Where We Be
Ready for the big event in our stylin' solar eclipse viewing glasses.
Definitely the most exciting 1:02 to 1:05 pm we've experienced of late!
Total Solar Eclipse 2017 - Falls City, NE
We drove 1½ hours south from Council Bluffs,
Iowa to Falls City, Nebraska, which was right on
the path of totality. There we saw our first total
solar eclipse despite the gloomy weather. Just
8 minutes before the big event it was raining,
but as it came up on 1 pm we started to see a
patch of relative blue near the sun. An ooh and
aah went up from the crowd and moments later
there it was, the outline of the sun with the
moon right in front! Everyone cheered we were
so excited, especially since it had looked so
unlikely we'd see anything at all minutes before.

We'll never forget how it got dark so quickly,
like the sun was on a dimmer switch. Crickets
and cicadas started chirping, birds went silent,
and we even saw a bat. “Blinded by the Light”
played on a loudspeaker -- then “Here Comes
the Sun” as the sun started to reappear.

The traffic was so bad on the way home we
stopped in the quaint town of Nebraska City for
a little sightseeing until the traffic eased. We'd
read about this place in an online article titled
50 Small Towns We Want to Live In and would
agree it has a pleasant small-town ambiance.
This much humbler home is also worth visiting -- Mayhew Cabin, one of Nebraska's
oldest structures. A cave beneath the cabin's original location ("John Brown's Cave")
was once used as part of the Underground Railroad transporting slaves to the north.
The founder of Morton Salt, Joy Sterling Morton
(1855-1934), was born right here in Nebraska City
Morton was also the founder of Arbor Day, the tree planter's
holiday, in 1872 -- a fact celebrated throughout the city
We're always on the lookout for quaint towns where we wouldn't
mind spending some more time, and we think Nebraska City qualifies
It's a city of around 7,000 but feels smaller.
Its downtown area is walkable and pretty.
We visited Morton' original home, now preserved as Arbor Lodge State Historical Park
and Arboretum. Morton himself planted some of the finest specimens in the arboretum.
Still, the pastoral back-roads scenery made the drive more bearable
You can't tell from these pictures but a crowd of some 200 to 300 people
gathered at Crystal Beach Reservoir in Falls City to enjoy the spectacle
We managed to snap one decent photo during totality. The thin
gauze of clouds actually helped when it came to picture taking.
The drive home was really slow. What took us 1½ hours on the way down took us 4 hours
on the way back. Honestly we didn't expect so much traffic on the back roads of Nebraska.
Nebraska City