Saturday, May 31, 2014

Port Townsend, WA - Uptown and Downtown

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

                                                                                            Mark Twain, American writer and humorist

We’ve spent a bit of time here in Port Townsend learning the history of the place. Obviously, it revolves around the water and the shipping and transportation industries. Even today, it still revolves around the water: tourists arrive by ferry, the marina is full, there is a maritime learning center teaching wooden boat building, sailing, and other nautical pursuits, restaurants have patios overlooking the water, gulls fly overhead and people walk along the beach.

Originally inhabited by the Chimakim, Hoh Klallam and Quinault Indians, it was named Port Townshend by Captain George Vancouver for his friend the Marquis of Townshend. Someone must have thought this too difficult to pronounce, dropped the ‘h’ and shortened it to Townsend. It was larger than Seattle and some called it the ‘City of Dreams’ when there was speculation that the railroad would build a spur out to the tip of the peninsula to link up with the ships coming from Asia and around the horn from American and Europe. This caused a rash of building both homes and businesses in anticipation.

The town at this time had two distinct sections: the ‘downtown’ section, about 2 blocks wide, on the water level, and the ‘uptown’ area which was up a steep bluff. The

There was a slew of beautiful Victorian homes built in this ‘uptown’ section.

And, large brick businesses were built along the main street in the downtown area below the bluff, on the waterfront.

This was the heyday of Port Townsend and it grew by leaps and bounds. The port was large and ships from many countries landed here. Logging was a major industry and timber was being shipped out. It was larger than Seattle and many thought it would be the major port on the Western coast.

During this time, the military realized the importance of keeping the shipping channels open through Puget Sound and built 3 forts to guard this. Fort Worden was one of these forts and it is now possible to walk through and explore the bunkers built during the early 1900’s.
Here’s one of the spotting towers built to help the gunners aim their large guns. One of the other forts was built on Whidbey Island which you can see in the slit below.
During this time Port Townsend was also known as ‘Bloody Port Townsend.’ There were loads of sailors, loads of soldiers, loads of loggers and the town seemed to be wide open. Bars, gambling houses, brothels - all reigned supreme. Here are some advertising cards that the young women passed out to attract customers.
Museum%252526CityHall-13-2014-05-31-21-36.jpg Museum%252526CityHall-12-2014-05-31-21-36.jpg
(In Vegas, they are still passing out cards though the young women look much different - some things just never change.)

During this time, the city fathers decided that they did not want their families mingling with the people in the ‘downtown’ area so they built their homes and stores for their families on the bluff above the downtown.

Oops, a recession hit, the railroad decided it would be too expensive to build this far when those ships could actually sail all the way to Seattle to meet the railroad. Shortly after this the dreams became nightmares and the town itself fell into a recession, many left town and the buildings became vacant.

Slowly but surely, Port Townsend recovered but it never attained the prominence that it once had. Today the economy is built upon tourists and a paper mill on the south side of town. The town also has a reputation for the arts and there are many different art festivals. Port Townsend is a neat town to visit and explore.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Port Townsend, WA - Rte 101

‘From the dawn of civilization up to the present, engineers have been busily engaged in ruining this fair earth and taking all the romance out of it.’
                                                                                                Conde B. McCullough

We’ve been on Rte 101 since April 1, when we crossed the Coast Ranges in California and began to head north through the Redwoods. It’s listed as one of the scenic highways in California, Oregon and Washington and we’ve enjoyed it all. It’s a feast for the eyes and senses. Our first glimpse of it was in California along a strip called the Avenue of the Giants, a quieter, more scenic alternative to the new 4-lane, ‘lets move on down the road’ 101. Here we saw our first redwoods, those tall sentinels of the forest. We drove between trees saved from the chainsaw on a road narrow enough that cars were scraping bark off the trees.

In Oregon, we saw magnificent bridges spanning the many creeks and rivers which emptied into the ocean and craggy sea stacks slowly eroding with the continual motion of this same ocean.


Both of these contributed to the beauty of the drive

The bridges were designed by Conde B. McCullough, an Iowa boy who graduated from Iowa State University but gained his fame in Oregon as one of the most important bridge designers of the past 125 years. He believed that bridges were not merely a way to get across a river but should add to the natural beauty of the area. He wanted to be an engineer who put the romance back and did not ruin the beauty of the earth. He designed more than 500 bridges but the ones that most travelers see are the 5 bridges along 101 from Gold Beach north to Newport with a few lesser known bridges along the way. (Usually, the 5 include the Alsea Bridge but this was replaced in 1991.)

Our first encounter with one of his bridges was in Gold Beach with the Isaac Patterson Bridge which spanned the Rogue River. I saw this bridge and knew that it was something special, that its beauty only complemented the beauty of the Rogue River which ran under it. It was only after I had taken a slew of pictures of it that I realized who Conde McCullough was and how much he had added to the traveling history of Oregon. After this bridge, I was more attuned to his accomplishments and looked forward to seeing his next bridge.

This came a few miles up the road when we got to was in Coos Bay, the appropriately named McCullough Memorial Bridge.

We saw the Yaquina Bay Bridge from our campsite.
What makes McCullough’s bridges so unique?

“Other designers don’t always get it all together,” said Robert Hadlow who has written extensively about McCullough. “The columns will look heavy, or they’ll look like there’s something missing. It’s like getting dressed and forgetting to put on a belt, or having mismatched shoes. Conde McCullough had it all together. And what’s really significant about his bridges is not just that they look nice. It’s the engineering involved.”

Then there are the details: the Art-Deco detailing


the huge arches
the symmetry

but mostly how the bridge fits the setting.
Unfortunately, Oregon has a harsh climate with all the rain, wind and ocean salt, and these have taken their toll on McCullough’s bridges, Most of these are close to 70 years old now and are beginning to show their wear. They were built with rebar and in the exposure to the elements, this is swelling and cracking the cement. One of the bridges has been replaced but the Oregon DOT is in the process of rejuvenating the rest of the bridges, to preserve the magic that McCullough added to the journey along the Oregon coast.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Port Angeles, WA - Furnace with a Hissy Fit

Remember yestereday’s broken furnace?

Remember that we got it fixed?

Remember that repair bill?

Whoo-eee. Guess what? And, I’m sure you’re way ahead of me here. Yep, Gary got up first as usual, turned on the furnace and heard - nothing. Nada, nil, nothing. Oh shucks. We had gotten up at 6:00 so we could go to the Sol Duc Falls and hike around there. We ate breakfast but finally, at 8:00 we called Dan the RV doctor. He came over, took the furnace out of the RV and to his home where he works. (An RV furnace is not too big nor too heavy.)

Well, it’s a long way to Sol Duc and we wanted to stay around in case the furnace came back. ‘Free day’ and I chose to work on financial updates, bill paying and blog writing. Boy, aren’t I exciting? Gary was happily working at his desk, drinking his coffee, happy with an opportunity to sit still for a bit when I mentioned that it was too bad that we didn’t have any TV reception here because I might like to watch an NBA game for thrills and chills. Since that’s been a problem in several of the last campgrounds we’ve been in, we decided that our TV must not work. Maybe the TV, maybe the antenna, maybe the wires, whatever, it wasn’t working. Our neighbors were watching TV so I knew there were some channels in the area. Gary decided to look into it. He took the TV off the wall and checked all the hook-ups. He looked at all the wiring in our ‘media box.’ He got up on top of the RV and checked the antenna. Of course, this all takes time and the day is now shot. Time for dinner.

Meanwhile he called Don and asked what he had found out. Nothing, absolutely nothing. Every time he turned the furnace on, it worked perfectly and he had tried it about 8 times. Ain’t that the way it always is? You get your car to the mechanic and it just purrs. You take your computer in, it works like a charm. It always happens. He said he could bring it back tomorrow and we thought that all right. Sounds like our furnace just had a bit of a hissy fit.

