There is a well-known tradition that if you are traveling on a car trip, you must announce it when you drive over a state line; hence, the shout of “Two States at Once!” as we left Illinois and headed south into Indiana. (If you have never heard of this tradition before, you must immediately start doing it whenever you take a long drive. Maybe it isn’t so much a “well-known tradition” as it is “something we only do in my family, ” but I would encourage you to participate in this ritual. It is enormously satisfying and when this goes viral and sweeps the country, I will get credit for creating it.)
The journey south to the Path of Totality followed a meandering interstate through Mike Pence country all the way to the bottom of Indiana. The whole northern hemisphere is excited about the upcoming eclipse, and nothing illustrates that better than people trying to figure out ways to use this remarkable once-in-a-century celestial event to sell stuff. We encountered Mooncakes at Denny’s, MoonPies at Cracker Barrel and Dark Side of the Moon bikini underwear at Target. (I thought about buying the underwear but realized I had passed the part of my life where I can get away with wearing a Pink Floyd logo on my ass. This realization made me sad.)
The first part of the weekend is being spent at a big old farm house near French Lick, IN. Most of my family has gathered at this spot to share their excitement about the eclipse, play board games and drink lots and lots of gin. We have a variety of professions represented here who know a lot about many things and also a number of people who know nothing about anything but are very good at making you believe they do. (I place myself in the latter category).
We will relax for the weekend and prepare our stamina for Monday, when we will get up reaaaalllly early and drive south to Kentucky, where we will shout “Two States at Once” as we cross the border. But the unknown awaits: Will there be an autopocalypse? Will the gas stations run out of gas? Will we be able to post on Facebook?
This excursion has been planned for over a year, long before the general public became aware that there was going to be an eclipse and everyone decided to go to the exact same spot we are going, damn it. I like to think we were the first ones to come up with the idea of going to Hopkinsville, even though there are some scientists claiming that they knew about this years ago. (Ha! Like they could know that.)
Hopkinsville is the Point of Greatest Eclipse, where there will be a solid 2 minutes and 41 seconds of sun blockage. We have six reserved spaces in a field there, guaranteeing us at least a 15 x 15 foot area per space. We have paid actual money to reserve grass, which makes me admire the entrepreneurial spirit of America.
Our little eclipse piece of real estate is quite roomy, but the spaces are end to end so we will have to stand shoulder to shoulder in a line and stare up. We will bring our own snacks and shade, but they have promised us there will be bathrooms and the National Guard. Our group will number 13, which could be a potent symbol of something menacing as the dimming begins and the wolves start to howl. Maybe we will, too.
* Visual State Line
*Visual Panty Line