Salem stocking up on groceries, camping supplies for the eclipse

SALEM, OR – It’s just three days until the total solar eclipse, and airports and grocery stores are packed, and hotel rates have skyrocketed.

Employees at Roth’s Fresh Markets in Salem say it looks like the holidays inside their store, and they’ve at least doubled in inventory to prepare.

Kris Kramer was shopping there on Thursday and says she just moved to Salem from Florida.

“I’m going in hurricane mode from Florida. Because we just had one about a year ago. So you do that same preparation. You make sure that you have all your needs and you prepare that there may not be electricity,” Kramer said.

Roth’s employees say they’ve seen plenty of people from out of state, and they’ve been keeping a tally of all the different license plates they’ve seen.

That paper shows many from Washington, a few from Arizona and Texas, and one tally for a Florida plate.

Kat Hill was also shopping at Roth’s on Thursday. She says she works at Walgreens and that they are facing the same challenges.

“We had to get huge supplies. Everyone’s coming in and buying milk, iced tea, and bread and butter. And the beer is going like crazy! Everything’s flying off the shelves already!” Hill said.

Employees at REI in Keizer say they’ve also bumped up inventory.

Campers were there Thursday picking up last-minute camping supplies for the eclipse.

Helen Stonhill and Otar Overacker say they are camping in Woodburn for the eclipse. They were at REI Thursday buying supplies.

“I understand there is no shade, no water and no porta potty. So we’re here at REI purchasing the Luggable Loo!” Stonhill said. “It’s gonna be so awesome. I can’t wait. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long and I don’t care if there’s traffic. I don’t care if there’s a little bit of cloud cover. I don’t care if we’re in a dirt field with no facilities. I’m gonna see it and I’m stoked and I’m gonna see it with Otar.”

Jacob Houlihan and his family were also gearing up for their trip camping along the Pacific Crest Trail.

“My stepdad said it was gonna be a bit chilly so he’s getting me a sleeping bag,” Houlihan said.

All of these preparations revolve around the roughly, two-minute event.

“And this is like a once-in-40-year event so it’s probably never gonna happen ever again in 40 years,” said 10-year-old Nate Hardeman who is going camping with his family this weekend. “We just moved here about a year ago from Hawaii, so I guess it’s kinda just God telling us this is the right place, you know?”

Karl Downing says he’ll be watching at an event in the Salem community he lives in.

“I want to see it in person. I’m getting older and it’s my last shot,” Downing said.

Whether people live in the path of totality or not, it’s just being in the right place at the right time.

“I don’t think I’ve ever considered being part of an event like this in my hometown,” said John Marshall, who will be watching the eclipse with family from his brother’s rooftop in Salem.

If people are still looking to go to Salem for the eclipse and don’t have a place to stay, plan on paying hundreds of dollars.

A few places have one spot available because of recent cancellations.

Motel 6 at 3195 Portland Road Northeast in Salem will run you more than $300 Sunday night, while the Holiday Lodge is charging $1,400.