Chattanooga Again!

Riding along on this pretty June day brings to mind that wonderful poem “what is so rare as a day in June” and it is certainly true today. After a good night’s rest Jerry and I were up fairly early but still had time for our “quiet time” and coffee, showers and then preparation for leaving. Jane brought Emma by on her way to school and we were nearly ready to go by then. Jerry pulled the coach up to the parking area and I followed in the car. Then we again hooked the car up to the motor home. Jerry does the outside work of hooking up and I do the inside “work” of putting the Jeep in the right gear to be towed. By 8:23 we were on the road to Chattanooga. It is a really pretty drive as everything is green and mountains are in the distance. It’s probably going to be a hot day but we’re cool inside so we are still enjoying the benefits of that rare June day.

After a couple of hours we stopped at a rest stop mainly just to walk around for a few minutes plus take advantage of the facilities. Back on the road by 10:20 and Emma has asked how many more hours. Um… After a week-end of dancing Emma was pretty tired so she took a couple of naps on the way. That makes for a much “shorter” trip”! Of course, an iPad and a movie help too! FYI – she is belted in!

At the Tennessee state line we stopped at the Welcome Center to take some pictures and get some information plus we had lunch. We had originally planned to use the picnic area but decided inside with the generator and air condition was a better choice! It’s hot in Tennessee!

We arrived at Holiday Travel Park of Chattanooga which is actually located in Rossville, Ga around 3:30 and had an easy check-in. We’ve stayed at this park on our Tennessee trip a couple of years ago and they have made improvements since then. The roads and the sites are graveled so we didn’t have to contend with mud if it rained. Also, the sites seemed to be further apart. They have a nice pool also. The only negative is its proximity to the drag strip. On Friday and Saturday nights the loud motors of the race cars can be heard but by the time they started we had ended our day and were inside so they didn’t bother us too much. We had a nice quiet spot almost at the end of the park, a pull-through although we needed to unhook before we pulled in in order to align the tanks with the pedestals.

A quick set up and we had the rest of the afternoon. Jerry surely didn’t want to drive anywhere so Emma and I went discovering. Since we knew that the campground was located on a Civil War battlefield which served as a skirmish site in 1863 preceding the Battle of Chickamauga we set out through the woods to find the marker denoting this information. We thought we were going on a long hike – nope, just a little walk and there was the plaque!

We then decided we needed to go to the grocery store so the three of us headed out with no idea of where we were going. After several missed turns and finding a not so good grocery store we realized that there was a Publix fairly close by. Emma and I got the silly giggles and then she wanted a picture not only of the Publix sign but one of her standing beneath the store sign. All the way to Chattanooga to get a picture of Publix grocery store! As we walked in the first thing we saw was a watermelon – heck, our shopping was done! I’m quite sure people looked at us as though we were crazy (Jerry surely did) but we were having fun and since we didn’t know anyone we could act as silly as we wanted to – and we did!

Back to the campground via a much closer route and then a nice dinner. Jerry had promised a treat after dinner so off we went again, to the local ice cream shop. A nice cone of chocolate ice cream is a good way to end a day!

Home Away From Home

Chattanooga Ducks

Wow – what a night and what a day. Jerry woke me up last night snoring and I could not fall back asleep so I had to wake him up. He moved to the sofa. I woke up about 6:15 freezing! I didn’t want to go into the den to turn on the heat because I knew Jerry had had a bad night and I didn’t want to wake him up so I stayed in bed cuddled up until nearly 7:00. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer so I got up and quietly went in the den. It was dark but I tried to turn on the heat only to turn on the air condition. I finally got a flashlight out of the cabinet and then – Jerry asked if I needed help!

After a cup of coffee I got back in bed trying to get warm and listened to a podcast and fell asleep again. Finally got back up about 8:30. We sat around and talked about future trips, saving money, what we were going to do today, etc. We finally decided we would go downtown Chattanooga and take the Chattanooga Ducks Tour. I called about 10:45 and they said they only had vacancies on two trips today, one at 11:30 and one at 3:30. I asked him if we could get there by 11:30 and he said sure but to take an alternate route because of the parade. I explained that I would be using a GPS so he told me how to get there.

We left immediately and had no trouble getting to downtown but then had to find a parking spot in the midst of a lot of traffic. We finally found one near the waterfront and very quickly began walking to the tour. He had told me that he was behind a cupcake store so we found it fairly easily but it was a hike.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe ride was great. It was an authentic renovated WWII amphibious landing craft that could go on land and water. The guide was very knowledgeable and knew a lot of history about Chattanooga. He recommended walking the Walnut Street Bridge, Coolidge Park and the aquarium. We rode along Ross Landing and on to McClellan Island all the while hearing a lot of history. To go from the street to the Tennessee River and then back to the street was fascinating. It was windy and a little cold but a great experience.

By this time we were hungry and the guide had recommended several restaurants which we passed right by as we walked today the car to get our Adkins bar and water. One of our topics of discussion this morning was saving money on our trips and we admitted that we were eating out too much. However, if it had been left up to me today we’d have gotten something better than an Atkins bar for lunch!

