Eclipse 2017: Oregon campers arrive days early to get best view

Posted at 3:33 PM, Aug 18, 2017

Everyone is trying to get the best view possible of the total solar eclipse. And some decided to show up days early.

By some estimates, millions of people will be driving over the next couple of days to stake out their spot along the path of totality.

Laura Gregg and Robert Gidley decided around January that they’d watch the eclipse at a campsite in Madras, Oregon. They drove 5 hours to beat the crowds and get there Thursday — four days before the eclipse happens.

“Beautiful,” Gregg says of the ride. “It was very peaceful to look at, and, of course, there was hardly any traffic.”

That was just one part of their plan for an easy eclipse experience.

“Show up early,” Gidley says. “Plan to leave late. Bring supplies that we knew we need like extra water. Make sure the car is full of gasoline at all times.”

They brought what they need to avoid driving into town. 

“This is a backpack-style camp stove,” Gregg explains of one item they brought along.

Pointing at his shot glass, Gidley says, “A very important part of camping. Yes, the shot glass. Make sure that it’s in good shape and clean.

Even down to the flowers.

“They are for Laura,” Gidley says. “Laura should be surrounded with flowers at all times.”

For Jimi and Lindy Derouen, breakfast is a little bit sweeter.

“We were early arrivers,” Lindy Derouen says. “We wanted to get here before. And the traffic, well, we came from Salem and it was beautiful and traffic wasn't bad.”

Both were happy to see their worst fears didn’t come true.

"I’ve been reading nonstop about it's going to be gridlock. There's going to be no gas; all of the horror stories,” Jimi Derouen says.

They originally planned to watch the eclipse near Yellowstone Park.

“Best Western in some little town in Eastern Idaho wanted $1,000 a night,” Jimi Derouen recalls.

So they’ll witness the eclipse in Madras. It’ll be Jimi Derouen’s third. 

“It's the best light show there is,” Jimi Derouen explains. “The quality of the light and just the spectacular nature of it is like nothing I've ever seen.”

Now it’s a waiting game. 

“Excited,” Lindy Deroen says. “I want it to be, like, tomorrow.”

“I'm ready,” Gidley says.

And these campers are glad they’ll be doing it at their site, instead of in traffic.

 “It's really boring,” Gregg says.