Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

The West End and Twilight

So that eye roll I mentioned? Didn’t last long.

The Twilight questions started just outside of Port Angeles. “Do you think mushroom ravioli is a big seller now on the menu?” “How far is it from Forks to Port Angeles? Two hours, seriously? I can’t believe Bella would drive that far for a dress?” “Do you think this is the area where she almost got attacked?” 

We actually drove around Port Angeles, at Leah’s request, to look for the restaurant, Bella Italia, where Bella and Edward ate mushroom ravioli (we never did find it, but Curt has earned himself a new respect for having once eaten there long before Bella did).

And when we got to Forks, we discovered our motel stood directly in front of Forks High School (can you hear the sighs of envy?). The sign featured in the movie could be seen from our bathroom window. If you’re not familiar with this series, it’s the story of a high school girl who moves to podunk Forks to live with her dad, where she meets a mysterious boy and falls in love. Turns out he’s a vampire. And her soulmate. I think the soulmate aspect, perfect love, if you will, is the main reason the books are such a hit (with women as much as girls, maybe even more). I admit it, I have read all the books.

Hall of Mosses trailThe majority of our weekend was not about Twilight—we visited the Hoh Rain Forest and several beaches—but it’s sure hard to avoid the craze in Forks. Even in the Hoh. We ran into a group of German teenagers, whom we later saw posing in front of the Welcome to Forks sign for photos, and the ranger at the visitors’ center told us the park is seeing a whole new kind of visitor, “Twi-hards” who arrive in Forks to commune with Edward and Bella landmarks, only to learn there is also a national park nearby with a unique rain forest. The publicity has been good for the park.

And Twilight is everywhere, even where you don’t expect it. When we were exiting a Mexican restaurant (which had no apparent tie to the series), we heard an incoming dad say to his kids, “Did you know Edward and Bella had dinner here?” I think every espresso drink in town has a Twilight-themed name (Twilight Tea, Eclipse Energizer…)

Bella's truckEnter the new Dazzled by Twilight store, and you will be overrun. We were, anyway, but it turns out we got there fifteen minutes before the tour left and the store was jammed. That’s right, tour. The store runs tours several times a day for $39 a head (and the tours are full!), taking visitors around to see all the landmarks featured in Meyers’ books, such as the Cullen house, Bella’s house, the police station, and the hospital. These weren’t featured in the movie because the movie was shot in Oregon, but they are real places that Meyers visited and used to base her descriptions on. You can also take a self-tour with a brochure from the chamber of commerce. We did neither, but on a little drive we saw the house the Cullen house was based on, a quaint Bed and Breakfast, and we did pose with Bella’s truck. My idea.

Second BeachIf you haven’t been to the Hoh, I highly recommend it. And the beaches are spectacular. I particularly loved Second Beach, near La Push (where vampires, incidentally, are not allowed). It’s wild and pristine with all the sand our more northern beaches lack. The kids loved it.

We also drove to Neah Bay and hiked the boardwalk trail to Cape Flattery, but this drive is a push for kids. Ours did it, but Leah wasn’t feeling too well after all the twists and turns. It is beautiful, though, and cool to say we’ve been to the northwestern tip of the continental United States.

vampire signAnd it’s kind of fun—amusing, at any rate—to watch the Twilight frenzy in Forks, which, by the way, is still just a little logging town. If you’ve got a tweener or a teen who’s interested, I think the peninsula is worth the trip, especially if she hasn’t seen the Hoh.

By the way, there really is a Forks Outfitters (Bella worked there), and it’s a pretty cool store.  


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Weekend Jaunts

Cowboy Camping
Leah went cowboy camping with her horse buddies and teachers at Cowboy Campsite just east of Sedro-Woolley. If I didn’t have a horsey daughter, I never would have known about this place. Horse folks own campsites, which they have tricked out with little outbuildings, signs, and cowboy-themed paraphernalia. They bring their horses for the weekend to ride the network of trails on the nearby DNR land (I think that’s who owns it). For horse people, riding trails and camping out with the horses is pretty much the bees’ knees, I’m learning. Leah came home wiped out and happy.

The Museum of Flight
  While Leah was camping and riding, we were driving to Seattle to check out the Museum of Flight in south Seattle. If you haven’t been here, it’s worth a visit. And if you’re the parent of young boys, you must check it out. Airplanes and war stories galore. The museum documents the history of early aviation with the Wright brothers and others who contributed, as well as the role of aviation in the two World Wars. Lots of war stories. I learned so much (I think I must have slept through in history class). There’s also an area devoted to space travel, as well as a huge room filled with planes, and even some historical flight attendant uniforms on display, some of them really bad—the 70s, no surprise. Ty was disappointed that we had to leave at closing time, and that, I can say, is a first. 

Olympic Game Farm
We did a driving tour through the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim while we were visiting my sister and her family. It hungry elk2actually feels a bit like a mini-Yellowstone, but unlike Yellowstone, it doesn’t provide any education to the visitors about wild animals. Well, it does, actually: Do Not Get Out of Your Car. But people don’t follow directions very well. They didn’t get out of the car, but they hung out their windows and through their sunroofs. They tried to pet the zebras, who were said to be capable of biting. And although all the signs said not to feed the bison, the staff sells loaves of bread at the farm’s entry to feed all the other animals (Grizzlies, yaks, zebras, and elk), and do you think people stop with the bread when they get to the bison? But of course not. And here’s the other thing about animals and feeding them. They get habituated to the bread, and they chase your car down even if you don’t have bread. They’re not running or anything, but watching massive elk and bison eyeball you through your window and then walk right up (the elk) and lick them is darn unnerving. Especially since we were told to keep the car moving because it’s bison mating season, and recently they’ve damaged a lot of cars. Of course, everyone stopped, and for me it became a game of choosing where to stop so we didn’t get caught in a bison cluster behind an idiot car. Maybe I’m just too uptight about following directions, but I just wasn’t up for experimenting. And if you have your windows down to throw the bread out (everyone but us), the elk will stick their heads right into your car. I felt a little like I was in the mammal version of Jurrasic Park. We didn’t buy bread, by the way, because I have a thing about not feeding wild animals, and though my kids were disappointed at first, they fast changed their minds when they saw the elk heads going inside cars. After Yellowstone, where you’re not even supposed to get too close, this place is kind of freaky, but it was still fun in a perverse, bad-movie-kind-of-way—an education on the habits of people more than anything. 

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