Thursday, April 1, 2010

A sad but true fact (and another wonderful day)

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 :)
xo Tammy


Sandy M. said...

Bethany said, "THAT'S not a beach!"
haha :) I'm glad you had such a good time. So - they didn't film it there?..
.. I just googled 'did they make twilight in Forks' and got this:

'Alright, none of the movie was filmed in Forks. Most of the shoot was in Oregon outside of Portland, which looks similar to the Forks area. They did use exact replicas of signs from Forks in the movies like "Forks High School" and "Welcome to Forks" there were also actually Forks High letterman jackets in the movie the studio rented them from Forks students. In this case Oregon was cheaper to film at than Washington.'

I also got this, which is kind of interesting, in a topical kind of way :) -

'I went to Forks, La Push, and Port Angeles on Halloween this year. Flew up from Los Angeles. Forks was really cool. Super small as they say, but very pretty, lush, cold, foggy, dense, and picturesque. I loved it. Everyone I talked to got into the spirit. I was in line at Thriftway buying some Forks/Spartans merch and the bagger casually glances up to the checker and says “Hey Peggy, is Bella working today?”

'The woman working at the Chamber of Commerce was amazing. I guess they’re probably pretty bored there without the Twilighters, but she gave me about 30 minutes of her time. She showed me everything they had collected since Forks started getting noticed. She has a binder of all the letters people have sent to different characters in Twilight, c/o the Chamber of Commerce. She has an ING Direct application sent for Bella Cullen. Vehicle Registration form for her. A letter to the parents of Rosalie Hale. Postcards from Jacob and Angela to Bella. And even a slightly creepy handwritten letter from a guy in Africa, expressing his love for Bella.

'A lot of the stores have realized how insane we Twilight fans are, and have no problem charging an arm and a leg for Twilight-related items that aren’t even that great. The shop across the street from the High School has random stuffed teddy bears with Forks High School shirts on for like $25. Fan-created tshirts run about $20-$30. Even a bundle of sticks tied up with paper saying “Jacob’s driftwood” go for about $15. And nothing is authentic. That was my only gripe. Everything was just made for Twilight.
(Continued in next post)...

Sandy M. said...

'The coolest thing I did actually was go to City Hall. You walk down the hall to the big wooden door that has “Police Station” written on it, ring the intercom, and tell them you’re a Twilighter here to see the Police Chief. They let you in and out comes Forks Chief of Police Mike Powell. He brought me into his office, showed me his signed Twilight book, and just sat and talked with me for about 15 minutes about my trip and where I’m from, his experiences, everything. Super nice. You can tell he had about as much to do up there as Charlie did in the book. At the end he gives you Forks Police Station keychains and pens. Those were my favorite items from the trip cause they’re real. They don’t have Twilight written on them anywhere. They’re just authentic Forks mementos. Those and the $1 “City of Forks Welcomes You” magnets sold on the back of the door at the Chamber of Commerce were my favorite items I took home.

'Port Angeles was super cute. If I ever wanted to live in an 18,000 person town, I think Port Angeles would be it. We stopped in there right at twilight on Halloween, so there were hundreds of parents out with their costumed children, going from shop to shop to get candy. It’s a very family-oriented town, with a cool beach community feel. But with a New England vibe almost. A lot prettier and hill-ier than I imagined.

'And the coolest place hands down was First Beach in La Push. When I went there it was freezing cold, windy, rainy and foggy. Absolutely perfect. I felt like I was in a dream. It was so loud I could barely hear my friend. I’ve never been to a beach like that before, that’s for sure.

'If you have the resources, I really suggest taking the trip. Sure, none of it was used for the Twilight movie. Actually, most of my friends back home didn’t understand why I would want to go there instead of the filming locations. I didn’t make the trip for the movie. I made the trip for the book. That’s waaaaay more interesting to me. Yes, it’s a fictional book, but a lot of these places are very, very real. (The weirdest part for me was that Thriftway and Forks Outfitters are attached in the same building in the real Forks). I feel kind of dorky going up to take pictures of random houses just because they have signs that say “Swan Residence” out front, but then you just look around into the forests and meadows around town and you can’t help but picture Edward and Bella strolling through together. Or running right next to your car.

