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Forks or Bust! – Twilight Pilgrimage Part 1

Good luck tended to avoid me.  ~Bella Swan, Twilight, Chapter 1, p.11

Please be warned, this blog entry contains a lot of references to the Twilight books and movies.  If you are not fan you might get lost in Forks.

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Nicole & me at Beth's Cafe on our way to tour the Boeing Plant

My flight leaving Pittsburgh was slightly late and so was my changing flight leaving Denver, but by the time I made it to Seattle I was only about 10 minutes behind.  The best part was when I was making my way to the baggage pick-up, I saw my bright red suitcase drop onto the carousel.  That never happens!  I was on time and ready to start my vacation except I was short one sister.

This trip was mostly contingent on Nicole and not me for once.  You see she had a direct flight from Dulles to Seattle, which never happens to me, and they had mechanical trouble.  I guess the plane went to take off and Nicole said she heard a loud ‘thud’ noise before they made an emergency landing.  Then they made the passengers sit on the plane and wait to tell them they couldn’t fix the issue and proceeded to board them onto another plane.  Later they realized, before taking off thank God, that it had a fuel leak.  I couldn’t believe my sister’s luck!  I did know about the delays when I was in Pittsburgh and Denver, so as I was in flight, I was hoping she was too.

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Beth's Cafe as seen on Man vs. Food -Seattle 3/17/12

As I stood in Seattle’s airport, waiting for my vampire hunter companion to join me, I decided to get our rental car and get checked in at our sleeping quarters.  I texted Nicole, telling her to call me when she landed, hoping she was in the air and on her way.  Now I wasn’t prepared to take control of the itinerary, since my sister loves that job, but I did.  Got the rental? Check!  Got the room? Check!  Made myself comfy in my raccoon pant pj’s in front of the TV? Check!  Fell asleep while watching Man vs. Food Seattle? Check!  Didn’t hear my sister’s text messages at 2:00 am Seattle time (5:00 am PA time)? Check!  Was awoken by her call asking where I was? Check!

Finally my sister made it!  We where both in Seattle and ready to begin the last leg of the trip.  The next morning we made our way to the Boeing plant for a tour.  For breakfast, I wanted to stop at a restaurant called Beth’s Cafe.  I saw it on Man vs. Food the night before.  They are known for their omelets, and ironically it was on our way to the Boeing plant.  We had one of the best breakfast’s ever!  Their specialty was this Amish bread, which was incredible!  It was a fun place that gave you paper and crayons to draw pictures.  All self professed artists hung their artwork on the walls, scattered throughout the tiny restaurant.  Naturally, I had to make a picture of me and Nicole for Kyle.  Nicole hung it up somewhere before departing.  This place was a tiny little dive in a really cute neighborhood.  As we drove in and out of the area I instantly fell in love with it.  That place is on the list of ‘must go backs’.

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Nicole in front of Beth's Cafe.. best omelet! Try the Amish bread!! 5/17/12

Getting to the Boeing plant wasn’t too far and was on a nice stretch of highway overlooking what was going to be a perfect day.  Entering onto the Boeing property was awe inspiring.  Just to see the planes parked, and the sheer size of the buildings!  Too cool!  Our tour lasted nearly two hours and we covered quite a bit of distance, between riding and walking around.  Being in the Boeing plant was much like looking across the Grand Canyon.  You really don’t comprehend the size of the space and it’s hard to get a perspective, until you find a tiny person way down on the floor and make a direct comparison.  On a side note, that tour was amazing!  I highly recommend it to anyone making their way to Seattle.  Now some fun facts I learned on the tour:

  • The plant employs around 35,000 people
  • They have three shifts
  • The only employees who can park around the perimeter of the building, must have worked there for at least 20 years.
  • The plant has 11 cafeterias
  • Boeing supplies 2,000 bicycles for the employees to use and get around
  • The color pigment used to paint the planes weights more than the white color paint
  • On the side of the Boeing building resides the world’s largest digital print graphic, making it’s way to the Guinness Book of World Records
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Me & Nicole at the Boeing Plant in Seattle, WA 5/17/12

After our tour and taking in all the displays and information, we decided to head out and set our GPS for Forks.  It was going to take us about four hours.  It was such a pretty day and we were totally stoked that the ride was no big deal.

What I didn’t realize, was that we needed to cross on a ferryboat.  Another first for both of us!  I imagined we looked like such tourists, when I try to drive up on the ferry without a ticket.  I still have no idea how the guy new I needed a ticket, but he did and he directed us down the road.  It was neat sitting in the loading zone, engines turned off.  Of course, we were getting out and taking pictures, just like tourists.  I will admit I was Four Squaring, Twittering, and Facebooking throughout the trip.  I’m guessing we had a few eyes roll our way from the locals, but that doesn’t bother me.  Once the ferry arrived all engines began to turn on.  That was my cue, showtime!  Cautiously, I drove our rental car onto the ferryboat for a 20 minute ride.  Not being able to control my thoughts, I said, “How would I explain it to the insurance agency that I drove my car into the water?”  Nicole, quickly laughed and said, “Yes Aunt Heather that would not be good.”

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Boeing Plant - Seattle Washington 5/17/12

As the car was parked, Nicole and I jumped out to walk around and to go up on the deck to take in the sights.  It was chilly no doubt, but worth the experience.  We could even see the city of Seattle peaking over the coastline.  Projecting a little humor, I even played my Titanic part at the front of the boat.  It was all fun until the seagulls started to fly around us.  Nicole said, “That would be funny if they pooped on you!”  Well, first I’d like to say, that would not have been funny and secondly if it would happen to anyone, it was going to be me.  I kept trying to throw up my hands and arms around to scare them away, but they just continued circling above our heads.  Needless to say, I abandon my post admitting defeat.

