Monday, January 07, 2008

Weathering the storm

The fam and I are back from a wedding weekend, where my cousin tied the knot. She is 27, but I still have trouble remembering that she isn't in elementary school! We spent the last couple days in lovely Chico, California, which is just under 2 hours north of Sacramento. Most Americans know of Chico because of the now-twenty-years-ago designation by Playboy magazine of California State University, Chico as the top party school in the country.

We were wondering if we'd make it to Chico at all. On Friday when we were planning to leave, a tremendous wind and rain storm pounded the area. By the time we departed for Chico in the mid-afternoon, the wind had died down, but there were power outages everywhere. As we passed through the little farm towns of Live Oak and Gridley on our way north, we saw nothing but darkened businesses, and candles shining through the windows of peoples' homes. Orchard after orchard exhibited signs of the violence of the wind. Random nut and fruit trees lay prostrate among the rows of trees still standing. Being the history teacher I am, the downed trees lying among the regimented rows reminded me of some arboreal version of a battle from the Revolutionary or Civil Wars.

It was all rather interesting to see until we got to Chico - population 85,000 - and found that the power was still out there too. We had been forewarned by my parents, who had arrived hours earlier, so we had brought blankets and flashlights with us... thank God! The Days Inn where we had reservations was without power. Surely the power at the Inn would be restored before the start of the rehearsal dinner. Nope. We got to the rehearsal dinner where the power was out there too, but the lights came on about ten minutes after our arrival. Surely, the power would be restored at the Days Inn when we returned from the rehearsal dinner. Nope. We slept in the dark that night and used flashlights to get into our pajamas. Surely, the power would be restored at the Inn when we awoke the next morning. Nope. To make matters even worse, that's when we found that there wasn't even any hot water, even though we had been told that since it was heated by gas instead of electricity, there wouldn't be a problem. That was it - time to go. We secured a coveted room at a hotel a few miles away whose power had been restored. We got in there in time for the kids to take their naps and for us to shower before the wedding was to begin - a wedding which was to take place at a church that had no power.

Power was restored at the church not long before the ceremony. The day before, the location of the reception had no power, but that was restored early on Saturday, so no problems there. We left the reception around 9:30pm, and on our way back to our new hotel, we drove by the Days Inn which we had vacated. Surely, power would have been restored to the Inn by now? Nope, Still no power. Had we not secured a room at another hotel, we would have been spending another night in the pitch dark.

Power outages are kind of fun as long as the whole town is without power. In the little town where I grew up, the power would be out in the whole town for two or three days. But when you are without power for days, while the block across the street has juice again, then it becomes not so fun. I am just happy that the power was restored one step ahead of each event of the wedding weekend. It was easy to light up the rehearsal dinner cafe with candles, but I was wondering how they were going to pull off the wedding ceremony had power to the church not been restored. Just another adventure living on the wild and wacky west coast!

Good Day to You, Sir


Anonymous said...

How beautiful the wedding would have been by candlelight! I know a little about living off the grid.


Don, American said...

Our power went off at 8:15 am on Friday, and came back on just before "Desperate Housewives" at 9 pm on Sunday. How fortuitous. I want to forget what happened in between.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Wow, Chico? My wife graduated from there and I did attend but never graduated from there. And it's not the party town it used to be. But it's still very beautiful.

Texas Truth said...

I hope everything is getting back to normal. take care.

Darren said...

I went to Reno last week Wednesday, and the first storm hit Thursday. Came home Thursday night, as 80 was supposed to impassable on Friday. 15 miles of chains and 3 hrs on the road was all it took to get home.