Thursday, August 10, 2017

11 Days to the Great American Eclipse!

I've left it a bit late to start writing Destination Guides for a few of the cities in Wyoming that are in TPOT (a hashtag term I've coined for The path of totality. I hope it goes viral!). There's extenuating circumstances for my tardiness, but now I've really got to get on the stick and get these guides ready.

My expectation is that thousands of people who were unable to get hotel reservations for the cities in question will be staying in Cheyenne, and even as far away as Fort Collins to the south - and probably equidistant to the north - and driving into the path of totality on the morning of the 21st to see it.

The first city I visited was Torrington and I'm working on that destination guide and it will shortly be published at

It was a fun trip.

Torrington is a town of about 7,000 people, situated about 70 miles northeast of Cheyenne on Highway 85. (As such, it's about an hour closer to Cheyenne than Casper is. Casper is having a multitude of events on Eclipse Day - but there will be hundreds of thousands of people there, as it's a city with a population of 60,000 people with hotel rooms to match. I'm expecting just an extra thousand or so people in Torrington!)

Coming in on Highway 85..I passed by a couple of Welcome to Torrington signs but neglected to stop for photos. I'll do that tomorrow when I return to Torrington to take a few more photos before heading west to Glendo.

The first thing I did was drive around just to see if I could see any great big signs saying "We're in the path of totality!" I didn't see anything - but later on when I parked and walked around, there were signs in practically every window advertising events.

I'd intended to stop in at a local restaurant for some food - and later to write a review of it - but by the time I'd finished my initial recce I was hungry so I just stopped in at the local Maverik station for a piece of pizza.

Sausage and pepperoni pizza prepared daily at Maverk station by their "Bonfire Grill" people

I will review it, even though Maverik is a chain of gas stations rather than a local restaurant, just cuz. In fact I'll give my review right now - I was so hungry that I ate it all up, even though it had a spicy tomato paste rather than tomato sauce, and it was a bit spicier than I like. I only drink Pepsis in cans and they only had the very tall cans of Pepsi, 16 oz rather than 12, but I bought one anyway. A filling lunch for those who are hungry and want to get back on the road...or in my case, want to satisfy their hunger cravings quickly.

After seeking out the library - I love libraries, I parked on Main Street and sought out their Post Office. In the Maverik I had seen the Torrington newspaper which on the "top fold"  had a photo and headline of a woman who had designed a special cancellation for their post office for the "Big Day." I hadn't read the caption closely enough - it was actually for a different city some 20 miles further north, called Jay Em, not Torrington. But I'll be driving up there "on the day," after the eclipse, to get a postcard cancelled.

I then walked up and then down Main Street, taking photos of restaurants and other businesses, and saw T-shirts on display in front of an H&R Block outlet.

Sally Rose and her eclipse T-shirt designs
I talked briefly with Sally Rose, who works at the H&R Block outlet (which is owned by her sister). Sally used to own a T-shirt shop before going into the tax business herself, and decided that she'd create some unique shirts for the Great American Eclipse.

T-shirt designs
I was tempted to buy one at the time.. but then I decided it would be more meaningful to actually buy it on the day of the eclipse, not before.

Sally was interesting to talk to. Their H&R Block outlet is open year round - though only two days a week when it isn't tax season - and that if someone has a tax question Sally and her sister or whoever is on duty that day will be happy to answer questions, even if it's just from a visitor to the town and not a resident. That's customer service!

Quite a few entrepreneurs are gearing up for the eclipse in every city in TPOT, of course.

Even restaurants/diners/cafes are getting into the act. The Bread Doctor, an artisan bread and sandwich shop that is only open from Friday through Sunday, will be open on "the big day."

The Bread Doctor
I'll stop in there for a sandwich or something on the day, or at least stop by and hopefully see that they are jam-packed to reward their initiative!

I took photos of quite a few of the restaurants on Main Street. Quite a challenge as cars were parked in front of every single restaurant, but I'll be sharing the photos anyway just so my readers can get an idea of what the restaurant-fronts will look like.

Cars in front of every restaurant...

On the corner of 21st and Main - Torrington Visitor's Center and Chamber of Commerce
The place to go first, for visitors to Torrington interested in history, is into the building that houses the Java Jar, on the corner of 21st Avenue and Main Street. Inside, past the Java Jar, is the headquarters of the Torrington Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Center, and there's a nice History of Goshen County  display. (The building is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.)

Goshen County History inside the building housing The Java Jar and the Visitor's Center
All in all, a pleasant little town, and I'm looking forward to returning here on August 21 for Eclipse Day.

No comments: