We All Did Our Part

If you’ve ever seen a total solar eclipse, you may be hooked. We saw one in 2017 at the Riverton City Park in Wyoming.* As the moon completed its consumption of the sun, we took off our eclipse glasses and stared at the black ball surrounded by a halo of fire. I remember saying a few intelligible things like “Oh My God” and “I can’t believe it,” followed by a lot of random sounds of awe, before bursting into tears. After I recovered and returned to planet earth, my first question was “When and where is the next one?” After that once-in-a-lifetime experience, I was eager to make it twice-in-a-lifetime. Roberto fiddled on his phone for a while. “It’s April 8, 2024, and Texas would be the closest to us.”

“2024?! Texas?! Oh, no,” I moaned. “I’ll be old, really old by then, and Texas may have seceded from the union — or at least closed their borders to us radical New Mexicans.”

But the years rolled by and before I knew it, I was plotting how to be in Texas, April 8, 1:29 pm Central Daylight Time. In January, I began the search for locations within the path of totality for viewing and lodging. Working with friends who signed on to the caravan, we chose southwest Texas, the closest drive from Santa Fe. I snagged rooms in Junction (pop. 2,514) at a Quality Inn for $398 a night (rate before and after the eclipse was $99). Roberto and I hitched a ride with our friend Carolyn, and headed for our first night in Brownfield, Texas. Excitement was high as we chatted in the restaurant with fellow eclipse travelers – all of us in our eclipse T-shirts — comparing notes on past eclipses, sharing adventures from the road, and checking the weather forecasts.

Roberto snaps view from the back seat. Carolyn at the wheel.
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