Gary was still working the TV problem and was online looking at Winegard and other antenna info and, while I was taking my shower, he tried the TV again, turning the antenna. Guess what? I’m sure you’re way ahead of me here, too. It worked. Not well, mind you, very fuzzy picture that broke up a lot. You wouldn’t want to watch it for more than a few seconds.

But we learned two things: Port Angeles is in a Black Hole with very little over-the-air reception. Dan told us that he liked one program so much that he put his TV into the car and drove out to a spit of land far enough away from the main body of land so it could catch Seattle TV signals and watch his program out there. No wonder we couldn’t get anything. We also learned that with a digital signal, you’ve got to aim the antenna towards the signal or you won’t receive it. If you aim the antenna just 5 degrees off, you might not get that signal. I hadn’t aimed the antenna just exactly right while Gary had turned it a bit and it was aimed just exactly right. He’s such a guy.

Of course,they sell gadgets to help you aim the antenna correctly but we’ve never needed them. We might just try one.

Now those of you who have direct TV or cable or whatever, you don’t need to read this blog. (Funny thing - we actually have a dish on top of our RV with all the connections. We just watch TV so seldom that we never even set it up)

Nothing wrong with the TV. Nothing wrong with the furnace. They’ve just eaten up two days of our time.

Well, that might be OK since it’s rained for two days. Even though Port Angeles says it is in a Blue Hole where they get more sunshine than any other part of the Olympic Peninsula, they still get rain. The average is 1 day of rain out of 5. We’ve been here 4 days and have had rain each day. We’re on the wrong side of those odds. Shucks.

Black hole for TV reception and Black Hole for weather. Isn’t that just part of the adventure?

On Monday, Memorial Day, Don brought back our furnace, installed, tested it multiple times and it worked perfectly. No charge for the Sunday and Memorial Day service. I would recommend Don of Anywhere RV in Port Angeles. Great service, knowledgeable, reliable, mobile, and we thought his charges very reasonable for all the time he spent.


Under the What Was he Thinking category: I was sitting in the RV at the table writing my blog when I heard a loud, ‘Stop Now.’ I looked out, our neighbors were rushing out of their RV and circling around to the RV next to them. Seems that the guy next to them was backing up at an angle with his awning completely out and it tore a hole in our neighbor’s canvas top on their fold-out camper. But, the worst part is - he still had his slide out, too. What in the world was he thinking? The only thing that stopped him was hearing our neighbor’s shout.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Port Angeles, WA - Brothels and Boardinghouses: The PA Underground

Amazing how many cities have an underground layer that you usually can’t see - unless you know what to look for. Towns often build near water, on lakes or rivers or near the ocean, and then decide that water isn’t static, rivers flood, tides ebb and flow and they need to change the city to account for these changes. Usually the towns build upward and the second story becomes the new street level. These towns now have an underground. You can take an underground tour in Seattle, which we will in a few weeks. You can take one in Portland. You can also take one in Port Angeles, which is our goal for the morning.

The tour is at 10:00, our usual 7:00 alarm time is fine. Usually, Gary gets up first while I’m still hugging the covers and turns on the heat. Usually, the heat comes on. Usually. Today it did not. Only cold air blew out and then it shut off. Hmmm - maybe I’ll hug the covers a bit longer while he figures this out. No, I’m up too, dressing fast in the cooler temps. We then began to check things: the stove lights up and the propane hot water heater does also so it’s not the propane. We’ve got enough propane. We try the heat again, cool air and then it shuts off. Well.

We eat breakfast while Gary reads about our furnace in the Winnebago books. It gives him some things to test, he does and sure enough, our furnace is not working.

Saturday morning.

Memorial Day weekend.

What are our chances of getting someone to look at this?

We go online to learn who does RV repair work in Port Angeles. I go to another source which I use that recommends repair and service facilities that others have used with success. I had no success with this list. We did find some names online but called and they were closed on Saturdays. We finally got a name, called and he will be available about 2:00. Great, we’ll be ready. And we were off so we could still make that 10:00 time.