Coolidge Park Carousel
Coolidge Park Carousel
After our “lunch” we walked over the Walnut Street Bridge. The 2,376 foot span is one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges and connects Chattanooga to the North Shore. On the other side was Coolidge Park and a beautiful carousel that was donated to Chattanooga from Atlanta after Atlanta got a new one. Atlanta however didn’t send any horses, etc. so a master carver, Bud Ellis instructed a team on how to create all of the rides.

We walked back across the bridge and then went to the Tennessee Aquarium first to the salt water side. The first thing we saw were the penguins and they were so cute. They were all banded so that the handlers could tell them apart. After a tour of the salt water we went to another building to the fresh water side. It was much larger and had many fish of all sizes and descriptions and from all parts of the world.

Returned to the RV a little after 5:00 exhausted. Fortunately we were eating meatballs and leftover veggies. I cut up a cucumber and we ate about 7:00. Although really tired Jerry bagged up the trash and we took it to the container. As we were walking back we ran into our neighbors from Durham, Jim and Barbara Hastings and ended up standing outside and chatting until 9:00.

Inside now and Jerry is continuing to watch the football draft and I’m off to bed.

Home Away From Home

Last Day in Memphis

Our last day in Memphis and I really think I could grow to love this city, at least what I know of it. I don’t know what the population is but it seems to be a fairly large city with a lot of smaller towns connected to it. Traffic is not a problem and it’s easy to get around. I think Jerry could get around now without the aid of the GPS.

I slept until after 7:00 and Jerry slept a little longer. After our morning rituals we got dressed and were on the road to Graceland before 10:00. It was a rather cool and dreary day so I tried to dress accordingly since I didn’t know how much we would be outside. We paid the $10 to get into the parking lot and then paid our $36 each for the platinum ticket. That got us into everything except the airplanes and as I heard one lady say “I’ve seen an airplane”.

We had about 45 minutes before the tour for the mansion started so we wandered around the complex. We went into one of the several gift shops and I saw a book of piano songs that I planned to buy later. There are a lot of t-shirts, sweatshirts, pajama bottoms, etc. with Elvis written on it. I thought we’d pass on those.

We lined up for the tour bus, had our picture taken in front of the Graceland sign, got on the bus and got our iPads and headphones for our audio tour. I was surprised when we arrived at the mansion. Although it is very pretty it is not nearly as large as I would have thought. It’s definitely an early 70’s house with olive green and harvest gold! Some walls and one ceiling had olive green carpet! Never seen that before but I guess it provides good acoustics. From what I had heard I truly expected the house to be a bit ostentatious but it wasn’t. Of course he did have a 15 foot sofa especially made for one particular room. The second floor was considered his personal space and was not opened to the public.

Interesting Furniture!
Interesting Furniture!

Though I had heard of his generosity I had never realized what a great philanthropist he was. There were any number of charities to which he had contributed not to mention the many personal gifts he had given. I also didn’t realized that he had a twin brother, Jessie who preceded him in birth and died as he was being born. While Vernon, his father, was distraught on the porch the doctor yelled there’s another one and it was Elvis. He was born in very small house in Tupelo, Mississippi but his family moved to Nashville when he was a young lad.

Didn't get a picture of the front but the backyard was beautiful.
Didn’t get a picture of the front but the backyard was beautiful.

After a tour of the house and the grounds we boarded another bus to go to the Archive Building. I would have liked to take some pictures of the front of the house but was not given the opportunity plus it was so cool and windy that it didn’t inspire me to ask about it.

After the brief archive tour and a 15 minute movie clip we were bused back to the complex. We walked through the car museum – wow, he had a lot of cars and amazingly they still have them. After that we were pretty hungry so we went to one of the cafes and had a delicious burger and fries. While Jerry was ordering our lunch I went over to the gift shop to buy the piano book and ended up getting that and two CD’s, one a gospel selection
Afterward we wandered around for a bit and then went on to the car. We talked about going back downtown but just decided to call it a day. We stopped by a Starbucks to get a cup of coffee and quite frankly to use their Internet. I am having trouble updating everything. US Cellular is not my friend.

As we came into the campground we stopped by the office to find out where the best place to get on the Internet was since our Wi-Fi at the coach is slim to none. They said they had just spent $5000 on upgrading. That’s a shame. Would hate to see what they had before. They rebooted it and it is a bit better – I guess.

We came on to the coach and spent the afternoon doing nothing, just resting I guess before our 200 mile trip to Athens, Alabama tomorrow.

Had a late dinner, salmon and then rushed out to get the car on the dolly before dark. As usual, this was our nicest afternoon and evening to be outside and we were inside cleaning the kitchen and trying to prepare for leaving in the morning. Jerry emptied the gray tank and his bathroom black tank so even if it is raining he won’t have to be outside too long. I’m hoping we don’t have another rainy day for him to drive in. My earlier calculations said that Athens is about 206 miles away but the GPS says it’s only 176. Only 30 miles different but when you’re getting close to the destination that seems to be a lot!


