Solar Eclipocalypse Part 2: Surviving

The danger and crowds for the eclipse were greatly exaggerated. It helped that we decided to go to Wyoming instead of taking I-15 to Idaho. Of course, Wyoming natives told us that they had never seen so many people as ten cars drove past the window.

The lack of looting and traffic jams didn’t stop us from making use of all of our prepping, however.

First of all, Gordon’s dad decided to come along with us, but by then we had booked the last available hotel room in Wyoming (probably). So the back of the van made a great back-up bedroom.

Any of you who have driven through Wyoming know that there are long stretches of nothing but sagebrush and (allegedly) bighorn sheep. So if you are in the mood for a hot meal, you may by out of luck for an hour or two. So we made use of the hottest part of the car–the engine compartment–to cook lunch.

Just before leaving Thermopolis (home of the world’s largest mineral hot springs), we made a large quesadilla, wrapped it in a tinfoil envelope, and put it securely next to the engine (it goes without saying that you shouldn’t do this with any food that could start your engine on fire). With lunch underway, we drove toward Cody.

Road trips with Gordon always mean stopping at every historical marker and point of interest along the way. It was near one of these historical markers that Gordon said, “Wait, does anyone else smell burning?” After running through the list of engine fluids that could be on fire and realizing it didn’t smell like any of them, Gordon pulled over, shouting, “It’s cheese!”

The quesadilla came out perfect: crispy and nicely melted without a hint of engine grease. So if you’re ever cooking engine Mexican food, it’s done when your air conditioning starts smelling like cheese.We had salsa to make it even more delicious, but it was pretty great on its own.

We also threw a water bottle on the dashboard and let it heat up in the sun, then poured it in a pouch of instant mashed potatoes for a filling (if nutritionally questionable) side dish. I’m sure you could make actual healthy food in a similar way, but we went for the “we’re trapped in the desert with nothing but foodstuffs that could survive a nuclear winter” vibe.

Finally, the Harley Davidson Ride Atlas was a life saver. Not only did it tell us what we should stop and look at, it also helped us find back roads and the best routes through the (admittedly not crowded) state. And we didn’t need a 4G network or satellite signals to make it work.

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