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Eclipse Viewing Jackson, WY Aug 21, 2017

REDONE

Active Member
Good call on weather! Obviously there's no weather records for the abandoned airstrip, so I checked around and the closest place with weather records is Natrona (Between the airstrip and Casper). 10 day forecast is "mostly sunny" for the 21st. Having an issue figuring out how to see historical weather trends at NOAA though. Experience with that area tells me it's going to be clear and windy :p . I put in a lot of windshield time through WY when I was a recruiter.

I've got my maps all marked with the primary camp site for Sunday as well as three possible boondocking sites if the primary is full. Also have two routes to the airstrip just incase the big one is blocked off for some reason. Looking forward to seeing you guys tomorrow!

In other news, I got my wife to spend some seat time in the trailhawk learning to drive it like a Jeep instead of a Honda at Slaughterhouse Gulch yesterday.:)
 

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
I barely trust those reports even 3 days out. 14 is a bit early to be worrying :)
Agree. Just wanted to get the weather on people's radar- see what I did there... weather... radar.... Oooooooo! There's plenty more of this where that came from.
 

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
I've read a couple things that suggests Wyoming may be completely packed with people. Casper is hosting an Astronomer convention that weekend. The limited National Forest dispersed camping may be completely snatched up. I haven't had a lot of luck finding where there's BLM dispersed camping either.

If that's the case, what's your backup plan? I'm just going to throw this out there as an option:
The Nebraska National Forest

Don't laugh.

In the NW part of the state, southeast from Crawford there is an area with a bunch of dispersed camping. This area is also about an hour away from Alliance where totality passes through. It's no where near any major populated areas, so there's a good chance it won't be crawling with people.
 

REDONE

Active Member
You have to recognize that all of these stories are focused on developed and/or populated areas. It makes perfect sense because the overwhelming majority of people traveling to see the eclipse aren't adventurous overlanders, they're space nerds and young families with minivans and cars. The further you go from pavement; the crowds will drop by orders of negative magnitude. I'll bring my computer and maps tonight to show just how barren and desolate this area of Wyoming is, as well as the boondocking sites I've identified and the two primary routes to the airfield. The wide maintained one may be the worse of the two, due to WY wind and heavy truck traffic creating miles upon miles of shock-exploding washboard.
There are three demographics I've identified that I'll be competing with:
1) Hunters. The green mountain area is popular for elk hunting, so those are the only out-of-area people that know of this area in advance. On the plus side, these folks have huge RV toy haulers and likely have their own off grid camping spots outside the campground that they like to use.
2) Locals (ranchers and gas drillers). They have the home field advantage so to speak, but at the same time, they live there. If they're out boondocking, it's because they want to go boondocking. I'm confident that most who live in the area would prefer to stay at home rather than deal with a bunch of greenie tourists talking about tofu and saving the chinchillas. (that's how Wyomingites see Coloradans).
3) Us. People who pour over maps and google earth looking for adventure and rare sights may find the same stuff I've found. Two notes on this. First, we'd probably get along enough to share space, since we're on the same page. Second, out of all of us we're looking at 3-5 vehicles worth of people, which isn't a whole lot. I've checked some other forums to see what we're up against, and we're the only one I've seen discuss an unpaved group trip at all. Most who mention it are talking about Jackson and Casper, having reservations, or what family member who lives there they will be staying with.

Hey Tom! dispersed camping on BLM land only has a few rules. You can't camp where there are signs saying "No Camping", you have to stay 100ft from water (unless otherwise posted), and you should try (guideline, not a rule) to use a campsite that has been used previously. Basically, you can bivouac anywhere you can put a tent. I believe that fire restrictions are in place, but to be honest, I prefer a lantern to a fire anymore. I don't like waking up stinking like I rolled around in pee and an ashtray anymore. The things you lose growing up, haha!

Looking forward to see you guys tonight!

Edited, because I'm such a dork that I didn't address Tom as Tom, even though it's in his screen name.
 
