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Meet those who traveled here for the eclipse

Thousands from across the world visit Grant County to view eclipse.
Rylan Boggs

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on August 22, 2017 4:44PM

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs
Wind, left, Leslie and Miles Lothamer stand for a photo after totality at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21.
Wind Lothamer, from Portland, said he wasn’t prepared for how awe-inspiring the eclipse would be to see in person.
“You look at pictures, and you have an idea of what it’s going to look like, but just seeing it in person is just crazy, wild,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be as impressive, I guess.”
He also found relief the event didn’t signal the apocalypse.
“The world didn’t end, so that’s plus,” he said.
Leslie Lothamer said the totality was her favorite part and, during it, she was so cold she had to put on a jacket in the middle of a hot August day.
“I liked that everyone was cheering for it,” she said. “It was a fun place to see it. It’s neat in the crowd when people are excited about it.” 
Totality was unlike anything she had seen.
“That was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” she said.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs Wind, left, Leslie and Miles Lothamer stand for a photo after totality at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21. Wind Lothamer, from Portland, said he wasn’t prepared for how awe-inspiring the eclipse would be to see in person. “You look at pictures, and you have an idea of what it’s going to look like, but just seeing it in person is just crazy, wild,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be as impressive, I guess.” He also found relief the event didn’t signal the apocalypse. “The world didn’t end, so that’s plus,” he said. Leslie Lothamer said the totality was her favorite part and, during it, she was so cold she had to put on a jacket in the middle of a hot August day. “I liked that everyone was cheering for it,” she said. “It was a fun place to see it. It’s neat in the crowd when people are excited about it.” Totality was unlike anything she had seen. “That was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” she said.

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Robert Bakewell points to a tooth he recently lost while wearing a pair of eclipse glasses at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21.
Robert Bakewell traveled to John Day from San Francisco. 
He experienced his first eclipse in 1964 but said it rained the whole time. After that he promised himself he would see another one. On Monday, he got his chance.
He said what he enjoyed most about the trip was the people he met in camp.
“The people are terrific. We’ve got Italians, we’ve got Canadians, we’ve got Americans, we’ve got some English, people from Japan, Spain — it’s a real international crowd with a lot of families,” he said.
His group passed the time by telling stories, sharing food and wine and enjoying the young folk playing.
“It’s like a mini Burning Man without the late-night drinking,” Bakewell said.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

Robert Bakewell points to a tooth he recently lost while wearing a pair of eclipse glasses at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21. Robert Bakewell traveled to John Day from San Francisco. He experienced his first eclipse in 1964 but said it rained the whole time. After that he promised himself he would see another one. On Monday, he got his chance. He said what he enjoyed most about the trip was the people he met in camp. “The people are terrific. We’ve got Italians, we’ve got Canadians, we’ve got Americans, we’ve got some English, people from Japan, Spain — it’s a real international crowd with a lot of families,” he said. His group passed the time by telling stories, sharing food and wine and enjoying the young folk playing. “It’s like a mini Burning Man without the late-night drinking,” Bakewell said.

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Caitlin Heath stands for a photo at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21.
Caitlin Heath, from Pendleton, described the eclipse as “phenomenal” and “worth it.”
“A lot of people in Pendleton were like ‘we’ve got 96 percent, good enough,’” she said. However, Heath wanted to view the eclipse without glasses and so came to John Day.
She said one of her favorite aspects was seeing the sun set all around the horizon and watching a wall of shadow created by the moon move across the valley.
“One minute it was there, and the next minute it was here,” she said.
She also enjoyed being surrounded by campers who had high-tech telescopes and camera equipment.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

Caitlin Heath stands for a photo at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21. Caitlin Heath, from Pendleton, described the eclipse as “phenomenal” and “worth it.” “A lot of people in Pendleton were like ‘we’ve got 96 percent, good enough,’” she said. However, Heath wanted to view the eclipse without glasses and so came to John Day. She said one of her favorite aspects was seeing the sun set all around the horizon and watching a wall of shadow created by the moon move across the valley. “One minute it was there, and the next minute it was here,” she said. She also enjoyed being surrounded by campers who had high-tech telescopes and camera equipment.

