268.April 8

Nafplion, Greece

We woke late, took cold showers, bought breakfast (which Lars and I went roaming around the blocks nearby for a long time to find, it was a beautiful morning and the air, the shore, the gravity were all very memorable.) We ate. After breaking up with Celeste and Arielle (who wanted to go to an island to rest). While we did laundry (1,000dr), Lars checked the bus schedule. A dog on the street bit Becca's bag and then my sleeve and arm, never letting go, and then something of Lars. Wild. Tied outside a store with the owner inside, not caring, I guess. Later, I saw it chewing on some plastic just as vigorously.

We took the 14:15 train to Nafplion with an hour layover in New Corinth, where we sat by the dirty, littered sea and ate. The train ride was beautiful through the valleys of Greek mountains, but slow, bumpy and jerky. At the station, a man asked us to rent one of his pensione rooms for the night for 5000dr, so we did. It was very nice, and turned out to be a separate little building. We went quickly to a restaurant, after looking at every restaurant in Nafplion. We had Greek salad, retsina (white wine stored in pine resin seal barrels), lamb and pasta. Then back to the room for red wine and cheese on the deck looking at the stars and smelling the fragrance of flowers blooming everywhere. We had a wonderful evening on our own balcony on the hillside. We watched the stars, ate cheese, and drank wine. Lars got the fold-out cot. We got the cozy bed.


I finished adding the windshield to the Yamaha xj650, and took it for a ride. Rachel stayed at school for rehearsal, and I picked her up at 22:00. 


Benton, Illinois 

Today I was a passenger in a Cessna 182 (four seater) from Houston County Airport in Caledonia, MN to Benton, Illinois, which was along the path of totality for the Solar Eclipse of 2024. I will explain how this completely unexpected but much wished for trip took place.

Starting shortly after a very successful 2017 trip for the last Total Eclipse where everything went wrong (brake fluid leak that left my car stranded at my own mechanic (perfect timing) in Cedar Falls after dropping everyone else off at Single Speed Brewery for lunch, and a rental van that was leaking all of it's engine oil on the way back(=FREE RENTAL) when my friends Tyler, Beth, Sara, Sarah, Mark, Rachel and I made it to Rocheport, Missouri to see the last total solar eclipse at a point of Total Darkness, I began planning another trip to make it the epitome of our friend's gatherings.

Well, covid happened, and travel of this sort had experienced its own total eclipse for a while. I had even put it in my work calendar that I was taking that Monday off in the far distant future. Well, when it popped up again in my calendar a few weeks ago, I realized that I'd never get my friends to go to this on a school day at this time of the year.

This past weekend in church, I mentioned that I may just have to go on Monday on my motorcycle, but there had just been 6 inches of snowfall the previous week, and bad weather this weekend. I heard from the church president that the Red Baron Flying Club was planning to go, but the weather was not looking favorable. Well, yesterday, that friend called my wife after a conversation they had on the way to "Mamma Mia" the Musical in La Crescent, and it turns out, there was an extra seat for me. She said I must go.

I was picked up this morning at 7am, we were in the air before 8am, and in a flight of two we leap-frogged down the Mississippi River to Benton, IA, just 40 miles by car from Carbondale, the place I'd planned to end up for the weekend with my friends, and probably less than 30 miles as the crow flies.  So, I got to see the eclipse happen for 2 hrs and 30 minutes and a total solar eclipse for 4 minutes and 10 seconds. I met a lot of fun pilots as well and had a nearly perfect flight home despite the 25 mph wind gusts, and at nearly 150 mph (over 125 knots). 

2024 Total Eclipse of the Sun's Path