This story happened to me about 2 years ago, in August 2017, when America was waiting for the full solar eclipse. I was thrilled about the possibility to see it in my own eyes. I decided to take a trip to Oregon, where the closest spot with full eclipse visible was.
Day of the eclipse was Monday. I planned to drive Sunday to Oregon’s border, stay for a night in a hotel, and starting at 5 am Monday, drive to the spot where full eclipse will be visible.
So, I arranged the day off at my work for the day of the eclipse. Booked the hotel. I filled my car with the gas. Got snacks and water. Created a playlist for such a long road trip. And finally, I realized, I am missing one thing. Eclipse glasses.
What could be easier to find eclipse glasses a couple days before the eclipse, you might ask. That what I was thinking. I couldn’t be more wrong. I’d checked all Bay Area. I was in San Jose. In San Francisco. In Mountain View. In Oakland. Eclipse glasses were sold out everywhere.
Sunday came, and I need to start my road trip. I’d checked the internet, and there was news that gas stations in Oregon have eclipse glasses and giving them for free to customers. So, I’d decided to start the trip and look for eye protection along the road. I think I shouldn’t say that I hadn’t found glasses in any of them. All gone. In the town I was staying for a night, I rechecked local coffee houses, gas station, shops, and markets which were said to have glasses. All gone.
I had my polarized sunglasses with me and polarized filter for the camera. So, as a final decision, I’d decided to continue my trip anyway, using this combination of polarized glasses when possible and waiting for the time of the full eclipse, when eye protection is not needed.
So, I continued driving and came to my destination - southmost town in Oregon which was in the full eclipse trajectory. I’d stopped there, near about ten local people who were sitting in their chairs and were waiting for the eclipse.
Partial Eclipse started. I was staying aside, trying to look via my self made combination of polarized glasses and not to hurt my eyes at the same time.
I think, people who were nearby realized what I am doing. A woman shouted to me: “Do you need eclipse glasses? We have a spare one.”