Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
After our Rock City/Ruby Falls adventure we drove to the park and asked at the visitor center for maps and distances and found there are numerous possibilities for running and hiking. The park is full of trails and narrow roads, including a well-marked tour of the battlefield monuments and features. The tour is about 7 miles, so we used the truckster's odometer to measure along the route and continued another 4 on our own. It worked splendidly. Wifeunit had her map with my water stops marked and approximate times and distances.
Early the next morning the weather was great - 35 degrees and clear - and I started my run. Wifeunit listened to a book on the car CD player and drove off through the park, lying in ambush to snap pictures of me and the other creatures. The deer in the park are remarkably tame, surely aware of their relative safety from hunters. We sometimes saw herds of 20 or more in the open areas of the park, grazing calmly like cattle on a farm.
I found this to be my most satisfying run so far. There was almost no traffic to deal with, while the curves of the roads, the deer and historic monuments took my mind off the work of running. I don't use an Ipod, so any distraction from the grind is great. The park has only one bothersome short steep climb, a beautiful spot known as Snodgrass Hill, but the rest of the road is mostly flat and easy.
After the run we retreated to the hotel, ate a quick lunch and took nice nap. The remainder of the day we spent at the Chattanooga Aquariums. That night we ate at a fabulous restaurant near the hotel called Niko's Southside Grill. If you're staying in downtown Chattanooga, give it a try.
Friday, December 28, 2007
The Chattanoogan Hotel is a nice place in the middle of downtown. Since it was a holiday, there was hardly any traffic, and nobody at the bar. What a great end to a long day - chatting with the bartender while sampling microbrewery draft beer and appetizers.
The next day was spent doing what tourists do, seeing the cheesy attractions. Unless you're like us, children of the 50's and 60's with more curiosity and spending money than good sense, you will avoid Ruby Falls and Rock City. In the South during the 1960's, a traveler on the old highways could count on finding "See Rock City" painted on the side or roof of a barn along the way. (Follow this link if you'd like to know more http://www.two-lane.com/seerock.html ).
Neither of us had ever seen these legendary wonders, but we both had vivid memories of the roadside advertising. Now that mission is behind us, and we have a "See Rock City" birdhouse on the basketball goal post in the front of our home.
We had a great time, though. I was surprised at the number of Asian tourists, particularly Japanese. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. Pictured below is Wifeunit capturing a rare moment - a Rock City Gnome, carelessly vulnerable to keen-eyed tourist photographers.
Here's a look at one of the breath-taking dioramas depicting one of the industrious "3 Little Pigs". There were lots of these Mother Goose/Fairy Tale characters around. It took us minutes to appreciate the beauty of it all.