by Victoria Principato
After a wonderful visit to Kansas City filled with biking and barbeque, Cate and I rolled our bike (and ourselves, we ate soo much BBQ!) onto a train, and made our way to Jefferson City, Missouri. Known to local Missourians as “Jeff City,” or simply, "Jeff," it was an exciting time to be in Missouri’s State Capitol! The Solar Eclipse is passing over the country, and Jefferson City is the only State Capitol that will be in the path of totality. This means that Jefferson City will experience some of the best views of the eclipse, and will experience a total of 2 minutes and 29 seconds of total darkness on Sunday, August 21st, 2017, when the moon and the sun align.
Cate and I had a great time experiencing the city during this exciting time! Along with our friends at Amtrak, Mariah and Derrick, we arrived in the early evening, just in time for the Capital Eclipse Celebration! We were easily able to walk from the station to lively downtown Jeff City. In order to properly ring in the eclipse, Jefferson City organized a downtown festival that took over Main Street for the evening. With a live band playing country music (our favorite!) and several bars offering draft beers (our second favorite!), Jefferson City is the place to be for the solar eclipse. It was such a great experience to get to talk with some of the locals about their excitement for the eclipse, and how they plan to watch it! We could see people beginning to set up their tents and telescopes for the approaching big day. Overall, we had a great night joining in the thrill of the eclipse, in the heart of the big event.
The next morning, Cate and I got an even closer look at the solar eclipse with a perspective from outer space! I know, what you’re thinking, I probably sound crazy. But the next morning, we went to breakfast with an astronaut! Michael Hopkins, originally from the farmlands of Richland, Missouri, was accepted into NASA in 2009, and 4 years later, was sent on a mission to space! As we ate our bacon and eggs, we got to listen to Mr. Hopkins share his stories about his experiences in space. It was so interesting to hear about his experiences in space in a microgravity environment. We even got to see footage of his journey! Did you know that astronauts have to follow a strict workout regimen, even in space? If they don’t follow this routine, they are at risk for losing bone density at a rate of 2% per month. With Mr. Hopkins being in space for 6 months, (166 days!) he had to make sure he stuck to his routine. It was so interesting to hear about his experience in space, and to see his excitement for the upcoming solar event.
Aside from the eclipse, there is plenty to do in Jefferson City. The famous Katy Trail State Park offers a variety of activities for hikers and bikers alike. The 240 mile long park has several trails that highlight the beauty of Missouri. We wish we could have stayed in Jefferson City to take a long ride, and for views of the Solar Eclipse, but we know we’ll definitely be coming back for another visit. Next up: meet us in St. Louis!