Home Away From Home

The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson

Got up early, real early as I started waking up about 4:00 with cramps in my legs and feet probably from walking so much yesterday in new shoes.  Got out of bed and walked around, back in, slept until 5:00, got up and danced around some more.  Woke up a little after 6:00 but didn’t get up.  Jerry had slept on the sofa last night and I didn’t want to wake him up so I stayed in bed until about 6:30.  I quietly went to the kitchen trying to get some coffee but he was already awake.  What a morning in maybe 400 square feet!

We spent the morning trying to decide what to do.  We found out that the shuttle that comes to the campground comes between 8:30 and 9:00 and then again at 1:00.  Well, the 8:30 was out of the picture since it was already 8:15.  We did a bit more research and realized that the shuttle was just that, a shuttle – it took you there but there was no trolley tour involved.  Jerry called the trolley number but only got a recording as they don’t open until 10:00 so we decided to go on to the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson this morning.

President Jackson's Tom
President Jackson’s Tomb

The Hermitage tour is a very well oiled machine and I liked the way things worked.  We got the general admission tour plus the carriage ride.  When we went in we were given audio equipment with headphones and a map.  When we approached different places on the tour we could enter the number corresponding to the map and get an explanation of the feature.  That is the first time that we’ve seen something like that and it is quite effective.  The house is grand and the grounds are beautiful very unlike what they were like when President Jackson lived there although there was a beautiful English garden then.  Overall, very impressive.  One could easily spend an entire day there.  At the end of the tour we went back to the museum and watched a video.  I was hungry and tired and it was dark – yep – went to sleep a couple of times at least.

After the film we went to the museum shop and bought a cookbook of Tennessee recipes. I must think I’m going to cook a lot!  Jerry was feeling a little shaky so he got some M&M’s and some other kind of candy which he shared.  By the time we had eaten the candy and I had gotten a little nap I was ready to go!

On the way back to the campground we stopped at Krogers and bought groceries, came home and fixed lunch then again tried to decide what we were going to do. Since it was already after 2:00 our time was limited.  Jerry tried to call the trolley company again and unfortunately did not get a local number but the main number (which is the only one listed on the webpage).  “Dave” really didn’t know much!  We found out that the ticket was only for 24 hours so it was not wisdom to do the trolley this afternoon so instead we went downtown to the Johnny Cash Museum.

No explanation needed!
No explanation needed!

Luckily enough we found a parking place right down from the museum.  In fact it was such a good spot Jerry worried during the entire tour that the car might be either towed, ticketed, or booted.  I also felt a little uneasy about it.  The tour was really good, got to listen to a lot of his early music plus music by other singers.

Jerry was relieved when we got out though and he could see the car was OK.  It was nearing 5:00 so traffic was already heavy.  Jerry commented that he just couldn’t live in a city and I agree with him. His comment – “this isn’t hell but it’s purgatory” just explained it all.

Since Camping World was pretty close to the campground we went by there so Jerry could get a key duplicated.  Camping World doesn’t do that but they suggested that we go to competitor who was next door and get it done.  We did!  While at Camping World we bought two place mats and I think I have finally found one that will keep our plates from sliding around while we eat.  May have to go back tomorrow and get two more.

Came home and Jerry started preparing dinner.  He’s frying shrimp and cornbread outside.  He’s using the cornmeal that we bought at Cade’s Cove for the cornbread so we’ll see how that goes.

Dinner was delicious!  Mary Ann called just before we started eating so after dinner, dishes and a little TV I called and chatted with her.  It’s now almost 9:00 and I’m headed to bed and hopefully won’t have any cramps tonight!


Home Away From Home

Headed to Nashville

A travel day – we got up about 6:30 but for some reason it takes us a while to get it together. I guess because we don’t have to hurry we don’t. We had our coffee and breakfast, then got dressed and started breaking camp. I walked over to talk with Cheryl to thank her for including us in their dinner plans last night. We said our good-byes and headed out about 9:00. We stopped at Sam’s in Bowling Green for about 30 minutes and then headed on to Nashville. The roads changed significantly when we entered Tennessee, not nearly as good as Kentucky. Traffic was pretty heavy as we neared Nashville so it was after 11:00 before we got to the campground. It’s a Passport campground so we camped a little cheaper this time.

We got some lunch and then I tried to pay a couple of bills, one for Lowe’s for us and one for Mom. I spent nearly an hour trying to get that accomplished. Before we take another extended trip I will definitely look into Verizon. US Cellular just isn’t measuring up.

We finally left to ride into Nashville not really knowing where we were going. We discussed going to the Hermitage but since it was after 3:00 we thought it was too late – well, it wasn’t because it was only a little after 2:00. Time changes are great for confusion.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWe finally ended up at the Parthenon and wow, it’s impressive. Took several pictures but unfortunately I can’t find where I put the SD card holder so can’t transfer them. After dinner tonight we were already cleaning our cabinets and we’ve only had the coach two months!

We were going to take yet another trip to the grocery store tonight but it got dark and although the GPS said it was only two miles away (a Piggly Wiggly at that) we decided that it was difficult enough to get around in the day so we didn’t need to be wandering around in the dark.

What a day – going to bed!