I just drove Highway 8 West from Interstate 5 to the coast on the southern border of the peninsula. If you are not familiar with the area, the road takes you through tiny towns such as Elma, Montesano, before getting to Aberdeen, which sits on Grays Harbor.
It’s a beautiful drive, especially on a cold, clear day.
On the way in, I wondered if there wouldn’t be any evidence of a huge wind storm. It doesn’t leave muddy tracks like floods do. But amazingly enough, there were signs, and they came in the form of, uh, signs. Every metal freeway post was bent to the side or completely folded down. The ones that seemed particularly susceptible were the larger ones with two posts. Those folded down, as if they were bowing.
The other sign came in the form of utility crews. I saw six of the large, white bucket trucks lined up in a row on Highway 12, diligently working on what looked like major transmission lines.
The lights in downtown Aberdeen are on from what I can tell. A reader board at a gift store said: “Thanks Power Crews; preorder your baskets.”
I haven’t spent a lot of time in Aberdeen, but I’ve heard plenty of stories. My mother lived both here and in Westport. My grandfather still visits regularly. As an ex-fisherman captain, he checks on his boat when my uncle returns from Alaska in the summer. And as of three months ago, he comes to visit my grandmother’s grave.
So, when my mom heard I was off to Aberdeen, she suggested I talk to her best childhood friend, Elizabeth.
From her stories, the wind was the worst part — not the rain.
She said it howled so loudly, she didn’t hear anything when two large trees blew over in the backyard. Her electricity remains out, but stays warm by a fire, and she says: “Thank god for peanut butter and jelly.” She said her lights are supposed to go on today.
Without electricity, there’s not much to do. She said she went to the grocery store today, which was absolutely packed. Everyone just wanted to talk to someone.
And everyone is trying to keep up their sense of humor. She said a man was talking about how he had to hurry home before it got dark, when he realized that was a silly statement because it was dark at home.