Trip Notes: Chasing The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse In Kansas City And Boonville

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"Diamond ring" as the moon covers the sun in Boonville, MO, August 2017
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View another solar eclipse trip report by DDF member shayaj here. Some of his pictures appear in this trip report.

The big event of last summer was the total solar eclipse, which would cross over the entire country from sea to shining sea for the first time in 99 years.

 

It was the first total solar eclipse viewable from the US48 in my lifetime, so I knew that we had to go see it with our own eyes.

My in-laws live in Overland Park, Kansas, so we didn’t have to think too hard about where to see the eclipse or about overpaying for hotel accommodations near the eclipse.

For a tiny Jewish community, Overland Park has more than its share of kosher food options. We went to eat at the local Hen House grocery store, which has very good sushi, ribs, and burnt ends as well as some of the best kosher fried chicken you’ll find the world!

 

Sporting goods store Scheels flagship store is in Overland Park and it is just incredible! We spent hours here with the kids and they didn’t want to leave.

Taxidermy mountain:

 

Giant Ferris Wheel:

 

Mini-bowling:

 

Talking Presidents:

 

Simulated sports:

 

Aquarium with coral reef and scuba divers:

 

And that’s only a fraction of the things to do in the 222,000 square foot mega-store. This is the kind of store that should be able to survive in a world of retail dominated by Amazon. It’s a really fun experience that will draw people off of their couch.

Overland Park also has excellent kosher Meshuggah Bagels:

 

As luck would have it, the Indians were in town and I got an great deal on front row seats to the game:

 

We really enjoyed the kosher hot dog stand, which is run by Kohn’s of S. Louis:

Pastrami dog:

After the game, Rafi and Talia ran the bases and had fun on the field:

 

We didn’t make it on this trip, but I’d be remiss ot to mention the Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park:

 

Kids can feed milk to goats, ride ponies, ride mini tractors, and much more.

 

On Sunday evening we met up with Moishe Hersko, better known as “Something Fishy” on DDF, as well as other several other DDFers. I went to the far north with him in 2016 on a Photo DO and he was in the area with several photo DO participants for the total eclipse as well. Later this year we’ll head out to Antarctica together.

The biggest risk of flying somewhere to see a total eclipse is the weather and it sure didn’t look good. Overland Park would only get to 99% of a total eclipse, but that last 1% makes all the difference. Only when the sun is 100% eclipsed can you take your solar glasses off and see one of the rarest sights in existence, the sun’s corona.

We originally planned to drive to nearby S. Joseph to see the total eclipse, but the forecast there did not look good.

While Moishe and my father-in-law were experimenting with a pinhole camera to view the eclipse with:

 

I was working on finding which cities in the center of the eclipse belt had a halfway decent forecast:

 

We settled on Boonville, MO, located a couple of hours drive to the east of us. The forecast there was overcast as well, but it seemed like there might be clear skies there.

In Overland Park on Monday it was rainy and not promising, but we hit the road and started driving to Boonville. We weren’t the only ones with that idea and the freeways were jammed, but luckily Waze knew the side streets to take and we avoided a lot of the traffic, though it still took several hours to drive there.

It rained for nearly the entire way and it sure seemed like our long drive would be pointless.

A DDF member took this video of how bleak our chances looked during the drive:

 

Luckily the skies finally cleared as we approached Boonville.

Boonville is a small little town in Missouri that probably had never seen this many people before. There were people selling parking spots and I’m pretty sure that had to be the first time in history that anyone paid for parking in Boonville!

 

 

With Moishe’s help and a generous loan from B&H, I setup a tripod, a long lens on my Sony A6000, and a solar filter.

We setup shop at Franklin Island Access on the bank of the Missouri river:

 

The total solar eclipse was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The skies started darkening, but it wasn’t the same light as sunset. It was an eerie light that I had never seen before. The temperature plummeted from 90 to 60 degrees and crickets started chirping loudly while the rest of the day’s noises and the wind stopped suddenly. We had to make sure that our kids kept their eclipse glasses on until the moon finally blocked out the sun completely.

Nighttime during the day:

It became even darker outside with the only light provided by the sun’s beautiful corona. The entire crowd gasped as that happened. This is a sight that can’t possibly be properly conveyed with words or with pictures, it’s something that everyone has to experience for themselves. Seeing a 99% eclipse is like seeing nothing compared to the 100% eclipse.

I can totally understand why people fly around the world to see total solar eclipses. It’s truly an electrifying and mesmerizing sight. I took a break from snapping pictures and just enjoyed the moment with my family as we look up at the stunning show in the sky.

#DiamondRing one of the most amazing sights I’ve seen in my life #eclipse2017

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#BeforeAndAfter #SolarEclipse

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After the eclipse we got to watch one person fly off in his self-assembled seaplane back to Texas:

Leaving Boonville:

 

Just after we left Boonville clouds filled the skies. We had picked the perfect spot to view the eclipse. Many people further west didn’t see a thing due to the clouds blocking the show:

 

We flew back though Chicago O’ Hare

 

I sure miss the days of the Continental hub in Cleveland when we could fly nonstop to Kansas City, but at least we were able to enjoy a delicious Milt’s Burger and Rib Sandwich thanks to an Uber delivery to the airport:

 

On 4/8/2024, weather and G-d permitting, I’ll be able to watch a total solar eclipse right from my backyard. I’m already excited just thinking about it 😀

Have you seen a total solar eclipse? Share your experience in the comments!

