Like many another skywatcher who has never seen a total solar eclipse, I’m scouting places to see the big event that will, failing a world-ending electoral event in the interim, occur a year from now.
For Californians, Oregon is the natural eclipse-watching destination. The path of totality will cross the Beaver State just north of Bend, east of the Cascades and an area that’s reliably sunny.
Lots of people have figured out that this part of Oregon is strategically located. The owner of a 72-room motel in Madras, along the line where totality will be longest in the area — 2 minutes and 3 seconds — says his place has been booked for more than three years.
I admit I can imagine a crowd descending on the area and the roads resembling something like rush hour here in the Bay Area. It’s not an inspiring thought. Still, we’re checking to see what lodging alternatives there might be up there.
My thoughts also tend further east. Maybe to the High Plains. It’s a different world out there. In noodling around looking for places one might stay out in flyover country, I happened across the following description of a tiny hostelry in a very small town. It’s one of the best things I’ve read today. I’m protecting the place’s identify in case I try to book a room there. Here goes:
There is a very slim chance that you are going to visit this motel in Unnamed Town. There are several reasons for this, chief among them that almost no one lives here, and it is not on the road to anywhere. The motel’s primary mission in life is to serve as an overflow bedroom when more than one relative comes to visit a resident at the same time.
You will not break down in or near this place because, as noted above, it is not on the road to anywhere.
Should you need to visit, the motel here is the only place to stay. That is literally the truth. The rooms are quite small but very clean. Your hosts, Mr. and Mrs Smith, are without a doubt the friendliest motel hosts in the business. There is a small TV in each room connected to the satellite system, so there is a wide range of programing available. If you want coffee in the morning the Smiths will give you the fixins before you turn in. Even though they have a bona fide monopoly on rooms to rent, $40 will get you the finest room in the place.
Sadly there is not WIFI hook up, but all is not lost. … On the other side of the highway sits the county public school. The school has a nice strong signal to which you can connect if you park near the handicapped parking spots along the highway in front of the school.
The motel does not provide breakfast but just a block and a half west you will find Uncle Bob’s Restaurant. Uncle Bob is a middle aged gentleman who fires up the grill about 9 each morning and can whip you up a sausage breakfast that should make Ronald MacDonald hide his head in shame.
As I said before, you are probably not going to be in or near this place, but if you are, you will experience first hand the friendly nature of the folks who live there.