By LARRY VAUGHT
Mt. JULIET, Tenn. — Was driving about 3 1/2 hours today from Danville to Mt. Juliet to watch the solar eclipse with my two grandchildren, ages 6 and 8, worth the trouble?
We watched the total eclipse at Springdale Elementary with my granddaughter, Savana, 9, and grandson, Wynston, 6. It was a blast to see the students outside waiting for the eclipse and then reacting to it. It might have been even more fun watching the teachers, administrators and parents who also came reacting to a once in a lifetime experience.
It has been 148 years since the last total solar eclipse in Kentucky on 8/7/1869. The next one — based on information I saw — will be in 136 years on 10/17/2153. I don’t think I will make that one, so I am really glad I got to see my one and only total eclipse with two of my grandkids.There is another one anticipated over the United States in 2024, but not in Kentucky or Tennessee.
Their teachers, Megan Ford and Carly Melchiors, were great with all the students and I loved the paper plate/sunglass eye protector each student wore.
Fortunately, we got to see it all. In nearby Nashville, a cloud covered the eclipse just as it reached totality in several locations.
What might have been even more impressive was driving from Glasgow to Mt. Juliet on Highway 31 and seeing the makeshift viewing sites. Some were just friends gathering for a fun afternoon. Others were business ventures.
Bledsoe State Park near Gallatin, Tenn., was at capacity several hours before the eclipse. Gallatin Airport was full of more small planes than I had seen in my combined trips here in the last 15 years. It was costing between $15 and $30 just to park in Gallatin.
The 8-mile drive from Mt. Juliet to Gallatin was bumper to bumper three hours before the total eclipse.
I asked a security officer at Springdale Elementary why so many people were going to Gallantin. He laughed and told me the eclipse was schedule to lat FOUR MORE SECONDS there. Instead of 2 minutes, 36 seconds like we got in Mt. Juliet for no parking charge, it was good for 2 minutes, 40 seconds in Gallatin.
Once I get home tonight, I will watch the 60-minute special that WLEX-TV had from Hopkinsville to see what it was like there. I also want to hear some stories from Kentucky Sports Radio’s Ryan Lemond about his time in Hopkinsville today.
Reality sets back in for us all Tuesday. But for one day, it was unreal to experience this — and find out those $1 eclipse glasses we ordered from China really did work.