the summit, the eclipse had started and we could look through our eclipse glasses and see the moon begin to cover the sun.

Over the course of about 15 minutes, the landscape went from this …

To this …


Here is a video I took of the approximately one minute leading up to totality …

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Moonshadow Festival Wrap-Up

Home in LA now and catching up on my big adventure.  Michael and I had a great evening Sunday in anticipation of the big eclipse event on Monday.  Hung out in the music festival with several very friendly camp mates and enjoyed a pleasant evening of Oregon folk music.

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Sunday Morning at Moonshadow Festival

It was a cold night sleeping last night!  It is surprising how the wheather goes from hot days to pretty cool evenings!  Slept reasonably well (Michael seemed to do better), but I think I’ll definitely be catching a nap this afternoon.  The stars were pretty incredible last night after all the lights went out at the ranch!

We decided to drive into Prineville this morning to get some breakfast and get back onto the grid for a little while.  Prineville is the nearest town to the ranch.  It’s about 10 miles south of the Winedown ranch and just on the edge of the Totality Zone.

Here is the schedule for today.  I caught the flute blessing but skipped out on the yoga.  

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Moonshadow Festival – Night One

Had a good evening last night listening to a couple of bands …

Eating a massive hot dog from this guy

And, the highlight … listening to authentic cowboy storytelling

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Saturday Afternoon at Moonshadow Festival

We arrived a couple of hours ago and set up camp. I’m sitting here relaxing now in my new comfy camp chair and am just soaking in the surroundings. I came across a travel quote on the drive that I can’t pull up (no cell signal). but it essentially said that one of the best things about travel is when you’re bored. That means that you don’t have anything to do and don’t want anything to do.  

The place is quieter than I expected, at least so far. But, of course, I didn’t know what to expect. Anyways, there is something fitting about the current atmosphere as we wait for the eclipse on Monday morning. Small groups of people scattered in tents around a large open field. Families, couples, small groups of friends … all basically just chilling out. In the distance, a band playing on the main stage (I’ll go check them out later).
It is even more so for me now as I am totally off the grid. I’m typing this sitting outside the tent, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to upload it. 

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Heading Into the Zone of Totality

I may be off the grid until Tuesday.  Full report then!

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View 202

Had a surprisingly excellent dinner tonight at a restaurant here in Redding called View 202.  Beautiful view of the Sacramento River and the country beyond and excellent food in a very pleasant atmosphere!

Tomorrow morning we head another 5-6 hours to our ranch/music festival just north of Bend, Oregon.  I intend to keep blogging, but I’ve been warned that cell service is likely to be weak to non-existent, so don’t worry if you don’t hear anything from me until next Tuesday!

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Stopover in Redding

Day one on our pilgrimage to Oregon for the eclipse (it sort of feels that way).  Left the house around 6:00AM and had a reasonably pleasant drive 555 mile drive.  Pleasant because Michael did all of the driving.  We listened to interesting podcasts and audiobooks on the drive as well as previewing some of the Indie bands that are going to be performing at the festival.  We stopped several times on the routs which turned 8-9 hours of driving time into about 12 hours door-to-door.  Michael and I both like using Yelp to find interesting local places to eat on our drive instead of the usual fast food and chain restaurants.  We stopped for breakfast at a nice local diner in Sylmar 

And a very American grill-style place in downtown Modesto that, somewhat surprisingly, had some very cool jazz-oriented art on the walls and served great burgers.

We’re staying at the Redding Super 8 motel (one of the top rated hotels in Redding.  Seriously).  
We’ve got a dinner reservation later this evening at an interesting looking place that appears to have great views of the Sacramento River that runs through the city.

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On the Road Again – to the Land of Darkness (for about 2-3 minutes)!

Last month, I re-activated my blog for my trip to France after being dormant for over 4 years.  When I returned, I figured it would be a significant period of time until I re-activated it again.  Wrong!!

Last week, my son Michael called to ask if we still had any of our old Boy Scout camping gear around.  It had been mostly locked in a storage container for about 10 years, but I still had the padlock key, and it was all still there!  He told me that he had decided to drive the 14 hours to Oregon and camp at a cattle ranch/music festival to experience the upcoming solar eclipse in its path of totality.  Some of his friends were going to join him but they all backed out for different reasons, so he decided to go by himself, which I thought was very cool!   

Anyways, after thinking about it for a day or two, I decided to join him for this once in a lifetime experience.  Friday morning early, we’ll be leaving to drive north towards Oregon.  The plan is to stop in Redding, CA for the first evening and arrive at the Wine Down ranch mid-day Saturday to set up our camp.  I’m excited for the indie/folk/bluegrass music, the hiking in the beautiful central Oregon countryside, and, mostly, to experience a total solar eclipse!

The eclipse is Monday morning.  We’re planning to not try to fight the traffic to leave the area that day, but to stay Monday night and enjoy the rest of the festival and then head to Portland on Tuesday.  Michael has booked an air bnb in Portland where he will stay the rest of the week after I leave to fly back to LA on Wednesday.

I plan to take my iPad and to blog again during this trip.  However, I’m told to expect very spotty cell coverage that will probably be overwhelmed by the influx of visitors for the eclipse, so I may well be off the grid for a few days up there.  I’ll keep blogging, but the posts may not make it online until after we leave the area on next Tuesday.

I’m very excited about this short-notice mini-adventure!!

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Paris, je t’aime

“Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I’d never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it was something I’d forgotten or something I’ve been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.” – from the final vignette of Paris Je T’Aime

Before I left for my trip, I watched several movies set in France.  My top two recommendations are Midnight in Paris and The Hundred Foot Journey.  However, the one that has stuck with me is Paris, je t’aime.  It consists of 18 short vignettes, each set in a different Paris arrondissement (neighborhood) and each done by separate directors and casts.  It is, of course, uneven but the final vignette from which the above quote comes is remarkable.  The vignette can be viewed here:

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