Sunset Lanes Bowling alley in Forks happily hosts a large group from all over the county and beyond. (Zorina Barker/for Peninsula Daily News)

Sunset Lanes Bowling alley in Forks happily hosts a large group from all over the county and beyond. (Zorina Barker/for Peninsula Daily News)

WEST END NEIGHBOR: Good time was had by all

JUST OVER A week ago, I was sitting with some friends and we were looking over our group of kids.

They are all teens and early 20-somethings.

Then someone said we should go bowling, which morphed into we should have a party at the bowling alley.

Though I’m not really sure how it happened, I became the person to set it up.

Designing parties is not anywhere near my comfort zone.

We all knew the place would be Sunset Lanes, 261 E. E St., here in Forks.

With fear and trepidation, I called and spoke with Wade McCoy, the owner, chief cook and bottle washer of said bowling alley.

He made everything easy for me with his unflappable West End style.

Yes, the day and times we wanted were available.

Yes, we could have the place to ourselves, all eight lanes.

No, he wasn’t going to be uptight about pre-payment.

Sunset Lanes was built in 1960, “the heyday of bowling” as McCoy described it.

He bought the business 15 years ago from Holly Blankenship, who still comes around to bowl.

“I always have plans to upgrade but affordability is a challenge,” McCoy said.

Sunset Lanes is open Mondays through Saturdays, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. with leagues four days a week.

McCoy gets and sells firewood in the winter and does lawn care in the summer to supplement his income from the bowling alley.

One reason why we like having get-togethers at McCoy’s place is there is something for pretty much everyone.

There are two pool tables, video games and a snack bar offering lots of fried foods, burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches.

Of course, there is beer.

I mean really, what bowling alley is complete without a selection of beer?

Saturday evening, our group arrived.

The bowing alley was a delightful and warm place to laugh and play out of the freezing rain.

Folks joined us from Sequim, Port Angeles, Sekiu and Hoquiam.

McCoy said he lost count at 70 people.

Older ones who didn’t feel up to throwing the ball sat and chatted while watching the bowlers.

Several dads played pool.

Smaller kids played at lanes with bumpers that kept their balls heading down the lanes instead of slipping into the gutters.

More competitive bowlers kept track of who was up next and made sure to track them down for their turns.

The entire building was alive with a cheery ruckus.

Isaac Perry, a local homeschooled teen McCoy hired for the evening, seemed to be everywhere — cooking, retrieving balls and helping folks enter their names into the old-fashioned scoring system that only the initiated could figure out.

Though McCoy left Forks and went to Washington State University in Pullman, traveling for business after school, he says, “The more I was away from Forks, I found it just wasn’t cutting it.”

So he came home and “bought a job” — Sunset Lanes.

McCoy clearly enjoys his job and is a gracious host, smiling and shaking hands with many in our group as they leave.

After everyone chipped in to cover the cost of renting the bowling alley for two hours, we had a surplus to go toward our next trip to Sunset Lanes.

But I think next time we’ll rent the place for three hours instead of just two because absolutely nobody was ready to leave.


Zorina Barker lives in the Sol Duc Valley with her husband, a logger, and two children she home-schools.

Submit items and ideas for the column to her at zorina [email protected], or call her at 360-327-3702. West End Neighbor appears in the PDN every other Tuesday.

Her next column will be March 6.

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