Days 154 - 157
Shellmound Docks TN - Chattanooga TN
- Start 8:15AM
- End 1:45 PM
- Underway 5:30 Hours
- Distance 33 miles
- Total Miles on Trip 3013
- Av Speed 6.1 knots
- Locks 0
- Weather Rain , 54 Degrees, Wind 20Knts ESE gust to 30Knts
WHAT A DAY. One of the shoals we passed summed our travel to Chattanooga perfectly, Suck Shoal. Steady rain most of the trip and the wind was crazy. At the best of times the winds were 10 knots which is not too bad, but most of the trip the winds where 20 knots, with gust of 30 knots. There was one section of the river that the waves were 3 feet with the wind on our bow. The isinglass was bowing in almost a foot, I was very concerned that the zippers would rip out. We only had to deal with that for about 2 miles. To put it into perspective we have been traveling about 7 minutes per mile. To add to the fun shortly after that my starboard motor started to overheat. While Angel drove the boat with one motor, I checked the sea strainer for any blockage, it was clear. Next I checked for water flow from the raw water intake and found there was no cooling water coming into the boat. There had to be something blocking the water intake from the outside of the boat, possibly from the debris that I had to go through when leaving the Nickajack Lock. We went the remaining 20 miles on one motor. Even on one motor we were able to maintain the 7 knot speed that we have been cruising at. Steering is much harder as the boat wants to turn to the right the entire time. By the time we got to Chattanooga, the clog cleared itself, but I did not know that until we dock and I started to look into what caused it.
In addition to traveling with Mark & Karen (Kay Dee), Dan & Cheri (Cheri Baby II) have joined us going to Chattanooga.
Chattanooga is not on the Great Loop route, it is a 388 mile side trip that is well worth it.
Chattanooga is a great city with lots to do and with just three days there is not enough time to do it all. Thursday afternoon we went to the Pinball Museum. The Pinball Museum is a hands on museum where not only can you see pinball machines dating back to the 70's but you can play most of them as well. We spent several hours playing pinball and classic arcade games as well.
Friday we went to Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls is a cave system located below Lookout Mountain. You enter the cave system by descending 230 in a glass door elevator, in a shaft that was dug through the rock. Once you are inside you wind your way through the tunnels some of which are so narrow you have to turn sideways to get through it. The highlight of the cave is the falls themselves, they are the highest underground waterfalls open to the public in the country. As you walk through the caves you pass formations such as The Candles, Bacon and The Angel. (Checkout our photo's pages for Chattanooga) And when you think it cannot get any better you start to hear the waterfalls and then you are in the cavern that was cut out by the falls. The pictures of the fall do not compare to what it looks like in person. It is amazing to think that most of these caves were cut out by water seeping through the mountain.
Friday night Nick & Ginger drove to meet Kay Dee and us for dinner. We also had some other looper friends join us. I am sure sometimes we overwhelm the restaurants when we show up but so far every restaurant has handled it great. Tonight there was Nick & Ginger, Mark & Karen, Dan & Cheri, Dave & Kim (Sweet Haven), and Ken & Cheryl (Turn The Page).
Saturday was a rainy day, and we decide to extend our stay by one day. We had planned to visit Rock City and the Incline Railway and wanted a nicer day to do that. We decided to spend the day just hanging on the boat. The Looper Ladies went out to breakfast and did some shopping. While Angel was out I replaced the impeller in the pump, that provides the cooling water to the motor. While it appeared to be functioning, once the impellers run without water they are compromised, and I did not want it to fail while underway. While not fun in the rain I also washed our extremely dirt boat. I normally wash the boat every week or two, but on this trip there does not seem to be enough time to get it done.
Sunday we went to The Incline Railway and Rock City. The Incline Railway is a one mile long train ride going up Lookout Mountain. The train opened in 1895 and is one of the steepest passenger railways in operation. At one point the train goes a up a 72 degree incline. It is a single track train with the exception of a small passing area in the middle. There are two train cars that move by cables and are counter balanced. The cable system was designed and installed by Otis Elevator Company.
After leaving the incline railway we went to Rock City. Mark (Kay Dee) has been talking about Rock City since we turned up the Tennessee River. He has been reminding us how spectacular it is, and all we would be able to say would be wow. Well he was close to getting it right when he said we would be wowed. It was more like WOW!!!!!!. If you are ever looking for a road trip to take head to Chattanooga and go to Rock City. You will not be disappointed. Rock City Gardens, takes you on a ¾ mile trail through incredible rock formations, magical caves, and breathtaking views. As you explore, you'll wind through Fat Man's Squeeze and Needle's Eye, sections of the trail where you have to turn sideways to fit through the rocks reaching far above you! (There is a video of us on our video page) You will stand on the cliffs edge overlooking seven states. There are swing bridges over a giant cavern and more gnomes then you can count. At the end of the gardens you enter a Fairyland Caverns with glow in the dark hand-crafted dioramas of classic childhood fairy tales.
A big shout out to Mark & Karen, for planning most of our entertainment in Chattanooga, and to Keith our taxi driver. One of the challenges when touring towns is transportation. Keith's was our transportation for most of our excursions. He gave us his cell phone number and was great to work with. A couple of times we stuffed more people in his cab, then we should have, and he was always there when we needed him.
Monday we will be leaving and heading back down stream. Once again we will be heading down stream heading towards the Gulf of Mexico.