CHAMPLIN, Minn.- It's one of nature's most awe-inspiring sights -- a total solar eclipse. And on Monday, millions of people will be traveling to get a glimpse of this rare celestial event.
Although this is an exciting time for many, officials are reminding motorists to keep their eyesUP, not to the sky but on the road. Ron Schmit knows all too well the excitement that comes with a total solar eclipse.
"It's about six hours to get from here down to the total zone down in Kansas City, but if everyone tries to do that... it's going to get interesting," said Schmit.
His passion for astronomy has become his profession. Ron runs the Observatory at Jackson Middle School in Champlin. Ron says the excitement and public interest behind this celestial phenomenon has grown.
"The rare part is how often it comes to your neighborhood, that's rare, you can find them throughout the world but you have to travel to them," which is exactly what Ron does.
He's traveled to Aruba, Turkey, Zambia, and South Africa to witness one of natures most exciting events.
"It changes entirely when the sun goes away, the sky turns this purple silvery color, the stars come out, the plants come out, right during the day time, you turn around and you see 360 degrees of sunset, the temperature goes down a couple of degrees, it's very other worldly," said Ron, who is just one of millions who are driving to and from the path to totality stretching from coast to coast.
"You might be stuck on the road when the eclipse starts," said Ron. "A lot of people kind of talked about it like Woodstock… people coming from everywhere to a place that's not prepared for them and just setting up shop."
For those with their eyes to the sky and plan on hitting the potentially crowded roadways, Trooper Tiffani Nielson with the Minnesota State Patrol says pay extra attention.
"People always need to drive with caution, put the cell phones down, focus on the road, and don't take any uneccessary risks," said Nielson.