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Monday's the day for long-awaited solar sky show

Aug 20, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

Friday car wreck kills eclipse visitor near Dubois; big traffic jump noted

The solar eclipse weekend claimed its first victim in Fremont County on Friday night.

A rollover wreck on Dubois's Horse Creek Road killed one man visiting from out-of-state while injuring two others.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

By Friday, an increase in traffic had already doubled across Wyoming when compared to the five-year average.

On US 287 south of Diversion Dam north of Lander, there was a 76 percent -- 744 more vehicles -- increase on Friday. Traffic increased by 16 percent on Wednesday and then 38 percenton Thursday, traffic counter figures showed.

Also on US 287 east of WYO 28 and Lander, traffic increased by 81 percent -- 1,026 more vehicles --on Friday.On Wednesday, traffic on that road increased by 22 percent andon Thursdayby 45 percent.

By mid-afternoon on Saturday, visitors began filling up the 1838 Rendezvous Site in Riverton. Campers from across the West were well represented while some drove to Riverton from as far as Florida, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Michigan.

Some planned their trips far in advance, while others -- including Jeff and Janet Elliott from Perrysberg, Ohio -- came to the Rendezvous City on a whim. The couple made a "spur of the moment" decision five days ago to stop in Riverton for the eclipse while returning from a vacation in Alaska.

The Elliotts originally had considered staying in Jackson, but decided to flee to Fremont County to escape the crowds.

At Boysen Reservoir, visitors began filling up sites at Tough Creek Campground on Saturday. Morton Lake and Ocean Lake were also being inundated Saturday, while downtown Riverton stayed busy with pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

Locals capitalized on the influx by selling food and other goods on Main Street and North Federal Boulevard.

Hundreds came to City Park, where vendors lined the park's perimeter and local performers, like hoop dancer Jasmine Bell drew significant crowds.

The Fast Lane in Shoshoni -- a typically busy gas station -- drew even more business than usual, with RVs and other vehicles regularly needing to line up to wait for gas.

At Riverton Regional Airport, about 30 private planes had arrived by Friday afternoon, with triple that number expected by Monday morning.

Crowds are expected to swell dramatically by Sunday afternoon. Estimates place the number of eclipse visitors to Fremont County at 10,000 to 40,000.

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2017-09-24

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