Since we were late, Gary dropped me off to check in for the tour and he tried to find a parking space. He could only find a 2-hour spot so will have to leave before the tour is over.

Out tour guide was Bobby, a teacher in her previous life, very knowlegeable with a good sense of humor. We began the tour with a bit of history to explain why Port Angeles has an underground. Port Angeles has lots of creeks running through it and one ran parallel to the waterfront for about 2 blocks before it emptied into the ocean. It flooded periodically and those buildings built on each side of the creek were flooded out often. What they decided to do was to built the whole area up 15’, or one story, and put new side walks and streets up there. Those businesses that wanted to move upstairs to the new level could open up on what used to be their second story, but those businesses that did not want to, were allowed to stay on the original level. Thus they had 2 levels of front doors to stores and 2 levels of sidewalks. Confused? Well, I certainly was until we started walking around the old area and stopped at this mural. Here’s the mural or, at least, the part that is pertinent to the underground.
Now, here’s how it all worked. First they diverted the creek so that it would not flow through the center of Front Street, the main street. Then they built 15’ walls along the street which they needed to fill to the top of these walls to be the new street level. To get they fill for these they tore down the hill on the west side of town by shooting water at it to make it flow down the funnel into the piping and down into the street between the walls. Pretty clever how they did that. No modern tools, just ingenuity, shovels, wood and nails. (They did it in sections so they could control the flow better and because the street slopes a bit downhill. At the far end, the walls were only 7’ tall.)

In the mural, you can see them shooting water at the hill, the funnel they had build to take the mud slurry down to the street. You can also see the walls that they built between the sidewalk and the road. In this picture the artist has painted the taller stores on the right as using the second story sidewalks, while those on the left and going to use the lower sidewalks.

That mud was goopy with all the water in it so they had to wait for a while for the mud to dry out. With this new street level built, they built wooden sidewalks from the new top over to the buildings. But, what about the lower level? They built sidewalks from the bottom of the wall over to the buildings, and, for light, they put see-through glass in the top sidewalks - like skylights. Now, they’ve got sidewalks on two levels but the street is only on the top. (I would think walking on the lower level sidewalk might be like walking through a tunnel.)

Here’s another picture showing our tour group down on the lower sidewalk. You can see the upper sidewalk over us, some front windows and the front door of the store to the left and the cement wall on the right. There is also a section of the skylight on the left leaning up against the building.
As you might guess, slowly but surely, merchants chose the second level to have their front door on and the lower level was abandoned. And, there you have it - the underground.

Many of the lower levels, the basements, of buildings in this area still have remnants of the old front doors, the sidewalks and the lower level businesses still in them and these are what we toured. We saw what used to be a putt-putt (miniature) golf course with some great murals on the sides to make it seem as if you were golfing outdoors.
Here is a stairway down to the lower level. Mind you, if you walked down to the lower level, you needed to go a full block to get back up, or retrace your steps to the stairway you came down.
But I was really confused about what our tour guide, Bobby, was saying until we saw that mural and actually walked down the stairs, along the lower sidewalks and into the lower stores. Now, I understand.

We also saw some other neat things. Here’s a mural of the first ferry that went from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC. Up to date for the time but it looks like a submarine now. Those kids are actual kids that lived in PA - if you donated a certain amount to the mural fund, you could get your kids in the mural. Isn’t that the strangest looking ferry - looks like a submarine

I decided to donate too, and look who we got in the picture.
When a current clothing store owner began to tear into her building to remodel, she discovered that she had an old theater. She found the projection room.
Since they showed not only the main movie but newsreels, cartoons and ads, they needed several reels and thus several projector holes in the walls. There was a chance of fire in the old projection rooms with all the heat that they walls were made of tin. Note the old reel on the rack here. She also found part of the old theater area with its decorated walls. The rest of it is gone since they put in a false ceiling for the store.

