Sunday, January 29, 2006

Blown Away in Astoria

The ocean winds are swooping around Astoria after racing in off the sea, and down the Columbia River. At night they howl around the houses and through the alleyways, shaking and tossing everything in sight.

My house is up on a hill overlooking the Columbia River and the Astoria Bridge. It is built on posts and piers on a steep slope, so the front part of the house is sitting on solid land, but the back part, which faces the river, is standing on old posts sunk into an ever-moving hillside.

It's an old house, built in the Victorian era, so it is balloon-framed, which means that the wood studs in the frame go from the bottom of the first floor to the top of the house. The studs are continuous slats of wood, i.e. visualize a large tree cut into full-length stud boards of 20+ feet in length. It is because of the balloon framing, which almost all of the old houses here have, that the houses are still intact, since it allows the houses to give and sway in high winds.

And the winds have been horrific lately ... 65+ mph gusts, particularly during the night. The house is rocking and rolling while the wind, sounding and feeling like a freight train, shakes it like a terrier with a rat.

Going outside when the wind is like this is downright risky. But the other night I had to take the garbage out. The wind doesn't care about menial tasks that have to be done. I almost got the can to the curb when a huge gust howled around the corner of the house, and whipped the garbage can lid up. I got nailed right square in the face. I was almost knocked out cold, and my glasses got broken. Think I'll pass on garbage night during monsoon season.

There's no end in sight, and the winds have been whipping themselves up for the last several hours. I expect I will be rocked to sleep once again.

Astoria Photografpix

1 comment:

Mr DirtBagger said...

I was in Astoria recently. Cute little town. Discovered the Maritime Museum under the bridge. Nice.