170822_news_riverfront

Solar eclipse hopefuls wait for the event on Monday at Riverfront Park.

Riverfront Park was a popular viewing destination for Monday’s solar eclipse.

Traffic was backed up Waterworks Road to Interstate 229 with cars of eclipse-goers claiming their perfect viewing spot. Those who wanted a prime spot had to arrive early.

Linda Gaither, who made the trip from Houston, Texas, arrived before dawn on Monday.

“We bought our plane tickets about three months ago, and we went to see our in-laws in Kansas City and we drove up at 5 a.m. this morning,” Gaither said.

Gaither’s wasn’t the only family from out of town. The parking lot by the Missouri River was littered with cars with license plates from all over the country.

“It’s supposed to be one of the top places to see the eclipse,” Gaither said about why her family chose St. Joseph.

While some watched the eclipse from the shore, others sped down the Missouri River in boats leading up to the big event. Raytown, Missouri, native Aaron Croft used the morning to canoe on the river for the first time.

“I didn’t know if I was going to do it or not,” Croft said. “Hopefully I would because I wanted to take pictures.”

Croft set up his telescope on land before putting his canoe on the water, where he spent time before the eclipse. It was not an easy task.

“It was fun, just harder than I thought it would be,” Croft said. “Bad idea.”

John Zetmeir can be reached at john.zetmeir@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZetmeir.