Friday, July 11, 2008

Vacation - Day 2

Needless to say the next morning I wanted more sleep after our late night with our friends. But breakfast was worth it. We had the choice to go to the coffee shop and have a continental breakfast or a restaurant with hot entrees. We chose the later. We ate on the patio in the calm of the morning watching the river.

We decided to go to Ruby Falls first, because it was the only one of the three locations to have a guided tour, the other places were self guided. We drove to the mountain and found the castle like entrance. The lobby looked like a ski resort lobby all wood, very beautiful. The outside of the building was made of the limestone that was excavated to create the tunnels.

Ruby Falls was discovered by accident when a man wanted to reopen another tunnel that is beneath Ruby Falls. He was digging a vertical shaft to reach the existing tunnel that was closed when a new rail line was put in. He reached an air pocket and went exploring and discovered the underground waterfall that is Ruby Falls. Over time and with renovations the lower tunnel has been closed and access no longer exists. It was 1 mile round trip to the falls and back to the elevator.

After the tour we rested and looked out at the view of the Tennessee River. Our next stop was the Incline Railroad.

We drove to the lower station and boarded the train. It is a pair of cars that work opposite each other. The seats all face the bottom of the mountain. So going up you are traveling backwards. The ride lasts 8 minutes and goes 1 mile up the side of the mountain. The train has been used to get children from the top to school in bad weather and as emergency transport for women in labor to get them down the mountain to the hospital. We enjoyed the view from the top, before walking a few blocks down the street to another Battlefield park. This one was called Point Park and was part of the campaign for Chattanooga. We arrived in time to hear a talk by one of the Park Rangers. We left before the rifle demonstration.

We rode back down the mountain on the rail car and returned to our Inn so i could take a nap before going out for dinner. It was a long day with lots of walking. Later we splurged (with our gift certificate) and went back out for dessert at the coffee shop, very rich chocolate cake and cheesecake. So ends another busy day.
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