Day 3: November 20, 2004
On to Music City



Today started gray but dry and I decided to do a little backtracking. I wanted to see one more thing in Chattanooga and that gave me an excuse to drive by and photograph this motel that I passed yesterday in the rain. I pulled into a lot directly across the street and that's where I met Red Dixon. Red would rather be at his sometimes job of guiding hunters ("bear & mountain lion") in Montana but his brother's medical problems have him here, living in a camper that the city calls illegal, protecting their mutual property. According to Red, the biggest threats to that property are La Plaza's unsavory long-term residents. They will soon be replaced by Lowe's shoppers and a Wal-Mart is supposed to go up next door and the thought of that makes Red happy. As for the Dixon property, no big store has made an offer yet but there have been plenty of real estate agents seeking a listing. But Red isn't about to sign up with any of those suitors. "All they've got is their hat and ass and some advertising", he says.

This is the Chattanooga Choo-Choo and it is what I backtracked to see. The anchor is the Holiday Inn now operating in the former train station. There are several real sleeper cars behind the station which are now "hotel rooms". There is also a collection of shops and restaurants and a huge working model train layout. I more or less assumed that Chattanooga Choo-Choo entered our language as the title of a catchy song. Not so, I learned. It even has a specific birth date and place and that place is the city I call home. A plaque states that Cincinnati Southern Railroad's run between Cincinnati and Chattanooga was the "first major link in public transportation from the north to the south". The long lasting nickname was bestowed on March 5, 1880.

In Jasper, I learned that the scenic road I had just driven had a name. This road that connects Chattanooga and Jasper is officially named the Will Cummings Highway. The pictured bridge is the Marion Memorial Bridge over the Tennessee River.

This small motel at the south edge of Jasper has no sign but looks reasonably well maintained. The rail station is not only well maintained but put to good use as the city hall.

Tracy City certainly looked interesting. Interesting stories, interesting stores, and wooden street signs. Every street sign I saw was the same carved wooden style as the one at Colyar & Main.

This is one of the hodge-podge sections. Sorry, but I couldn't resist one more shot of those colorful trees. The next photo is of something I have never seen before. I've seen plenty of cotton in the field or in wagons but I had never seen it in huge bales sitting by the side of the road. I don't know if that's a new thing or if I just haven't been in cotton country at the right time. The plane and barn make an eye catching sign for what looked to be a salvage/repair business.

I stopped here long enough to learn that this was no more a fort than the enclosing mound of Fort Ancient near where I live. But these mounds were built by pouring dirt between rock walls. A new one for me.

Meramec Caverns pioneered bumper sticker advertising (originally bumper tie on advertising) but also used some of the barn side ads that Rock City made famous. The other side advertises Ruby Falls to the east bound traveler. The falls are about 75 miles away. The caverns - close to 400.

I ended the day in Nashville but no pictures. If you haven't been here, a couple of pictures won't help all that much (It's all about the music.) and if you have, you'll understand.

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