Chattanooga, Tennessee (5/19-24/2016)


Top of Lookout Mountain

Top of Lookout Mountain overlooking Chattanooga and the Tennessee River

We are starting our second year in our motor home, Tiffany. What a challenge this trip started out to be! We are headed to Red Bay, Alabama for our yearly service.  Chattanooga was only about 200 miles from our last stop, Waynesville, NC, and then Red Bay is only about 200 more miles. So it made sense to stop here. But we weren’t sure we would be able to find a place to camp in Chattanooga, TN.  I was determined for us to stop here after reading there are 57 trails within 15 miles or so of downtown!  My kind of place!

For the first time, we started out on the road without an idea of where we would end up.  When we are traveling with short stays, we depend on Passport America for the best rates, but there were none in the Chattanooga area. We read RV Park Reviews and there just weren’t many choices that fit our requirements. Bill won’t drive on just any road and sometimes the reviews are not genuine about how “easy” it is to get in or out. But we had a glimmer of hope we could stay at the Chattanooga Camping World Campground and could easily see those roads were worthy of our Tiffany. We actually needed a few things from there as well. Now the problem was that the reviews said you can’t make a reservation and sometimes it is booked up, or if there is heavy rain, it floods! We are the rainmakers….

We’ve also never been to this area, so driving over the mountains was also new territory.  We do have friends who drive the route regularly and it was recommended to take I-40 West which we confirmed in our new “Mountain Directory East – for Truckers, RV and Motorhome Drivers.” Mountain Directory East - for Truckers, RV and Motorhome Drivers.

We are grateful to Beth over at Wandering Dawgs for recommending this great atlas/book to help us as we figure out how to travel over, or more importantly, around the mountains!  It pays to do your research when driving a big rig!

We are  happily settled into the RV lifestyle. We are having so many positive experiences, in addition to our Adventure Travel. We do like to pass along our gratitude, so we also owe a huge thanks to RVillage, where we connected with a couple who was staying in the Chattanooga Camping World. We began to communicate and the they assured us there were sites open and no rain! We did say we would bring the rain…and it did for only one day.

The drive through the mountains was not too bad. Maybe it’s because Bill has now been driving Tiffany for a year, so I didn’t see his white knuckles!  Here is a slide show of the highlights of the drive through the mountains, from Waynesville, North Carolina to Chattanooga, Tennessee:

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Our arrival at the Campground was smooth, unlike what the reviews had said there was no place to unhook your TOAD, you block the road for others, etc. We ended up parking next to the couple we “met” on RVillage. It was almost like a homecoming! We enjoyed chatting with them throughout our stay, giving each other hints and tips about RVing and Chattanooga. Here are a few pictures of the campground, click to make them larger:


Day 1. Since it was an easy 200 mile trip, we were ready to get in a good walk. We found the Chickamauga Ramble Trail, part of the Chickamauga – Chattanooga Battlefields. We were truly on hallowed ground as we read many of the Civil War memorials that documented the battle and lives sacrificed. Again, click to make them larger/slideshow:

We walked just over three miles and were out there just over an hour. The trail was really nice and well marked, sort of! We came to a fork in the road and couldn’t figure out which way to go, so used common sense and went the way that seemed like it would loop us back to the car. But we’ve learned common sense and GPS in the mountains don’t work very well! Granted, we were on flat ground, but there were mountains nearby….so long story short, we ended up on a trail less traveled and ended up in a thick wooded area! Fortunately, common sense and our GPS tracker (I use “Map My Walk” app) finally prevailed and we made it back to the car. We also gained a greater appreciation for yet another Civil War Battle fought:

The Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 19-20, 1863, marked the end of a Union offensive in a southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia, called the Chickamauga Campaign. The battle was the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theater of the Civil War and involved the second highest number of casualties in the war following the Battle of Gettysburg. It was the first major battle of the war that was fought in Georgia.

