Eclipsing atmosphere

By on August 23, 2017
Kim and Adam Gockley last week flew 2,600 miles to Lincoln City, Ore., to witness a total eclipse

Kim and Adam Gockley last week flew 2,600 miles to Lincoln City,
Ore., to witness a total eclipse

Ephrata’s Kim and Adam Gockley flew 2,600 miles to witness a total eclipse of the sun

While throngs of locals flocked to witness Monday’s partial eclipse at the local library, Kim Gockley and her son Adam decided seeing only a piece of the eclipse pie wasn’t quite enough.

They wanted the whole pie.

That’s why the Kim and Adam last week boarded a plane in Philadelphia for Oregon to witness a total eclipse of the sun by the moon.

The pair still debate who first promoted the idea but both agree it was all about the “atmosphere” of experiencing instant total darkness followed by almost immediate light.

“It didn’t take long to decide,” Kim said. “It was pretty spontaneous. It was early June — I mentioned it to Adam, and he gave me the ‘push’ I needed or was looking for.”

They soon realized they were hardly alone as “eclipse tourists,” Kim said.

“Yes we saw eclipse tourists everywhere,” Kim said. “On our plane, in the airport, and everywhere we visited in Oregon. Even standing in line waiting to get our rental car. There was a happy buzz to the area.”

Of course the best part was being part of history and witnessing something so unique. People who know Kim weren’t surprised she went to Oregon.

She has always been the type to sit outside for meteor showers or “get up in the middle of the night to see a planet come into view.”

So knowing the last total solar eclipse viewed in the contiguous United States was in February 1979 — through the northwestern U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota — the Gockleys weren’t about to wait another decade to see “totality.”

The Gockleys got an early “West Coast” look at Monday’s eclipse

The Gockleys got an early “West Coast” look at Monday’s eclipse

“We wanted to be able to see the eclipse within the zone of totality,” she said. “We looked at the map of the US and decided that of all the places where the eclipse could be seen, Oregon was the place we most wanted to visit.”

Kim used Airbnb, an online lodging company which links short-term renters with property owner, to find a host in Lincoln City Oregon.

“This was our first trip out west and we loved it,” she said. “We explored Portland for a day and a half then drove to Lincoln City on the coast.”

They also traveled to Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park,and Drift Creek Falls before viewing the eclipse Monday.

“Our host was excited about our enthusiasm for the eclipse,” she said. “He had other visitors and neighbors over for an eclipse viewing party which he invited us to.”

Their host also provided solar eclipse souvenirs including sweatshirts, mugs, and stickers.

With souvenirs in hand, Kim and Adam got their money’s worth Monday around 1 p.m. ET.

“It was so exciting,” she said. “We were up on a cliff that was right on the coastal highway and looked down on the highway and beach. People had parked along the side of the road to watch, people were on the beach watching, and boats were nearby watching.”

When darkness fell the excitement spiked.

“When it went dark we heard people cheering and horns honking, boat horns going off…. it was such an exciting peak moment — New Year’s Eve can’t even compare to the buildup and celebration.”

Kim and Adam, who flew home Tuesday, shared pictures and video on social media. But while multimedia, HD, and 4k viewing is great, it’s impossible to recreate such an iconic event, she said.

“It’s difficult to describe the feeling of being there in person with others who are just as excited,” she said. “It was unforgettable!

Only possible drawback?

“It did get considerably cold,” Kim said.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at or at 721-4455.

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