Road Trip: Tennessee

As restrictions have relaxed in the south, Jef proposed a road trip. We were first going to rent a class C camper, but we decided to wait on that idea due to logistics of picking it up and where to park it, etc. We decided on a regular road trip in which we were picky about in which hotels we would stay and what activities we would attempt.

We drove straight to Chattanooga, TN, which took about 6-7 hours. Our hotel was reviewed well, but it had some issues. I brought bleach spray with me and proceeded to disinfect the room so I felt more comfortable. I also brought my own pillow, but I always do that. We did not use any amenities there.

The next morning we drove to our first stop which was an overlook with trails at the top of the mountain. It was closed. We still enjoyed our drive looking at the beautiful houses on the top of the mountain. We also passed the incline train (furnicular), which was also closed. We tried to find some other interesting sights, but they were closed as well. We gave up and went to the park by the river.

Magnolia bud

After lunch we had a timed appointment to enter Ruby Falls. It is located on/under Lookout Mountain. Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison co-wrote a song called ”See Ruby Falls”. You have to take an elevator down 260 feet. We were required to wear face masks at all times. Our ride in the elevator was the two of us and the elevator operator. Even though they asked us to give six feet of space while walking through the cave, sometimes this was not easy with other groups passing us by.

You have to walk .75 miles in order to get to the falls. On the way, you get to see all kinds of rock formations such as stalagmites, stalactites, columns, and flows. Of course they have named a lot of these formations because they look like every day items like bacon. As you walk, you can see where the original trail when they first explored the cave. It was mostly a crawl space and did not look like a good time.

Crawl space next to the walkway

It’s really beautiful to walk through and you can stop and take pictures whenever you like. The tour guide stopped every so often to explain certain areas and/or to pull us to one side so another group could pass us. We only had ten people in our group. He said normal groups were 30-50. I was really happy to be there on a small tour. It would have been difficult to travel through with that many more people. When we got to the room with the falls, we were under the entire mountain which the guide explained was as tall as the Empire State Building above us in rock and earth. Creepy to think about, to be sure.

Ruby Falls

Ruby Falls was worth the whole trip to Chattanooga. However, the next day we went to Rock City and the combination of the two made up for all the areas that were closed. Rock City is technically located in Georgia, but it is not far from Chattanooga. If you love walking through rocks and amazing views, this is the place to go. All the pathways are stone lined and there is even a handicapped/stroller trail to get to many of the same areas. My favorite was squeezing through Fat Man’s Squeeze, Lover’s Leap, and Fairytale Caverns. There is also an overlook in which you can see seven states at once!

Lover’s Leap
Jack and the Beanstalk in Fairytale Caverns

At the end of our walk through, which took about an hour, they had a free wine tasting with some lovely wines from Georgia Winery. They had a lot of sweet wines, which I enjoy when the weather is warm, but they also had a few dry choices. We bought a bottle of Rose.

I highly recommend a trip to Chattanooga to check out these things. Hopefully soon more will be open to explore. Tomorrow I will review our trip to northern Alabama.

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