When my kids were young—La Princessa was a toddler and WonderBoy was just crawling–Long-Suffering Spouse and I decided to go on a camping jaunt down the coast of Washington State and into Oregon. We took a ferry from Seattle to the Olympic Peninsula and followed the 101 down from Port Townsend and along the coast.
South of the small town of Forks, we passed a campground called Kalaloch (CLAY-lock) that sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I wanted to stop there and camp, but Long-Suffering Spouse didn’t want to stop so early in the day and assured me we would find all kinds of campgrounds just like it, since we were hugging the coastline. We didn’t.
I never forgot the site. Three years later we finally made the trek back to the Peninsula and stayed a week at Kalaloch. Thus began my deep love for the Olympic Peninsula. We’ve been here three times since that first stay—I’d like it to be more, but it’s a damn long drive. We’ve since relocated our lodgings from Kalaloch Campgrounds to the Forks Motel—osteoarthritis hit me early, striking my feet and knees in my early thirties and making it too difficult to tent it. The folk in Forks are friendly and accommodating, even before Twilight catapulted their town into instant fame.
When I booked our room at the motel this year, the new owner asked me if we were “coming for Twilight.” Being me, I nearly answered, “Yes—and for all other times of the day through July 5.” I curbed my natural inclination toward sarcasm and said “Cripes, no!”
Don’t get me wrong—I’m happy for the town and the commerce the Twilight saga has brought to it. One absolutely cannot blame them for capitalizing on their newfound fame; with the economy like it is right now, the Twilight fame probably saved this township. But I do lament the Forks I met more than a decade ago.
We came for the Fourth of July weekend this year, unwittingly at the opening of Eclipse¸ the third Twilight Saga movie. I was stunned as we rolled into town and saw all the Twilight-inspired stores and such. Seems you can’t escape it no matter where you go. Scads of giggling girls saunter past the motel, heading toward the Twilight shops…. If I never hear another teenage girl giggling in my life, I will consider myself phenomenally lucky.
Our trip has been amazing in many ways. If you care to take the journey with me, I’ve outlined it on the next pages.