It’s been almost 9 months since our last van travels. The sprinter has been through a hard Philly winter. Freezing water has damaged some tubing in our water supply and we have leaks. It can’t be fixed for this trip but Paul is on it. Packed up and ready to go, the van does not start and the battery will not hold a charge. Off to buy a new battery, 2 hour delay but we are on our way.
Curious about Chattanooga I decided to sign up for a race event there. Paul and I are scoping out possible places to live after we sell our big ass house in Bala Cynwyd. We camp in our van just north of the city at Harrison Bay State Park. Pretty place with trails to hike or run, fishing, boating, marina, swimming etc.. We set up camp and head into town.
The city of Chattanooga is way smaller than Philadelphia but offers a vibrant art scene. We explored the art district which is grounded by the Hunter Museum of American Art. There are galleries, small cafes, and terrific views of the city, river and its many bridges.
Sunday is race day, IM 70.3 Chattanooga. I am up before the sun and get everything ready in transition. I forgot my water bottles and Paul does a sprint back to the van to get them for me. Much needed as the day turned out to be extremely hot and humid. The river swim was super fast and the bike portion was spectacular. Rolling hills that are not too difficult so you can stay aero the whole way if you want. I end up suffering at the end of the run and walk most of mile 11. Still I come in 5th in my age group and a time of 5:16:15
After a day of racing I was spent so we went back to camp ground, napped and then headed to the city for dinner in a section called Northshore. Fancy newish area with a Whole Foods, nice stores, and restaurants. We had dinner at Food Works which was located in the old historic Signal Knitting mill. Southern food was good. We could have done without the televisions and music.
On our last day we decide to go all out tourists. I am super hungry so a breakfast stop at Frothy Monkey on the Southside was in order. Perfect coffee, food and ambiance. Loved the place set in an old train station (the actual Chattanooga Choo Choo) which is now a hotel.
Next we head to the Incline railway which goes up lookout mountain. It’s the world’s steepest passenger railway. (72.7% near the top) It is about a mile long and feels pretty crazy. Paul did well but going up felt easier than going down for him.
Ruby Falls is inside of Lookout mountain. America’s tallest (145 ft) and deepest (1160ft from the top of the mountain) underground waterfall. Good tour and history of exploration by Leo Lambert.
I am hungry again so we head back to the Northshore area to Taco Mamacita. Paul and I both thought that these were some of the best tacos we have ever had. Good service, magaritas and decor.
Fed well by the food, the friendly people of the town, nature, history, art, high speed internet, new architecture, great race venue, rivers and lakes, state park, mountains, and more. We will be sure to visit again and possibly stay?? Chattanooga hmmmmm……