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. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  2. a photo of a BYD-built electric bus.
    Transportation

    A Car-Centric City Makes a Bid for a Better Bus System

    Indianapolis is set to unveil a potentially transformative all-electric bus rapid transit line, along with a host of major public transportation upgrades.

  3. a photo of a tiny house in Oregon
    Design

    How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

    Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?

  4. Transportation

    When a Transit Agency Becomes a Suburban Developer

    The largest transit agency in the U.S. is building a mixed-use development next to a commuter rail station north of Manhattan.

  5. a photo of a woman on an electric scooter
    Design

    A Bad New Argument Against Scooters: Historic Inappropriateness

    The argument over whether electric scooters belong in Old Town Alexandria reflects an age-old rationalization against change.

×