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Solar Eclipse: A Nebraskan Experience

Just one of many memories made throughout the country.

eclipse 2017
Just after totality. Dannebrog, NE
Jill Heemstra

"A once in a lifetime experience."

That is what I told my wife in an attempt to persuade her to take the day off to go see the solar eclipse.

From what I could tell, most people planned on heading to Beatrice, NE to experience the total solar eclipse. Sounded like a good idea, until I learned that Bill Nye the Science Guy would be there.

No thanks. Sounded like a nightmare. Traffic would be horrible.

Instead we decided to head south on Highway 50 toward Syracuse. I mean, who else would want to watch a solar eclipse from a town like Syracuse?

The answer appeared to be everybody who didn't head to Beatrice.

Highway 50, twenty-five miles from Syracuse
Nate McHugh

It was stop-and-go traffic on Highway 50 all the way to Syracuse. If I didn't know better, the way people were driving, I would assume some were running from a zombie apocalypse. The scene on the way down to Syracuse was out of a movie.

Cars driving down the shoulder of the highway. Check.

Cars merging in from the shoulder without any regard for the car immediately to his left. Check.

Trucks passing four to five vehicles at a time. Check.

All of this this unmitigated chaos led to one of the most serene scenes I have experienced in my life. There has to be a life lesson in there somewhere.

We parked outside a baseball field about 15 minutes before total solar eclipse. The cars surrounding the field had license plates from Iowa, South Dakota, Illinois and even California.

At 1 p.m. we could feel the anticipation and excitement in the air. Every single person was looking up at the sky as the moon slowly creeped in front of the Sun.

That is of course, with the exception of one man. This man drove by in front of us on a orange and white riding lawn mower right before the total solar eclipse. He was pulling a small trailer filled with rocks.

Did he not know what was about to take place? I was stunned. People drove from all over the country to park in his town to watch the solar eclipse.

He had better things to do.

But then it started getting dark. All the insects we usually hear at night started singing. I hope the man on lawn mower took the time to take in everything going on around him.

A drop in temperature.

Sudden darkness

A beautiful sunset in every direction.

A noticeable absence of sound.

A total solar eclipse.

News: 2017 American Solar Eclipse Des Moines Register-USA TODAY NETWORK