Chattanooga Choo Choo

Trip Start Feb 03, 2009
Trip End Mar 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Friday, February 6, 2009

Can you believe it? We're staying in our own private original Pullman train car (#771) in downtown Chattanooga!  The Holiday Inn took over Chattanooga's train terminal - a 1909 station with an 85 foot free-standing dome in the lobby and 48 cars. From 1909 until 1970 all trains to points south passed through this terminal. We used a free electric-powered shuttle to go downtown to the Tennessee Aquarium and IMAX theatre this afternoon and had a great time. The main aquarium, River Journey, traces the flow of the Tennessee river from its beginnings in an Appalachian Cove Forest to the Mississippi Delta and had a special seahorse and sea dragon exhibit. The new Ocean Journey aquarium tells the story of a tropical reef with a spot where you can feed rays (hopefully) or sharks (hopefully not) shrimp. I have never seen such large fish and such well-maintained aquaria. The IMAX theatre was featuring a film on whakes and dolphins - amazing photography and only six of us in the theatre.

Of course we left Kentucky this morning in minus 16 degree temperatures. Thankfully in Chattanooga we saw it reach 2 degrees - our first above freezing temperatures this trip! But the locals are complaining. Finally any snow we see looks like icing sugar dusting, that is there's no depth to it. We even washed the car but it will need another one to remove all the salt.

We took several diversions off I 75 - the Elk Valley and Stinking Creek Road to the west, the Norris Dam (part of the TennesseeValley Authority - TVA) and TVA-controlled town of Norris to the east, the Knoxville bypass including Oak Ridge (home of the Clinton Engineering Works and birthplace of the atomic bomb) to the west and finally the Tennessee Valley Winery where we purchased Cherokee White - a blend and nice to have after "dry" Kentucky. The Log Cabin restaurant at Exit 72 was recommended for country food and we had excellent hickory smoked chicken and pork sandwiches for lunch.

Tonight we sampled the brew pub next door to the terminal and enjoyed some local drafts and dinner in an old renovated former hotel.
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