Total Eclipse Road Trip: Tips and Tunes from AAA Colorado
DENVER (August 17, 2017) – Coloradans trekking into the path of totality to catch a glimpse of this year’s history-making total solar eclipse, be forewarned: You are not alone. AAA Colorado is predicting record-shattering traffic jamming up Colorado’s north-south corridors, long lines at the few-and-far-between gas stations within the path of totality, and strained cell phone network capacity across Wyoming and Nebraska.
What’s worse? If you haven’t already reserved a hotel or campsite within the path of totality, it’s likely too late – with rooms at one- and two- diamond motels and hotels going for upwards of $1900 in the Casper, Wyoming area per an analysis by AAA Colorado. Nearly every formal campsite is booked, too. And while it’s always legal to camp on public land operated by the Bureau of Land management, don’t expect to find a place to pitch your tent that easily.
But don’t lose hope! With a little foresight, planning, and a rockin’ playlist, many Coloradans can road-trip well into the path of totality and be back in time for work on Tuesday.
ROAD TRIP: The AAA Colorado “Drive Me to the Moon” Road Trip Playlist
The closest Wyoming town within the path of totality is Wheatland, population 3,627. It’s an approximately 3-hour drive to Wheatland from Denver on a good day. Scottsbluff, Nebraska – also within the total eclipse path – is 3.5 hours from Denver even under the most forgiving traffic conditions. Casper, Wyoming, the largest city within the 67-mile swath of darkness, is a little over 4 hours from Denver on any given Monday.
Monday, August 21 won’t be any given Monday. With some analysts expecting that up to 600,000 people will travel to Wyoming to view the eclipse – 400,000 coming up from the south alone – AAA Colorado predicts that drive times could double, or even triple.
That’s a lot of car time, and travelers are going to want some good music to keep them company. Luckily, AAA Colorado is here to help with our “Drive Me to the Moon” 2017 eclipse road-trip playlist. Three hours long and chock full of 42 – the answer to life, the universe, and everything – sun-, moon-, space-, and eclipse-themed hits, listeners won’t mind being stuck in a traffic.
Here’s a sample of what listeners can expect:
- “Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)” – Bobby Womack, Fly Me to the Moon, 2:07
- “Who Loves the Sun” – The Velvet Underground, Loaded, 2:46
- “Paint It Black” – The Rolling Stones, Aftermath, 3:22
- “Yellow Moon” – The Neville Brothers, Yellow Moon, 4:04
- “Steal My Sunshine” – Len, You Can’t Stop the Bum Rush, 4:26
- “Dark Star” – Crosby, Stills & Nash, CSN, 4:46
- “Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A., 4:01
- “East of the Sun (West of the Moon)” – Billie Holiday, Solitude, 2:54
- “Here Comes the Sun” – Richie Havens, Live at the Cellar Door, 4:15
- “Let the Sunshine In (Reprise)” – The 5th Dimension, The Age of Aquarius, 1:28
Rock on, Colorado!
Travel Tips from AAA
- Plan your route ahead of time, especially when it comes to fuel stops. There is no guarantee the limited service stations within the path of totality are equipped to handle dramatically increased demand. And, even if they can, expect prices far higher than what you’d pay at the pump normally. Schedule fuel stops along the way so you won’t get left high and dry – because, if there are traffic jams, it’ll take time for AAA Roadside Assistance to reach you for a fill up.
- Don’t count on having cell service. Much of the path of totality covers rural regions that aren’t equipped to handle sharply increased network capacity – if they offer cell service at all.
- Bring paper maps of the state and region you’re visiting, so you can navigate even if your GPS doesn’t work. That counts doubly so if you’re hoping to stake out a view by way of the back roads.
- Make sure to pack extra food and water. AAA Colorado recommends carrying at least a gallon jug of water – or more, depending on how many are along for the ride. And make sure to bring plenty of non-perishable meals and snacks in the event of bumper-to-bumper traffic to or from the path of totality.
- Watch out for pedestrians! There may be many people standing in or along the roadway watching the eclipse.
About AAA Colorado
More than 650,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state’s greatest advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services — as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit Colorado.AAA.com.