With temperatures Saturday in the mid-90s, two drivers were in mid-burnout down the 1/8-mile drag strip at the West End Thunder drag races at Forks Airport. (Zorina Barker/for Peninsula Daily News)

What heat? The races must go on

SELLING ICE CREAM must have been a cinch at Forks Airport on Saturday during the West End Thunder drag races.

The metal bleachers had no shade from the the 96-degree sun that was recorded on the digital reader board about a half-mile mile north at the Pacific Inn Motel in downtown Forks.

That’s 29 degrees above Forks’ June average temperature of 67, according to www.usclimatedata.com.

It was a few degrees below the record 98 for June recorded in 1986 and 6 degrees under the searing 102 on Aug. 8, 1981, which is the all-time high for Forks since records started being kept in 1907, said Jerry King, who staffs the Forks-area volunteer National Weather Service station.

It still gave good reason for people standing in line at the back of an ice cream truck behind the racetrack grandstands to buy a tasty cool-down.

Old, new and modified cars as well as motorcycles sped down the 1/8-mile track at speeds often pushing 100 mph.

The rumble of healthy motors moving about the track reverberated off the hills and down the streets of Forks.

Lining the outside edge of the racetrack were trucks hauling not-so-street-legal cars ready for speed.

Beside most of the trailers were people sitting in chairs, hiding from the penetrating sunshine while chatting under pop-up awnings scrawled with car emblems.

The talk around town was all about the heat.

Stores were sold out of ice.

Pedestrians rested in the shade of trees and buildings.

Locals had a genuine reason for wearing sunglasses.

A little north of the races, at the Hideaway Teen Center, Jen Aceves was dressed in white while staffing the cash box for the Young Life Rummage Sale.

The several teenagers around her were washing cars in the driveway or soaking their heads under the faucet inside the center.

Young Life is an international group that endeavors to guide adolescents and older teens into adulthood using Bible-based principles.

Aceves and her husband, Mike, are Young Life leaders for the group here in Forks.

The Aceves’ three kids Mia, 10; Jake, 6; and Obi, 4, all enjoy being a part of the West End Young Life family, they said.

“I love Young Life because there are no strings attached, like having to join a church,” Aceves said.

“The point is genuine mentorship, friendship and love of kids and family.

“Some of the kids in our group don’t even know what it’s like to sit down and have a meal with a family.”

Aceves explained that the donated items spread out on the grass and tables were for sale at whatever price customers wanted to pay.

The money raised will help send adolescents and teens to a weeklong camp in Oregon.

Aceves said they were hoping to raise $2,000 through this sale and other fundraisers the group holds throughout the year.

Tillicum Park, at the north end of town, was supposed to see some action “around 2 p.m.,” according to an announcement in the Forks Forum.

The Northwest Shred Tour was scheduled to make a stop at the skate park.

By 2:30 p.m., though, the only skateboarders at the park were hiding from the heat and didn’t know anything about this traveling tour of inline skaters paying a visit.

Ben Brosius, Matt Hutson and Korey Harvill of Monroe were on a road trip to the beaches and forests of the West End.

They had spent the previous night at Second Beach “hammock camping.”

Brosius said the three friends made a habit of taking summertime road trips and trying out skate parks around Washington.

“The bowl here is one of the better ones I’ve seen because of the split levels and the features of the upper level,” he said.

The last time they visited, they camped down at the Hoh Campground and got to meet former TV personality and forest dweller Mick Dodge.

“We pulled up to this little store and he was just standing outside, chatting with people,” Brosius recalled.

At this point in the sweltering heat of the day, the pals were content to lie on the cool, shaded concrete with their heads resting on their skateboards, talking about skateboarding rather than taking a few turns in the bowl.


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 phone her at 360-327-3702. West End Neighbor appears in the PDN every other Tuesday.

Her next column will be July 11.

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