Hope Village Excursion to Solar Eclipse 2017

Skydiving, traveling to another country, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and traveling on a hot air balloon may all be on the bucket list for many people. Though experiencing a solar eclipse has got to be etched onto the top of that same list. Many of these things listed can be done at almost any time year-round, however experiencing a TOTAL solar eclipse is an activity that you can be part of every hundred years or so depending on location (according to NASA). You can then understand the enthusiasm of the residents here at Hope Village when we scheduled a bus trip to be part of a historic moment at a Volcanoes game on August 21, 2017 that would be delayed by a solar eclipse.

Due to the excessive talk warranting the traffic conditions to and from Salem, it was said to have a million extra visitors, the residents concurred that leaving Canby at 5am was the best strategy. Heading to the game was smooth sailing, only taking the usual time of 45 minutes, while the bus was buzzing with resident conversation like honey bees releasing pollen from a field of wildflowers. To say the residents were excited was an understatement. Questions like,

“How come they didn’t make a big deal of this in 1979?”

“Do you think it will get completely dark?”

“Are we there yet?”

Ok maybe the last question didn’t actually get asked but it might as well have been asked with the excitement that was portrayed. Arriving at the Salem Volcanoes stadium almost 4 hours before the game was scheduled to start created an opportunity for everyone to get comfortable. Everyone conversed as we consumed our breakfast on the bus before entering the stadium. Entering the stadium was a breathtaking moment in and of itself. The sun rising as we entered, the breaths of all the early risers from the cool of the morning, and being handed solar eclipse glasses as we entered in. You felt a feeling of “Wow this is actually happening today!” As we found our seats we could witness some great facts and observations made by NASA on the big screen. NASA wasn’t the only organization present at the ball game; ESPN, KGW, Sports Illustrated, Insider edition, and many others showed up for this historic moment.

It was announced that the solar eclipse was beginning and we could view it from our glasses. Looking at just a sliver of the sun being covered by the moon was breathtaking. Even with the late arrival of the Hops baseball team, due to traffic, the game was still able to start before the totality of the eclipse. As the game began we watched from four rows up in front of third base while interrupting our own experience of the game with peaks to the sun to see the status of the solar eclipse. The announcer would comment every so often with noteworthy increments,

“10% covered.”

“25% covered.”

“50% covered.”

“75% covered and temperature dropping 5 degrees.”

“90% covered and temperature droping to 10 degrees.”

With the blow of a whistle the game took a historic turn, the first ever professional sport to be delayed because of a solar eclipse. The game went on pause as the crowd oohed and awed through the totality of the eclipse. To say it was anything less than spectacular would be an understatement, it was truly amazing to experience. Having the chill and darkness of the night during the afternoon was very interesting. A NASA employee spoke overhead, “It is now safe to take of your solar glasses.” As we took off our glasses there was even more chatter through the crowd. All that was visible was a tiny ring around the moon outlined by the sun, a few stars lit up the sky as we viewed in amazement.  Viewing this event allowed me to imagine the unfolding of creation and the profound separation of darkness and light. Genesis was coming alive and this gave me a real-time picture to relate to.   “And God saw all that He made and behold, it was very good!”

Then the sun beamed through the top looking like a completed diamond ring, something we were looking for since NASA had told us earlier that morning to look for this particular moment of the eclipse. With still 90 percent covered, on the opposite side now, there was enough light to see everything as day and temperature rising. The game was called back on and we viewed with some traditional peanuts and cracker jacks and the occasional looking up at the sun to see what part of the sun was still covered as the moon scurried along it’s given path. 11:25am rolled around and we all waived to the moon as NASA had told us that there was a picture being taken from the Moon to Earth. I don’t think you will be able to quite see us but we will still remember where we were that day and what we were doing at that moment the picture was taken.

Noon was passing and we could see the interstate traffic becoming a nightmare. The announcer stated that it would take 2 ½ hours to get to Portland, we all glanced at one another. It was time to leave, the game was 10-4 and there wasn’t but another inning and a half left. River road was discussed as the best route for the quickest arrival, no more than 15 minutes into the drive a resident of ours found that River Road was closed through her phone alert. Turning around the bus we passed over I5, which was a parking lot, we then went down 99E which was no race track in itself but it did the job. They say “slow and steady wins the race” and that is how it went slooooooowwww and steady. Upon our route we went off whiskey road and though tired and exhausted the residents perked up with literally a drive down memory lane.

“Remember that old barn held the best cattle and so and so lived there, they were so kind.”

“I used to walk down there to get milk every morning for my family.”

“You know how 91 school came about and got its name?” Of course followed by an answer.

Taking 4 ½ hours we were finally at our destination, home sweet home. Hope Village! Yes it was a long day and it took a lot out of all of us, but exiting the bus everyone still wore a smile on their face. We had just experienced a once in lifetime activity that won’t take place in Oregon for another 90 years. It’s a memory for Hope Village residents that can’t be replaced and will always have a special place in our memories as we were there at a historic place at a historic time. We look forward to many more adventures to come here at Hope Village.

Photos of Hope Village Excursion