Scott McKenzie was one of an estimated 100,000 people who travelled to Madras, Ore. to view Monday’s eclipse in its totality.
“We wanted to go somewhere where there would be lots of people, where there would be that atmosphere of experiencing the eclipse with lots of other people,” said McKenzie.
The Carihi science teacher did the road trip with his two sons and one of their friends.
“(I) figured it would be a good time for me to experience it for sure, and probably for my kids too, unless they come into a lot of money and decide to become world travellers but I think it’s the only time for the foreseeable future for an eclipse like that in North America, I believe anyways,” he said.
The McKenzies took six days to drive down to Madras. They chose the little town in Oregon for its inland location. McKenzie figured the further inland they got the better chance of a clear day and unobstructed view they had.
They joined the crowds in a farmer’s field called ‘Solar Town’ for the event.
“It was pretty neat in that…the moon started to cover the sun at about 10 after nine, so we got about an hour and 10 minutes of just looking up and watching through the eclipse glasses,” McKenzie said.
What he remembers most is the chill that went through the air in the last five minutes before totality. McKenzie also said he was glad he took a minute to look away from the celestial event because in every direction the horizon looked like it does at dawn or dusk.
“Even in totality there was light all around us,” he said.
The number of people at the gathering became even more apparent when McKenzie was leaving. He said that despite being near the front of the car brigade and heading north after the eclipse, away from where the majority of the people were camped out, it took more than three hours to travel the first 40 km out of Madras.