St. Joseph, Missouri, has eclipse fever!

Posted by Michael Bakich
on Thursday, August 17, 2017

Le Peep is a great place for breakfast in St. Joseph. Their sign gives good advice. // Michael E. Bakich
My wife, Holley, and I arrived in St. Joseph, Missouri, around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. We preserve a day by leaving Milwaukee and driving the eight hours after work. As with most of our trips to St. Joe, this one was relatively easy with little traffic. I’m hosting a huge eclipse viewing party at the airport here, so arriving a few days early was a necessity.

Wednesday for me included two radio interviews (St. Louis and Kansas City) and another at a local television station. In between, we visited several shops and the Pony Express Museum. I gotta tell ya, this entire city has gone nuts over the eclipse, and it’s fantastic!

Business signs tout the event, newspaper and television ads feature it, and local artists have apparently worked overtime to stock stores with some pretty great looking items.

During our travels through St. Joseph on Wednesday the 16th, we stopped at the Pony Express Museum to purchase a historical account of the 1918 total solar eclipse that crossed the U.S. While there, I couldn't help but pose in front of a pretty cool eclipse quilt. // Richard Yeager
Everyone I talked to knew about the eclipse, and some people even quoted something I told people who attended a meeting hosted by the Convention & Visitors Bureau more than two years ago: “St. Joseph will never host a Super Bowl,” I said, “This is your Super Bowl!”

As to my role, really, I just got the ball rolling by seeking a high-quality observing site that lots of people could access easily. “Think of the eclipse as a pearl,” I’ll tell anyone who will listen. “In this analogy, St. Joe is the oyster, carefully fostering the pearl’s growth. But every pearl starts when an irritant, either a piece of shell or a tiny rock, enters the oyster and begins the process. I am the irritant.”

Did I mention the shopping? At some point during the day, I told my wife that although we had seen eclipses all over the world, including Russia, China, Australia, the Mediterranean, and even Easter Island, if today was any indication, this may be the most expensive one of all. Ooo, but there’s so much cool stuff to buy!

The St. Joseph business Nesting Goods featured a plethora of items by local artists. And the owner had her eclipse facts down cold. Oh, and that blank space at the upper left once featured an original piece that will soon hang in a room at our Milwaukee home. // Michael E. Bakich
The main questions I got today concerned the weather. Honestly, I haven’t checked it. I’ll start to look at it carefully when it actually becomes weather … about 48 hours before the eclipse. Right now, and wow do the daily weather predictive charts bear this out, everything is a guess. Late Saturday or early Sunday, those guesses will transform into forecasts. So, don’t be overly concerned at this point.

More as it happens.

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