On August 21st 2017, the USA went dark.
The first total solar eclipse visible from coast to coast in the USA in 99 years saw skies darken as the moon eclipsed the sun in this rare astronomical event. In fact, it was the last solar eclipse in general since February 1976.
The path the eclipse's totality crossed is home to 12.2 million people, and another 200 million within a day's driving distance. Add to that the many tourists who flocked to see it from all over the world - including eight groups on Grand American Adventures' special eclipse departures.
At locations including Grand Teton National Park, St.Louis and Nashville, Grand American Adventures tour groups rose bright and early to witness the eclipse. Arrivals began at national park gates from 5am in order to ensure the perfect vantage point. Breakfast was eaten underneath the rising sun, with everyone eagerly awaiting what was to come.
General Manager Matt Berna was at Grand Teton National Park and describes witnessing the eclipse...
"This was one of the most amazing events that I've ever experienced.
The temperature drops quickly, the sky starts to darken and you can visibly see the edge of the moon shadow coming towards us (from the mountains).
Then, in a quick moment, the entire sky goes dark and there is suddenly a beautiful glowing white light that you can help but stare at, with no sense of time or other thought. It is truly beautiful.
Then there is a cold wind that is drawn as the shadow pulls its own environment along with it. The two minutes seem like seconds before the sun starts to reappear, but before doing so, it beams one last time as if it were a diamond ring in the sky."
It was a truly special experience for all who witnessed it, and as the groups continued to make their way along their tour routes, something that will surely stick in the memories of our passengers (and tour leaders) for a lifetime.
Watch this space for more information on our next very special astronomical departures...