Then we toured an old boarding house/brothel with 18 rooms down the street. PA used to be a military base for both navy and army. I’m sure it would shock you silly if I told you that brothels and military bases seem to go together but I’m going to have to let you in on the cold hard facts. So, this building used to be an old boarding house but, when the military came, it became a brothel.

We looked at what was a typical boarding house room, small and pretty colorless. There was one kitchen and one bathroom for the 18 rooms here. Imagine the scheudling for those showers. Luckily most only showered on the weekends.
Then we looked at what would be the brothel rooms. A few years ago, when one of the tour guides was telling about the brothel, two older guys in the back of the tour group were snickering and talking back and forth. After the tour, the guide told the two that he’d take them out for coffee and they could tell him their stories. Great bargain. So, now here’s the story about how this Madam ran her house. Let me start with the room for the #1 girl, the one who made the most money. Nice room.
When a guy came here, he paid in a $2 bill, the girl would tear off a corner and put it in her vase to show how many guys she had ‘met.’

The madam would then count the corners each girl had and who ever had the most got the #1 girl room. With a window, with a nice bed, with a dresser. What an incentive. The other girls had small windowless rooms.

The story goes around that at one time there were NO $2 bills in PA that had any corners.

The madam did not take the best room in the house, she left that for the #1 girl. She did take the room that had the peephole overlooking the stairway so she could see who was on the stairway wanting to gain entry. The ‘gentleman’ would stand on the stairway while the women would parade by this barred window and then he would make his choice. Our tour guide asked if I would like to have a face behind the bars for my picture. Sure, I said, so here is Bobby, our tour guide, as Lola in the afore-mentioned barred window. I told you she had a sense of humor. The ‘gentleman’ would choose which girl he wanted, slide his $2.00 through the slot under the window, she would tear off the corner for her vase and the madam would let him in.
However, there is more to the story of why women would choose to work in a brothel. Imagine a women whose husband has died in a lumbering accident (not uncommon since they had no safety equipment, no gloves, no safety belts when they climbed a 200’ tree, no hard hats, etc.) and she’s left with 3 children to raise on her own. No money, no family in the area, no education to speak of, no property ownership since she was a woman and no jobs available for women. There weren’t many choices for unmarried or widowed women. Women’s only choice was marriage and sometime, she couldn't choose that.

Actually, the brothel was over what is now a shoe store that has been in the same family for 3 generations. The current owner has refurbished the store with a lot of what he found in the attic after his father had done a previous remodel. Here is the children’s section - note the cute bench.
Here’s an old display case with shoes that had never been sold, just piled and stored in the rooms of the boarding house above.
But, what a neat tour, what an excellent tour guide. Knowledgeable, funny and full of energy. If you are ever in Port Angeles, take this tour and ask for Bobby.

Remember that furnace problem? Gary left the tour to move the car and got a call from the repairman who was on the way to our RV. Gary rushed back to the RV, met the guy and we now have a new $268 circuit board. Just what we needed. Just what we wanted.

And, me, I’m still in town, wondering where he is. I was still in the tour when he left town and I do not usually carry a phone with me. I got out of the tour and went to the place we agreed to meet. No Gary. I went back to the tour starting point. No Gary. And I rotated between them for about 10 minutes, looking down one street and then another. No Gary. Hey, why don’t I borrow a phone from someone and call him? Great idea, Nancy. When I called, he was on his way back to PA, the furnace was fixed and he met me at the Art Festival which was going on this weekend.

Liked the entertainment. Does this guy look like a violinist?
Looks like someone got a bit tired waiting.
We had a chicken salad wrap and then walked back to town so I could show Gary some of what he had missed. We saw this marvelously painted home with the matching flowers.

Great view of Canada across the Juan de Fuca Straits with freighters in the harbor.
And, that was our day. Whew. No wonder we’re tired. And, it’s easy to see why people envy our lifestyle. Nothing but fun, fun, fun. No worries, no cares, just leisure.

