Published: January 11th 2011January 8th 2011
We are now past the half way point of our travels. Well it was a very cold night and day started with breakfast in our Hotel lobby (scrambled eggs on toast + OJ). We headed out to the car and it was windy and cold. Temperature in the car said it was zero outside and this was about 10AM.
We headed to a place called Lookout Mountain which is only a few kms from downtown. First stop was Ruby Falls. I deliberately did not tell the kids anything about this place so they would be surprised. The tour starts by going in an elevator down about 260 feet through limestone to the middle of the mountain.
We await a tour guide who then took us deep into the caves seeing various formations along the way to Ruby Falls. The main feature is a waterfall that happens inside the cave and it falls around 30 metres from above where you are looking. Truly and amazing sight and they have various coloured lighting to show it’s best features. Lots of photo’s whilst walking through the caves, and kids absolutely loved it and their cameras got a real workout.
all my layered clothes on and the backpack on my back whilst I was walking and it was actually about 16 degrees underground so it made me really sweaty so after we got back up to the top I braced to go back out into the cold to dry out a little. It was windy and cold brrrrr.
We bought a few souvenirs from the gift shop and then back in to the car to drive a few more miles further up the mountain to a place called Rock City. As we started driving he temperature in the car fell to minus 1, then to minus 2, then we started seeing snow flurries, and by the time we reached the top it was minus 4. There was only two things to do. See Rock City or go to Starbucks.
We started the self guided walk through Rock City but Kerry soon become claustrophobic looking at the narrow walkways between rocks so she headed back to Starbucks. It was going to take 1.5 hours to walk the circuits so we’d catch up with her later.
After a while we were really sheltered from the wind and our layered
clothes, beanies, and gloves kept us warm, along with brisk walking and the occasional jog to speed things up.
It is quite difficult to describe Rick City but it is essentially a very rocky outcrop and the walk takes you through narrow crevasses, through caves, across a suspension bridge, and some great lookouts over Chattanooga including the famous Lovett’s leap and the Seven States Lookout (where you can see Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia all from one spot)
One of the areas we saw had this huge rock hanging on two smaller ones suspended in the air. There is a photo with Luke & Elise trying to lift it up higher !
We managed to get through it all in about 45 minutes and met up with Kerry at Starbucks where coffee, banana cake and hot chocolates were had all round. It was weird in that outside they had a few tables and chairs next to an open fire place that was burning really well (with this huge chimney) but it was way too cold for anyone to be sitting outside.
The drive back down the mountain saw lots of amazing
homes as we drove through a residential area (people must have these nice homes on the mountain as weekenders). All across Nashville and Chattanooga the homes are all different and really nice.
We then drove back to downtown and had a drive across the Tennessee River (they have about five bridges that cross the river in a section only as long as say 1 km). This section of the river is famous for a major battle in the Civil War times.
We then went to McDonalds for a late lunch / quick bite and drove back to the Residence Inn Hotel. Temperature was back to zero.
We watched the first half of the NFL Wildcard playoff game between New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks and the Saints (defending superbowl champs and hot favourites) were doing it easily away from home. Seahawks were the first team to make playoffs with a losing record in home & away season for many years.
About 5.30PM we headed out for our special dinner. Both Elise & Luke found his brochure of a Murder Mystery Night Show & Dinner with Italian Buffet at Cafe Vaudeville. It was only two blocks away
so we braced for a cold walk. After settling in we found out the show was based on an office party scenario with about 8 characters (actors) and someone had shot the boss.
They got lots of people in the audience involved, and for some strange reason they chose me for the very first scene where I had to pretend I was an army patrol guy wearing a helmet and carrying a gun running around the restaurant with this dude and shooting at people etc. Acting is not my forte but I tried to play the part. It was a very funny show and kids had a ball.
Back to the room to watch the final 4 minutes of Saints vs Seahawks (which takes about half an hour in real time!) and Luke’s favourite team (the Saints) are knocked out.
As I write this blog it is now minus 7 degrees outside but with wind chill they say it’s really like minus 13 !
Tomorrow we leave Chattanooga and head south into Georgia. We are going to be staying in Atlanta for 3 nights before we finish our southern road trip.
We have been tracking
a major storm in the south that is due to hit Atlanta and most of the South on Sunday Night / Monday. It looks like Luke’s wish to see some snow is going to become true after all.
There are more photos below