Forks Washington is a town between the Olympic Mountains and the Pacific Ocean of just over 3,600 people. It’s fame comes from the Twilight novels, as that was where Stephanie Meyer set her stories. Interestingly enough, she had never set foot in the town when writing her books nor did any of the movies get filmed there. It is, however, an interesting place to visit if you are into pop culture (and its effects on people) or just like a beautiful drive. Olympic National Park is amazing.
This was a trip I had taken back in the summer of 2012, but since there’s nothing but grey skies outside and I haven’t been feeling up to a road trip the last week and a bit I’m going to reminisce. (Also, since I’ll most likely never have the chance to return to Forks, it would be nice to have a blogged record of it.) My soundtrack for this trip is Vacation, by the Go-Go’s.
I didn’t have my Jeep in 2012, so this was more of a “James in his Prelude Getting Pizza” event–which really doesn’t have the same ring. This vehicle, a 90s relic that looked better than it performed, used to suddenly overheat with no cause. I had a few mechanics look at it, one changed the thermostat which helped for a short term, but eventually the vehicle completely died.
However, for this particular trip it performed well and only overheated and smoked at the border while coming home. (Thankfully, it would stop overheating when I was at customs and then continue when I was over the border. It was really strange.)
Below is my dog, Conan, who really wanted to come with me. He stayed at the Baggie Socks Spa (a friend’s place that he stayed at whenever I went on vacation) where he was pampered and loved.
This was my first experience driving through Deception Pass (see my blog post about Langley, WA). I took the ferry from Fort Casey to Port Townsend, my first stop along the way. Port Townsend I do hope to return to someday to better explore, as it was a beautiful little port side town of just over nine thousand people.
I did find a 50s style soda shop where I had a burger and root beer. The food was good and the atmosphere was like that of Al’s Diner from Happy Days.
But this wasn’t where I was headed, so off to Forks. What I will say is that, as an author of a vampire series that came out a few months before Twilight (and that has been accused of copying Twilight’s tropes ever since,) it was fascinating to me to see what this level of fandom can do for a relatively unknown town.
Forks was a logging community and I got the impression that the residents were happy that the popularity of Twilight was waning so they could return to their quiet life. There was a bus emblazoned with the words “TWILIGHT TOURS” that drove through the area every hour filled with tourists. (I did not take the tour.) There was also a store dedicated to the sale of Twilight memorabilia. (I bought a shirt.)
I visited all the tourist places that marked events in the books. La Push was freezing cold, even though it was a hot summer day of plus 30C. Along the drive to La Push, there are dozens of signs warning of possible, sudden tsunamis. Made me feel a little nervous about being there — very open and exposed to the ocean.
All in all, I should have stopped to take more photos of the drive there as Olympic National Park was spectacular. (Warrants another trip there, for sure.) It would also be interesting to see the town after the Twilight phenomenon, now that it has died down so much. The people there were quite friendly, and there was a restaurant that had the *best* french toast I have ever had. (They said they used “egg bread” which I’ve never been able to find anywhere.)
Below is one more photo from the trip, this one taken in Port Angeles. I didn’t get to eat in the restaurant, as it was closed when I was there. (It was open only for dinner.)
As an author of paranormal fiction, I do have to tip my hat to Meyer for creating such a blockbuster success (regardless of my own opinions on the books). She did help the sales of my own novels, even if it is annoying to be constantly compared to her books as though hers invented the genre. (Mine didn’t either, in case you think I’m hinting at that.)
If you’re curious about my books, you can still get a copy of Rancor which is available in a 2014 edition on Amazon. And if you ever decide to go looking for Minitaw, where Rancor takes place, I should warn you that the town doesn’t actually exist. I did, however, base it on my experiences with Birtle, Manitoba, which was founded by my great-great-grandfather. And, it’s nothing like Twilight.