This is the long awaited entry about our fabulous day trip to Forks! But here's the thing: Forks, is a total dive. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Forks, don’t. Trust me! :)
We had kind of assumed that Forks would be this cute and quaint little town, and would be a fun bit of a lark to visit. But not only did it quickly become evident that they’ve never filmed ANY of the movies in Forks, but also that Stephanie Myers has never BEEN to Forks. If she had, she most definitely would NOT have set her books in this poor little backwater place!
This point aside, however, we had a really great day. The funny thing about Forks is that it’s not ‘on the way’ to anywhere. No-one ‘drives through’ Forks, because it’s AGES away, and completely in the middle of nowhere. This means that everyone there has gone there on purpose. Shame! (insert your little kiddy hand action right there Abby!). It took us three (very long) hours to get to Forks, and then three (very very long) hours to get home again. Luckily, the drive was absolutely stunning – and since a very large part of our reason for visiting was to see the gorgeous setting of the Olympic Peninsular, this part of the trip total surpassed our expectations.
One the way, we decided to stop at Hurricane Ridge – where the views are supposed to be beautiful, and there is lots of snow! We’ve meant to hit this place a few times now, but I keep sleeping in! So today was the day. Unfortunately (and contrary to what was posted on the internet before we left the house), the road was closed! So for our half hour detour, we were only able to get halfway up the mountain, and didn’t quite manage to get to the snow *sob*. On the upside, we got some pretty pictures :) I should warn you now that the pictures of beautiful scenery in this post don’t BEGIN to even hint at just how gorgeous this part of the world is – it’s completely breathtaking. My other favourite part of the drive was about half an hour spent driving along the edge of Lake Cresent. It was soooo pretty!
I felt quite sorry for baby P, because he ended up spending over 6 hours in the carseat! But he was a wonderful sport about it for the most part :)
But I digress! One small inconsistency between the book and the real world is the idea that Port Angeles is close to Forks. It's about 2 hours away from Forks! And Port Angeles was ugly! We stopped there briefly for a toilet break, and then we couldn't get out of there fast enough! Two hours later, right as we reached our 'yes, the scenery's pretty, but enough is enough!' point, we arrived in Forks.
We jumped out of the car to quickly get a photo taken with the welcome sign. We were excited to FINALLY be there, and in the 30 seconds that we were posing with the sign, four other cars pulled up for photos. The other cars were all full of mothers and teenage daughters. This was a Wednesday though, so I was a little surprised that it was so busy!
As we drove down the 'main street' of Forks, our little hearts sank. We needed to stop somewhere for lunch, and there was nowhere we really wanted to stop! I know I can be a little snobby about germs and only wanting to go to 'nice-ish' places, but I think everyone would have had trouble with this decision! Eventually we chose (out of the three available places to eat), and ate as quickly as possible. lol! My seat sank about 8 inches when I sat in it, but we made it out alive, and lunch could have been worse...
We decided to park the car along main street and just walk everywhere. Things were pretty close, and it's easier for baby P to be in a stroller than to be in and out of the car every five minutes. It was actually really nice to walk, and once we got off main street, and into the few blocks of residential housing, I even liked Forks just a tiny bit :) It was FREEZING cold though! And it was rainy. But that's okay - I love the rain, and it was the only 'authentic' thing about Forks, so I could hardly complain :)
First stop: Forks highschool. Looks nothing like the movie, but had the same sign :) Second stop was the Newton Store. Which was just the local hardware store, with a paper sign that said 'Newton' above the 'True Value bit of the sign... (you'll have to look closely to see it - lol!)
