We shared a King Size bed. The mattress was soft again and my lower back was hurting so I moved a lot during the night and so did my daughter. It wasn't a necessarily restful night!
My alarm rang at 7:15 a.m. I brewed myself a cup of coffee, and went to sit in the "living room" part of the room with my laptop to catch up on the news, email, etc. while my daughter slept until 8:30 a.m. Oh boy, I guess I forgot to check the news last night because I hadn't heard of the latest UK terrorist attacks in London. This is terrible.
Our plans today include going downtown Chattanooga after breakfast to use the bike share program and take a bike ride on the Tennessee Riverwalk. However we made those plans without thinking to check the weather and it's supposed to start raining at about 11 a.m., which is about the time when we should be around there. So we'll need to eat breakfast fast and try to get there ASAP.
Then we'll drive to Cherokee. We probably won't stop anywhere along the way. My daughter had mentioned going into the Smoky Mountains National Park but after discussing the route and my giving her a couple of options, she decided not to. We'll visit the Cherokee Indian Museum in Cherokee instead.
Breakfast was disappointing. They were using a large conference room and they had set up tables along the walls with the various foods (not as much variety as at the other Country Inns & Suites hotel where we had stayed and the options weren't as healthy either). They had set up the tables for the guests into two long rows each about 4 feet away from the tables with the food, and then there was a huge empty space in the middle of the room. People (darn stupid people) had sat on both sides of the tables! So to get to the food, you had to squeeze between their chairs and the tables (about a foot and a half of space, I kid you not!) and there were people going both ways so it was a mess. I was feeling my blood pressure rise. Had I gotten there earlier, I would have moved all the tables to the center of the room! We ate breakfast kind of fast. I had the equivalent of 2 scrambled eggs, half a bagel, a bottle of 2% milk and an orange. Consequently, my breakfast was 200 calories more than the previous morning! I brought the 2nd half of my bagel along for a snack later on, along with an apple. My daughter took some packets of peanut butter to use with her apple that we had bought at Ingles yesterday, as a snack later on.
|I wish I had taken a picture of the room to show you how ridiculous the set-up was, but I was too irked!|
|This was the building across the street from our parking space. The outside walls featured rock climbing! How cool is that! Come to find out later on, the Visitors Center was located under a passage through that building.|
|This is the Tennessee Aquarium. The squiggly thing on front is a funky bridge, just because. We walked on it later on so I'll show you a better picture in a little bit.|
So we got our bikes and headed to the Tennessee Riverwalk, behind the Aquarium. The Riverwalk is an 8-mile walking and biking trail, that goes 4 miles each way (I guess counting from around the Aquarium area? I'm not sure) alongside the Tennessee River.
They were setting up for their big Riverwalk Festival next weekend, right there by the Aquarium. We decided to head East. Hum, we had forgotten that Tennessee isn't Florida... it's NOT flat!
|It sure looks flat in the picture... but you see that steel girder bridge up ahead? By the time we reached the top of that hill, we were pretty much at the level of the bridge. Good thing the bikes had different speeds!|
|We're still not at the top. The bikes might have speeds, but my daughter apparently only had two: pedaling, or walking!|
|Still walking,,, did I mention it was raining? Well, drizzling.|
|At the top of the hill, the Hunter Museum of Art. We kind of wanted to visit it but we ended up not.|
Despite the rain, it was really pretty and we enjoyed our ride. I think we took more than 1 hour but I only got charged $16 as far as I know.
|Statue garden alongside the trail. I took most of these pictures while biking so they're not great, sorry!|
|Loved that house!|
|Going downhill for a change!|
|Lots of bridges!|
|Biking along the Tennessee River|
|Passing the Hunter Museum again|
|This is actually part of it, I think. Certainly, next door.|
|There was a wedding going on there and if you squint you can see the bride's white dress in the opening of the building straight ahead.|
|This wasn't our whole ride, I had forgotten to start the app at the beginning! I think|
I started it at the mid-point, maybe.
|First, we were directed to the basement where we saw an exhibit of various seahorses.|
|Here my daughter checks out Weedy Seadragons|
|Then we went upstairs to wait for the otter presentation to begin. Here is a view of the Tennessee River and the bridge over it. Behind that bridge is the pedestrian bridge on which we biked.|
|It looks like we're back at Rock City, isn't it?! I got confused myself when I looked at that picture|
|Did there have to be snakes?|
|Wait, he looks familiar! Yep, same snake as the one we saw leaving Ruby Falls the previous day, I think.|
|And now we now what it was...|
|That otter was cute and reminded me very much of Princess. In fact, all the otters reminded me of the kittens.|
|Have you ever seen an otter poop? Well, now you have! I swear I didn't know that's what it was doing when I took the picture! I had to zoom as I was far in the back of the room! It was very crowded.|
|No, not an albino alligator...|
|A leucistic one. It has blue eyes (albino have red eyes).|
|And here is my daughter touching one. |
I keed, I keed! She's not touching an alligator!
