|I got home from work, showered, and was on the road headed to Powhattan, Kansas by 4:45 pm. That's Pow as in how, now, cow...not as it low, mow, tow, as I had been saying it. When you get to the real deal, you learn how to pronounce it! Wow! or, Pow Wow Powhattan!
I was just on the other side of Des Moines when the traffic almost came to a stand-still. I had been dreading the eclipse traffic for weeks as I read about the multitudes descending on the 70 mile wide swath across the US from Oregon to South Carolina. After all, I had only gone about 15 miles and had another 240 to go. I almost panicked and then remembered the next exit led to the Solheim Golf Tournament and being just a bit after 5 pm, perhaps the tens of thousands in the gallery were all exiting onto I80. But no, it wasn't that either.
The fast lane was empty save for a cop car and a car in front. I was in the middle lane and the cars in my lane and the one on the right were just creeping by as we watched the cop restraining a guy by holding him under the arms and up over his shoulders. They were between the two cars and as I drove by, only a lane away, I could see the guy began struggling to free himself from the grip. A few more yards down the road, watching the action in my rear view mirror, I saw the man twist himself free, throw the cop to the ground, and then run to his car. With no time to think, I got in the fast lane, stopped, switched to reverse and backed as fast as I could toward that creep's car. There was simply no way I was going to let that car leave the scene. As I was backing I was yelling "Help him!" "Help him!" to no one, really, as the traffic was going forward, I was going backwards and my windows were up. I was frantic, though, as no one was stopping to help. "SOMEone! Please HELP the cop!" I knew I wouldn't/couldn't be of any physical help and my only weapon was my truck.
While I was backing, the cop successfully pulled the guy out of his car and when I was about 30 feet away, an angel with a yellow helmet dropped his motorcycle and jumped on the guy. Two more civilians stopped and another guy in a uniform appeared from nowhere and I stopped long enough to take three pictures through my rear view mirror. I was emotional for a good 50 more miles. My adrenalin had been super charged, I had no fear at the time, but I think after it was all over I felt the fear. Most of all, though, I felt enormous thankfulness for the strangers who stopped to help the cop.
As this - the cop vs the bad guy - was such a unique event for me...and such an emotional one, I decided not to combine it with my Eclipse Day story. This was too unique...and, well, so was a total eclipse. Folks on my HitchHiker RV forum knew I was going to drive south to get in the path. There were dozens who formed a rally at an RV park in Nebraska that was situated in the zone. And me...I got a wonderful and very unexpected gift. Lyle and Mary, forum friends I first met at our Geezers and Geysers Rally in Yellowstone in 2009, generously invited me to come the night before. In Powhattan, Kansas - population 60! Lyle pulled his HitchHiker out of their RV garage, hooked up water and electric and it was mine for the night. What a lucky girl I am! Lyle and Mary had also attended my rally in Maricopa, Arizona in 2010. The three of us attended a rally just outside Tahlequah, Oklahoma in 2010 and then we and three other rigs caravanned to Chanute, Kansas together. I got to see them again in Winterset, Iowa the first part of June this year when I met them and a few others for lunch. Now I was in Powhattan with these good friends and right in the path for a 2 minute 22 second full eclipse. However, with a 40% chance of rain, would the weather let us see it??