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Matt's Eclipse Trip Summary!


Active Member
Since the big thread is pretty long, here's a summary of my plans! Any and all are welcome to join me at any point along the way! Since there are so many groups (three? I guess not that many) I'll list this in reverse order so those who plan to meet up, OR are using this as a contingency, only have to read down as far as the day they are looking at.;) But first, the important stuff!
Bring water
Bring Fuel
Dogs? Bring em!
Kids? Heck yeah!
Food? I've never been on a group trip where anyone went hungry. While it's rude to show up and expect to be fed, if your meal plans don't work out, I'm pretty sure you won't starve. :cool:
New untested gear? Bring it! We're not a "tactical element" "maneuvering" "outside the wire". If your plans go so sideways that you show up at midnight and pull a new tent out of the clear plastic wrapper, I'd be so surprised; I'd poop a miniature marble statue of Richard Nixon if anyone gave you attitude instead of assistance and a smile!

MOSTLY, COMMS. Cell phones are not reliable. I drive through WY at least twice a year and over the majority of the state it's "emergency calls only". Doesn't matter if you have Verizon or AT$T or T-Mobile, you can't call anyone and texts don't go through. Bring your phone for when you're passing through a town or for emergencies, but you won't be able to call someone to find out where they are.
For this trip, I'll be transmitting pertinent info via APRS. It's a Ham radio thing that hooks to the internet. Whenever you're passing through an area with 4G coverage, go to aprs.fi/KE0LSU-5 (that's a zero, not the letter O). It will show you a little red car on a map where I've last transmitted from. Click the little red car and there will be a message. I suggest you try it right now so you know you can do it. It should show me somewhere around Ouray Colorado, and the message should say "testing my new aprs rig". If a road is blocked or a campground is closed, this is how I will let everyone know. I recommend a GMRS channel for voice comms. GMRS is those "walkie talkies" you can buy everywhere from Walmart to Cabela's for $20-$30. I'll just throw this out there, but channel 11 and no CTCSS (00) unless someone has a reason to change that.

We will be easy to spot! We are in a White 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk with a roof basket and and Rocky Mountain Overland sticker on one back window, and the RMO shadowchaser sticker on the other. Also, we'll all be wearing Bass Pro hats (I bought them for this trip;)).

Now, the itinerary!

August 21st, the day of the Eclipse!
I've identified an old airfield with no information about it anywhere on the internet located directly on the axis of totality. It's GPS location is :
42.875310, -107.486764
You can cut-n-paste those numbers into google maps search bar and it will take you right there. Switch to "satellite" mode and you can see the airfield! If you only plan to meet at the airfield, you can use google maps to pick your route as well. This is where I will have the stickers and moonshine (for anyone that wants either, no obligation is implied). The eclipse STARTS at approximately 10:25AM, TOTALITY starts at approximately 11:35AM. I hope to be here by 10am to set up an EZ-UP and snack table.

August 20th, the SUNDAY before the Eclipse!
The plan is "Cottonwood Campground" on Green mountain. Not to be confused with the biking hill in Lakewood, this one is EAST and SOUTH of Jeffery City, WY. GPS location is: 42.360085, -107.684256
It's an island of green in the Red Desert of Wyoming. I'll be arriving here from Dinosaur National Monument and hope to be here around 3pm. For whatever reason, this little oasis is home to Elk and wild horses, it has a creek for fishing (if you have a license) and some spectacular views of the surrounding topography. This is a pay site at $6 a night and first-come-first-serve. On the plus side, nobody talks about it outside Elk hunting season and the one video I've found of it was a guy "Wyoming Overlander" just hanging out for the day and NOBODY ELSE WAS THERE. It appears to be a well kept secret. :cool:
If the doomsayers are right and this place is packed, first alternate site (Bivouac 2) is dispersed camping at: 42.7150066, -107.5209507
This is legal BLM dispersed camping in the middle of nowhere. There MAY be cabin ruins to the north, and a super crazy six-pointed airfield thing to the south. It's "Bivouac 2" because it's along the secondary route to the Airstrip for viewing the eclipse. It's my first choice for dispersed camping because it's greener and has potential for ruins and such that make it interesting.
Second alternate (Bivouac 1) is at: 42.6358116, -107.6667754
This is along the main route to the Airstrip for viewing the eclipse, but it's just a dry, flat spot in a gully. If all else fails, it'll do.