Looks like our campground is a bit tight.

Port Angeles, WA - On Top of the World

Sometimes serendipity hits you in the face - grab it, it may not come again. Today we had a bit of serendipity and the results - WOW.

We arrived at our next campsite in Port Angeles (chosen because it was close to the Olympic National Park), hooked up and went off to visit the VC. We just wanted to find out about trails and when - in the next 3 days - might be the best day to take Hurricane Ridge Road to the VC at the top. Here there is supposed to be a glorious view of the highest peaks in the Olympics with their snow caps and glaciers.

Let me first set the scene: it is terribly overcast here in the Pacific Northwest and we haven’t seen the sun all day. We can look up into the foothills of the Olympic Mountains. and see the cloud cover starting about 2000’. The forecast is for cloudy, rainy weather for the next few days. Doesn’t look too good for viewing the mountains but we’d like to try. We waited in line, our turn came and after a bit of small talk, I asked when we might be able to get a great view. The Ranger looked over his shoulder and said, ‘Right now.’ Huh? ‘Yeah, look at the ‘Ridge Cam’ - see, it shows that it’s clear up there.’ Sure enough, they have a camera at the Ridge which shows what can be seen up there. And, it’s sunny, a beautiful cloud-free day. And, the view of the snow-capped mountains and glaciers - WOW!!! He told us that it often happens that it’s clear at the top but cloudy down here. ‘You can start now and in 40 minutes you’ll be up there. And, you’ll have until sunset to view the mountains.’

We scooted to the car and started up. 19 miles - what’s going to take us 40 minutes? Oh, yeah - all the curves. No railings - but, at least we were on the inside of the curves. Beautiful drive until - we entered the cloud bank. We must be at 2000’ since that’s where it started. Were we ever in the cloud bank. Both Gary and I were trying to see the road - as a passenger I was watching the white line on the outside and Gary was watching the yellow line down the center. We have never driven through fog or clouds this thick. Sometimes it was thicker than this but I was so busy watching my white line that I didn’t have time to take a picture.
But if we thought that was bad, we were in for a shock when we hit the 3 tunnels. Have you ever drive through tunnels in the fog? Eerie. There is fog even in the tunnels. You enter and can’t see a thing until you finally see a light round arch ahead of you - the end of the tunnel.

Every now and then we’d see headlights emerging from the clouds. Someone going down. We wanted to ask if the view was great up there but they were going one way and we the other. Trees loomed up ahead of us in the gloom. We could see the white line but not much of the trees and cliff banks on the side. Then - it got brighter - oh, good - we’re coming out of the clouds. Nope, then it got darker again. Finally, about mile 17, it got brighter, the clouds wafted away and we could see the mountains around us. WOW, what a marvelous sight.

Here’s what we saw at the top.
Here’s another view.
180 degrees of snow-capped mountains with glaciers tucked into the crevices.
Beautiful lush evergreens under this all and a herd of deer grazing on the meadow. I’m thinking we’re in the Alps. Thank you, Ranger Dan.
I felt as if I were at the top of the world.
These guys were grazing but I’m sure that they have been fed by tourists before. It’s fun to see them up so close but sad also since they are not really ‘wild’ now. We could also see more grazing on the side.
Finally we headed back down the hill. We drove for a long ways before we hit the low clouds, the white stuff on the other side of the trees in this picture.
They seemed to be higher than 2000’ when we got down. We had only gone into the Rangers to ask when - in the next 3 days - the weather might be good for seeing the mountains. We hadn’t expected it to be today. What serendipity. Were we ever lucky.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Forks, WA - Hoh, Hoh, Hoh

