The initial focus of this three week trip is to meet up with three Seale Brothers and some of the family for the August 21 Eclipse. Cynthia and I left Olympia on Aug. 17 and stayed at the Crow Butte Park on the Columbia, then on Aug. 18 stayed at the Copperfield Campground Operated by Idaho Power on the Snake River at the Oxbox Dam. Normally this campground would be very crowded, but it is outside the path of totality so folks were heading elsewhere and the campground was only about 1/3 full. Thankfully, electrical hookups allowed us to run our A/C unit to counteract the 97 degree heat.
On Aug. 19th we made our way to the family rendezvous point in the Boise National Forest north of Ola, Idaho. This involved taking gravel “back roads” for the last 30 miles. Brother Steve had already placed a trailer on a pull-out on a sagebrush-cheat grass covered ridge off a national forest road about 4200 feet up. Brother Bob had arrived in his motor-home about an hour earlier. Brother Steve and Lori arrived post-midnight on Sunday, and then most of the rest of his family later on Sunday. It was a chance for a nice family “catch-up,” especially with Steve’s grandkids (our grand-nephews) on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Our spot gave us great views of the sky and a good perch for the eclipse.
What to say about the Eclipse? It’s an unforgettable experience. No attempt at recording with my iPhone does it justice and I am not attempting to share it here. I was surprised that, although it got dark, you could see light some miles away, so were in a sort of “hole” of darkness. Even after the sun started re-emerging, it felt cool. We detected a drop of about 8 degrees.
Within an hour after the Eclipse we left, heading further east on a gravel road until we reached pavement (Idaho 55) at Smith’s Ferry and headed south. There were flaggers there to control traffic converging from three directions and we made good time for about five miles before getting caught in further congestion. After stopping along the Payette river for lunch, we ended up spending two hours in nearly motionless traffic to get ninw miles to our junction to head up the South Fork of the Payette River from Banks, Idaho.