Loopers we had been cruising along with left early in the week and for a day we were alone again. Then the next lot started arriving, most of them bound for the AGLCA rendez-vous at Joe Wheeler State Park, another 65 mile or so diversion up the Tennessee river. This included Bert and Hilary who stayed one night and left for Florence marina 50 miles further up, and we decided we would go with them and do our trip to Chattanooga from there. However since a lot of Loopers were heading that way, we thought it prudent to ring and make a booking at the marina, as there not a lot of options if it was full. I began ringing at 9.15 and rang 16 times by 11.00, at which time I gave up as I was sick of hearing a sourthern female voice message tell me "you have reached Florence Harbor marina" (when I quite clearly had NOT) or an engaged signal. I decided it was too late to leave by then for the 5 hour trip upstream, so we reverted to plan A. We found out later that the sole-charge manager of the marina had gone shopping at Walmart for 3 hours that morning, hence no answer!
We picked up the car from Corinth MS on tuesday night and got an early start for the 4 hour drive to Chatanooga on wednesday. To get there we drove through Mississippi, crossed into Alabama, then Tennessee, into Georgia for about 10 miles, then back into Tennessee. Some of the country, particularly around Alabama, is quite like parts of New Zealand and I could easily imagine that we were driving down the Napier-Taupo road, or parts of the Wairerapa - other than the 4 lane highways and being on the wrong side of the road. And the road kill is somewhat different. We saw a fox, a coyote, a skunk, a deer, several squirrels and lots of armadillos lying beside the road. Only one cat, though and no possums, rabbits or Pukekoes! We also crossed into the Eastern time zone as we went through the Georgia part, so we lost an hour, arriving at 3.00pm.
Chattanooga is surrounded by high hills and is quite different topography from what we have seen so far. We drove around the city, and took in the highlights before returning to our motel out toward the SE, after a little shopping (Walmart - of course). After weeks of it getting dark at 6.00pm, it was strange still having daylight at almost 8.00.
|The Chattanooga Choo Choo, which is a hotel, now|
The last pic shows a Chinook chopper flying by which had some mean looking appendages. There must have been an airbase close by as we also saw a Starlifter doing circuits and bumps as we drove west. We returned to the marina to find the transient slip full although with no-one we knew. Some of our previous travel companions were at another marina a few miles away and are leaving today for the rendez-vous as well. I will get a few more jobs done -.the aluminium handle on the sliding window in the salon came off this morning when I tried to open it. It wasn't held on very well....
On the subject of aluminium, you all know that here it is pronounced aloominum. I was told it was because it is too hard to say it with the "i" in it. Well now its official, and the US has rewritten the periodic table of elements, because it is now spelt aluminum over here. Really..it is written on beer cans that way and even on a sign for an aluminium plant on the way to Chattanooga. So wait for the rest of the changes....helum, radum, iridum, uranum and all the other "iums" will have to go as well. I guess soon they'll be calling the grouped together housing units apartments and condoominums.
Well, there's the update. Its a nice clear sunny day today but nice and cool as well. We'll probably head off down the Tenn-Tom waterway in the next few days to keep ahead of the rush from the rendez-vous, who all have to come back this way