Sunday, May 27, 2007

Chattanooga and Northeast Alabama

This past weekend Donna and I traveled to Chattanooga primarily to see a Chris Thile concert, but we managed to squeeze in a decent amount for an overnight trip. We left Friday after lunch and arrived just as the concert was cranking up. It was part of the Chattanooga Nightfall calendar, a series of free outdoor Friday night concerts.

Many folks rode their motorcycles to the event, and a couple of streets were closed for their parking.

Emily Grace, a local musician, performed a fine opening set.

Chris Thile and the How to Grow a Band then came out and performed an awesome set. We began standing over to the side, which was pretty good, but shortly into the set we found an awesome spot to sit right in the center and not far at all from the stage.

After the performance we wandered around downtown for a bit before heading down to Trenton, GA where we stayed at the Days Inn, which proved to be a very good hotel.

We began Saturday morning with a quick visit to the Payne Cemetery in Trenton (it wasn't all that spectacular, but I had to visit it and take a photo) and a hearty brunch at Cracker Barrel.

We then headed to Sequoyah Caverns, which is off I-59 heading toward Ft. Payne. It was a spectacular cave, and the hour-long tour was great. Neat as Ruby Falls is, it is very commercialized, whereas Sequoyah is most definitely not, which I very much prefer.

In addition to the cave, there is a homestead site with lots of family heirlooms (the family that owns and runs things is the seventh generation of the original settler) and demonstrations of old-world crafts; we were able to see a bit of butter churning and lye soap production. We also saw Edward, the resident peacock, as well as a naturally-formed piece of rock in the shape of a duck.

We then headed to Scottsboro, AL, home of the Unclaimed Baggage Center, where all unclaimed airline baggage goes to be sold. We first learned of it a few years back on Dateline NBC or something like that, and since then we've wanted to visit it. It was very well organized and categorized; some things were truly spectacular bargains, while others (especially electronics) were not so competitively priced. We didn't really find anything that really tickled our fancies, but it was a lot of fun exploring.

From there we headed to Ft. Payne, AL to visit the Little River Canyon Preserve. There is a waterfall at the north end, right where Highways 35 and 176 meet.

With the drought we're experiencing, there wasn't a lot of water flowing, so you could walk out over parts of the riverbed that are usually underwater; we saw some really neat rock layering.

We then rode south on 176, which follows the western rim of the canyon. It's a great windy, hilly road, very fun in its own right. There are a couple of overlooks that offer fantastic views of the canyon. We were there around sunset, which was a perfect time to be there.

We started heading homeward around 9pm and made it home around 2am, pleasantly worn out after a spectacular day of exploring. Can't wait to do it again!

All the photos I shot.


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