Continuing our decadent food theme from the night before we decided to have breakfast in the Empress Lounge in the Fairmont Hotel. Mum decided to skip it and pack her bag, so it was only breakfast for four. We were seated near the fireplace in the posh surroundings of the dining room. I’m sure all our heads were imagining the rich people in the early 1900s dining in this establishment while we ordered our food. Sue and I went for the bacon and eggs while Pauline had the eggs benadict and Fiona had an omelette. We decided that since we were in canada we would try the canadian bacon without realising that it really just a cheap version of bacon ham. Regretted not going for the bacon considering how much it cost us but you really are paying for where you are eating and not what you are eating. At least we got some scones and marmalade included in the meal.
The Empress Lounge:
Scones and Marmalade freebies:
Canadian Bacon, eggs, tomatoes and potatoes:
After breakfast we checked out and dragged our luggage over to the Coho Ferry. It was closer than the Victoria Clipper which was lucky because it’s tiring business carrying our shit around. The Coho Ferry is about $70 cheaper than the clipper but doesn’t go to Seattle, instead it takes us to Port Angeles. The ferry takes cars and passengers so is more like a cargo ship than the high speed yacht that the clipper seems like. We went through customs quickly and then straight on to the ferry to the booths that had little heaters under the table. A really nice effect but actually probably a little too warm. Unlike the clipper we could walk around the boat while docked and leaving the harbour, so of course I hung outside to take pictures. The harbour had lots to look at, like small houses in the water, sea planes landing, buoys on the dock being fixed and a submarine on a boat for maintenance. The boat trip was only about 2 hours to Port Angeles but we had enough time to visit the cafe which offered a better selection than the clipper. Overall I liked the Coho Ferry so much more than the clipper, but when you are leaving Seattle the clipper really is your only choice.
Booths on the Coho Ferry:
Victoria Harbour and a cute little boat:
Seaplane landing in the harbour:
Cute little houses on the harbour:
Submarine on a boat:
Our arrival to Port Angeles took us past the US Coast Guard and then through some rigorous questioning from Customs. We probably should have gone through together as a group but you aren’t always aware of these things when you do it.Of course it was raining in Port Angeles. This area of America is almost in constant rainfall which I imagine isn’t good for the occupants but as drought stricken aussies we like the drizzle and rain of the area because of it’s novelty value. Of course we didn’t appreciate it walking to the Budget car rental place a few streets away but it was mostly drizzle at that point so we didn’t get too wet. This car rental was the one I was most worried about since they didn’t have an minivans or suvs available. We had rung ahead to inform them of our 5 people big luggage requirements but they were making no promises. They had a Pontiac Vibe for us which was basically a hot hatch. Our luggage didn’t fit of course, so I ended up pulling out all my bags of clothes inside my bag and sitting in the front with an empty piece of luggage. Poor Auntie Sue also was stuck in the middle of the back with some bags on top of her but eventually we made it all fit and we were off.
US Coast Guard at Port Angeles:
Weird Trees on the mountain:
Our tiny Pontiac Vibe hire car:
Squashed in the back – note the luggage packed behind them:
We had a small drive around Port Angeles but the rain had started to come down at that point. I would have liked to have a look around, but after all that trouble getting our shit in the car it was too much pain, so we headed off for Forks down the Olympia Highway. This was a logging area so at first we had to follow some logging trucks but eventually the road was ours and we got to marvel at the view. The rain, the trees and the lakes all made for a wonderful moody ambience in the vehicle which I assisted by playing some Fleet Foxes as our soundtrack. We stopped once for a photo opportunity at the lake, but mainly Pauline navigated the cute little vibe around the curvy road surrounded by the mossy and green trees. It was such a relief to be out of all the cities and in to nature. Not many people travel the road and it was a special journey. I was just happy that finally I got to share my excitement that I’d had weeks before when designing this drive. Pauline and I had seen Twilight and knew how pretty this area was, but I didn’t imagine that we’d actually be driving through the areas the movie talked about. It’s not like we were huge Twilight fans or anything, but I did enjoy the movie.
Lake just out of Port Angeles:
The mossy trees of the Olympia Highway:
By the time we’d reached Forks we were ready for the toilet which we found in a grocery store in the town. The store was a combined sort of Coles/Kmart/Blockbuster – basically a one stop big shop. There had been a huge storm the night before that had knocked out their power so half the store was operating on generators. The cold area was switched off but was covered in tarps to keep the cold in, so for us to find the butter involved rooting around under tarps in the dark. Really funny and surreal to be in a “Vampire town” and be mucking about in a shop. It got even weirder when a nice shop assistant who was a little overfriendly helpfully showed me the butter. No I know that in Forks they are really trying to be nice to the tourists to get another economy going, but I was just a little weirded out by it because in Australia we are used to being ignored by shop assistants. We picked up some food supplies for our dinner as well as some incredibly yummy chicken strips to eat on the go. I love that you can buy alcohol from the grocery store in America, I just wished they did it back in Oz. We all squished back in the car, this time trying to find even more spots for the extra bags we’d bought from the store.
I made Pauline double back so that Fiona and I could take some shots of the Forks sign and High School (hey, we are tourists!) but unfortunately the high school wasn’t the one in the movie. After listening to the rest of them complain that we drove those 2 minutes only for that we left Forks heading for Lake Quinault. The road was less curvy now and actually took us near the coast and the beach past Kalaloch Lodge – another hotel I considered us staying at. In the end I booked Lake Quinault Lodge as we would be staying near the beach in California but as we neared Lake Quinault I forgot that. We ended up following signs to take us to Lake Quinault Inn. The place was obviously under huge renovations and I was confused because it didn’t look anything like the pictures. That was mainly because we were in the wrong place. The guy was nice about it and directed us to the other side of the lake to where we really were staying.
Forks welcomes us:
No Vampires here:
At Lake Quinault Lodge we drove in to the carpark of wonderful old building that was totally “Dirty Dancing” like (even if it was the wrong side of the country for that). We went inside to check in but the girl was busy answering restaurant booking calls so it took us a while to get our rooms. The place at least had souvenir trinkets for us to look at while we waited. Eventually we got our rooms and headed over. I spent a long time debating over which room to get i.e. stay in the historic lodge or the cottage or the lake rooms. In the end I decided that the lake was really the reason we were there so we may as well get the lake rooms. They are the newest buldings so the inside is a little holiday inn but they have great views of the lake which made it worth it. No fridge though for our supplies, so we made do with the sink and ice from the ice machine.
Lake Quinault Lodge:
Lake Quinault Lake Rooms:
Our make do fridge in the room:
View from our deck:
After getting settled we decided to go for a walk to check out the lodge. The walk to the lodge took us past the cottage, the lawn, some cool down pipes and the huge rain gauge which was already pretty full. The lobby in front of the fire was full of people dozing and it looked like a nice place to gather for drinks before dinner. We investigated the busy indoor pool with a sauna and found a ping pong table which Sue, Mum played against Pauline and Me. I don’t know who won cause I was too busy laughing but we had a great time smashing the ball at each other. It was time to celebrate when we had a rally over 3 hits. Back outside in the rain and Pauline and I wandered the lawn and lake then started walking down the trail to Falls Creek. There are a bunch of hiking trails in the area and although we weren’t ready to do them in the rain, we did a little bit just to get a taste for it. All the trees are mossy from the constant wet which makes it a lush green place to camp. I think all of us loved it here as a great recouperation place. After the walk we ate our ploughmans dinner then watched the light go out over the lake. We left the curtains open when we went to bed so we could see the lake in the early hours of the morning.
Lake Quinault Cottages:
Lake Quinault Cottages:
Interesting downfall pipe:
Huge Rain Gauge:
The Lake Quinault Lodge Lawn:
The Lake Quinault Lodge lobby:
The Lake Quinault Lodge hot and steamy indoor pool:
Part of the walking trail near the lodge:
For more photos, check out the Flickr Set.
Tweets of the day:
Had the most amazing halibut and king crab dinner last night at pascatores. How did I go so long not liking fish?
Breakfast atthe empress was ok but nothing to rave about. They like having potatoes early in the USA and canada.
Boarding the coho ferry to Port Angeles. I like this better than the clipper cause you can walk around the ship outside.
The table is heated on this ship. It’s really quite hot!
5 of us are squashed in to a Pontiac vibe holding the luggage that didnt fit in the boot. We thought we’d never do it! Next stop Forks!
Lovely moody weather for this drive. http://twitpic.com/4m88z
Visited forks, home of twilight. The grocery store had little power due to a big storm the night before. Running on generators.
Went to the wrong hotel. Note to self, we are staying at the lodge – not the inn. 🙂
Went for a walk in the rainforest. Didn’t come across any elk but we did find a furious waterfall.
Now we are back in the USA the medical ads have returned. It was a good respite while it lasted.