The town also has a 'tour bus' you can actually take (for $39/adult), but our tour was free, and based on the pages Emily had printed off the internet :)
The bus leaves from a store called 'Dazzled by Twilight' which is HUGE and FULL of anything and EVERYTHING you could possibly think of! I actually thought this store was done really well.... overdone really... but overdone really well! It was the funniest kind of creepy and very entertaining :)
We were in the store for a really really long time, because it started pouring with rain, and we were pretty much trapped! So we had time for a really good look around. It was during this time that I watched a little bit of the documentary 'The Real Forks' (on sale for $34.50) that was playing on a TV in one section of the store. This is when my heart softened towards the people of Forks just a little :) I had been feeling pretty duped by this horrible place, but it turns out that it's not their fault :) People just started turning up, and wanting to see things, and the people of the town had no idea what they were talking about! So they bought the books, read them, and then (because of all the people who kept turning up), they seemed to feel obliged to figure out where everything was!
It wasn't easy for them, but they put their heads together, and set about trying to find 'the best options'. For example, there's a lovely lady in town who owns the Bed and Breakfast there, and the townfolk approached her with "We think we'd better make your house the Cullen House. The book describes it as an old mostly white farm house, and yours is the largest (and only) white old farm house around. It's not surrounded by trees, and it's not out of town, and it doesn't have glass on one side, and it doesn't look at all like the Cullen's house, but we think it's the best option".... and so on it went. I thought the documentary was fabulous - I almost bought a copy.
Once we got out of the store, we walked over to "the Cullen's House".... as you can see, it's by far the nicest house in town. It's an oldish, mostly white and a farm house come bed and breakfast - just as it was described in the documentary (and nothing like it was described in the book). My favourite touch was the fact that they added the words "Cullen" to the letterbox....
We went to the Police station next, to see 'Where Charlie Works', but there really isn't anything to see (as all of the mothers and daughters getting in and out of suburbans quickly seemed to realize). There's just the town hall, which houses the police station, the court house, the town hall proper, and the town jail. (There's an attached barbed wire fence yard for the inmates to exercise in)... so yeah, we didn't see Charlie. I did wonder if they invite the inmates to the town functions hosted in the town hall though....
Next stop was the hospital. Naturally, it's a very small hospital. But they DID have a Dr. Cullen parking space. It shared a wall with the hose dispenser which I thought that made the sign ever better :)
After the hospital, we got back in the car and drove to the Forks Chamber of Commerce that has Bella's truck (aka, a red truck that looks nothing like Bella's Truck), parked outside. I loved the Chamber of Commerce. It was a small room staffed by two full time experts on the twilight locations within the town. You could study maps, buy Twilight memorabilia, and get your photo taken with a lifesized cut-out of Edward. I'm not sure what other Commerce goes on in there, but the Twilight Commerce was certainly thriving :)
And then our final stop was La Push. It's about a 30 minute drive further away from Emily's house to get to La Push, but again, it was a beautiful drive, and the scenery made it worth it. We stopped about half way to take a picture of the sign marking the 'treaty line'. We thought it was a great sign, and served the fabulous multi-function of also advertising Coca-Cola on the other side.
We'd be driving for about the half an hour, and the signs were indicating that we'd passed Third Beach, and Second Beach, and were approaching First Beach. We were still smack bang in the middle of tall green trees and were wondering where on earth the ocean was when we suddenly rounded a corner, and there it was! It was stunning! The most gorgeous rough stretch of ocean. Rocks, massive logs, tree studded rock islands and rough and heavy surges of waves! The sidenote here of course is that they shot the movie at a different (calmer) beach. But never mind. The whole trip was worth it just to see this magnificent stretch of coastline.
Again, the photos don't even BEGIN to do the place justice. We both LOVED the beach! The sad thing was that we were only there for about 10 minutes, because it was FREEZING and we didn't want to DIE of FROSTBITE! But it was wonderful :)
So there you have it! Our day in Forks. We've only posted 'nice' photos of Forks, but we would probably NOT advise that you visit. (There was also the slight 'getting lost' mishap on the way home that cost us another 1/2 an hour of driving... but on the upside, Emily now knows how to use the GPS function on her phone, so all's well that ends well!).
We had another really wonderful day, and were completely exhausted by the time we got home. When we finally got home, we ate leftovers and watched New Moon - which bore no resemblance to anything we saw that day, but was fun all the same :)
Thanks for doing all the driving and for all the laughs Emily! You rock :)