Torrington, Wyoming, hosted thousands of eclipse visitors today.
Torrington, Wyoming, got a lot more crowded today. Kriston Capps/CityLab

But it was hard to get a cup of coffee this morning.

TORRINGTON, WYO.—Bada Bean made its major mistake before Eclipse Day ever arrived.

The line of customers that snaked down the block outside nearby Java Jar was proof. Hundreds of eclipse-watchers descended on Torrington, Wyoming, early Monday morning, boosting the town’s population (6,501) by a not-insubstantial degree. All of them needed coffee, badly.

Of the two coffee joints in Torrington, one of them made the world-historic mistake to stay closed on Monday. Bada Bean, bada bust.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Joe Wilson, who was running one of two cash registers set up on the sidewalk by the Bread Doctor, a bakery. “We’ve got a staff of 20 today. Normally there’s a staff of four.”

Staff at the Bread Doctor found a crowd waiting outside before doors opened at 6:00 a.m.; a few hours later, the bakery celebrated its busiest day in two-and-a-half years in business.

Such were the stakes on Eclipse Day—easily a Super Bowl–scale mega-event for Wyoming, the state with the country’s smallest population. Not all got into the spirit: Some Torrington establishments posted firm warnings against parking or trespassing. But businesses that bet big on the eclipse made out like bandits. Vendors and shops downtown sold special eclipse swag, erected a tent with long tables for celestial tourists, and otherwise gave in to eclipse fever.

Meanwhile, the worst predictions failed to come to pass. While congestion along I-25 between Fort Collins, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, looked uncharacteristically gnarly on Monday morning, traffic never amounted to that much more than steady on most roads leading north and east toward the band of totality stretching across the state.

That’s because Wyoming has been talking up the eclipse for weeks—even months. Drivers across Wyoming set out so early on Monday that the inevitable traffic stretched into pre-dawn hours.

As my colleague and fellow eclipse-watcher Laura Bliss also discovered over in Idaho, disseminating information early and often can help eliminate troublesome traffic conditions before they happen. The same kind of thing happened when Pope Francis visited Washington, D.C.—predictions of a Popemageddon didn’t materialize.

Same with Eclipsepocalypse: Wyoming dodged a mess, because people took the warnings to heart.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Bicycle riders on a package-blocked bicycle lane
    Perspective

    Why Do Micromobility Advocates Have Tiny-Demand Syndrome?

    In the 1930s big auto dreamed up freeways and demanded massive car infrastructure. Micromobility needs its own Futurama—one where cars are marginalized.

  2. a photo of a WeWork office building
    Life

    What WeWork’s Demise Could Do to NYC Real Estate

    The troubled coworking company is the largest office tenant in New York City. What happens to the city’s commercial real estate market if it goes under?

  3. Environment

    How ‘Corn Sweat’ Makes Summer Days More Humid

    It’s a real phenomenon, and it’s making the hot weather muggier in the American Midwest.

  4. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  5. a photo of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in 2016.
    Transportation

    What Uber Did

    In his new book on the “Battle for Uber,” Mike Isaac chronicles the ruthless rise of the ride-hailing company and its founding CEO, Travis Kalanick.

×