Belated Eclipse Musings

I’ve been radio silent for quite a bit, but it hasn’t felt that long from my perspective.  I suppose that regular travel eats into my blog writing time more than I’d anticipated.  I’ve basically traveled every weekend since I left Nashville.

I plan to post about a bunch of that travel soon, but first I wanted to belatedly cover the week I spent in Indianapolis hanging out with friends and seeing the total solar eclipse.

Indianapolis is a pretty sprawly city, so it doesn’t seem great for biking.  I imagine that there are some neighborhoods that facilitate it better than others, but if you have to get across town you need something with an engine.  I didn’t spend any time on public transit, but it seemed pretty accessible in some places and much less so in others.  Mostly, I got around town by riding with the friends I was staying with.

I don’t know if this is generalizable, but I found that spending so much time driving around gave me a much weaker sense of the city’s character.  I think that only being at your destination, and not really feeling the city during the journey due to being on the road in a car, made Indianapolis feel like a series of locations rather than a single place.

I wanted to make it to Indianapolis this year because I have friends there that I really wanted to see, and we picked this particular week because the city was in the path of totality for the solar eclipse.

Total solar eclipse

We had a nice, simple plan for the day, and I’m glad to say that it went great.  The day before the eclipse we swung by the grocery store and bought a bunch of picnic food: berries, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, hummus, bread, cheese, and cold cuts.  Then, the afternoon of the eclipse, we tossed it all in the car and drove to a nearby park.

We weren’t sure what to expect in terms of crowds.  A ton of people were in town for the eclipse, after all.  It turned out that the park we went to had quite a few people in it, but not so many that it felt crowded.  There was enough space that the nearest other folks out with their blankets were a good 100 feet away.  Close enough to call out to, but far enough away not to overhear their casual conversation.

Our arrival time meant that we got to eat most of our food during the first half of the eclipse.  Then we took a break and busted out our phones trying to get decent photos and video of the last 5% of coverage.  It was harder than I expected.  The automated settings on my phone were basically incapable of finding a configuration for a good photo, and manual settings were limited and somewhat obscure.  Exposure time, for instance, isn’t its own setting on my phone.  It’s apparently rolled into a “how dark is the environment” slider.  I kind of made it work.

Ultimately, I had a great time in Indianapolis.  I got to hang out with friends and see a cool eclipse.  and i think that “cool” is the right adjective.  It wasn’t, for me, a life altering experience, but it was really neat and well worth the trip.  I felt like I didn’t get a great feel for the city itself, but given that I was only there a week, I didn’t find that disappointing.

That makes it hard for me to recommend the city overall, but I can heartily recommend traveling to see a total eclipse.





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