Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chattanooga, Tennessee, Atlanta, Georgia to Biloxi

September 17-21,2010

Jake went with us and was thrilled to go but constantly looked over his shoulder as if he were waiting for the other shoe to drop. He loves to ride in the car and was on his best behavior. I think maybe he smelled other dogs who had stayed in the hotel rooms before us although we could not smell them. From the looks of it they were the kind of dogs who had feet as big as salad plates as puppies, the sort who had been raised in a kennel that had a sign: 'Get big or get out'.

The first place we stayed was Best Western Royal Inn of Chattanooga, 3644 Cummings Highway, Chattanooga, Tennessee 423-821-6840. The owners are trying really hard here. Although it was between a railroad track and a busy highway where there was a biker convention underway our room was very quiet. They charged $10 for Jake. The room was clean but Jake was nervous as if he expected a doberman to walk around the corner from the other side of the closet ready to fight. They reserve a handful of rooms at the end of the row for people traveling with pets.The swimming pool was pristine and property very clean. The Best Western was also next to a Walmart Supercenter which had a Subway sandwich shop in it. I do not recommend dining in restaurants in Walmart.

Ruby Falls is an underground waterfall in a cave with interesting formations and is named after the wife of the man who discovered it. They have also added a park next to the site with lots of activities for kids including a zipline.

Rock City was nearby. A real estate developer acquired the land and was originally going to subdivide it into lots but ended up keeping it and turning it into a botanical garden. His wife was a big gardener and planted over 700 varieties of trees and flowers amoung the rock formations. It is gorgeous. There is a Lover's Leap with a waterfall and view of 7 states, a suspended bridge and a fairy land exhibit of Mother Goose and Grimm's Brothers figures in various tableaux that have been painted to be viewed under black light. The developer hired a young painter who was 24 to go all over the country and offer to paint farmer's barns if they could also paint an advertisement for Rock City on the roof of the barn. He started in 1932 and painted his last barn in 1972. Lady Bird Johnson's Beautify America campaign to get rid of billboards along interstates was the issue that ended this advertising venue.

There were signs posted along one trail showing the property in different decades since it opened and what the United States was like during those times, brought back happy memories for us.

Rock City was a popular success and the developer invested his profits in a new business after World War II. Mini golf courses golf courses similar to Putt Putt Golf was his idea.

We stayed at the Best Western in Kennesaw, Georgia enroute to Stone Mountain. Although they can charge for pets they did not charge us for Jake. 3375 Busbee Drive NW, Kennessaw, Georgia 30144. 770-424-7666. The staff was very friendly, room was quiet and this place had a very nice pool.

Supper was at a really good steak house almost around the corner. California Dreaming is part of a small chain which serves good food at reasonable prices. Hot rolls with the dinnner melted in your mouth. It was a balmy night and we enjoyed eating on the big patio outside. California Dreaming 745 Chastain Rd NW, Kennessaw, Georgia 300144 770-428-2055. This place was a couple of blocks from Marietta, Georgia.

Stone Mountain is a big park with a six mile road around a bald rock formation. It costs $10 for admittance. There is a cable car to the top, an amusement park, bike and nature trails, lakes, covered bridges, a grist mill, a quarry museum. Granite was milled here until 1978. Almost every state in the Union has municipal buildings built with granite from here, courthouses, post offices and banks. There are hotels available inside the park. There is a big meadow at the base of the mountain overlooking the place where the figures of General Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee on horseback have been carved into the moutain. There are laser shows on the face of the mountain in the evening. There is also a confederacy museum. A wide variety of picnic sites to choose from. Stone Mountain is a distance from Atanta and not actually in Atlanta itself, not far from the Atlanta airport.

Passing through Mobile, Alabama we stayed at a Red Roof Inn. 5450 Coca Cola Road, Mobile, Alabama 366619. 251-666-1044. They also did not charge us for Jake. It was a basic hotel, not quiet. Other guests appeared to be construction workers who left for work at 4 am. Another guest who is handicapped but too stubborn to get a handicapped sticker for his car parked in a handicapped zone and police issued hom a $150.00 ticket for that, so if you are handicapped and staying in Mobile be sure to display your parking permit.

Jake had never been to the beach so we stopped in Gulfport-Biloxi to stretch our legs. He was not enthusiastic about the birds nor the waves.

In Gulfport since Katrina there is an unfinnished furniture factory about a mile from the Canal Road exit of I-10 that has the world's largest rocking chair outside.

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