On to the Solar Eclipse…

My first visit to Burns was only for a week. When I left, it was to head for Vale, Oregon where I had a reservation at the RV park there. Attraction was that the park would be in the path of totality. They were legally allowed to gouge for this once/twice in a lifetime event. I really wanted to see another eclipse, so I paid the outrageous $640/week they asked. They also had a non-refundable deposit that I’d paid months before to hold the spot. The parked looked like they were trying to put lipstick on a pig with the few ‘improvements’ the newer owners had made to the place. All the power towers were 30 amp and showed their age, as did the other connections. I had spent many hours searching for a decent place to stay for quite a while before I eventually settled on Vale, and though I wasn’t all that pleased paying that much for a 2nd class park, it had the shade trees I wanted and the Wifi was amazingly fast. More than 15 Mbps down! (That’s very good for a RV park).

It’s only a 2 hour drive for a car so 3 hours for my RV. Enjoyed this trip a lot because it’s country I’ve never been to even though I’ve lived in the area most of my life.

I arrived at the park in Vale on August 18th, with reservations to August 24th. The eclipse is on August 21st. This is the high desert of Oregon, and as it is August it’s hot so I was happy my RV space had shade from several large trees. Most of the other nearby sites suffered from the heat that week. Not the most attractive park I’ve been too either, they will not get repeat business from me because of the poor condition of their facilities (due to age), and the price gouging they did…even though it was legal, it was a bit over the top for this park, something I couldn’t tell from their online presence when I reserved a spot. At this late date it was impossible to find another park to stay at this close to totality. This would be a $150/week park in normal circumstances, in my opinion. And $300/week for the eclipse wouldn’t be out of line. But $640/week? When I went searching for a place to stay back in April, this was one of the few in the path that still had spaces, and Wifi, and shade trees.

The morning shade worked for me, my neighbor though…his AC died and there’s no local RV service. And the shade wasn’t enough. He and the wife had to tough it out for the few days they were here.There’s the bathrooms and laundry in that block building. No swimming pool or club house or anything. They do have a small convenience and RV accessories store. Everything was clean, but aged. Check out all the afternoon shade. Made it rather comfortable. INside, with the AC on.But, I knew the cost when I signed up so whining about it now isn’t too cool so I’ll shut up about it. I was comfortable here as it was. Only a block from a nice grocery store, I could bike ride everywhere, and a Les Schwab tire store nearby too.

First thing I did after setting up in my space was hook up to park cable (remember my satellite was out?) and, damn, that’s not working. After messing with that for a while, tried a different coax cable and boom, I have cable TV. Great. Then went to work on the satellite by contacting DirecTv tech support. And soon the new cable box was on it’s way. Got it in 2 days. Hooked it all up and I have satellite TV again. Strange how the satellite dish cable went bad, the cable coax cable went bad, and the satellite receiver went bad all around the same time. Without there being any electrical disturbance that I’m aware of. No lightening storms or anything. Well, bad stuff happens in threes so everything should be fine now. However, logically, one small lightening strike somewhere near could have taken out all three, even though I’ve got one of those protective devices on the incoming AC lines. Suppose it could have been a low energy lightening strike directly to my rooftop satellite dish that I didn’t notice?

Well, anyway that was all working now, and after a couple days, I rode my bike around town and got a few pictures of the murals this town is known for…

Very nice. Some of them need refurbishing, but most are excellent.

The museum. I planned on visiting when it was open but never made it.

Scouted out the general area for a good place to view the eclipse and didn’t mind driving a bit. In fact I kind of planned on it based on my earlier in the year research. The RV park was OK as a fall back viewing location, like if I threw out my back or got sick or something, but I wanted a little better place to watch it. So again I spent an hour or two on the internet and rediscovered the town of Brogan. Just 27 miles north of Vale. Not bad. Drove up there and checked it out, small town, has a tiny city park with nice big shade trees to help cool off the area, an old but usable port-a-pottie, benches to rest on, and grass. Oh, and plenty of parking for a small crowd. And I expected a fairly small crowd way out there in nowhere Oregon.

Got there early, set up my equipment, sat in my lawn chair and waited for the big event. The 2nd solar eclipse I’d be enjoying in my life. The last one was so neat I wanted to expirience another one.

This is a setup shot I took while trying to adjust to holding a solar viewing lens over the camera lens. I had my tripod but it was still tricky. This is just a few seconds after the eclipse was scheduled to start.Here we can see it’s about 1/4 of the way along.There’s always someone at these events that has better equipment. Here’s a projection of the eclipse at around 7/8’s. Back to my camera. Almost gone…And here we have totality.Taken without the filter. On it’s way back. Totality lasted just 2 minutes plus here. And the entire event only lasts about an hour, but it’s worth it.Here’s the dusty main street in this town. It’s a farming community, but I discovered it has an RV park! Just a few feet from where I took this picture. WTH? I didn’t even know. Must have missed it in my google searches. And they had empty spaces for $50/night for the eclipse week. I could have come here, stayed a week, and saved almost three hundred. Damnit. Nothing here, not even a store any more, but, I’m self contained.

After that excitement, went back to Vale and hung out for several more days. Visited a nearby big town, and on the way found that my car was vibrating a little at 60 MPH so had Les Schwab dismount, balance, and remount them because they were also losing air too easily. The first try didn’t work, the vibration at speed was worse then when I took it to them, so took it back and they spin balanced to show me that two of the tires wobble. Why didn’t they do that the first time, or mention it? So I had them put the two wobblers on the rear and the non wobblers on the front. No charge. After they tested good in a road test, I remembered that time I’d hit a parking separator at 5 MPH or so. Just drove right into it. Pretty sure that’s what caused it. Anyway, they’re fixed now so I’m pleased.

So that’s it for this post. Next time, head back to Burns but stay in Narrows nearby instead.

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One Response to On to the Solar Eclipse…

  1. ReneeG from Idaho says:

    Always seems that way. You find a better place when you get there. We’ve always wanted to stay at Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort. Check it out.

    I’d already paid so much for the place in Vale, that I had to laugh about it. I drove through the park and it would have worked for me, but I’m pretty sure it only had 15 or 20 amp. That would have meant I couldn’t run the AC. And there wasn’t any shade. Just a big open grassy field for the RVs with some trees on the periphery, but none where the RVs parked. There were several spots left on eclipse day but they did have some class A’s.

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