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The newly engaged couple had driven the 180 miles from their home in Des Moines, Iowa earlier that morning.They had strung Christmas lights from truck to tent-top and finished off their festive homestead with two signs.
Those driving were warned to 'stock up on groceries, fuel and other incidentals.' If using coolers 'freeze larger blocks of ice now rather than counting on convenience store ice.'With a Solar Eclipse art fair, campers, music planned and souvenir stalls it was as if Doomsday Preppers had been put in charge of Woodstock.'Charge batteries on everything,' it continued, 'from point and shoot cameras to flashlights to portable chargers. Put a roll of toilet paper in your car.'And in case your children went missing or fell prey to 'stranger danger,' visitors were advised to 'take photographs of your children as they arrive to show current clothing and hairstyle.'Listen closely enough and you could hear City Hall's muffled screams of 'Don't Panic!
'High School Librarian Shelly Huette, 40, and her teacher husband Charlie, 41, were surprised by the preparation overload when they decided to make the 30-minute drive from their home in Kansas City a day ahead of time and camp out in St Joe's.
They were worried by the prospect of 'crazy traffic' on the day and made a spur of the moment decision to spend a night under the stars in St Joe's.
Penka explained: 'We are here to make pictures of phenomena only visible in a total eclipse.' They hope to measure the heat of the sun's corona - estimated to be around 1million degrees.
Mary and Bill O'Donnel's trip was an altogether more lighthearted affair.
Crowd-controlling barricades had been erected, streets had been closed off, and signs along the I-29N - the main artery between Kansas City and St Joseph - flashed warnings of increased traffic glimpsed only fleetingly by the cars that flowed freely past.