The Traveling Steve's

Solar Eclipse in Chicago

Well not quite, but with an eclipse covering 86% percent of the moon on Monday, it was not your every day work trip.  While parts of the country would experience a total eclipse, here in Chicago at 86% it was still enough to get everyone excited.

 I flew from Orlando to Chicago on American Airlines Monday morning, First Class on a Boeing 737.  I am working in Chicago this week on business, and staying and working near O’Hare Airport.

Steve (DOS) and I had stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando the night before, and had both a good dinner Sunday night, and a nice but quick breakfast buffet on Monday morning.

I said by to DOS (until Friday), and headed to the Clear lane at security. As I walked to my gate, I saw from a distance it was occupied by a TWA jet!  

TWA got absorbed by American years ago, and in true retro style had painted the tail of this plane with the TWA logo, while the side of the plane had the American Airlines one.  Still, one of those things that catches your eye, just like when I see the occasional (and intentional) Piedmont, US Airways, America West logo etc on an American plane.

My 2 1/2 hour flight was uneventful, and I was served breakfast aboard in seat 6B (aisle), the last row of First Class on this 737-800 series jet.I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the eclipse as I was flying, but it wasn’t scheduled to occur in Chicago until around 12:15, peaking at 1:39pm, and we arrived around 11am. 

Upon arrival to O’hare, I took my usual photo of the flag covered terminal before heading to baggage claim.

I rented an SUV at National Car Rental, before heading for lunch and my hotel.  It always amazes me how close the planes at O’Hare land to the car rental agencies.  Those workers must be semi-deaf if they’ve worked there for very long – it is so loud!  Cool to see, but loud!


Once checked into my Hyatt Hotel Rosemont, (near Chicago O’hare Airport), I watched the eclipse footage and festivities on TV.  No, I didn’t have the specialty eclipse glasses, so couldn’t go outside and watch it, and I didn’t want to be driving during this ‘eclipse time’ either.


 It was quite an overcast day as it was, but didn’t know what to expect, so didn’t want to be driving when the eclipse ‘hit’.

Flipping thru the many channels on TV, I must say CBS actually had the best coverage.  Starting with the eclipse in Oregon, as it moved quickly across the country, I anxiously awaited for it to arrive in the Chicago area, although further south in Carbondale IL there would be a total eclipse lasting for a couple minutes.  It was really cool watching that on TV, and my favorite news footage was from the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area with the beautiful mountains in the background, suddenly fading to darkness.

I must say, when the eclipse ‘arrived’ in the Chicago area at 1:19 sharp, I was a bit disappointed.  I guess even though the sun was 86% blocked, I figured it would still be almost dark outside, which it ‘clearly’ (pun intended) wasn’t.  It was hazy and cloudy outside for sure, but couldn’t distinguish that from the summer Florida clouds before a storm.  Here are a couple pics from my Hyatt Hotel room near O’hare; not the best photos, but this was my view; the second photo maybe slightly darker, but no where near the total darkness I was expecting as I saw on TV.

Anyway, all of the anticipation built up was a bit of a let down for me, although I’m sure the people across the country that experienced a total eclipse would beg to differ.  It was fun watching all of the excitement on TV all around the country, especially in areas where there was a total eclipse.  From picnics in parks, to events at football stadiums, it was a once in a life time event for all; well at least until 2099 at this specific spot.  

Chicago will have a 93% eclipse again though in 2024 if you can’t make the one in 2099!

For now, though, I’m comfortably settled into my hotel room after my first day working on the project here.  I will be here all week on business, and then flying to Roanoke for the weekend to see my parents.

For those who interested, here’s a brilliant and exceptionally well done video I found on You Tube, sung to the song ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’, with some updated lyrics and visuals for the day.  Enjoy!




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