Thursday, August 17, 2017
We started our day walking around Hinton’s campus to see the changes since we were last here. We walked down to the lake shore to see the new pavilion. For those that have been following since last fall, you may remember that when we were here at Hinton the new pavilion was destroyed while still under construction, by a severe thunderstorm. It was really a shame because it was close to completion and looked so good. It is now again getting close to completion and is again looking really nice. It doesn’t look to us that it will be competed by Monday but it should be enjoyed in the future. Max also got to see the interior of the Lake House our NOMADS team worked on last fall. It looks really nice since the cabinets and flooring have been installed. The staff are very pleased with the completed project and the Lake House is of course rented this weekend for the eclipse viewing. Hinton also has a new dock at the lake, new fire pit area by the lake and a lot of new signage. We noticed the nice new directional signage as we were arriving yesterday and saw today that it was installed all over campus.
Speaking of signage. There are all kinds of interesting signs in this area currently. There are signs in yards. There are signs in pastures that are hoping to be campgrounds for the eclipse weekend. We were told that some businesses are planning to sell parking places in their parking lots for 100’s of dollars because the police are not going to allow people to stop along the road sides. Nobody really knows what to expect. This community has been advised to stock up on food because trucks won’t be able to deliver once the roads are blocked with all the traffic. We went to the grocery store today not knowing of this advice and where shocked at the crowds. It was crazy. We overheard one local talking to another saying “Well we’ve got to get our groceries bought before all those tourists get here and buy everything.” There are also those that are concerned about the stations running out of gas because the trucks won’t be able to get here. We decided we really didn’t need much and plan to just stay at Hinton until next Tuesday.
Not sure if we ever mentioned why we are at Hinton this time. Back last spring when we were here Jackie, the CEO, talked to us about the eclipse and their plans. As we talked back and forth and made some suggestions, she asked that we come back and work the eclipse weekend. Hinton is in the path of the total solar eclipse and based on the media reports there should be many thousands of extra people in this area. Hinton has events and activities planned for their guests and needed some extra volunteers to supplement the full time staff. The original plan was for us to work with hospitality, but our “always flexible” NOMADS duties have changed many times over the past few months and changed again today from yesterday’s plans. Last week the living room ceiling in the McCall House (another building NOMADS remodeled, but not this ceiling) collapsed. The air conditioner condensate drain leaked causing it to fall. Today tongue and groove was being installed to replace the ceiling. Unfortunately, the person doing the work became ill today and won’t be back to complete the work. McCall is rented out starting Saturday for the eclipse. So at 8:00 in the morning, Ken, Max and Bill, a local NOMAD, will join Perry, the facilities manager, to complete the job. Anne and Joyce were more than willing to help as well but the living room really isn’t that large so they will be working on other tasks.
After Ken and Joyce (NOMADS) arrived and got settled in, we of course were talking about the eclipse. Ken is an astronomer and will be giving a couple of talks for the guests this weekend. Ken had a new toy to show us. He has a new hydrogen-alpha filter solar telescope. He set it up and let us look at the sun. It was too cool. We saw some solar spots and Max and Ken saw a solar flare. We had never used a solar telescope before.
So, seems things may get interesting this weekend so we will keep you posted. At least right now we have a forecast for a sunny day Monday so we hope to get to see the total eclipse.