Maybe it's early, but what do you think will be the protocol traveling down I-5 during the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse? Will you be allowed to pull over a couple minutes to witness it? —Alfred N.
From the march of the penguins in Antarctica to the lava flows of Hawaii, our planet abounds with faraway spectacles that—we all agree—we'd love to witness. "Maybe someday," we sigh, before returning to our Say Yes to the Dress marathon.
This summer, however, a once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse of the sun is happening less than 50 miles from Portland. Nature, in what I can only characterize as a dick move, is calling our bluff.
I mean, it's right there. It's as if they rerouted the march of the penguins through downtown Kelso—what are you going to do, not go, you pathetic fatass?
And don't kid yourself that what you'll see from Portland will be "close enough"—eclipse mavens insist that the difference between "total" and "almost total" is like the difference between "almost dying" and "dying." You have to go if you want to see the damned thing.
It's gonna suck, though! Authorities estimate Oregon's roads will be crowded with 1 million visitors (though that figure is almost certainly a wild-ass guess, rendered in numbers because "shit-ton" sounded unprofessional).
Out-of-state folks, however, aren't the issue—they already have their campsites booked, menhirs chiseled, and goats ready for sacrifice. The real problem is going to be a-hole Portlanders like you and me, who have some vague idea we'll just hop on I-5 South a couple hours before the show and see what happens.
Don't be that guy. The Oregon Department of Transportation begs you to be prepared and organized. Assume traffic will be slowed to a crawl for days, not hours, and pack food and water accordingly.
The last total eclipse in the U.S. was 38 years ago. Since then, Americans have opened up vistas of stupidity beyond 1979's wildest imaginings, so anything is possible. But do remember, the darkness will last less than three minutes—try not to resort to cannibalism any earlier than you have to.