Eclipse Watchers Hitting the Road Early

RICE TOWNSHIP -- Thousands of people are expected to hit the road this weekend to find a place to see the solar eclipse and many of them will be traveling on Interstate 81.

It did not take us long to figure out that the upcoming eclipse on Monday is going to be a big event. It only took us a few minutes to find lots of people heading to a place where they can watch the eclipse.

Newswatch 16 went to a rest stop along Interstate 81 in Rice Township. We found a lot of people were passing through the area to get to a place where they can watch the eclipse.

Michael Asselmeyer from Poughkeepsie is on his way to his freshman orientation.

"I'm going to Vanderbilt University and Nashville is in the eclipse zone. That's actually part of our orientation is that we go and see the eclipse."

Some people are traveling thousands of miles.

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"We'll put on around 3,000 miles, roundtrip, so, half of that to get down there," said Alfred Stawicki of New Hampshire.

Brent Pickett and his wife are making a family gathering out of the event. They have been planning a trip to Kentucky for about three years to view the eclipse.

"It's my oldest son who is planning it. So, they are also coming down from New York. We have family in Austin, Texas who are also meeting us," said Pickett.

A lot of people are expected to travel over the next couple of days to see the eclipse. Many of the people Newswatch 16 talked to say they're leaving now to get ahead of the traffic.

"The traffic is supposed to be pretty much a nightmare as the weekend comes and next Monday and Tuesday, traffic is going to be bad. All the hotels are sold out. We want to get down there and have a nice time and relax," said Brian Wells of Boston.

Alfred Stawicki and his wife have been waiting for this day for nearly 40 years. He says this may be his last chance to see a total eclipse.

"I didn't want to miss this opportunity," said Stawicki. "It is a very rare opportunity and before our time is up, I want to see a total eclipse."

AAA has put out some safety tips if you are on the road during the eclipse.

Some of those include using your car visor to block out the sun, not wearing eclipse glasses while driving, and not pulling over on the side of the road to view the eclipse.

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