Buy this photo
Patty Sprunk and Eric Sprunk stand for a photo after totality at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21.
Eric Sprunk, from Carlsbad, California, saw his first eclipse when he was 12. At the time, he didn’t know what was going on. 
“I thought I was going blind or something,” he said. 
Since then, he has come to understand and appreciate eclipses.
“There’s no words that describe it. It’s just a natural phenomenon, and you just never see anything like it,” he said. “Basically, a hole opens up in the sky right on top of the sun.” 
This is the fourth solar eclipse he has viewed, and he still feels humbled by them. 
“You look up, and you see something that big, you should feel small because it points out that you are,” he said.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

Patty Sprunk and Eric Sprunk stand for a photo after totality at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21. Eric Sprunk, from Carlsbad, California, saw his first eclipse when he was 12. At the time, he didn’t know what was going on. “I thought I was going blind or something,” he said. Since then, he has come to understand and appreciate eclipses. “There’s no words that describe it. It’s just a natural phenomenon, and you just never see anything like it,” he said. “Basically, a hole opens up in the sky right on top of the sun.” This is the fourth solar eclipse he has viewed, and he still feels humbled by them. “You look up, and you see something that big, you should feel small because it points out that you are,” he said.

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Barbie and Jeff Skeels wear solar glasses and tin foil hats during the eclipse at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21.

Barbie Skeels said her favorite part was the “diamond ring,” which is created right before and right after totality when the perfect circle created by the moon is broken by the sun.
“It was the most amazing thing,” Barbie Skeels said. “It was almost spiritual, beautiful.” 
During the eclipse many started howling and yelling in joy, something Skeels said added to her appreciation of the phenomenon.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

Barbie and Jeff Skeels wear solar glasses and tin foil hats during the eclipse at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21. Barbie Skeels said her favorite part was the “diamond ring,” which is created right before and right after totality when the perfect circle created by the moon is broken by the sun. “It was the most amazing thing,” Barbie Skeels said. “It was almost spiritual, beautiful.” During the eclipse many started howling and yelling in joy, something Skeels said added to her appreciation of the phenomenon.

Buy this photo
Eileen Poxon and Dick Williams stand for a photo after totality at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21.

Eileen Poxon’s favorite aspect of the eclipse was the rays of light that came off during totality.
“We came to John Day to share a moment with a lot of people across the earth, and it was absolutely stunning, spectacular,” she said. “The contrast of the planets, the ring and the light emitted from it made you feel like you were in a different space and time.”

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

Eileen Poxon and Dick Williams stand for a photo after totality at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21. Eileen Poxon’s favorite aspect of the eclipse was the rays of light that came off during totality. “We came to John Day to share a moment with a lot of people across the earth, and it was absolutely stunning, spectacular,” she said. “The contrast of the planets, the ring and the light emitted from it made you feel like you were in a different space and time.”

Buy this photo
From left, Ruth, Adrienne, Ted and Evan Stern test out their glasses at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21.
Ruth Stern, from Seattle, said she most enjoyed the mix of technology used to view the eclipse. Her family used a spaghetti colander to view the eclipse. All the holes in the colander created crescent-shaped shadows mimicking the eclipse.
Their neighbors at the Industrial Park had a large telescope hooked up to a laptop and were more than happy to let the Sterns family view.
“It’s just such an awesome thing to do with your family,” Stern said.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs

From left, Ruth, Adrienne, Ted and Evan Stern test out their glasses at the John Day Industrial Park on Monday, Aug. 21. Ruth Stern, from Seattle, said she most enjoyed the mix of technology used to view the eclipse. Her family used a spaghetti colander to view the eclipse. All the holes in the colander created crescent-shaped shadows mimicking the eclipse. Their neighbors at the Industrial Park had a large telescope hooked up to a laptop and were more than happy to let the Sterns family view. “It’s just such an awesome thing to do with your family,” Stern said.

