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Similar to the question @Droogans posed - "Annular Solar Eclipse - Adak Island, May 2012: Airfare help?", I'm also keen to see this eclipse. I originally thought it went over Vancouver, but it appears to be heading further south.

I've been perusing this page on all the cloud condition cover, and wondering really about anecdotal experience. I think I've got it down to the following:

  • somewhere on the NW coast for the sea-side view

  • Reno / Carson City

  • Grand Canyon area

  • Albuquerque

Now, the way I want to decide is this. It comes down to four factors - visibility, cost, experience and distance.

Impressively, they seem to increase in cost AND experience as you go down the list. However, visibility is the most important to me - I want the best chance of seeing it. Reno doesn't seem to have much that appeals - all I know about it is the gambling side, and that it's not that far from Heavenly Ski resort where I was once offered a job ;) Grand Canyon - which I was considering for a trip anyway, offers pretty good chance of no cloud, but it's a long way and will obviously cost more than a city break to Oregon.

Based on my criteria above - what recommendations would one suggest for this?

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if you want to meet up in the Grand Canyon, I'm actually flying there from my native Northern Virgina for the exact same reason. It would be an honor to meet you. I'll even have a car. –  Affable Geek Apr 29 '12 at 3:38
    
Haha, thanks, you're very kind :) Any idea where you may be staying? We need private msging on SE(!). DM me on twitter (@marksmayo) and I'll keep you posted on my plans, especially if I head that way. –  Mark Mayo Apr 29 '12 at 4:18
    
Ok found your details on your site; I've emailed you, figured that was easiest. –  Mark Mayo Apr 29 '12 at 4:20
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would avoid the coast. My experience is in California, where there is a well-known pattern of heavy fog and clouds near the coast in May and June (they call it "May gray" and "June gloom"). I don't know for sure, but I would expect similar conditions further north as well. However, often one can find clear skies just a few miles inland.

Deserts are much more likely to offer clear skies, especially in May. I don't know that there will be too much difference between your other three options.

  • Albuquerque has nearby mountains which might put you above any urban haze.

  • The Grand Canyon of course doesn't have any urban issues (though I understand there could be noticeable air pollution) but it is harder to get there (you have to drive) and there are not so many options for accommodations (unless you want to camp out).

  • Reno is not a very exciting place if you don't like to gamble, but it does have a lot of cheap hotel rooms. The nearby Sierra Nevada mountains could give you a remote spot for viewing (though they are also more likely to have weather), or you could head east into the desert (there are mountains that way also).

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