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Craig F

New Member
Haha! If Kentucky Moonshine is the deciding factor between WY and KY, I'll share a little bit of this at the airstrip.:p

Woah! Moonshine? Eclipse? It's meant to be! Glad I've just been saving this!
Matt, It was good to meet you on Tuesday night at the Odyssey. I am planning on making a trip up with my boys (11 & 12 - you met Tanner at the Meetup) and might like to tag along. As an option, I have a place in Crystal Lakes (30/40 minutes to Laramie, WY and about 2 hours from Denver) if we wanted to meet up on Friday night and head out Saturday morning. We could do a BBQ and I have lots of parking/camping on my property for 4-6 rigs, plus bathrooms and showers. Let me know.

Craig
 

jr7ski

Active Member
Just saw this thread. I am planning on heading into Pawnee National Grasslands on Sunday. They allow dispersed camping. Thinking of sleeping in my rig near the WY/NE border and then heading up state Highway 71 to find a spot to view the eclipse. Hopefully less crowded.
 

REDONE

Active Member
I'm glad to see so many more planning to see this. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing.:) Here's the GPS points:
OP1- The Observation Point, an abandoned airfield in the middle of nowhere! Aim for 10am rendezvous, I plan to lay out some snacks, the stickers, and such.
42.875310, -107.486764

Camp Green- this is the most accommodating camping area, approximately 20 miles as-the-crow-flies south of the OP. It's a developed campground managed by the BLM. $6 a night fee per site. I aim to be there by 3pm Sunday!
42.360085, -107.684256

ALTERNATE SITES: If camp green is full or closed, these are two "dispersed camping" options closer to the OP, but lower altitude and further from the grid.
Bivouac 1
42.6358116, -107.6667754
Bivouac 2
42.7150066, -107.5209507

ROUTES:
Route PINK- the most maintained route, is "ORE RD" proceeding NORTH out of Jeffery City along HW 287. The potential problem is that this type of road tends to be washboard heavy in WY. The wind and semi trucks do a real number on the compacted gravel to create miles and miles of washboard. If this road has been graded recently, it's a non issue. You'll be able to bomb down this road at the posted speed and full tire pressure. If it's washboard, dropping tire pressure to around 20psi allows you to keep some speed without sacrificing your shock absorbers.

Route ORANGE- This is much less traveled. the road is "AGATE FLATS RD", 6 miles EAST of Jeffery City along HW 287. After 12 miles of maintained gravel this road appears to turn to unmaintained double-track. Additionally, google earth shows that as many as three water crossings may be mandatory.

I'll be transmitting my location via APRS, as KE0LSU-5, so anyone looking for me can find me on ham radio, OR on aprs.fi if they have internet connectivity. I'll update my message on APRS to indicate any changes in plans. ;)
 

Natebert

Member
I have several peoples phone numbers and will start a group text Sat afternoon for people looking to meetup since we may be all over the state but may be right next to each other if we have weather or camping adjustments to make.
Send me your number if you want to be added.
 

mikeinCO

Active Member
Thanks for keeping the info rolling. I am still on the fence if I can make it or not but you have my number Nate.
 

Craig F

New Member
Also, I still have a couple eclipse glasses if people need them.
Nate - is this a different trip to what Matt (Redone) is planning above or are we all going to try and hook up for the trip to the viewing area? I am interested and have made plans to have the time off to attend with the RMO trip. Just trying to avoid some confusion. My phone number is 303-808-7731 and email is wcf2396@gmail.com for direct communication purposes.

Craig
 

REDONE

Active Member
I think Nate is still planning to shoot for Jackson, with the points I've posted as the contingency.

I'm sure anyone that's driven through WY knows this already, but cell coverage in Wyoming is virtually non existent. Even along the interstates it's typically "emergency calls only". Wife has Verizon and I have AT&T, and from the UT border to Laramie there's only two islands of coverage; in Rawlins and Little America. Cell phones are not reliable comms in Western Wyoming.:confused: