Like many people, we went to Wyoming to watch the eclipse.
Unlike many people, we left early in order to avoid the rush and ensure we had a decent site.
Earthroamer staff had scouted out a site in advance and invited owners to join them. We arrived at our location near Union Pass Friday afternoon. We drove up from the Dubois side, which required a decent climb. The small town is at about 6900 ft, and our campsite was at 9200. Most of that altitude gain was in the first several miles.
Gus (our truck) is not a climber. At 16,000 pounds, steep hills feel like work. However, he just chugged up the hill with no fuss. We DID air down the tires though, as the road was washboarded in some places. Our rear tires usually have 90 pounds of air, and feel as if they absorb no shock at all. But with tire pressure reduced to 50 pounds, it was smooth sailing to the Pass. We quickly found our group, which at that point added up to four or five Earthroamers.
Over the course of the weekend, others trickled in. We eventually had about 20 trucks together, with various dogs, children and drones. One owner never found the group and camped not far away.
I imagine the area is at it's busiest during hunting season, and this weekend far surpassed that. The area around the pass was spacious with many large meadows and plenty of room to park. Probably twice as many people could have been there without feeling crowded. We managed to occupy ourselves by fishing, riding mountain bikes and geeking out over everyone else' truck. Gus is an "old" Earthroamer, made in 2008. He's the 80th truck they've made. We spent a lot of time talking about places we've gone, stuff we've broken, and stuff we want to add (or delete) from our trucks. A favorite theme is sharing questions people ask about the trucks (usually in gas stations). The most common question is "How much did that cost?" often without even a preceding "Hi!". Another is "Do you need all those lug nuts?" (Yes, we do).
Like many people, we bought our eclipse glasses from Amazon weeks ago. Like many people, a few days before we left, we received an email from Amazon warning us that the eclipse glasses were not ISO approved and therefore unsafe to wear. For two days we frantically looked around for glasses, unsuccessfully.
So we drove up to Wyoming hoping we could borrow or share glasses.
Hours after we parked the truck a Forest Service ranger drove up, talked about the area for a few minutes then asked "Need any eclipse glasses?" He had a few hundred pair in his truck. He gave us 6, in case any were scratched. For free. Gotta love it.
The eclipse is tough to describe. If you saw it, you know. If you missed it, it will take a far better writer than I to convey the emotions when the sun was fully behind the moon. It got dark. It got quiet. It got cold. There was sunset in 360 degrees. Stars came out. The dogs in camp all laid down and were quiet. I was indifference before the event, but could not help but feel...something. It's tough to explain but I am very glad we went.
We had a great time that weekend, making new friends and hanging out with other owners we'd known for a while. One couple we met was continuing up to Alaska. We look forward to Kris and Scott's trip reports. Their truck is a couple years older than ours, but is set up perfectly.
We also met a couple who own a truck that live close by in Fruita. What? You'd think we would have seen it, right?
Unlike many people, we decided to stay put Monday night. We had a relaxing evening in camp and left mid-morning for Dubois and Lander, where we spent the night at the Sinks. Have you ever been there? Up Sinks Canyon the Popo Agie River flows underground for a quarter mile and pops back out of the ground. It's quite a sight. The state has a few small campgrounds right on the river that was a perfect respite for the three Earthroamers that decided to stop at Lander.
The next day, it was time to head home and deal with conference calls, oil changes, and retrieving mail.