PLEASE look at these points in google maps and know where they are, just in case.

August 19th, the Saturday before the Eclipse!
I'll be at the Green River Campground in Dinosaur National Monument, Morris plans to get there a day before me. I'm hoping to get there via "fantasy canyon" which is south of DNM in the wilds of Uintah county Utah. It's an area of strange rock formations. It may not be super super cool, but it's not long for this world. Foreign tourists have been caught destroying this little relic, so I want to see it before it's just dust in the desert. Green River campground is a pay site, around $20 a night and it's mostly first-come-first-serve, and being in the desert in the middle of nowhere in AUGUST, it's doubtful it'll be full. It is along the green river and is mostly a copse of trees, so it shouldn't be too miserable, and DNM has LOTS to see if you like dinosaur bones (or want to wheel a little bit).

August 18th, the Friday before the Eclipse!
We'll be staying at the Marvine Campground in the White River National Forest. This is also a pay site, about $20 a night (but $30 if you want to reserve it, my wife is an Environmental Remediation Engineer, so she likes concrete plans, which cost me $10. Worth it.). It's far away from everything and only popular with horseback riders. Just because there's no easy way to get there, I don't expect it to be too busy. Basically, the only reason you'd bypass all the national forests and state parks between where you are and Marvine, would be to take advantage of the equestrian trails, or get the heck away from everyone else (which is what we tend to do!):)

The SP (starting point, or departure time)
My wife is every bit as medium core as I am, but we have a toddler and jobs. We hope to hit the road around 8-8:30 on Friday morning. Being honest with ourselves, that might mean leaving at 10. Also, it's a vacation, so there's no pressure to meet a deadline or group at a rally point. For this reason, if anyone plans to do the whole trip with us, I highly recommend the first rally be at Marvine. There will be plenty of cell signal and internet access all the way to Rifle or Steamboat (depending on your route), for us to communicate if someone has a problem. The last thing I want is any number of people loaded up with their kids or dogs and sitting in front of my house for an hour while my daughter shoves her breakfast directly into her diaper, then craps all over the bathroom rug and uses it to finger paint the walls while we try to clean up the first mess. As anyone with kids knows, it's easier to stick to a schedule once you're in adventure mode, instead of departure mode (getting through the airport is no problem, getting there on time is the challenge, know what I mean?).

So, if you plan to join up, please post up here so I know to be on the lookout for you! (Mike, Morris, you're both already on my radar.;) Tom, Craig, and Christine, I know you've got plans, but I don't know where to expect to see you)

If you have ham radio and APRS, please post that up too so I can plug it in to track you!

Also, post up with any questions or concerns you have! I can't wait. No matter how bad this trip goes, it's still going to be awesome! Remember, the journey is the principle goal.:D
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Well-Known Member
I'll be at Cottonwood Sunday night for sure. Possibly earlier.

I have a HAM but no APRS. But i may be traveling with someone with APRS.

Morris Yarnell

Well-Known Member
I will be leaving Denver about noon on Thursday. May make it to Marvine by evening or if I get tired early Friday morning. See you there.
Be looking for a fancy Jeep with no plates and some equally snazzy hats. Any place to use those things in the box by the blue hat?


