Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Sunday, September 29, 2013

F is for Forks

 All travel educates. The traveler learns about other places in the world, people and cultures, about herself, and important life lessons. Well before the Twilight Saga, in the fall of 2000, a big lesson surfaced in Forks, Washington. It happened the last night out on a motorcycle trip.

Judy rode two-up with me, and our friends Sylvia and Trudy rode their own bikes on this adventuresome excursion all over Vancouver Island. We’d been staying in hostels along the way and were looking for one on the Olympic Peninsula.

In the handy hostel guide book, one was listed just south of Forks, WA, called the Rainforest Hostel. It seemed to be the answer to our prayers. We would get there to make sure we had a spot then ride back the five miles or so to the Hoh Rainforest. But, we were mistaken.

With many stops and a picnic in Olympia National Park, the ride took longer than we’d anticipated. It was almost dark when we pulled into the Rainforest Hostel, which turned out to be a private home. The owner, a smallish older man named Joe, greeted us at the door. His mangy dog sat back a little ways, and I thought the odor I smelled must be the dog.

Joe showed us the sleeping quarters, through the messy kitchen with overflowing countertops, to the attached garage, which had been set up for hostelers. There were four sets of bunk beds standing on the bare concrete slab. We looked around to see gigantic piles of laundry spilling off the unmade beds. Stammering an apology, he said he hadn’t had time to fold it or to get the beds ready. “We can do that,” I said, “but first we need to go get something to eat.” So we paid the man and took off to find dinner.

Each of us had doubts about the hostel, but none of us voiced our feelings. We were tired and hungry, there was a scarcity of towns along the coast, and we’d rarely seen any motels, none with vacancies. We really didn’t have an alternative.

Returning after a bite to eat, we set to work folding the laundry, joking that Joe must have saved it up all month, waiting for us. Now we had time to notice the uncleanliness of the entire place. Floors hadn’t been swept; dog hair was everywhere, and the carpets were matted with debris. None of us touched anything in the kitchen.
Judy volunteered to test-drive the shower. When she came back, we learned that she’d showered in her flip flops so as not to be contaminated by the filthy bathroom rugs and the grime-encrusted tub. The rest of us took her words to heart and only used the facilities for the bare minimum, touching no surfaces without a barrier.

We’d agreed that we would be up early the next morning and out of there. As we carried our bags out to our bikes, a sleepy Joe appeared. “Hey, you’re supposed to each do a chore before you leave,” he said, scratching his head and quoting the general rule for hostels.

I gave him my best junior high school teacher look and voice: “WE have done enough. Good bye.” And, we got on our bikes and rode away.

Over breakfast, we discussed the situation. It was creepy. Each of us had felt it but hadn’t wanted to be the one who was squeamish. So, we spent a miserable, sleepless night in Forks.

Lesson learned: In the future, if any of us feel uncomfortable, for any reason, we will speak up. Pinky swear.

~ xoA ~


  1. Annis,

    Just think, if the hostel had been a nice, clean, ordinary place you probably wouldn't even remembered it.

    All kidding aside, it sounds like you all did the right thing. Sometimes in those situations it's hard to know what's best until it's over with.

    Maybe poor Joe needed some help - sounds like he had a few issues he was dealing with.

    Glad you survived Forks, Washington. :)

    1. You're right, Joan. It was memorable enough to make the lesson stick! Thanks for commenting, friend. xoA

  2. Are hostels cheaper than motels? I've never looked into them much, let alone stayed in one. I imagined it was much like crashing on a friends couch, only you didn't know the person and they had an extra bed you could rent.

    1. In hostels, you usually pay per person, so for one, it's a lot cheaper. Often you're in a "dorm room" with other travelers; sometimes you can get a private room. Bathrooms are usually shared, regardless. The ones in which I've stayed are rarely homes, but stand-alone buildings. The one in Sacramento is like a mansion.

      At a hostel, there are other travelers who will share their experiences and point you to sights you might have missed. When I'm traveling alone, I like the company and the security of staying in the hostel. Check it out. Youth Hostels are not just for college kids. xoA

  3. Forks! How could you have any other experience in a town destined to be infamous? I've been curious about hostels before. Thanks for the read, and the chuckle.

    1. Thanks for writing, Clarissa. The majority of hostels are just fine. You get a bed, a safe place to stay, and people around you. Most have a communal kitchen and often people cook and have their meals there. xoA

  4. And here I thought all your adventures were magnificent care-free...adventuring! Whatever the horror of the time (and I'd have been out of there within five minutes...I'm squeamish and paranoid)...what a great story! Please don't hate me but I'd love to read more misadventure stories from you...I was horrified on your behalf but incredibly amused by the whole situation. I hope you are least in hindsight.

    1. I absolutely understand wanting the misadventure stories, too. They always get a great reaction when we tell them.

      The Forks situation is funny now. Sylvia, Judy, and I talked about it on Sunday, and we were all smiling.

      Thanks for writing, Anna. I really appreciate it.