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46 Comments On "Trip Notes: Chasing The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse In Kansas City And Boonville"

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Like!

Nice stuff!! Trips with Moishe always look great! I can’t wrap my head around the timing of the article though.. oh right! There is a photo DO in Antarctica soon!!

username

Very nice.

Missing the eclipse glasses obligatory picture.

CS

Dan I’m going to Kansas City MO is a few days is the kosher hen house near there?

Israel

Side note: I think it will be very helpful to have a post with all the airports you know that can get a Uber eats delivery with kosher food

Chaim

Went to Charleston last summer

Danny

Dan who has better fried chicken, Izzy’s or the hen house grocery store?

Mountain Man

FTR, Kohn’s makes a really solid pastrami.

Shmiel

we finally get to see something fishys face 🙂 after hes so careful to block his face on ddf TR’s….

davidmal

Get ready for 2024 DDF DO, Also expect to sell parking spots.

Oscar

We had a delay during our layover in Chicago ohare. While we were still taxiing to our gate on the first leg, I called Ta’boun Grill which for only $30 delivered our food to the airport. By the time we got out of the plane and setteled in our lounge it was time for me to meet them outside to pickup the food for my family. Really amazing and life saving.

A

I was in Overland Park that day (didn’t see you )
I only stayed for a day and yes it was pouring in the morning I’ve never seen such a downpour so intense- but it cleared by 12 or so and the eclipse happened at 1 if I remember correctly. It wasn’t as perfect as boonville but I watched it literally until the last second before clouds covered the eclipse and then I was able to see it again a few seconds later when the eclipse was ending.
Very cool experience !
I’ll be at your backyard in 2024!;)

Yakov

Thanks for bringing back great memories. You are absolutely correct; words won’t do justice. I was with a group of friends in Sweetwater TN. Just seeing people posting their memories on social media takes my breath away once again. We had a great road trip, we traveled from NY. I’m so looking forward to the next one!!

John

I live in KC near Liberty, MO and got to see this from my driveway. It was amazing how it rained all morning, the clouds cleared by first contact and then came back with more rain after it was all over. Couldn’t have been more lucky. Great pics and post!

zow

So Rafi is a southpaw?! Tribe could use him. (Great TR. Thanks!)

Felix

If anyone wants to checkout if their local city will have 100% eclipse in 2024: https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2024-april-8

Eer

Thanks

Judy Jones

Thanks for sharing your adventure! It was not very dim in East Glacier Park, but it was a bit different. Might have to go that South America for that one next year!!

Joe

Dan, your kids are really lucky… most my parents took me was to local rides chol hamoed…lol

Moshe

I went up from Miami to Brasstown North Carolina (near the Georgia and Tennessee boarder). The town had a post office, gas station and country store all in one.

The 100% Total eclipse under Completely clear skies was like you said , impossible to put into words.

LA

Just have to comment on the kids- Adorable! KA”H Really growing up

Cm

That milts sandwich is spicy! Just had one this week! Actually, I couldn’t eat it so my husband got my half too ;). But it was the only meat that was Lubavitch…thanks for the solar pics.

Eh?

We were in Overland Park that Shabbos too, at BIAV. Shipped our scope out there via UPS to avoid having TSA break it when we flew. We had pre-paid for parking spot at St. Joseph airport, but ditched the plans when we saw the weather. Headed up the night before to Lincoln, NE and were going to make the decision at 4AM where the best weather might be. Ended up heading back to Missouri and ultimately made camp in a park next to a public school near Easton, MO, population 234. The clouds and rain went in an out and we got to see 99% coverage. Unfortunately at totality the sun (and moon) was covered with clouds, but the feeling of the total darkness and quiet (due to lack of crowds – maybe a dozen other people with us where we were) was probably more so felt because it was extra eerie out with the cloud cover. Even without seeing the covered sun at totality it was an other-worldy experience. Of course right after totality the clouds blew away and 99% it was on the way back down. 🙁

What we heard from people that did go up to St. Jo, was that they did not get to see totality either (I think it depended on where in St Jo you were), but others set off fireworks during totality, which probably ruined the experience for everyone there.

Wish I would have known you were there, we could have followed you to Boonville… 😉

Hoping for better weather in 2024!

Lelee

I flew private from Seattle to Madras OR. airport to see the awesome Eclipse. It was UNBELIEVABLE. Was also treated to an airshow of private planes from Gulfstreams to WW2 planes arriving and takeoffs for the event.

Madras is smack in the center of the path of totality. No wonder correspondents from the Science Channel and other national TV networks came to cover the solar eclipse. The eclipse began at 9:06 a.m. and ended at 11:41 a.m., with 100 percent obscuration happening at 10:20 a.m. and ending at 10:21 a.m.

WCF

Meshugga bagels is the favorite bagel place outside NY for Blue Jays Pitcher, Marcus Stroman. Mentioned it on a podcast with CC Sabathia

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