July 5th, 2009

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Greetings from Chattanooga, Day Two

Quickie because it's late after fireworks and we had a very full day going back and forth between Georgia and Tennessee at various Civil War and natural wonder locales. We started at Chickamauga National Military Park, the nation's first, created in 1890 and celebrated with a barbecue by soldiers who had fought for both Union and Confederate armies in the very bloody battles there. Then we drove up Lookout Mountain, picnicking and visiting Point Park, the north end summit which the Army of Tennessee used as a base to fire on Chattanooga before the Battle Above The Clouds. The weather was beautiful -- much cooler in the mountains than it has been on the Mississippi -- and it was a clear day, perfect for sightseeing from high peaks.

Later in the afternoon, we went to Rock City, one of America's first official tourist traps, created by the man who invented the first miniature golf franchise. He and his wife bought property among the fantastic rock formations of Lookout Mountain, and she created gardens with figures from fairy tales that her husband then opened to the pubic. There are also deer and rehabilitated raptors on the property. After that, we visited Ruby Falls, in America's deepest commercial cave on its second-busiest day of the year. The rock formations and waterfall were spectacular, but the caverns were so crowded that it took over two hours to do what's usually a one-hour tour. After a quick dinner at the hotel, we walked to Chattanooga's waterfront on the Tennessee River to watch the city's Fourth of July Fireworks.

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We will spend most of Sunday at the aquarium and other museums before leaving Chattanooga!