When itís late, youíre tired and itís time to pack up the telescope and go inside or drive back home, youíre most likely to drop an eyepiece, lose a cap, your keys, or do something else that you really wouldnít like to do normally. Fatigue can make all of us do stupid things that are expensive to fix later. Itís a good idea to pack up before you get to your tolerance points for fatigue or cold. Experience will tell you where these points are. If youíre driving home late, remember that youíll need to be sharp behind the wheel.
The first thing you should do when packing up the telescope is put the cap or cover over the end of the telescope to protect the mirror or lens and keep anything from dropping down the tube and onto your mirror.
Next, remove the eyepiece that you were using, replacing the caps over the focuser and on both ends of the eyepiece. Remember to unscrew any filter that you might have been using on an eyepiece before putting it back in the case.
In the case of a Dobsonian telescope, lift the tube assembly off of the rocker base and place the cover over the telescope. Carefully load the telescope and base into your vehicle if transporting the telescope.
You'll be tired at this point. After a great evening of viewing, you'll be thinking about other things, but remember to check around your telescope carefully with your red flashlight. Make sure you haven't dropped any eyepiece caps or anything else.
Put you mind back in Safe Driving Mode if you have to drive back home. Remember, probably the only people out driving this time of night are drunks and astronomers ... and there are very, very few astronomers. Drive alert and drive safe!