Thursday, March 22, 2012

Twiharding: A Road Trip to Forks, Washington

The night before we left Victoria for Seattle, Mike’s cousin made the unfortunate mistake of asking me if I was going to order the mushroom ravioli in Port Angeles.

“What?” I asked, confused. The reference was initially lost on me. “I think it’s in those Twilight movies,” she said, off-handedly.

For a moment, everything stopped. Port Angeles? Twilight? Could it be that Forks was also on the Olympic Peninsula, where Mike and I were planning to drive the next day?

After dinner, I immediately Google-mapped that shit. Forks, it turns out (and as I should have probably known from reading the series) is only an hour drive from Port Angeles.

My mind was blown. My geek hit list includes visiting locations of the literary and often fictional variety: New Orleans (The Vampire Chronicles), Atlanta (Gone with the Wind), Sunnydale/Torrance, California (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and, of course, Forks. (For the record, I have no shame.)

There was only one problem—Forks is a one-hour drive in the entirely wrong direction. (Stephenie Myer really should have chosen a more conveniently located town. What a jerk, right?)

But I knew that convincing Mike wouldn’t be a problem. While mere mortals might take issue with a two-hour roundtrip detour in the wrong direction, we’re northern Albertans—driving long distances is second nature.

In the morning, after I finished texting everyone I know to say, “OMG I’M GOING TO FORKS YOU SHOULD BE SOOOOOO JEALOUS! MIKE IS THE BEST FRIEND EVER!” we hopped on the Black Ball ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles.

It was only a short 1.5-hour ferry ride before we were on our way to Forks. My heart felt like it was going to explode with happiness.

We suspected that drive would involve majestic scenery and we were in luck—most of Highway 101 skirts along the edge of Olympic National Park, but on the road to Forks it stretches for roughly 20 miles directly through it.

The winding drive took us past waterfalls and the turquoise waters of Crescent Lake, through a landscape of snow-capped mountains and centuries-old Sitka spruce trees.

It looked exactly like what I had envisioned. The drive was also just enough distance to properly educate Mike on all things Twilight—including trying to explain with a straight face that Stephenie Myer’s vampires sparkle. (Explaining why Jacob fell in love with a baby took most of the drive back, though.)

But about halfway there, the landscape preceding Forks gave us a preview of what the town would have to offer. The beautiful national park scenery gave way to flat ditches and straight roads.

If you go to Forks expecting a quaint middle-class city in the midst of the Pacific Northwest rainforest, think again. A logging town, Forks is a small community of dilapidated trailer parks, rundown shacks and empty storefronts. The clean-cut high school students with an outdoorsy West Coast edge described in Myer's books were nowhere to be seen.

As we drove through town taking pictures and looking at all the Twihard sites (the police station; Bella's house, which is probably the best-kept building in town; the hospital, where it appears Dr. Cullen's parking sign has been stolen) I was left with one thought—if I was a teenager in Forks, I too would become bored enough to get married at 18 just so I could bone a vampire. (And that’s saying a lot, considering that I’m small-town folk myself.)

After leaving Forks, there wasn’t enough time for La Push, so we backtracked through Port Angeles (you know, where Bella and Edward had their legendary first date—and no, I did not stop to order mushroom ravioli and a coke) while discussing the merits of being attacked by a shark versus a bear.

Listening to a Seattle-appropriate soundtrack of Soundgarden, we drove East through Sequim (the lavender capital of North America) and South to Bainbridge Island. We arrived at the ferry moments before it left for Seattle.

Luck was on our side.

Up on the ferry’s observation desk, we watched a vivid rainbow across the water. “What do you suppose is at the end of it?” I asked Mike.

“It looks like it ends in Seattle,” he said.

He wasn’t wrong.

Part Two: Why I love Seattle best (sorry, New York).

1 comment:

  1. You should have went to Rosyln, WA and relived the 90's in Northern Exposure.


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