I drove 17 hours total and 1000 miles round-trip to Loudon Tn to see 2.5 minutes of total eclipse. I had and have cognitive dissonance about the effort and expense vs reward. I'm an amateur astronomer so I sort of had to do it.

Traveling from Virginia, we were on I64, I81, I75. I don't think we were ever out of sight of huge cell towers. I counted six platforms on some of them. Shentel and USCC are a thing down there. We had Verizon and AT&T and they worked fine all the way. We even had cell service out in the very rural area West of Loudon.

I had a AT&T Mobley Connected Car. It worked fine. We didn't really need it with plenty of mobile data on our phones and tablets. Just for fun, the passenger live streamed the DC local news video while we were cruising along the interminable highway. At one hotel the Wifi password access did not work. At 11 pm after driving for hours, I did not feel like calling the 800 number to try to sort it out. I got the Mobley out of the car and it was faster than hotel Wifi anyway. I saw a max of 23 Mbps at one hotel. That's plenty to do email, web browse and check the TV guide and weather.

The eclipse itself: The weather was perfectly clear. It was impressive and I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't call it a life-changing experience. It didn't get as dark as I expected. I only saw one planet, Venus to the West, and no stars. That was cool enough. Venus is visible in the attached image.

Speaking of cool, a few minutes before during and after the total eclipse, it did get cool enough to be pleasant. Otherwise, it was a sweat-fest. Between the sunscreen, bug spray and perspiration, I stunk bad.

I had a simple telescope with a solar filter that I have had for years. I was able to see a nice string of Sun spots before the eclipse. At the end of totality I was able to see Bailey's Beads. I missed the Diamond Ring at the start. I did see the Diamond Ring at the end naked-eye for a fraction of a second. It was mostly done by the time I got my solar glasses on.

If anyone was at Sweetwater, I would be interested in how things went there.

Why post here? This is the only social media I use. I hope it is of some interest to some.

[Edit] The bright spot of the Sun is not the sphere of the Sun. It is the Corona. The dark spot in the center is the Sun itself covered by the Moon. It's was just a quick pic with my cellphone.

Cheers,
Bob

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