We have spent the past few days making jam and visiting some of Solo’s family in Nashville. But today it is time for another adventure. We are going down to Chattanooga right after breakfast. This time we are following the Highway and Interstate, Solo explains that I have been on the small roads to Chattanooga when I first came to see him in 2013. So once more the Interstate will cover some new territory for me. There is a layer of fog lying in the air, so it is not the best weather for landscape photography. But as soon as we get over the first mountain top the fog clears. We stop at Dunlap Overlook to take a short break and enjoy the view.
Soon we are back in the car to continue to Chattanooga. Our goal is to go to Lookout Mountain and enjoy the view, maybe take another guided tour. Once more we do not have a good map of Chattanooga, so we rely on a city map that part of a map of Tennessee and the signs to guide us through the city. As so often before following those signs is not always easy. We end up at Chickamauga Dam, where again we take a short break for me to enjoy some photography.
Getting to Lookout Mountain
From here we have to find the Scenic Highway to Lookout Mountain. It turns out that it would have been easier if we had followed the I27 all the way to Lookout Mountain. Instead, we create our own sightseeing tour of Chattanooga. Now the fall colors are starting to peak, and while following the winding road up to Lookout Mountain, I ask Solo for another stop to take some photos.
It is after lunch before we arrive at Ruby Falls, the deepest cave of Tennessee. After some considerations, we decide to take a guided tour to the falls, though 20$ is not actually a bargain. The tour starts with an elevator, which takes us 260 feet down into the mountain. At the bottom of the cave our guide, a young man in his mid-twenties is waiting for our group. The first stop of this tour is for some portrait photos of all participants to be taken. Neither Solo or I am interested in taking these images back home with us though. After that, the group continues the walk through some narrow paths until the guide adds another stop. Now we are going to watch a short but interesting video about the history of Ruby Falls.
Lookout Mountain is located on the Tennessee River and stretches over 80 miles into Georgia and Alabama. Some of its caves are accessible from the River and have served as hiding places throughout history. They were even used as a temporary hospital during the Civil War. When in 1905 Nashville and Chattanooga were connected by a railway the entrance to the Lookout Mountain Cave from Chattanooga had to be closed. Lee Lambert investigated about building an elevator shaft into the side of Lookout Mountain in 1923, to re-open the cave for the public. The stones that were extracted from the mountain have been reused to build the castle for Ruby Falls. The same castle through which we entered the elevator earlier. Lee Lambert found, during the excavations and explorations of the Lookout Mountain Cave, a waterfall within the cave. He named it after his wife, Ruby Falls. This waterfall is where we are going to now. On our way, our guide tries to entertain us with some questionable jokes.
On these narrow paths, it is only in very few sections possible to let people, who are going in the opposite direction, pass by. In those parts, we always add another stop, so that groups who have already seen the 145 feet high waterfall, located at a depth of 1120 feet, can pass us.
Our Search for Autumn comes to its end
We are leaving the cave about 90 minutes after first entering the elevator. After a last look back on Chattanooga, we decide to start our journey home. Solo remembers to have been in a restaurant somewhere along the 127 on Signal Mountain, and we both are hungry now. Finding that restaurant turns out to be not that easy, but with some luck, we stumble across a barbecue restaurant that looks interesting. After a delicious meal, we are continuing our tour back home.
This was the last of our adventures during my vacation here. I have two more days, which we are going to use for some cycling and jam cooking. Then it will be time to pack my bags once more and return back to Norway early on Saturday morning. However, we are already discussing a new adventure. The date is not set, but maybe we can manage to cycle around Ireland together one day in the not so far future.