Vancouver to San Francisco Tour 2016 – A Cycle Tour by someone who’s never cycle toured before – Day 4 – Lake Crescent to Rain Forest Hostel, Forks, WA

Day 4 started off as Day 3 ended – Wet.

Paul found me in the toilet block warming my hands under the dryer as it was a pretty cold night. This was mainly due to the fact that I had no ground mat, meaning all my heat was used to warm-up the water under my ground sheet, not my body. 

Nothing that a hot morning coffee and oats couldn’t fix

We packed up in the rain and got going at around 8. I was feeling pretty quiet after my cold, sleepless night. There is about a 2 mile hill that takes us out of Lake Crescent which is exactly what we needed. In all honesty, I was feeling a bit grumpy that morning. I had taken a look at the guide book over breakfast and had decided to stop short of what was suggested so that I could stay in a hostel. Warm and Dry. But before that I had to get there.

The rain was light and continued on and off throughout the morning. After the advice from our friend we met at Joyce General Store on Day 3, we took a couple of roads off the 101 to continue our avoidance of the RV’s and logging trucks. These detours did a great job at that as we hardly saw anyone all morning. They were generally logging access roads. This was great as I got to know Oz and Paul a bit better.

I would find out a running trend of American cliches throughout this trip and today was no different (of course, many things challenged these too!). I discovered the results of a sport that I didn’t know of before – and that was Sign Shooting. I had seen many signs in films with holes in them from gun shot however, I thought this was creative licence – turns out it wasn’t

The aim for lunch was Forks. Now, this meant nothing to me, but Oz mentioned like an expert that this is where the Twilight series was set. I have to say even though I had reluctantly watched the series with my housemates in the UK for ‘Sunday Film Night’, I was kind of inwardly excited about this. If you hadn’t known this fact before hand then you would have entering the town. Signs saying “Edward Cullen has not slept here”, “Edward Cullen has eaten here” & “Buy your Twilight Firewood here”. Milking it.

We found a place to eat called . . .Forks Coffee Shop which Oz had visited before. The meal was classically big and did the job. Here I managed to email ahead to the hostel to try and book a place with my fingers crossed. Oz shared with me a story of a dispute between loggers and conservationist in the area. The focus of this argument was the Spotted Own which was in decline as Old Growth forest was being logged. The Spotted Owl become so much of a burden to the Logging community that in Forks that restaurants were offering up “how they would their Spotted Owl cooked”.

Unfortunately this is where I would split from Oz and Paul. They went to dry out their tents longer over lunch and I was keen to push on further to the hostel. I have to admit I was sad not to have the company any more, and I knew there were many more conversations to be had.

The Rain Forest  Hostel – Photo Internet

The ride that afternoon was of course very pretty. You’re cycling through the rain forest! But besides the obvious, nothing much happened. I arrived at the hostel around 4. I turn in to the drive way and I see another bike perched up against the barn. This excited me very much. Philipp is sitting down in the front porch of the hostel. We make our introductions and I find out that the hostel is closed. No one is home. Damn! He had been there maybe an hour already. We stayed chatting for a while and he was on an epic trip. Crazily he was heading north, not south! His future plans would take him up to Canada, through the Rockies and back down into the States. He’s still going you know, and you can find out more about his trip HERE

Capturing some of the Locals

Man, this place was idyllic. There were humming birds floating around everywhere, it was quiet from the road, and surrounded by the forest. The building was an older property with plenty of character and well lived in. I was really hoping to stay here but it didn’t look too promising. As the conversation around leaving had started, a car rolled up. Here was Jimmy. He’s in his mid 60’s, wearing baggy jeans, suspenders and a well worn t-shirt. His hair is messy and fashioning an amazing thick slug on his top lip. He sits down next to us, and start chatting. He’s softly spoken, very relaxed and candidly informs us that he’s just been in Seattle for the last 2 days for regular hospital checks and catch-up. Jimmy of course is the owner. With him having been away for the last 2 days the hostel had therefore been closed so were were pretty lucky.

Jimmy Conomos holding back a laugh!

We eventually went inside and Jimmy ran us through what the deal was with the hostel. This wasn’t really here for the money, it was more the experience and making sure that travelers had somewhere safe to stay. Based on this, the hostel asked for a donation, not a fee, of $10. If you wanted to pay more then you could. This would help the others whom may not be able to afford it. “The idea is to try to create parity between us”. This I loved. All guests would be asked to contribute 15 minutes of time in the morning for chores to keep the place running. I got kitchen cleaning duty.

After hanging up my tent to dry in the garage I spent the rest of the afternoon taking photos of humming birds and chatting with Philipp on the porch. After dinner Jimmy, Philipp and I hung out and had a chat about ‘life’. It was awesome. Jimmy was one of the most interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. His parents are Greek and he grew up in The Bronx, New York, he’s a military Vet and been running hostels for the last 30 years. He was a very strong Bernie Sanders fan, sold Feel the Bern firewood and offered any guests a Bernie Sticker. I have this on the inside of my journal. Jimmy is a hand on heart, good person. He has a strong belief in doing good for everyone and not the select few.

We discussed what I was doing ‘here’ and delved into the reasons why I left the world of Advertising, which led onto discussions of morality in context of consumerism, capitalism and politics of healthcare. We of course discussed Trump, Bernie and Brexit (The results were released on this day). I still have the notes he wrote down for me following our discussion. What a dude.

It was a special and thought provoking evening which will stay with me forever. Thanks Jimmy. If you do find yourself in the area then it’s certainly worth visiting.

Cheers, Scott

Philipp’s blog can be found HERE

HEREJimmy’s Rain Forest Hostel can be found HERE

You can find the Route HERE

You can find Day 5 HERE

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