Subj: On the Road VII: Chattanooga, TN -- Day 1
I'm happy to report that the free "deluxe continental breakfast" here at the Rivergate Days Inn in lovely downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee includes English muffins, donuts, waffles, mini-bagels, Rice Crispies, Raisin Bran, Froot Loops, coffee, milk, and juice, and the dining area is well stocked with syrup, butter, jelly, cream cheese, sugar, creamer, napkins, styrofoam plates, and plastic silverware (or silver plasticware, if you prefer), and also contains toasters, toaster ovens, and a microwave. It also afforded me enough privacy--though there were several other people around--that I could read a chapter in my novel while I ate.
After a delightful repast of two English muffins with jelly, three mini-bagels with cream cheese, and two cups of coffee (yes, I did manage to avoid the temptation of the donuts and cereal) I got in my car and set out on my day's adventure.
I drove 70 miles north to Sweetwater, Tennessee, to The Lost Sea, where I took the guided tour through the extensive caverns leading to North America's largest underground lake. The whole thing was great fun, but the best part was riding in the glass-bottom boat across the 4.5 acre subterranean lake. The feeling of being underground on something resembling a sea was vaguely Tolkeinish; I could imagine Gollum across the water, his bulbous eyes glowing in the dark, hissing, "We hates it! Baggins!"
On my way back, I passed through a long stretch of road work in Athens, Tennessee. A large orange sign announced, "Workers Present When Flashing." Fortunately, through the whole six miles or so of the work, not a single worker flashed me, though the driver of an 18-wheeler with Texas license plates did stick his tongue out at me when I passed him.
As I neared Chattanooga I saw another sign; this one said "Chattanooga -- 25 mi or 40 km." I thought, Heck, that's a no-brainer: I'll take the 25 miles. 40 kilometers is too far to drive.
I hope you all have a pleasant Friday and a good weekend.
Christopher B. Burdett
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