Active Member
Haha! Being a combat veteran, I don't find the sounds of those relaxing and hope I hear none this trip. Seriously, I shoot and I hunt but gunfire puts me in a frame of mind I really don't want to be in at all this trip (Staff Sergeant Faber is kind of an asshole) But I like to be prepared, BUT the last thing I ever want to do is kill a critter just for being a critter (we're staying in their backyard after all) so rubber buckshot it is.;)

ON THAT NOTE: the scary critter plan is carry your car keys. See a scary critter (Black Bear and coyote are very likely, brown bear and wolves are possible but nobody will believe you if you see one) hit the panic button. It'll let everyone else know something is up, illuminate the area, and more than likely, scare away the critter before anyone else sees it.

In my experience, I've never "needed" any weapon in a critter encounter. From bears to cougars, they usually see me and then "smile and back away" ( the critter, not me). Granted, I've never been to Alaska or Siberia, but I once called a wolf thinking it was another hikers dog and as soon as it saw me it literally walked backwards into a tree then turned around and ran.

David Wayne

New Member
Wednesday decision time!

After looking at the travel times and the options, I have decided to track to the "airstrip" following Matt's schedule as outlined here on the forum. So I plan to leave early in the morning and spend Thursday night above Buena Vista and then travel to meet up with Matt and Morris at Marvine CG Friday, and then continue as Matt has planned. Haven't been to DNM in almost 30 years, since the 1989 Hang Gliding Championships where I set a personal best of 16,300 MSL, woohoo!

Matt, I appreciate the research and look forward to another great time!

719 371-4030


Active Member
Are you bringing that sweet van, David? I'd love to see how you've got it set up if so!

I thought everyone was going to be jealous of me, but you and Morris leaving Thursday, man, I wish I was you!;)
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Have a great trip guys. I'll be here in Denver making sure it doesn't go anywhere. :( and starting to install my Landrover Engine. We plan on getting it back in the Rover on Monday.


Active Member
Sounds like a plan. I will leave Denver Friday morning and meet at Marvine or along the way if you pass the utterly slow Disco 2. I have ham and APRS, K0XPO call sign. Nate said he is using 146.550 so I figure that would be a smart bet for everyone to tune into. I will bring firewood to share and if everyone contributes a little we can have caveman tv for most if not all of the trip.


Active Member
Haha! Nice, Mike! I'm headed to ham radio outlet here in a little bit to get a mag mount for my luiton, that way I'll have APRS and be able to monitor 146.550. my mind is ready to be on the road already, but the packing is still in the "piles of stuff" phase!

Have fun with that fridge and motor, swank!:p


Active Member
Well, I've got everything staged to be packed in the morning! GMRS and APRS is charged up and got a mag mount for the voice radio. Only remaining delema is do I bring a stroller "just in case" or do I bring the margarita cooler?:oops:



Active Member
If anyone is checking here for updates, a bunch of is just rolled into green River campground in Dino. We're all in the sites numbered in the 60s.


New Member
I went straight to the airfield because I thought someone else said they would be camping there since Saturday. I found the turnoff from CR212, but there is a barbed wire gate blocking it and a "no trespassing" sign. Probably illegal but I wasn't going to mess with it. So I will be camping about 15 miles north of there, where a bunch of other people are.
Don't worry about not getting onto the airfield, there is a lot of open space around here.


Active Member
My little family is back home tonight! Pretty sure the rest of those who met up with me are staying one more night in Medicine Bow NF, but we are "medium core" and 4 days is about our fun limit (after that it becomes less fun). I'll post up a trip report in the "trip reports" section when I have some time to write more, but I figured I'd post a quick " ya'll missed out!" message here really quick, haha!

Christine, the rest of the group stopped at the top of a hill to watch, so I was the only one to make it down to the airfield. You're right, there was a chincy barbed wire gate across it with a hardware store "no trespassing" sign that didn't look legit at all. I took pics and I'm going to send them in to the WY main BLM office asking them what's up. I asked every car in the vicinity if they were with the RMO, but nobody was. I wish I could have linked up with you at some point but mainly I just hope you had as amazing of a time as we did! It was so cool to see Venus and Mercury, as well as the shadow band phenomenon!
The Group!

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