The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
Bending southwest along the banks of the Sol Duc River, US-101 passes through miles of green forests under ever-gray skies to reach Forks (pop. 3,532), the commercial center of the northwestern Olympic Peninsula. Named for its location astride the Sol Duc and Bogachiel Rivers, Forks is a die-hard lumber town grappling with the inevitable change to more ecologically sustainable alternatives, mainly tourism. Visitors come to fish for steelhead during the late-summer runs, to beachcomb along the rugged coast, or to visit the remarkable rainforests of Olympic National Park. Today, the main attractions are related to the wildly popular teenage vampire novels and films of The Twilight Saga, which were set here in Forks (the movies were filmed elsewhere). You can also visit the quirky, summer-only Forks Timber Museum (1421 S. Forks Ave., 360/374-9663, daily), on US-101 on the south edge of town, packed with handsaws, chainsaws, and other logging gear as well as antique cooking stoves and displays telling the town’s history. There’s also a forest-fire lookout tower perched outside the upper floor gallery.
With three gas stations and five motels, Forks is not a metropolis by any stretch of the imagination, but it does offer the best range of services between Port Angeles and Aberdeen. Sully’s Drive-In (220 N. Forks Ave.) is a good burger stand on US-101 at the north end of town. There are also a couple of Chinese and Mexican places, plus pretty good pies at Pacific Pizza (870 S. Forks Ave.). Stay at The Forks Motel (351 S. Forks Ave., 360/374-6243, $60-160) or a more peaceful B&B, the Miller Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast (654 E. Division St., 360/374-6806, $120 and up), about half a mile east of US-101.
South of Forks along US-101, Bogachiel State Park (360/374-6356, around $20 for tents, $30 for RV hookups) has over 100 forested acres of very nice campsites (with showers!) along the Bogachiel River. Sites are first-come, first-served.
For more information, contact the Forks visitors center (1411 S. Forks Ave., 360/374-2531), next to the Timber Museum, which also serves as clearinghouse for Twilight-related tourism.
Forks Timber Museum (1421 South Forks Ave.)