Day 43-44 ((September 10-11)
North Bend/Snoqualmie, WA
“I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.” — Agent Dale Cooper
**For the past week I’ve been planning on resuming posts about our Washington travels just where I left off after we departed Port Townsend. My timing with this post is a fun coincidence, because I just read that today is celebrated annually as Twin Peaks Day! (Apparently I’m not a tru super-fan because I had forgotten that Feb 24th is the day that Agent Cooper first drove into Twin Peaks.)
Our plan to catch the morning ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbee Island is derailed when one of the two route’s ferries runs aground. We first decide to bum around Port Townsend for another day, but by lunchtime we’re feeling antsy to move along, so we drive down the Kitsap Penninsula, around the southern tip of the Salish Sea, through Tacoma, and northwest to North Bend/Snoqualmie area.
We are here to see some of the filming sites of a favorite show, Twin Peaks, and perhaps take a hike up majestic Mount Si – an iconic mountain that I never knew the name of before arriving here today.
Upon arrival in North Bend, we find a cute town with surprisingly no good campground and hotel lodging choices other than the simple but well managed mom & pop Mt Si Motel, which has no vacancy . The manager told us the motel gets booked well in advance even on weekdays in the off-season. Plan ahead if you are visiting the area, because it looks like there are some great Aribnb options in the Snoqualmie/North Bend area.
The Mt. Si motel was used as a filming location for both the original Twin Peaks series (1990-91), and the third season that was released in 2017. It is said that the burned wall from Teresa Banks’ room has been preserved for the show’s fans.
The food is served in immense portions by super-friendly folks who are happy to visit with Twin Peaks tourists. Go for the atmosphere and experience, not looking for good food or coffee. (Describing it as mediocre would be generous).
The interior of the diner is filled with Twin Peaks art photography (recreated scenes inside the diner) and some additional kitsch for the tourists. Twede’s diner decor itself is also great, though sadly missing the jukebox, Audrey dancing, and Norma and Ed making moony eyes at each other.
Down the hall we find a wall full of movie stills and on-set candid photos.
North Bend is a fun town for picture-takers, with great neon signage, an awesome Chevy dealership, old dairy bar, motor courts, historic theatre, and more. I wish we’d had more daylight hours to walk around town and shoot 35mm.
Mount Si towers over the town, and we are bummed that we aren’t able to lodge here for the night and have time to make the epic hike up it.
It is dusk when we reach Snoqualmie, where we try to visit the old lumber mill site. A building there served as the sheriff’s station, but the site is now a rally car driving school, which unfortunately is chained off at the entrance. However, we do find the old railroad bridge that Ronette Pulaski was bedraggedly crossing. The bridge is now a pedestrian bridge (looks like a rails to trails project).
Snoqualmie is downright charming. We stop off at “The Big Log”, which is now fenced and under a pavilion. This 400-year old Douglas fir was used in the Twin Peaks opening sequence.
Even though it is dark when we reach the Salish Lodge and Snoqualmie Falls (exteriors for The Great Northern Hotel), they do not disappoint. Although my terrible iPhone picture does. I’m not proud of posting this grainy pic, but it’s the most iconic Twin Peaks shot, so I felt the need to include it.
We contemplate staying at the Salish Lodge, which looks super-luxurious, but decide that’s too big a chunk out of our budget, and push on.
Fall City – another interesting Washington town I’d like to explore more at some point – presents The Roadhouse Restaurant and Inn (also no vacancy), the front and side of which were used for the Bang Bang Bar exterior shots. Also, the back of the building’s exterior was used for The Bookhouse, although it’s tough to see the resemblance in my picture.
There are other filming locations that we are really disappointed to have missed, especially the Welcome to Twin Peaks sign (with population error of course), but hopefully we’ll get back one day to see them.
With few last-minute lodging and camping choices in the area, we keep driving north and rent a room at the Evergreen Inn in Monroe, WA. Ever the budget-stretchers, it’s never our plan to spend money on hotels two nights in a row, but at the end of a long day we rest in a super-comfy and clean room, and we wake up refreshed and ready for all that Bellingham has to offer.