Day 2. Rainy Day! Yes, we should hire ourselves out to be rainmakers. Know any place in a draught? All 40+ years we’ve been married, we have consistently brought rains with us! We were so ready for a good hike, but needed something indoors. So we chose to go the Raccoon Mountain and see the Caverns. This was my (Debbie) fourth Cavern experience (Luray, Skyline Caverns and Florida Caverns – State Park) and for Bill, he has also seen the Mammoth Caverns in Kentucky. He wants me to see them, so maybe next month we will make it there. We do enjoy caverns for a different view of the good earth! We always learn something new. Click to make larger/slideshow:

Next up, Day 3 (Lookout Mountain), Day 4 (Downtown Chattanooga) and Day 5 (Strider’s Ridge Trail). To close out this post, let’s hear what Vice President Adlai E. Stevenson uttered, these immortal words at the dedication of the Chickamauga Battlefield as a National Park:

“Here, in the dread tribunal of last resort, valor contended against valor. Here brave men struggled and died for the right as God gave them to see the right.”

15 thoughts on “Chattanooga, Tennessee (5/19-24/2016)

  1. What fun! Such beautiful country, too. Have a blast! 🙂

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  2. Reblogged this on Real life…. and commented:

    From our “couple’s blog”

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  3. Hi Sis! Thank you so much for making the time and exerting all the effort to share the trip with us! I loved the photos while on the road, and was lol as you even shared photos from within the tunnel! Caverns are such fun; maybe some day you’ll make it to Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe National Parks on the TX-NM border. Having lived in CA and visited Yosemite and Sequoia Nat’l Parks, Big Sur, Death Valley and Joshua Nat’l
    Monuments, I must say our absolute favorite Nat’l Park or Monument is… (drum roll…..): Big Bend Nat’l Park in SW Texas. It’s a full day’s drive from our home in Corpus Christi, and we’ve been about 20 times over 26 years. Larger than Rhode Island, the park has to be about the most REMOTE Park in the lower 50 – GORGEOUS desert mountain ranges and three HUGE canyons. It has 3 different ecosystems, and … So sorry! I don’t mean to hog your blog comment space!
    Looking forward to seeing more of you and with you in your travels!

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  4. It seems like it is always raining when we travel through Chattanooga! Glad you were able to get out and do some hiking and sightseeing. There is a lot to see there. Glad you are finding the mountain guide useful!

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  5. Great hikes! I totally get your lost trail in the woods…been there, done that:)

    We bought our MH at the Hershey RV SHOW in PA, but it was in TN. Camping World in Chattanooga use to be Shipps RV. Our very first nights in our MH were spent in that same campground!! We enjoyed exploring Chattanooga and the battlefield. Small world:)

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    • That’s so interesting! Shipp’s may still be there. It’s sign is higher than Camping World’s! I should have snapped a picture of it. Bill was getting concerned as the GPS said it was just ahead but we didn’t see a sign, just Shipp’s! Finally, when it was time to turn, there was the little CW sign. The CW store was behind it and the campground. Interesting.
      I think you wrote about a particularly hairy hike. I’m about to publish part II, which includes our hairiest hike at Stringer’s Ridge….and it’s and in an Urban setting. Too bad Chattanooga isn’t closer to our daughter. Just loved everything about the area. Oh except the traffic was a bit more than Bill can tolerate on a regular basis.

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  6. […] recent tour of the Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga, Tennessee last month. You can read the full post here.  Again, they were pretty amazing.  Did I mention that Bill said I have to see Mammoth […]

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  7. […] destination, Red Bay, Alabama. This was one of my favorite stops, but then I was the passenger! Click here to see some real beauty and learn a bit more of Civil War history. Bill didn’t like the […]

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  8. How close you were! Our house is only about 3 or 4 miles from the Racoon Mountain Caverns.

    Anyway, you should come back to Chattanooga a few more times…we NEED the RAIN!!

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  9. […] We were in Chattanooga, Tennessee from May 19 – 24, 2016. Continuing from the previous post, we are now on  our Day 3. We headed to Lookout Mountain, known for great views and hiking. We enjoy learning about history, especially US history now that we are able to get up close and personal as we travel full time.  The name “Chattanooga” comes from the Creek Indian word for “rock coming to a point.” This refers to Lookout Mountain which begins in Chattanooga and stretches 88 miles through Alabama and Georgia. We didn’t get a chance to learn more about the area since we focused on hiking – which let us to rich Civil War History. […]

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