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This Concord man loves eclipses so much, he turned his car into an 'Eclipse Mobile'

A man stands in front of a black car with an eclipse image on it
Jackie Harris
Rik Yeames stands in front of the "Eclipse Mobile"

Granite Staters are gearing up to view the solar eclipse on Monday, April 8. The eclipse will reach totality in parts of the North Country. And one man is more than ready for it.

Rik Yeames is a member of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society and a NASA Partner Solar Eclipse Ambassador. He is always thinking about how to engage and educate Granite Staters about the upcoming eclipse.

“All I wanna do is spread the word,” Yeames said. “And having an inner awe is quite nice. Sharing that inner awe with everyone and inviting them to join me in the shadow path, the path of totality, is priceless.”

His day job is owning two Domino’s franchises, but after he saw an eclipse in Wyoming in 2017, he knew he wanted to share that experience with people in New Hampshire.

A black dodge Challenger's hood with the image of a total solar eclipse with the ram icon in the center.
Jackie Harris
The hood of the "Eclipse Mobile."

“In that moment I saw people in my group – they were brought to tears by the eclipse. It was that strong an emotion. But on the day after that eclipse, I realized, ‘Hey, the next one is coming [to New Hampshire]. I don't have to chase it! It's coming to me.’”

Yeames recently gave a solar eclipse presentation as part of an after school program at the New Hampshire Telephone Museum in Warner – a significant part of which was devoted to his car which he calls the “Eclipse Mobile.” It’s a black Dodge Challenger with images of a solar eclipse wrapped on the hood and trunk.

“It actually looks like a hole in the sky, or the Eye of God is how it's most often described. And that's the darkest point you'll ever see, because you're looking at the moon with no light on it.”

The trunk of a black Dodge Challenger with an image of totality during a total solar eclipse. The horizon is reddish with a dark sky and a black dot with light around it.
Jackie Harris
The hood of the "Eclipse Mobile" shows planets and a comet during a total solar eclipse.

Yeames plans to put the car’s “ECLPS24” vanity plate in a time capsule. He told the after-school group of kids gathered around the car that eclipse memorabilia will be buried in the capsule at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord.

“55 years later on May 1st, 2079, it comes out of the ground,” Yeames told the crowd. “That's the date of the next total solar eclipse to come to New Hampshire.”

Phoebe Esenwine is 10, and she plans to see the eclipse, but she’s not buying into the hype just yet.

“I've never seen it before,” Esenwine said. “I don't know what it’s going to be like.”

As for other people like Yeames who are really excited about the eclipse, she said, “Good for them.”

Yeames gets that not everyone is as into the upcoming eclipse as he is. But he thinks that if a person just sees it, they’ll understand where he’s coming from.

“Some people go, ‘Well, it's just a shadow.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, a tsunami is just water and a volcano is just fire and an earthquake is just a little shaking.’ So what's the difference? The difference is, a solar eclipse is fun, peaceful and positive. It connects you to yourself, to people around you, and to the solar system and the universe.

And with a pair of eclipse glasses and a trip up north, Yeames says we can all be connected through the awe of a total solar eclipse.

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Jackie Harris is the Morning Edition Producer at NHPR. She first joined NHPR in 2021 as the Morning Edition Fellow.

For many radio listeners throughout New Hampshire, Rick Ganley is the first voice they hear each weekday morning, bringing them up to speed on news developments overnight and starting their day off with the latest information.
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