Trip Start Apr 15, 2008
60Trip End Apr 01, 2010
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The trip is moving on fast, keep up now! The journey up to Chattanooga from Charleston was a fairly easy 6 hours! The roads are very good out here, mostly dual carriageways expanding to up to 14 lanes in places when we hit Atlanta. Some what daunting but you're fine if you hold your nerve and close your eyes, just kidding! The one thing I have noticed since leaving Florida is all you see between cities is trees. All very nice but it would be nice time to have little more variation! This is at last changing as we move further up the country.
Chattanooga is what the Americans refer to as a fine town. It has been voted Americas most desirable mid size town to live in. I have to agree it is very pleasant being located in a valley surrounded by wooded hills and the Lookout Mountain, and graced by the wide Tennessee River which run through it
We visited the Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for details on local places to visit and also to ask for advice on where we could find a new computer power cable as mine had stopped charging. Here we met Cameille who was so kind to us, making phone calls to local businesses asking if they could help with a replacement battery pack as well as helping with some local attraction tickets, thank you Cameille we had a really great day.
After getting some exercise along the water front we returned to look around the original station famous for the Chattanooga Choo Choo. This has been very well preserved and turned into a hotel, where you can choose to stay in the station or aboard one of the train carriages, certainly different!
Rock Garden - After returning to the car we drove up to the top of the Lookout Mountain to "Rock Garden" originally a private garden carved out of the amazing rock structures by Freda Carter back in 1928. When the depression hit the States in the early 1930's Freda and her husband Garnet open the gardens to the public
Ruby Falls - Having spent sometime above the mountain our next activity took us 260ft below the mountain. Without boring you too much! A shaft was bore by hand back in 1930 to sink an escalator down the historic caves. Once down there a certain Leo Lambert and his group crawled on their hands and knees to explore the caves further, although they were many hundreds of feet wide their height was often less than 2ft high. Rather them than me! They heard the sound of rushing water only to discover an open cavern with a 145ft water falls cascading down. He named the falls after his wife Ruby. Today visitors can enter the cave by a fast speed elevator. When we reached the bottom of the shaft we had the luxury of headroom of about 6ft, but this still made me feel really claustrophobic, not a good feeling being that far down! The one hour tour which takes you around many rock formations and Ruby falls was pretty spectacular and I have to say this is certainly a cave tour which is unique.
Incline Railway - Our final activity for the day was to ride the world steepest passenger railway. Again it's been running for some time since the late 1800's. The gradient is impressive at 72.7%. Just look at some of the signs on hills around you, which are around 18% then you will appreciate how steep the incline is this train travels. Rising to 2000ft above sea level the views are spectacular all the way up! Now I'm not one to tell tales but Julie did chicken out of this ride! Couldn't believe it as she's the one who loves roller coasters!
Off to Memphis next to see Elvis!