The Great Solar Eclipse of 2017 crossed the continent, from Oregon to South Carolina, and gave millions of people the chance to witness one of the most awe-inspiring events in the natural world.
Nik's photo of the August 21 eclipse, photographed from Glendo, Wyoming. The star, Regulus, is barely visible to the lower left of the solar corona.
But you had to be within the "path of totality", a narrow band across the earth's surface
several thousand miles long but only about 70 miles wide. Outside that band you would only see a partial eclipse, not a total eclipse.
And there is no such thing as a "partial total eclipse", despite the impression blogs and the news media might give.
I honestly think that's why so many people misunderstand the utter beauty of the spectacle; they may have seen a partial eclipse in the past that was total somewhere else, and even though they weren't in the path the news kept gushing about it being a total
eclipse, so they assume they must have seen a total eclipse and just didn't find it all that impressive.
Posted by Dan 08/29/2017, revised 09/06/2017
(Our kids have grown and are no longer posting blog stories here.
Below are some highlights from past posts.)
Mama Didn't Raise No Quitter
I was pretty fired up for the Half Moon Bay International Triathlon. International distance is what I do best, and I knew it would feel delightfully short after last weekend's 70.3
It was cold and foggy in the morning and transition was first come, first served, with a pretty good size crowd (800+). I still have bad memories from a race back in Illinois, where I was sassed by a group of snotty, entitled teenagers when I asked them to make space on the rack for my bike, so I greatly prefer pre-assigned transition spots. And people my own age. Luckily, this time around my rack-mates were courteous and accommodating, and there was room for all of us.
On this grey day, the ocean swim did not look particularly inviting, and the water temperature, at "56-59 degrees," was definitely freeze-your-face-off cold. I tried to get a warm-up swim in before the race start, but the combination of salt water buoyancy and my instinctive recoil from anything so obnoxiously cold meant that I just skimmed along the top of the water like a cat, without actually getting wet.
The swim started some distance out from shore, and since we couldn't hear the announcer from way out there, many of us were still in deep discussion about the possible location of the buoys when the race started. The swim took place in a harbor, and as such, it was filled with boats. The aerial diagram of the swim course had seemed pretty straightforward, but down at sea level, the boats blocked the view of the buoys, so navigation was tough. Unsettling though that was, my swim time was OK, so I must not have gotten too far off course.
The run to transition was REALLY long, but my T1 was 3:15, fastest of the women, despite the epic battle between my wetsuit and my frozen hands and feet.
It was chilly as I started out on the bike, so I immediately set to work on gaining speed and heat at the same time.
I didn't get a good look at the rock that attacked me, but I was not even two miles into the bike when I heard the crack of carbon rim colliding with something it shouldn't, and the accompanying fizz of a rapidly deflating tire. Although disappointed, I remained calm as I pulled over to confront my situation. My tire changing skills are at least on a par with my transition skills, and until today I had not had the pleasure of testing them out in a race environment. I know I can change a tire in under 3 minutes, and I had all the tools I needed.
... but there was just one crucial element missing:
Numb and lifeless, my Mickey Mouse paws refused to cooperate. I fought with the tire as ten, twenty, thirty cyclists blew past. A police officer on a motorcycle pulled over to observe my struggle. I finally succeeded in wrangling the new tube into place and shot it with a blast of C02. But as I pulled the cartridge away, I could still hear a hiss of air.
My new tube was leaking.
Posted by Kimberly 04/22/2015