Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tennessee - Athens

Athens, TN was our last stop of the second year. Our drive was mostly in the rain and it took us through Ashville, AL; except they are missing an "e". 

We arrived at the Overnighter RV Park on March 13, 2017. It is a small park and as the name suggests it is used mostly for a one night stop before moving on. 
The sites are just long enough for the tow dolly and parking the car and are about average width. There are some permanent residents but the park is fairly well maintained. There is a dog walking area and also a large field in the back for off the lead running. A few mornings where pretty chilly with frost and ice. 

It is also for sale if you have a desire to live in Athens, which is about an hour northeast of Chattanooga. We paid $23.45 a night with our Good Sam discount. WiFi was good and our Verizon signal was strong. 

We visited Chattanooga in April 2016 while staying in Crossville, TN, which was our first stop of the second year so it seems fitting we were back here again on the last stop. This time we were able to catch the things we missed the first time around. 
The Incline Railway was one.  

The rail-car takes you up the side of the hill and offers you amazing views through the glass roof and windows. 

As you go up the mountain you are riding backwards which is a rather odd feeling, and then going down you are of course facing forward at a very steep incline, which feels just as odd.

They use a pulley system to bring the trains up and down - that wheel doesn't look all that big!
The views from the observation deck are quite spectacular - you can see five states from here.

We traded favors with another couple - taking each others pictures. As you can tell from our coats it was a little chilly this day. 

Just three blocks away is Point Park. It is a National Park that commemorates the "Battle Over the Clouds." 
In November 1863 the Union Army won a series of battles around Chattanooga and drove the Confederate Army south into Georgia. 
There is a small museum that had a display of photos taken back in the 20's and 30's. As a photographer Nancy always finds it interesting to see the old photos and the equipment that was used. Wonder what they would think of us taking pictures with our phones!  

The rock formation from one of the pictures is still there, it is now fenced off so you can't climb on it any more but it is still standing. 

One of the other displays was of the hardtack that they ate - it's a wonder they could fight at all after eating that. 

The walkway around the museum is lined with plaques that explain the surrounding area that you are viewing. 

The views of the Tennessee River and Chattanooga with the mountains in the background were breathtaking. 

Athens is home to one of the Mayfield Plants.
This one is where the ice cream is made and packed. 

We took a tour and enjoyed a bowl of ice cream at the end. No pictures were allowed on the tour, but we did get one of us wearing our lovely hairnets.

While the weather was not the best during this stay we did get one fairly nice day for hiking. The Gardens of Sunshine Hollows is just north of downtown Athens and what a beautiful place. They have 20 acres of gardens and over 1,750 varieties of Iris, Roses, Hosta, Daylilies, Dahlias and Canna. You can order from their website as they ship to all 50 states. They also make an amazing fruitcake - Les doesn't even like fruitcake and loved this one. 
They have a wedding venue with ceremonies being held in the gardens or inside their banquet room. Reminded us of our daughters wedding that was held in a barn. 

There are also 8-miles of trails for hiking. The flowers were not blooming yet but we did get a sneak peak at some in the greenhouse. 

The trails take you past a small pond and up and down some hills. 

While most of the trail is still dormant from winter we did get to see some lush green color in the form of moss and ferns. 
It is pretty hard to miss the 50+ foot Cedar tree. It is 15 inches in diameter which is unusually large for a cedar in this area. Les looks pretty small in comparison. 

Of course Nancy found a few other interesting things to take pictures. The exploding cattail reminds us of Steve's niece Sydel and her amazing blonde curly hair. 

She swears there is a Sloth face in this old log and a dog face in the weed - what do you think? 

 Next up is home in Asheville for a nice two month stay. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!!!

Tips and things we have learned along the way.
~ While we try very hard to stay away from snow we can't always escape cold weather. When the temperature drops down below freezing there are a few precautions that we need to take.

1. Inside we use our propane heat instead of the electric heat. If it's below 38-degrees the outside of the furnace will freeze over which means we have no heat. Plus the floor stays warmer helping the pipes to not freeze. 
2. Outside we don't want our hose freezing and cracking so to prevent this from happening we cover it with insulation. You can pick it up at Lowes or Home Depot. It is easy to cut to the size needed. Les wraps it with twine to secure it in place. 
When it's down into the teens like it was at this stop we also disconnect from the water spout so that it does not freeze either - the owners are generally pretty happy when that doesn't happen. 

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