Rain Forest. The very words conjure up exotic images of Indonesia, of the Amazon and of Africa. Certainly not of Washington state in the USA. But, there is a temperate rain forest, as opposed to a tropical rain forest, here in the Northwest, just a bit south of Forks. Here the forests get 100+ inches of rain a year, here the moss hangs heavy on drooping tree limbs, here the ferns grow tall and here the trees grow to amazing heights. It’s called the Hoh Rainforest and it’s part of the Olympic National Park. And here we went today. We had intended to stop at Hard Rain Cafe, 1/2 down the road to the rain forest but we found the lights off, the OPEN sign unlit and the door locked.
But, the sign on their door said it all.
We had also expected to find the ranger station open but it is closed on Wed and Thurs so we were on our own. We took the two hikes in the area and found some amazing sights. We found the Giant Spruce
we found the sun glinting off of the mosses covering the trees,
we found a trail lined with greenery,
we found a black slug,
we found a stream covered with plants,
and we found trees which growing on nurse logs. Soon those new trees will be 100’ tall and the nurse log will have decomposed completely.
And, that’s what a temperate rain forest looks like.

Every rain forest needs a cellphone booth.
Among the only protected temperate rain forests in the Northern Hemisphere, the Hoh Rain Forest benefitds from moisture-laden air from the Pacific brings an average of 140 inches of annual rainfall to the Hoh Valley, (record of 190 inches) in addition to condensed mist that contributes another 30 inches.

On the way back, we stopped at Peak 6 for an Ice. Gary can’t tell whose eyes are the droopiest here.

NO, Twilight was not filmed here

NO, Bella did not go to High School here

NO, Twilight was not written here

NO, None of the Twilight stars stayed here


        The City Council dubbed the Mc Irvin residence at 775 K ST as the home of Bella

        And The Miller Tree Inn at 654 E. Division St as the home of Edward

        You can visit the police station where Bella’s father was the Police Chief

        You an visit Forks Outfitters where Bella worked

        You can buy the Bella burger at Sully’s Drive-In.

        And, you can take your picture next to the full-sized movie stand-ups of Bella and Edward in the Visitor Center.

Yes, supposedly Bella and Edward from the Twilight series of movies, lived here in Forks. And, while we were at the Visitor Center in Forks, we heard a 20-ish couple ask if the Twilight movies were filmed here, if Bella went to high school here, if Twilight was written here and if any of the Twilight stars stayed here. They were a bit disappointed and I hope that they did not make their entire trip out to Forks based upon the mistaken information that Twilight had any more to do with Forks than it used the name.

I asked the young woman at the desk if she got tired of hearing the same questions about Twilight. Oh, no, the perky young woman said, ‘I’m a people person and love to talk to visotors. I never get tired of any question.’ And, I don’t think she would. But, we both agreed that the Twilight series had brought and will continue to bring gobs of money into Forks.

When I say it rains a lot here I’m not just kidding. Here’s Gary standing next to a chart showing how much rain they have ALREADY received this year. The young waitress in the restaurant grew up in this area and loves living here but even she will admit that she'd like a few more sunny days.
Next to the Visitor Center was the Forks Timber Museum. Now, I’ll have to admit that we are in Forks at this particular time because 8 months ago, when I was planning this trip, Gary asked me if there were any tours of lumber mills in the area. Sure enough, I found a mill that gave tours beginning in mid-May on Wednesdays. And here we are on a Wed in mid May. Oops. I found out 3 weeks ago, when they published the schedule of tours that the fires tour this year in NEXT Wednesday. Darn.

But, there is a nice museum on the edge of town which talks a lot about the logging industry. There are lots of old logging tools and machinery and lots of pictures of loggers.


Here’s my favorite of a young couple clearing their land.
Note that they do not wear hard hats, that they do not wear gloves, that there is no safety belt for them. Luckily, this has all changed.

What has also changed is that trees are not looked upon as an unlimited resource, to be cut at will. They are now looked upon as a crop and clear cut areas need to be reseeded. Even private forests and woods need to be replanted withing 5 years of their being cut - if the land is classified as ‘forest’ for tax purposes. And, with taxes lower on ‘forests’, all woods probably fall into this category.

We were also told that the cranberry industry is larger here than in Cape Cod. And - Ocean Spray is strong here in Washington too.