Today had been forecast as scattered thunderstorms so it was nice to wake up to a beautiful day. The first stop of the day will be the Tennessee Valley Railroad.
This little guy kept landing on different parts of the bike. The orange motorcycle must have looked like the mothership to it. It followed us out of the driveway.
This was another GPS-led trip and I was a little skeptical when it took us through the country instead of the normal US27 route. We ended up going east then heading north through Ringgold.
One of the many times we crossed into Tennessee on this trip.
I'm always happy when the GPS leads us to the right place, and I was happy to see the Tennessee Valley Railroad appear.
While we were milling around the bikes they started this locomotive up. When we were passing through Chattanooga on the first day this engine was pulling some passenger cars. This wasn't the engine we'd use today. The tracks on the bridge are commercial mainline tracks.
For the last couple years Norfolk Southern has been running steam trains for excursion and promotional rides. The Tennessee Valley Railroad has supplied one of the steam locomotives. When a Class 1 railroad partners with you you must be a class operation.
Our first stop was the office to purchase tickets and browse the store. Donna is still looking for gifts. I heard some commotion outside and went outside to watch our passenger train being turned on the wye.
It didn't take long for our train to be ready. All aboard!
The Pullman car was air conditioned, comfortable, and it rode smooth.
As train rides go this one isn't very long...only about three miles. At the other end you disembark for more technical presentations than you normally get on train rides.
The first presentation was a turntable demonstration.
The engineer recognized the firefighter crescent on my shirt. He said he had been a firefighter for 32 years and now he gets to drive a train. He said he has never had to grow up. Living the dream!
For the demonstration the locomotive pulled onto the turntable where it was turned 180* and aligned with a siding track to the passenger train. It then ran around and coupled with the other end of the train. The turntable turned faster than I expected.
The next stop on the tour was the engine shop. This is where maintenance and refurbishment takes place. Our conductor/guide for the trip is on the left with the microphone. Apparently TVRR has one of the nicest shops in the country as museum railroads go. They even do work for others.
On the trip back we chose the open air car. It was directly behind the engine. It didn't ride as smooth as the Pullman car.
When we got back to the station the train was turned on the wye and our guide explained the process.
As we were finishing our turn on the wye I heard a rumble. It was a freight train over on the mainline. We would see two more freight trains while we were here. We spent some more time browsing the train store.
Next was lunch. Subway was chosen from the choices on the GPS menu. It was a busy place. We were lucky to get seats together.
One of the added amenities of Viewtopia is a free bottle of wine from the Georgia Winery. We had passed it on the way to the railroad this morning so we backtracked.
It's a nice little place. Everyone but me tried lots of free samples of wine. Besides our free bottle we purchased several more bottles of various vintages. They wrapped the bottles in bubble wrap for our ride. John & Debby asked them if they knew of any craft shops in the area. They directed us to the old part of Chickamauga.
John led so he and Debby could look for other shopping places along the way. They've been looking for a western store to buy a hat for their boy Kyle. John made a nice deviation through the Chickamauga battlefied.
While the girls looked through the shops I excused myself and took some pictures of railroad cars on sidings. Some semis were offloading the hopper cars.
I'm not a big craft store guy. I usually just hang with Donna or help her look for stuff. I will say these stores had a variety of things. Not the same old crap like you'd find in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg.
Eventually the girls went down one side of the street and up the other. They went around the corner to check out some more shops and the guys visited the Walker County Heritage Museum. This place is a jewel in the rough. They had a nice military museum. It is the old railroad station and there were a couple railroad layouts including one that ran around the walls of the museum. The curator was super friendly and let us look at and hold some of the artifacts. All for the cost of $2!
After the girls had visited all the stores we headed back to the cabin. I took the backroads and on the way we saw a house with a 6-car garage. I was spellbound. My kind of guy!
Tonight was the night Mike made his ribs. After I got cleaned up I watched the master cook his meat. It was mouth-watering just looking at it.
The girls also made nice fixin's to go with the barbeque. Mmmmmmmmmmm...Debby's deviled eggs. I think we used a whole roll of paper towels during supper.
I think this is a great trip picture. Sitting on the porch with a full stomach, staring at the beautiful Georgia countryside without a care in the world.
While I was doing my computer downloads that evening this little guy sat outside the window and munched for 20-30 minutes.
Mike and Todd from Southern Powersports played phone tag all day. Mike's hitch is in. The guys will head there in the morning and get Mike's hitch installed. The girls will sleep in.
That evening the moon was finally full and was a nice focal point for a beautiful night sky.
Click here for our next day's adventure.