Total Eclipse 2017 in Eastern Oregon

A few weeks ago, Berty and I experienced a once in a lifetime event in the middle of the Eastern Oregon desert: the Great American Total Eclipse. It’s a rare occurrence where the sun completely covers the moon, essentially giving you two minutes of night in the middle of the day.

During this weekend, we worked with Elysian Brewing in partnership with Atlas Obscura to celebrate the Total Eclipse in Eastern Oregon. This event was filled with scientists from all over the globe. We knew we had to take part in this once in a lifetime experience, so after some emails back and forth, we were on the road!

Total Eclipse in Eastern Oregon

We recently bought a car in July – a Mazda CX-5 – and it has already been across the state and back multiple times! Berty and I specifically chose one where we could both sleep in the back with the back seats down. There were lots of cars to choose from, but the Mazda was our favorite. We were finally able to test out our new sleeping arrangements during this weekend, and I’m happy to report back that it was super comfortable!

If you are looking to go car camping – we’ve got tons of resources for you! Read these links below to learn more about how we did it this summer:

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Why the heck are we in a field, you might ask?

Altas Obscura and Elysian Brewing studied the line of totality and chose a spot that would be remote and that would have a good chance of clear skies and good weather. They meticulously went through town plots and rented this field in the perfect line of totality, nestled in the foothills of eastern Oregon. In the field, they set up beautiful tents for festival guests, an RV site (where our car was parked), a center stage, food court, and various stations for fun science experiments!

To see more details and photos of the event, click on this link from Atlas Obscura!

We arrived Saturday evening, which left us with a full day and a half to experience everything this festival had to offer! We spent our day listening to incredible scientists, meeting cool people, and jamming out to galactic music. Berty spent the day documenting it on his Instagram stories, at @bertymandagie.

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After and day and a half of good music, beer, and awesome people, it was time for the big finale…

Berty and I met some really awesome people who were with B&H Photo here at the festival. We got together with them, set up tripods, put solar caps on our cameras, and actively discussed camera settings to get the perfect shot at each phase of the total eclipse. Thanks Mike and John!

It was the strangest experience. At 10:30am, the sky had a hazy, dusk-like appearance, with the sun still up in the sky! The temperature continued to drop (at least 20 degrees!!) and the mosquitos came out thinking it was evening.

Atlas Obscura provided all the guests (there were about 400 of us) with solar glasses, and pretty much everyone was watching the slow transformation for about 30 minutes.

Then, all of the sudden, everything went dark.

Up until this time, even the tiniest sliver of light from the sun needed to be seen through our protective solar eyewear. However, once the moon completely covered the sun, we had two-ish minutes where you could stare bare-eyed into the sky at this natural phenomenon.

Oohs and ahhs, (and even some shouts!) could be heard in our small valley nestled in Oregon’s rolling hills. Before this weekend, Berty and I knew only couple people here, but this experience felt like it bonded us to the people present around us!

It was an incredible experience. As the moon continued on its way, there were a few seconds of the sun bursting through once more, creating what is called the “diamond ring” effect. You can see the picture below for reference:

It all came to a beginning and end in less than an hour. While short lived, the total eclipse definitely lived up to its expectations. Everyone around us clapped and cheered as the sun came back into view and lit up the valley once more. On the stage, music began to play and the party continued on!

Atlas Obscura Total Eclipse
Photo courtesy of

After the total eclipse, we said goodbye to our new friends and started our long journey back home. There was A LOT of traffic, but luckily we armed ourselves with good music and podcasts! I’ve added a link below to a post on road trip essentials for when you embark on your own adventure.

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Thank you Elysian Brewing and Atlas Obscura for hosting us this weekend. It was an incredible experience!

Did you watch the Total Eclipse? Where did you go to see it and what was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to see the next one? The next time a Total Eclipse can be seen in the USA will be on April 8th. 2024! 

Photo Courtesy of

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