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Me on the ferryboat...heading to Forks. Titanic pose 5/17/12

Soon we made our way back to the parked car in the front of the line on our side.  Again, my thoughts started to pour out of my mouth by saying, “This would be my luck, the boat goes to dock, hits the side of the boat hard and shoves all the cars directly into ours.  I would have to tell the insurance agency that I wasn’t even in the car during the time of the accident  The car wasn’t even on.”  We both laughed reluctantly because if something this unexpected and off the wall was going to happen, again it was with me.  Nicole just chuckled and said, “Yes Aunt Heather.”  I could tell she couldn’t even handle a situation like that at the moment, especially with the rest of our trip clearly ahead of us.  Riding the ferryboat was a really neat experience.  Now, if I had to do it everyday for work, maybe not so much, but for a first timer.  Yep, totally worth it!

During our journey towards Forks we had to pass through Port Angeles.  Stopping the car to look around and stretched our legs, we hit up a couple of stores.  I found this pretty purple dress in a second hand store for only $5!  That made my day even better!  We scoped out the Italian restaurant, made famous by Twilight, that Nicole wanted to eventually sit down for dinner sometime on our trip.  It was starting to get late, even though it was still very light outside, when we continued another 57 miles toward our final destination of Forks.

It was a beautiful ride the entire way.  The same consistent weather all day, a little cold but sunny and perfect blue skies.  Driving along a cliff/rain forest and a sea of water was a bit intimidating but very majestic.  All along the way at specific times, we saw waterfalls between the trees.  Of course this sparked more intense thoughts like, ‘Wonder what they do with a heavy snowfall?’ ‘Wonder if there’s another way in and out of this area?’ ‘Wonder what happens if the roads are icy?’  We were just thankful to have never found out the answers to any of those questions making it to Forks by 8:00 pm Thursday night.

My first impression of Forks?  Deserted dive town!  It is a depressed city located in the middle of nowhere!  There really wasn’t any glamor to it.  One red light, one grocery store, and every place we saw seemed to be a dive.  I’ll tell you more about Forks later.  But first let’s discuss our living quarters.  As the GPS guided us in, I didn’t know how to react.  It was more than a dump, it was a scene for a murder story.  I looked at Nicole and she just laughed saying, “Let’s just take a look at it, it might not be that bad.”  Yikes!  Really?  You are still that positive?  We had a great day and all our luck was soon to come to an end.

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Front of our motel in Forks, WA...can you say Bates Motel? 5/17/12

As we pulled up to our door, I said, “Nicole I think I saw an episode just like this on Criminal Minds!  We are literally staying at the Bates Motel!”  She laughed and encouraged me again.  Our room was on the end and I noticed there was a sort of make shift room attached to the side.  I didn’t care, I saw that episode of Criminal Minds where someone was watching this couple from a secret door in the wall.  I went on telling Nicole and going into detail as I went to inspect the cubbyhole.  While Nicole did not object, and normally she w0uld have, she didn’t join me either.  She was just as curious, but was satisfied that I looked around.  Seemed safe enough.

As we opened the door, I did notice the carpet looked new.  I was semi at ease until I walked into the bathroom.  Part of the shower was separated from the wall and I just got the chills.  The only thing that didn’t have me packing was the new, very clean toilet.  I turned to Nicole and she started to laugh and I said, “Ok I guess this is just like camping.”  Both laughing she said, “Ya, just like camping.  Plus there really wasn’t many options for hotels around here.”  I said, “Ok but help put me at ease so I don’t catch some sort of fungus in the shower and let’s go to the store for bleach.”  Nicole laughed and agreed.  Once we saw the stark white towels hanging and clean white sheets under the old bedspread, we both agreed and headed back out the door for munchies and bleach.

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Side view of our 'motel'...with or without the flowers it was equally as creepy... 5/17/12

We chose, what looked like a dinner to eat along the main strip.  The waiter there was very nice and so was the rest of the people.  At this point, I really wanted a big salad.  I love a good crunch, veggie filled salad, in fact I crave them.  I was in luck, they had a salad bar!  Upon closer inspection of the feast laid out before us, I noticed all the lettuce on my plate was slimy and brown.  Even Nicole commented.  I slid all that lettuce back off and took inventory of the selection.  Minimal at best.  We started to laugh, because it was kind of funny.  Our waiter was very nice and accommodating, the kitchen even made me a large plate of grilled vegetables, which were done just like mom does.  At this point, we noticed the Twilight theme has crept into every crevice of this town.  It was pretty neat and exciting, especially in the grocery store.

Once we got back, I realized we have been riding in a car for hours, and the day before I was on the plane all day.  My legs were tight and sore.  They needed to be stretched out, so I decided to strap on my Brooks and head out for a run.  Nicole, alarmed said, “Where are you going? How long are you going to be gone?”  I agreed to just go to the edge of town, a straight shot and back again.  I figured I’d get in about three miles.  In the meantime, I made Nicole spray down that bathroom with bleach so when I got back I could take a safe shower.

During my run, I noticed it was a bit colder than earlier in the day and my legs where really tight.  I headed straight for the other side of town till I got to the edge and noticed I didn’t even hit a mile!  Really?  The town isn’t even a mile long?  My Run Keeper said I was at 7/10 of a mile.  So I weaved in and out of the side streets trying to gain a little more mileage, which was pointless because I already lost my focus and my legs were still stiff.  Whatever, it was getting late anyway.  I decided to head back to another adventure…the shower.

To Be Continued…

Pre-flight – Twilight Pilgrimage Prequal

Published inBooks, Movies, ShowsCommon SenseEducation & LearningFamilyMilestoneObservation & ImaginationReminiscingTravels

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