THE REAL FORKS - Warning Signs

By Christy Rasmussen-Ford


On my way home, there is a sign right off the highway that says, “You Are Now Leaving Vampire Territory!”


I’m just kidding: it actually says, “Warning. Forest Road. No Caution Signs.”


The first time I drove that road, I got a little nervous at the fact that no one would be telling me every little thing about the road. But I’m a rebel and decided to take my chances.


Imagine my surprise when not even a half of a mile later, there is a “Headlights on For Safety” sign.


Wait, what?


I’m thinking this might be a caution sign, but I don’t have a degree in Useless Signs so I could be wrong.


A couple tenths of a mile later, there is a sign about the road not having shoulders.


I’m starting to feel like someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Surely this is a caution sign!


The next 6.5 miles contain signs about ice on the roadway, big trucks crossing, the highway being divided, sharp corners, and more.


There are — roughly — 5 signs per mile … that are supposedly not caution signs.


I know the first sign said that there wouldn’t be caution signs, but if something looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.


The signs don’t quack so I’m pretty sure they are not ducks, but they look a lot like caution signs!


The Department of Useless Signs (DUS) may be lying to all of us with this “no caution signs” business.


On a road to the supposed “Biggest Tree EVER (in Clallam County … or Jefferson maybe)”, there is a sign that says something about no turn-outs.


This sign is strategically placed next to … a turn out.


Couldn’t make that one up.


To give the DUS a break, I’m going to assume the sign means, “After this one. This is not a useless sign. We‘re serious this time.”


Unfortunately this sign looks and quacks like a duck too because on the short drive up to the mammoth cedar, there are exactly 32,749 turn-outs. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but there are at least 10 pull-outs after the sign — I was counting for a while.


I’m beginning to think that the DUS doesn’t pay attention very well.


Like a responsible and concerned citizen of the area, I wanted to get to the bottom of this. I contacted the Department of Useless Signs.


Their official statement on the matter was that the supposed caution signs are not really caution signs at all. They are classified as “We’re just saying …” signs.


As far as the “No Turn-Outs” sign is concerned, there is apparently a size requirement for a wide spot on the road to be considered an official turn-out.


These wide spots in question that look suspiciously like turn-outs are five feet shorter than the required size and so are not considered turn-outs, but instead just wide spots in which cars are able to “turn-out” on.


In conclusion, the statement concluded that their signs are not in fact quacking ducks; they are very useful (and truthful) signs.


Lastly they offered me a job writing for the Department of Useless Signs because I’m apparently really great at writing “useless” pieces.


C’est la vie.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 13
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates