I frantically look for my wallet as I click the mouse pad. I fill out my name, address and credit card and click again. Arrggh! I looked at the screen and see those dreaded words. No rooms available at this time.
“Maybe we should try calling all the motels in the off chance they just got a cancellation.”
And so we go down the list — Best Western, Super 8, Quality Inn, La Quinta. Of course, to add to the complexity of the situation, we need to find something pet friendly as we are bringing the two dogs with us. Even our dog sitter and her husband are going to Wyoming for the eclipse. It feels like the entire state of Colorado is heading north for the day.
Finally, we get to Motel 6.
I’m still surfing the Internet in hopes I find something, but listening to Bryon on the phone.
“You have something? What do I need to do to make the reservation?”
I see him scrawling something down on a piece of paper.
“Do they have a room?”
“Yep, we got a room. ”
I’m still not convinced, and we wait earnestly for the email confirmation to come. Then I worry that we mistakenly reserved the wrong night. But as I study the email again, there are the words, Checking in Aug. 20 for one night, checking out Aug. 21. Success!
I don’t think I have ever been so thrilled to get a room at a Motel 6 in my entire life. But this is different. We actually got a room in Wyoming the night before a total eclipse passes through the state.
It’s not like we’ve been lax about this. Bryon is an astronomy nerd and started talking about this eclipse almost two years ago. But a lot of places wouldn’t let you reserve until one year in advance, and I had hopes of us camping somewhere. But then the campsites got booked for the whole weekend and I have to work Saturday and Sunday.
So last winter, when we realized we couldn’t find any available motel rooms in Wyoming for less than several hundred dollars, we reserved a room in Fort Collins instead. At the time, it seemed reasonable. After all, it’s only a 2 1/2 hour drive to the Path of Totality from there. That is on a normal day with normal traffic patterns.
In the meantime, we scouted for locations within the elusive “Path of Totality.” There were several state parks, and as I researched them, I found out they were selling Eclipse Packages. This provided you a car pass insuring your admission the day of the eclipse. Two weeks later, I got my car pass, and two pairs of eclipse glasses.
Those eclipse glasses would be worth their weight in gold, as I found out this week, when everyone seemed to need glasses. My mother called me, telling me the glasses she ordered through Amazon were apparently fake, and she couldn’t use them. Later, a good friend said she was looking for glasses, but couldn’t find any. Bryon’s co-worker had been equally stymied. At this point, you could probably sell those silly cardboard glasses for bucket loads of money.
But the last several weeks, eclipse hysteria has set in, and Fort Collins didn’t seem so good. I read reports of more than 600,000 people descending on Wyoming for the eclipse. I envision a giant traffic jam on I-25. Newspaper stories say to give yourself five times the normal amount of time to get anywhere. People are saying gas stations will run out of gas and restaurants will run out of food. We are now planning to take extra gas, coolers, and other supplies with us, just in case we are stranded for hours on the highway.
We started thinking about driving straight through Sunday night and pulling over in some parking lot to sleep in our cars. But I also had a feeling that maybe, just maybe, there would be some cancellations at the last minute.
When I attended the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, the same thing happened. Everything was booked 1-2 years in advance. But then the week the Olympics started, a few rooms came open. We just called around to a bunch of hotels and found an open room one night. I had hoped the same thing would happen.
So we got our room in Cheyenne. It would still be 1 1/2 hours to our planned destination of Guernsey State Park. Bryon is still saying we should get up at 3 a.m. and hit the road. We must do whatever means necessary to get to the promised land.
More will be revealed….