"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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tennessee with Davy and Jack

 We have been moving slower and driving 50-160 miles each time we move. There just seems to be so many good places to see and the food to eat.  Stick with me. This is the end of the Natchez Trace.
Sinkhole that was used by travelers during rain
Cutting through the northwest corner of Alabama, the terrain changed and there were
more opportunities to take short walks on the trails. We stopped at Rocky Springs for
an interpretive walk and watched the springs bubbling up through the rocks in the bottom of the creek.

Sweetwater was another nice walk where the Chickasaw would stop for fresh water. We left the Trace shortly after crossing the border to head east. It would be too easy to get off track and just keep
wandering in an attempt to see everything there is out there. But we need to get to South Carolina.

When we arrived at David Crockett State Park, where most of the campers are locals. Our neighbors serenaded us with her guitar at night and was quite good. We loved their stories about living in the back hills of Tennessee. 
There is a town 10 miles north from us with an Amish village. They
pick you up at the farmer's market and take you to their village in a carriage. Unfortunately
for us, we were here for Easter and leaving the next day. We hear the produce in their
farmer's market in the summer is so good.
I missed getting a picture of the Amish couple on their ride through the park in a horse drawn carriage. I had told Mike an hour before that I need to remember my camera while taking a walk. I might miss something.
Davy Crockett owned this land with a Grist Mill until it flooded and he lost it. As we walked along the trails we sang "Davy Davy Crocket king of the wild frontier." If you don't remember it, Don't worry. That was a long time ago and kind of lame.

Staying on the back roads has been a treat with a chance to see some small towns. It is
easy to get lost since many of the signs are missing (the post is still there). Thank goodness for GPS. We have to pay attention to the gas gage and keep it above 1/2 a tank. Once we had to take
smaller winding back roads to fill up.

The dogwoods were really blooming in Tennessee.

We took a walk along the Davy's Walkabout Trail and imagined him in his coonskin hat and
musket. We found this guy on the trail on our morning walk before heading to Lynchburg.
Does the song Tennessee Whiskey ring a bell?
We didn't have internet to check on what was ahead, but did have a Tennessee travel guide. On the front was a little distillery 20 miles off our route. Who are we to question a sign?  
We signed up for the Angel Tour even though this is a dry county.  Jack Daniels found ways around that to produce his whiskey legally. We had not reserved a place before arriving. Fortunately, it was a Monday and they had room for us. Sunday they had 30 people on each tour. We had 15.
Another sign?

The tour guide was delightful and irreverent in her story telling. The 1 1/2 hour tour flew by. In no time we were sitting in the tasting room.

The original REO Speedwagon
The mineral-rich Cave Spring Hollow, which Jack purchased for $24, holds the spring water that Jack Daniels uses for his brew.
Jack leaves home at 13 years old and is taken in by Reverend Dan Call. He learns the art of whiskey making from the preacher.
Every bottle of Jack Daniel’s sold around the world is made with the water from this source. Considering all the whiskey that’s come from Jack’s $2,148 investment with the land he purchased after the cave, we’d say he received a pretty good return.

Jack's office. He never went to work before 10 am until one morning he arrived early. He couldn't remember the combination to the safe and kicked it, breaking his toe. He didn't have a wife to make him go to the doctor. Gangrene set in. He had his foot amputated, then his lower leg, then died when his upper leg was being removed. The moral of this story?
Don't go to work early.

While touring the processing areas of the distillery, we had to leave our cameras, cell phones and other items that could cause a spark off. I guess that could be a problem with all of that 140 proof alcohol.

This looks like a small amount to taste but more than enough for me.

Frank Sinatra always traveled with 2 cases of No 7. He never knew when a party would break out and wanted to be ready. He was buried with a bottle of Jack. We got to taste the special production made for Sinatra's 100th birthday which sells for $100 per bottle.

After tasting Old number 7, we headed over to Miss Mary Bobbo's Boarding House for lunch. We did not have reservations. As we walked in, they were seating a room and had room for us. They were serving fried chicken, roasted pork and all of the fixings family style. I was partial to the spiced apples with a bit of #7. A hostess sat with us while we all ate and told us stories about Miss Bobbo and Lynchburg.
  Miss Mary operated the boarding house until her death in 1983, just shy of her 102nd birthday. Several local high school students work here for two years and if they meet the requirements, They get a 2 year college scholarship provided by Jack and the state of Tennessee.
We enjoyed the company of other travelers as we ate and then waddled out together down the three blocks of Lynchburg to our vehicles.

We climbed back in our truck to finish our drive to Chattanooga after a fun day.
A little Tennessee Whiskey for you