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.”
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:
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.”