Life goes on, but with more walking

Life hasn’t been easy for Taylor Road residents in the weeks since Wildcat Creek overflowed and washed away their only link to the rest of the world.

But it hasn’t been impossible, either.

Residents have had to make adjustments since Jan. 7, when record rainfall destroyed a short stretch of Taylor Road. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, its school and the Holly Ridge Center all found temporary lodgings elsewhere, but those who live on the road mostly stayed in their homes.

“Other than the inconvenience of having to walk to the car, its been pretty good,” Taylor Road resident Barbara Davis said. “I’m always up for new adventures.”

This was the second time Hazel Tucker has seen the road wash away in her 55 years living on Taylor Road. She watched from her home on the edge of the creek as a culvert washed out in 1968.

In those days when the environment was less a cause of concern, the county just drug the culvert back in place. The road was open two days later.

This time around, she saw the waters rise from her kitchen window, filling in a former river bed in front of her home.

“I spent a lot of time watching the water come up,” she said. “The recycling bins were floating down the driveway. We laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny at the time.”

The lack of a road has impacted the number of piano lessons Hazel Tucker gives — only one family is brave enough to cross the rickety foot bridge from Davis Road.

Davis said the biggest problem has been getting groceries home across the foot bridge. That requires the use of a wheelbarrow and several trips to the car.

Hazel Tucker left her car at her home, so she can drive to the foot bridge a quarter-mile away without having to walk. After crossing to the other side, she relies on family or friends to get her to the grocery store or church.

“You don’t realize how dependent you are on having a car 20 feet away that you can load up and unload and go wherever you want, whenever you want,” Eric Tucker said. “Now-a-days, when you’re like Grandma, when it’s time to go you have to make sure what you’re supposed to do gets done because there’s no going back.”

“Right,” Hazel Tucker agreed. “It hasn’t been a problem for me since the kids do everything that needs to be done ... but other people might not be so lucky.”

Lately, Hazel Tucker has been spending her days watching crews from Poulsbo-based General Construction prepare the way for a new bridge. County officials estimate the bridge will be in place and open by Friday, Feb. 22.

All three residents said the county has been cooperative in meeting their needs.

“I am impressed with the way the Department of Emergency Management has worked,” Davis said. “They really got in and helped so it’s been easier for us here than it could have been.”

“We were very pleased with the way the county reacted to this whole thing,” Eric Tucker said. “They were Johnny-on-the-spot. I talked to the roads supervisor and he said everybody they had assigned to roads was here. I know they did everything they could as quickly as they could and they did a wonderful job.

“We were all a little frustrated in the beginning to have that road up there and not be able to use it,” he added, referring to a temporary road the county created in the aftermath of the washout. Residents haven’t been allowed to use the road, which county officials said wasn’t designed for traffic. “But we’re making due, although it can be a long walk in the morning to get to the car.”

Some residents opted to accept an American Red Cross offer to occupy temporary housing in Silverdale. But for Hazel Tucker, that wasn’t an option.

“I love this little house,” she said. “I don’t want to have to leave here. We’ve had a lot of fun here.”

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