"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chattanooga Choo Choo

It had been a while since we had been on an interstate and able to drive faster than 50-55 mph. Hang on, we were headed to a city and it was raining. It was good to be back in a city for a little while. We only considered Chattanooga because it was "on the way" but turned out to be a real treat.
Our campground was on Raccoon Mountain with some nice hiking trails and a stream  on the edge of town.
Chattanooga, Tennessee
We rode the free electric shuttles around town to familiarize ourselves with the area after speaking with the Visitor's Center person. He gave us an idea on some of the must sees. The shuttle turned out to be a good choice when the rain was coming down heavily.
The Tennessee River runs through the middle of Chattanooga and has so much history related to the Civil War and Cherokee Indians. We had our raincoats on and headed to the riverfront.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo Train was Cincinnati Southern Railroad's small wood burning steam locomotive in 1880. Nearly all trains traveling to the South passed through Chattanooga.

The train station is now a beautiful hotel.

Manual railroad tracking board to keep track of where they put their trains.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo train engine now on display at Terminal Station. It was last used by the Smoky Mountain Railroad between Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains in the 1940's. 

Then we headed north.

The Walnut Street  Bridge was condemned and destined for demolition when the citizens of Chattanooga convinced the city  to commit the funds earmarked for the bridge’s demolition to its restoration.
   It serves as the pedestrian link between downtown Chattanooga and the now thriving Northshore District. It was a nice walk and plenty of things to see and do if we were there longer.

The glass bridge into the Hunter Museum and Bluff View Art District. The glass keeps needing to be replaced and will be replaced with steel soon. Sometimes Artsy doesn't work. It was pretty slick in the rain.

What a great way to see this small city. The bikeways are amazingly safe. No wonder it is rated one of the most bikable cities.

An entire lane for bikes with a curb to protect the cyclist.
Unusual benches for a rest

Alice in Wonderland showing us to the powder rooms.
We are usually early risers. I guess we got pretty tired with the new time zones and slept until 9:15 am. We looked at each other when we finally opened our eyes and decided to stay one more day in Chattanooga. After paying for another day, we decided to take a walk at Point Park to get some exercise.
Point Park

Point Park is a ten acre memorial park that overlooks the Lookout Mountain Battlefield and the city of Chattanooga. There is a paved walking path around the park that took us by several historic tablets, monuments, Confederate artillery positions, and a scenic overlook.

The Tennessee River was an important port for supplies for both sides of the war.

 Lookout Mountain has more than thirty miles worth of trails that allow hikers to explore the area. Many of these trails are old railroad beds and others built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

The Cracker Line
The Ohio Union soldier's rations were 9 crackers (about the size of the palm of their
 hand) per day, 3 morning, noon and night. When they saw General Hooker leading the stars and stripes up the mountain they all cheered  because they knew they would get their full rations and a new pair of shoes. Both were sorely needed.
The Lookout Mountain's Incline’s trolley-style cars climb a 72.7% grade.  I believe that is almost straight up. Only one other incline in the world is steeper.. We chose to drive to the top and walk around Point Park.
Trail of Tears
We kept seeing signs with information about the Trail of Tears. as we traveled. I wanted to know more.

In the 1830s, nearly 125,000 Native Americans lived on millions of acres of land in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida– for generations. By the end of the decade, very few natives remained anywhere in the southeastern United States. Working on behalf of white settlers who wanted to grow cotton on the Indians’ land, the federal government forced them to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles to a specially designated “Indian territory” across the Mississippi River. This difficult and sometimes deadly journey is known as the Trail of Tears.


  1. I had no idea that Chattanooga is so interesting! And bike friendly—even better!

    1. This has been a pretty good trip across the South and interesting.