Road Trip Stop #5: Olympic National Park

We stayed 3 days and 3 nights at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.

Maybe I was spoiled on our first two stops but this trip has taught me that I only want to go to RV sites that have full hook ups. Not being able to “dump” (pun intended) whenever you want it a terrifying thought. Add in the fact that this place had a broken dump station (that we had to finagle to work – which took over 1.5 hours)… Sure, maybe a quick weekend trip to Santa Cruz doesn’t require full hook ups but a multi-State trip sure does.

Besides, this place is called a “resort”. That’s a joke.

This “resort” was created with cabins in mind, not RVs. The RVs were certainly an afterthought and the grounds created for them must have been designed by someone who has never used an RV in their life. The spots are tough to back into and incredibly small. You have zero space between you and your neighbor. Also remember that you don’t have a dump site so if you’re trying to zip out and in to get that done, think again. It’s about a 10 minute walk to the closest bathroom (which is only open from 7:30am to 9pm) but it’s through a very muddy area – which I’m sure isn’t muddy when it’s not raining or snowing. Were the hot springs cool? Sure. But we’re from the Bay Area and have gone to different hot springs in Calistoga and they’re far superior. There aren’t any perks to staying here either, as far as the hot springs go – it’s $18 for 90 minutes per person (and $5 for towels!). No breaks if you stay with them. This spot, despite the hot springs and location, was probably our least favorite. My suggestion is to stay in Port Angeles at a private RV site and drive into the Olympic National Park. IF the park ranger is at the front, it’s $30 for 7 days to come in. If the park ranger isn’t there (2/3 of the times they were not when we came through), it’s free! It’s the luck of the draw. Oh. I didn’t even mention the most annoying part. No wifi. Or service at all. This means that that super great hot spot we’ve had doesn’t work here. Not an ideal situation for working while traveling. When we got there, I used a land line to call my parents to ensure them that Jacob didn’t murder me and hide my body.

Okay, enough about this “resort” that I’ll never come back to. What did we do while here?

Driving into the park was a beautiful experience. I’ve never seen such a beautiful National Park. Everything was so incredibly green and seemed more alive than any other forest I’ve been in. We left the Oregon sun to get rained on (again). I now understand Bella Swan’s hatred of rain (you see where I’m going with this, right?). The first night here, Jacob and I probably only got about 3 hours of sleep because the rain kept us up most of the night – plus the anxiety of “How the hell am I supposed to work if I can’t get any wifi?”.

Day one. We headed into Forks, WA. Our choices were Port Angeles or Forks but technically, Forks is closer (way less windy roads) and we were planning on going there for a half day on Thursday anyway because Twilight. Duh. Instead of a café, the staff suggested the public library. Weird. But sure. But of course we’ll hole up in a café like we’ve been doing. Except the Forks doesn’t have any cafes… A few drive in coffee places, sure (all of them say that they have FREE WIFI on Yelp but those are all lies). We chose Mocha Motion (delicious btw) and sat in the parking lot with our hot spot and waited for the public library was open. When I was a kid, our neighborhood had a small library that had been a house once upon a time. I liked going there because our school library was nothing like Buffy the Vampire Slayer but this one totally was. They re-developed it a few years ago to make it ~modern~ and it made me really sad. In college, I spent a lot of time in our schools library (mostly in the basement) but since then, I haven’t gone into one, although, I really should. Forks Library was SUPER cute. Maybe it’s all libraries, idk, but it just had such a cool, kind, and clean feel about it. It was a great place to hide out from the rain too. After the library, we searched (in vain) for somewhere to eat. I’m trying to find a nice way to say this but boy is Forks depressing. In 2011, when I lived in Seattle, my friend Jordan came to visit me and we immediately drove to Forks. It was depressing then too. I thought with the Twilight renaissance and the conventions that happen there, it had started to pick up. But maybe with the pandemic, things changed. Either way, it was slim pickings for food. We ended up with pizza by the slice (always a favorite and it was pretty good) before I wandered over to Native to Twilight – the only Twilight store, it seems (but it does sell local Native American art as well). It was fine, but slim pickings (again). But Forks had a cemetery so we HAD to go. It was small, but cool and Sidney could get out of the car she’d been forced to stay in this whole time. The Forks Chamber of Commerce has Bella’s truck(s) and two maps filled with pins from everywhere in the world. No, seriously. Apparently every country in the world has been to Forks. We ended our tour down at La Push’s First Beach. When Jordan and I came in 2011, that was the highlight of our trip. It was so serene. The trees on the beach (the ones that had fallen off the islands close by) had roots that went on for days. I could have stayed there for hours, just listening to the waves crash on the beach. I could have, but per usual, it was absolutely freezing. So we had to skedaddle. By the way, right after the Treaty Line, there’s a store. Go buy the smoked salmon. It was delicious!

After our Forks adventure, we headed back to the black hole that is our RV site. Jacob was so exhausted, he slept for about 10 hours. I took my CBD and passed out shortly after he did. I woke up once, to the rain but was able to sleep soundly. It was probably the best sleep I’ve gotten on this entire trip.

Due to the lack of Wi-Fi, we decided to take Thursday off to explore. The bummer is that there are like, 4 hiking trails that Sidney could actually go on and none of them really are by one another. This National Park isn’t a “drive through” park either. There’s several different entrances that you have to drive hours to get to. Great. Since the Visitor Center was in Port Angeles, we figured we’d go there and do the 5 mile hike there… Which we couldn’t really finish due to a mud slide. Whoops. It was still a beautiful, albeit muddy, hike. Afterwards, we were starving. Clearly, Port Angeles is Anti-Pups because there’s about 3 restaurants that say they are dog friendly because they have outdoor seating (1 is a locked patio that they… couldn’t unlock, 1 is a standing bar outside, and 1 was a bench without a table). We ended up getting take-out from New Day Eatery (freaking EXCELLENT, so happy it worked out that way) and eating at a table outside nearby where Sidney could sunbake. The rest of the day was filled with stopping frequently around Lake Crescent (which has a very cool back story and a crazy dead body story) where Sidney actually drank lake water (an unheard of task from an anti-water pups), driving around and in the Olympic National Park, playing card games, and relaxing at the super stinky hot spring. All in all, not a bad day. But I’m very ready to get back to more civilization (aka: cell phone service). Seattle, here we come.

Stay tuned

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