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Autobahn Eclipse View Sites Sought

August 11, 1999

ON THE A8 AUTOBAHN, Germany (AP) _ Drivers had a new reason today to go as fast as humanly possible on the speed-limitless autobahn: clouds.

Racing for a glimpse of the last total eclipse of the millennium, thousands of tourists from all over Europe sped along the A8 autobahn looking for a spot where there was no cloud cover. The A8 was dubbed the ``Eclipse Autobahn″ for the occasion because its 280-mile route runs right in the eclipse’s path.

People jumped in and out of cars, setting up camera tripods, donning their special eclipse sunglasses and reaching high speeds to beat the fast-moving cloud cover.

Normally, only those with car trouble dare to pull over on the autobahn’s shoulder. Today, people stopped anywhere they could find space _ lawns, exit ramps, rest stops.

``At home, we have good weather all the time,″ lamented Mimmo Moro, who drove 930 miles nonstop from his home in southern Italy.

``We came here just because the next eclipse will be in 2081. I hope I will be alive, but I don’t think I will be,″ Moro said before jumping back into his car, cramped with four friends, to continue the quest for a clear patch of sky.

Walter Bosin, from southeast Germany, said he started calling random numbers on his cellular phone in cities along A8. ``We are looking for the solar eclipse. Can you tell me how the weather is?″ Bosin asked the strangers he called.

Elsewhere, police reported traffic jams of up to 20 12 miles on roads heading south as thousands sought to reach southern Germany and the ``zone of totality″ in time.

A 42-year-old man driving through Kaiserslautern, in western Germany, was killed when he ran his car into a bridge pillar while looking at the eclipse, police said.

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