Buy this photo

Not everyone reacted the same when the moon blocked out the sun.

As the temperature dropped and the sky went dark, some howled, some cried, some cheered and danced.

Others opened bottles of champagne or lit joints, but most simply stared, unable to look away until the sun shone back down on the thousands camped at the Industrial Park in John Day.

Wind Lothamer, from Portland, said he wasn’t prepared for how awe-inspiring the eclipse would be to see in person.

“You look at pictures, and you have an idea of what it’s going to look like, but just seeing it in person is just crazy, wild,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be as impressive, I guess.”

He also found relief the event didn’t signal the apocalypse.

“The world didn’t end, so that’s plus,” he said.

Leslie Lothamer, from Portland, said the totality was her favorite part and, during it, she was so cold she had to put on a jacket in the middle of a hot August day.

“I liked that everyone was cheering for it,” she said. “It was a fun place to see it. It’s neat in the crowd when people are excited about it.”

Totality was unlike anything she had seen.

“That was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” she said.

Robert Bakewell traveled to John Day from San Francisco.

He experienced his first eclipse in 1964 but said it rained the whole time. After that he promised himself he would see another one. On Monday, he got his chance.

He said what he enjoyed most about the trip was the people he met in camp.

“The people are terrific. We’ve got Italians, we’ve got Canadians, we’ve got Americans, we’ve got some English, people from Japan, Spain — it’s a real international crowd with a lot of families,” he said.

His group passed the time by telling stories, sharing food and wine and enjoying the young folk playing.

“It’s like a mini Burning Man without the late-night drinking,” Bakewell said.

Caitlin Heath, from Pendleton, described the eclipse as “phenomenal” and “worth it.”

“A lot of people in Pendleton were like ‘we’ve got 96 percent, good enough,’” she said. However, Heath wanted to view the eclipse without glasses and so came to John Day.

She said one of her favorite aspects was seeing the sun set all around the horizon watching a wall of shadow created by the moon move across the valley.

“One minute it was there, and the next minute it was here,” she said.

She also enjoyed being surrounded by campers who had high-tech telescopes and camera equipment.

Eric Sprunk, from Carlsbad, California, saw his first eclipse when he was 12. At the time, he didn’t know what was going on.

“I thought I was going blind or something,” he said.

Since then, he has come to understand and appreciate eclipses.

“There’s no words that describe it. It’s just a natural phenomenon, and you just never see anything like it,” he said. “Basically, a hole opens up in the sky right on top of the sun.”

This is the fourth solar eclipse he has viewed, and he still feels humbled by them.

“You look up, and you see something that big, you should feel small because it points out that you are,” he said.

Barbie Skeels said her favorite part was the “diamond ring,” which is created right before and right after totality when the perfect circle created by the moon is broken by the sun.

“It was the most amazing thing,” Barbie Skeels said. “It was almost spiritual, beautiful.”

During the eclipse many started howling and yelling in joy, something Skeels said added to her appreciation of the phenomenon.

Eileen Poxon’s favorite aspect of the eclipse was the rays of light that came off during totality.

“We came to John Day to share a moment with a lot of people across the earth, and it was absolutely stunning, spectacular,” she said. “The contrast of the planets, the ring and the light emitted from it made you feel like you were in a different space and time.”

Ruth Stern, from Seattle, said she most enjoyed the mix of technology used to view the eclipse. Her family used a spaghetti colander to view the eclipse. All the holes in the colander created crescent shaped shadows mimicking the eclipse.

Their neighbors at the Industrial Park had a large telescope hooked up to a laptop and were more than happy to let the Sterns family view.

“It’s just such an awesome thing to do with your family,” Stern said













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