|She was touching a sand shark (I think it was a sand shark...). They also had rays in that tank and she touched one of those too.|
|This little turtle made me laugh because it looked like it was climbing a tree trunk when the other turtles|
were just swimming around.
|We liked the chandeliers above our table.|
|The musicians were excellent. It was a treat to be able to listen to them as our food took a long time to get to our table.|
|Everything looked so darn delicious! I settled on the Seared Tuna, which I saw later on Instagram, they tout as their healthiest entrée,|
|It was delicious!|
|And this? Out of this world. Oh I want some more!|
|This was actually one of several beautiful butterflies whose wings are turquoise blue on the side that's not showing right now. Try as I may, I was completely unable to take a good picture of one while flying...|
|This was the closest I got!|
|The next ones were more cooperative, but I forgot to take a picture of the cheat sheet that identified them :(|
|This is a Pink Cattleheart, from Central and South America.|
|I loved that blueish purplish lilypad flower.|
|Butterflies would land on you if you were patient. We tried but none would land on us. They must have known we were faking our patience!|
|Bumper sticker on a large truck that I spotted while we were stuck in traffic. It made me laugh a lot and I asked my daughter to take a picture so I could share it with Greg, who is definitely a carnivore. He laughed too.|
|It wasn't so bad when we finally got rid of the traffic...|
|But it soon got worse and we hadn't gotten to the mountains yet! "Ru-ro!", as Scooby-Doo used to say!|
|It looks kind of ominous!|
|This was funny to us as there is a town named Ocoee just 20 minutes away from our house. They actually had a lot of places with Native American names (I assume that's what they were) that we also have in the Orlando area.|
|Not much traffic for the most part but when there was, they sure drove way faster than I did! I left several cars go by. No sense in getting stressed. Or killed.|
|Lots of rock façades on the left that my daughter loved, and cars stopped on the right because people were white water rafting there.|
I did all the driving today and she took pictures while I drove. The mountains were pretty with the clouds hanging on them. You'll find that my daughter, who took most of the pictures between Chattanooga and Salem, Virginia, loves taking pictures of:
- Clouds on mountains
|This was one of the training site for the white water rafting Olympic team, apparently (or whatever sport that involves rafting!)|
|Crossing into North Carolina! We have a ritual we do every time we cross a state line. It's something that Greg got us started on many years ago so now we all do it. Sometimes I even do it as a joke crossing county lines :)|
|Back to a 4-lane divided highway!|
|We wanted to take better pictures of the river rapids so we stopped at this overlook.|
|OK, then... Is this their version of the "Napoleon slept here" signs that people joke are in a lot of small hotels throughout France?|
|Steps going down to the river. They were steep coming back!|
|A reminder to share this info with Greg :)|
|It was all misty over the river so it was very pretty!|
|Rapids, indeed! Nothing like the ones we saw at Hillsborough River State Park, though, eh Pixel?|
|I don't see myself ever going down a river like this. I'm not a thrill seeker at all!|
|Back on the road... a 2 lane road again (but still the same road as when it was a 4-lane divided highway!)|
|Finally arriving at Cherokee. I'd never been on an Indian reservation before. Until this time, I didn't know what to expect. I had only ever heard of "reservations" in movies and in novels. Well, Cherokee is... a normal town!|
We got to Cherokee at about 6:30 p.m. and went straight to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, which we were relieved to find out was NOT under renovations. It's very nice and the front desk lady is a doll. Our room is well appointed. The only problem is that the coffeemaker, well, excuse me, the Keurig, wasn't functioning so I went to exchange it for another one. We're right across from the Cherokee Tribe Casino but my daughter is only 18 and can't gamble so we're not going. She was disappointed as she would have liked to try the slot machines. I have an addictive nature so it's just as well that I never set foot in a casino :)
We did go out to find the local Subway where we picked up our usual fare, and we came back to the hotel to eat it.
It's a good thing we left Chattanooga this afternoon as they were under a flash flood warning tonight, along with areas to the East of them through which we had just driven!
|So Greg removed all the rotten wood and set about fixing everything.|
|He installed new beans that frame and brace the old one, since the old one couldn't be replaced without|
whole corner of the house collapsing! He's so smart.
|He also took care of installing waterproof felt as a water barrier before closing the wall with|
new pressure treated planks.
Speaking of our son, he texted me a video of the cats, oh I miss them so! Greg said Explorer was crying for me the last two nights. Greg tried to entice him to come sleep with him in his room. But Explorer refused and went to sleep in the hall. My poor baby!
I just spent the evening making our plans for tomorrow and the next day. It's supposed to rain tomorrow both here and in Asheville so I'm assuming it'll be raining the whole time we driving to Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway :(
In the morning, we'll visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and then pick up a "picnic" lunch from Subway before we leave Cherokee. Then we'll head to Asheville on the Blue Ridge. I hope people won't make this a nightmare drive :)