Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Day 35

Chattanooga - A Mighty Good Spot

We woke up this morning after a night's rest in Jester's Lodge, feeling a bit groggy. We drove into Chattanooga and found a great little spot called Greyfriar's. I ordered the scrambled eggs with cheese & ham and a really strong, rocket-type-fuel cup of Costa Rican coffee. It was a great big swift kick up the arse and just what I needed!

The atmosphere in the place was mighty good. The food was great, the coffee and tea were great and it was such a relaxing vibe. Everyone seemed to know everyone else in the joint so there were lots of chatsies going on. There were some people on laptops (like us) and a couple of lads playing chess. People read the paper, students did their homework and everyone (including me) seemed to be drinking copious amounts of coffeeeee.

I took a little stroll around town after eating and took a few snaps.

With a ned full of coffee, it was now time to go be a couple of tourists.

First we went to the John Ross Bridge and walked across the Tennessee River. There was a park on the other side and people had already begun setting up there places for the 4th Of July celebrations.

Next we stopped at an old train station that has been converted into a Holiday Inn. The place is actually quite nice and there are actual trains in the back of the hotel that have cars you can sleep in if you wish. The train is a replica of the original Chattanooga Choo-Choo, which was the train operated by the Cincinnati Southern Railroad and served as major link between the north and the south in the late 1800s.

We mingled around for a bit and had a good look around.

We decided to go to Lookout Mountain and ride the Incline Railway. It's known as the 'world's steepest passenger railway', 'America's most amazing mile' and 'the most overlooked place on Earth.' Whatever you want to call it, it's pretty damn cool.

The railway was built in 1895 and travels nearly one mile straight up the mountain. The steepest section of track at the top has a gradient of 72.7%! The single track separates into two tracks at the halfway point allowing for a switch, where the car traveling down the mountain passes the car going up. The track operates with pulleys and cables and by using a single track, the two cars act like weights on opposite ends of a fulcrum, equally distributing the weight and tension across the length of the track.

The views from the top of the mountain were amazing.

We thought of also going to either Ruby Falls or Rock City but there wasn't enough time left in the afternoon. We had a quick stop at the Incline shop called Mountain Memories and then set off on our way to Nashville.

We drove up 24N and arrived in Nashville around 6:00, giving us enough time to check in and leg it into town for a bite to eat. The Best Western we found was only about a mile from town but it was probably the ropiest mile in all of the city. We walked in this evening for the first (and last) time during our stay. Turning onto 2nd Avenue, we found Wildhorse Saloon and decided that was the place for us. I was blown away by it! The band were playing and everyone seemed to be dancing with everyone else in the place. The music was a bit dodgy but the atmosphere was great. We got a table and ordered some food and drinks, which were both fantastic. When the band finished, there was a line dancing lesson that cracked us up as well.

After we ate, we retired to the bar for a few relaxers before getting a cab back to the hotel for a good night's kip.

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