Not since Y2K has there been a build-up that compares to the total solar eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to Idaho next month because the state sits right in the path of totality.
Hotel rooms and campsites are in high demand, many are already sold out for this once-in-a-lifetime event. If you’re still looking, you may find a little luck in Boise County.
Placerville, which is in the path of totality, is the 8th smallest incorporated city in the entire state with a population of 52. However, during that August 21st weekend, that population is expected to grow to more than a thousand.
Home to a mercantile, museum, and grocery store, Placerville used to be one of the largest cities in the West.
“We had over 6,000 people here at one time. We had 30,000 people living in the basin,” Donna’s Place owner Skip Myers said.
All there at the time for one reason: Gold. Come August 21st, the town will grow once again for the golden opportunity to see the total solar eclipse.
“We are right in the path. We get a minute and 33 seconds of total totality. We're going to see the stars,” Myers said.
Donna’s Place, the only store in town, is already gearing up for that weekend.
“We have the coldest beer in town, and we got the coldest soda pops in town at the best prices of anybody in town,” Myers said. “I think we're going to be able to supply them all, everything they need, when they get here.”
Myers is even making several keepsakes to remember the day from solar eclipse candles and hats to a mint coin.
“We have a collectable coin, of up to a hundred only, and that's going to be available at the total solar eclipse,” Myers said.
The small town will have live music and a dinner on Sunday evening in town square, and a pancake breakfast the day of the event.
“Absolutely, we can handle a thousand people,” Myers said.
So how can a town of this size handle such a huge influx of people? The answer: long-time resident Vic Warr is renting out 20 acres of his land.
"Realized that there's not much space available anymore and we have all this property and we thought it might be fun. And we thought people could come and enjoy our property and their time here camp, you know have kind of a secluded, wooded camping site,” Warr said.
The Warrs are renting out, as of now, 50 spots on their property located just down the road from Placerville. However, the couple can go up to a hundred reservations if needed.
“I want people that come here to have a good experience. We have just loved this spot ever since we started coming to Placerville almost 20 years or so ago. It's just been a great spot to come,” Warr said.
In order to keep it that way, the Warrs are not allowing any open flames on their land; they’re also hiring security to ensure everyone stays safe.
“If people want to come in two or three days before the eclipse and camp and enjoy the mountains of Idaho, that's fine,” Warr said.
“They'll get to see what the real West was about,” Myers said.
City officials recommend if you do plan to come to Placerville to bring a map as cell phone service is spotty. You will also be on dirt roads while you’re there.
If you’re interested in booking a spot on the Warrs property, a link can be found here.