'Oh and definitely visit Dazzled by Twilight, the new Twilight-only store. I actually went in there the day before they opened and the husband of the owner let me buy some stuff, so I was their first customer! I kept telling him how much money he was going to make and he still didn’t seem sure. By the time I left 30 mins later there were 10 more people inside, and the store didn’t open for another day.'

- What do you think Tam? :)


Abby said...

Yay!! I was totally looking forward to hearing about this day :) I'm just a little confused about the lack of Twilight t-shirts on you guys?! :) I sort of love that it's a hole, and I would have loved to have seen the doco about the townspeople changing things around to 'live up' to the tourists' ideas about it :) So cute all the 'Cullens' stuff everywhere!!

And it is goooorgeous!!!! Such pretty pictures, I especially like the first lot!! :)

If I lived in Forks I think I would be a tiiiny bit over Edward and Bella, but it must be good for their economy!!!

Are you in Utah now?? Goodbye, Emily! It's been great hearing about your adventures together!! xoxox

Erika Hill said...

Yeah, maybe Stephanie Meyer has sparked a new genre-- philanthropic teen romance novels. Here's the formula:

1. Create attractive, perfect, unattainable guy.
2. Create needy, relate-able (she's clumsy, after all), somewhat vacuous and ambiguous female character that the reader can easily inhabit.
3. Find small town in desperate need of an economic reboot.
4. Against better reason, judgement, and general human possibility, make unattainable guy fall madly in love with girl.
5. Use the phrase "liquid topaz" as many times as possible.

Sounds like a best-seller, no?

On a less cynical note, Western Washington is my favorite place I've ever lived. Beautiful beautiful beautiful!

emilysuze said...

Oh Forks. Such controversy. :)

We will miss Tammy dearly, but are so grateful for our time that we had with her. Thank you for raising such an amazing girl.


Adlewiess said...

LOVE this Tammy - you CRACK me up!!!! Thanks so much for writing all of this - its hilarious and a bright spark in my day!!! Can't wait to see what you get up next! xxx

Jonny and Jessima said...

Ooh I am so sad for you Tammy! I would of hated to have had expectations of what I was going to see and then be totally disappointed. Such a shame!

But at least you can say you have been there - even if it wasn't the "Forks" we all know and love from the movies. Either way, the people in the town must be loving all the attention they are getting.

We are missing you heaps, but hope you continue to enjoy every moment of your trip. We are doing fine back home. Jonny is on uni holidays this week which is nice for me, him and Jenna and Jordan. Jenna is as cute as usual. She is getting better and feeding herself food and holding onto a cup by herself. She is very good around the house with Jordan, though tends to be a little rough. She was cute yesterday as I was changing Jordan's nappy and she grabbed a wipe and tried to wipe him herself. So cute.

Jordan is perfect and adorable. He has a really strong suck, so I only have to feed him for about 20mins. He only gets up once in the night, feeds and goes back to sleep. I have no bother with him. Plus he sleeps heaps during the day so it feels like I still only have Jenna. When he is awake he is quiet and happy just to look around. I am so lucky! Though I know Jordan and Jenna miss their Aunty Tammy heaps!

Hope you enjoy General Conference this weekend!!!

Lots of Love,
Jessima, Jonny, Jenna and Jordan (aka JJJJ)

Kara said...

This post is hilarious Tammy! I am impressed you drove all that way to see it, but am glad now that you did,so I don't!!

Keep having fun.

Lauren said...

This is truely hilarious. Oh my gosh!

I love that even though the town is now incredibly wealthy because of Twilight Tourism they still ground themselves by using the back of a coca cola sign to mark the treaty line!!

I would have been horrible if all that fame had gone to their heads! haha :)