I was at the Stonehenge replica above Maryhill, WA for the 1979 total eclipse. Even before dawn, and cars were already lined up for hundreds of yards along Stonehenge Drive.
There were thousands of people draped over the hillsides, some dressed in Wicca costumes performing pagan rituals, families, fairly normal folks of all ages, and a proliferation of noisy to rowdy teens and twenty-somethings.
Some had telescopes; others had cardboard and wood viewing contraptions, ranging from hand held to large enough to stand inside.
The dawn sun was ducking in and out of the clouds and it was beginning to look like the whole thing could turn into a disappointing bust. But then, within a few minutes of totality, the sky cleared and we could actually see the shadow of the moon racing up the Columbia River. The moment of totality was almost indescribable. Picture a 99% eclipse, and then envision the sliver of light disappearing into a thee dimensional hole into the heart of the universe. Compared with totality, even 99.9% is a yawner. If you are going to witness anything less than totality, forget about it! It's not worth your time.
One memorable thing at the moment of totality: A bunch of know-it-all young guys were standing right next to me. These were the kind of kids who had seen this, done that, and felt like the world owed them a living, but at the moment of totality, one of them screamed out, "Wow, for the first time in my life, I'M IMPRESSED"! And you know what? I believe he was!!!