Hit the road a little after 4 am, and it took only around 2 hours to get down to a few miles north of Madras.
I was blessed to have chosen a great route--highway 197 was in good shape and traffic heading south was not bad at all.
Thanks to my preparation studying the paper map I bought and Google street views, we found a great location to watch the eclipse, only a few miles from the centerline. Joined others who had camped for the night in a place that had a good view of Mount Jefferson to the west.
So fun to see people parked or camped on pull-outs or side roads for miles before our destination and know that we had all come for the same reason.
Although there were some high clouds and also smoke to the south from a fire, none of that hindered viewing the eclipse.
The bed and breakfast we stayed at kindly provided boxed breakfast (and we purchased box lunches) so we weren't lacking for food at all. Both were great.
I wish eclipses happened all summer! Once a good chunk of the sun was covered, while it didn't seem obviously darker, the feel of the sun was not the unpleasantness it usually is for me in summertime. We could be out watching it and not get hot at all--it only grew cooler as it progressed.
My mom loved the plastic eclipse glasses I'd gotten back in the spring, and I used a handheld viewer and eclipse binoculars, strong enough to see sunspots.
Watching a partial eclipse is neat. Seeing it reach 80%, 90%, 95%, 98% of totality...very cool. 99.5% is truly amazing. But none of those compare in the slightest to standing in totality. The only similarity is that one is in the same spot!
All the planning, expenses, crowded airplanes and airports, ensuing traffic jams, scary headlines--completely worth it!
It was a slow haul at times heading out after the eclipse, but not as bad as I'd braced for, and since we had stayed to the north, much of the other traffic was from Washington or Canada, but not near as heavy as on the other side of the mountains, or for people heading south. Quite blessed to get back to the bed and breakfast around 4 pm, and that included stops for lunch, gas, and restroom.
All in all, an amazing day, a full-of-blessings day, and a very memorable one as well. Thank you God!