Texas ~ Eclipse '24

08 April 2024

With sister and cousins just before the total eclipse over central Texas.
Before April 8, 2024, I had seen five total eclipses (plus one failed attempt) along with two annular eclipses. But I was especially excited to see one near my childhood home in rural Texas!

A cool cousin lives in Clifton (a cute tiny Texas town) and we (relatives) also rented two beautiful AirBnB cottages close to the maximum line of totality! If the weather cooperated, we would get to see 4 minutes 20 seconds of a full eclipse.

I had flown to eastern Australia in 2023 to see a 62 second eclipse, so four times as long in Texas in 2024 could be remarkable.

But first, a tribute to cousin-in-law Jane who discovered a picturesque couple of charming rental cottages set on ten green manicured acres with classic Texas live oak trees and a few deer in the mornings — near the centerline of the eclipse! Here are links to our two cozy adjacent places, the Aviary and the Audubon.

No crowds, no traffic — just our own perfect private venue for the (fingers-crossed) eclipse.

The day before the eclipse we visited Mother Neff State Park and hiked its fine trails through fields of bluebonnets and other lush native vegetation. I'd heard about this park but never visited and on this resplendent spring day it showed off central Texas at its best.

Along with a pretty picnic in the park, weekend meals included delicious Texas barbeque brisket from Rudy's and of course a tasty Tex-Mex dinner.

After the blue skies of Sunday in the park, what would happen in the skies on Monday? Weather reports predicted that a spoiling blanket of clouds would cover Texas. Hundreds of thousands of people cancelled their trips to totality. I tried to be optimistic.

Texas weather provided quite a drama:

Thick cumulus clouds around noon gave way to some blue sky by "first contact" at 12:24. But then, as if scripted to heighten our excitement and anxiety, over the next hour waves of clouds periodically blocked any sight of the moon's progress but then, after teasing us, revealed each big new advance.

Finally, the clouds started to yield to a glorious patch of blue sky that just might coincide with totality! And it did! We got to enjoy over four minutes of the most awesome celestial display we can ever witness. Psalm 19:1 says it all.
As predicted, the sun's flaring corona was bigger and better than usual. (Eclipse photos courtesy of young cousin Chandler; a few other photos from sister Kathy.) My relatives were all dazzled by the eclipse, as was I of course. The two younger guys were especially blown away.

All in all, this Texas eclipse experience was every bit as great and in many ways better than my totalities elsewhere. Why?
  • The warm, fun, smart company of family;
  • the spectacular long total eclipse (after the melodrama of clouds);
  • the extraordinary, exquisite, "exclusive" location;
  • the superb spring weather (rainstorms waited until the next day);
  • and the bonuses of a lovely state park and good Texas food.

Let's start planning for Spain in 2026 and Egypt in 2027!