10-02-09 Chattanooga, TN

[Rick] Having to go only 30 miles to Chattanooga, we made no attempt to get up at the crack of dawn to get started and we finally left the dock at 1000. On the way out, I got this picture of the “cottages” that are for rent at the marina. They are just houseboats without a motor. They are moored in slips, with power, cable, etc and are rented just like a land based unit. Wonder how CAMA would react to a proposal to put in about 100 of these at Wrightsville Beach or Sneads Ferry. They would go nuts.

The day was overcast and the clouds were very low. Easy to see why they call these mountains the Great Smokies.

Upon arrival in Chattanooga, we immediately took a spin around the harbor to see the Delta Queen. She is tied to the RDB just up from the marina. She looks no worse for wear, but we still wish she was plying the rivers with the calliope playing. It is such a shame that she is now a glorified B&B.

In Chattanooga, Marine Max is the agent for the city for all the dockage in the downtown area. In reality, they are a yacht brokerage that rents out slips. We are paying $1.00 per foot and were very disappointed to find that they have NO shower facilities and the restrooms close at 1800. They do have wifi. We are on a face dock, in the river current of 3+ mph. The shower revelation was most annoying.

We got the bikes and biked to downtown for lunch and to look around. While eating pizza at a nice pizza place, our looper friends, Jack and Pia, came in to say hello. They were across the street and saw us come in. They left their boat down river and rented a car to come here because of the strong current. They are planning to go home to Charlotte for a few days since they are so close and already have the rental car.

We decided to go ahead and see the aquarium today and use tomorrow for the Blue Grass festival that is going on here this weekend. We purchased our tickets to include an IMAX show at 1700. About 1645, we were leaving the aquarium to go to the theatre across the street, and the guard said we had missed the show. Turns out that we are back in Eastern Daylight Time, having crossed the line sometime today without knowing it. Luckily, we exchanged or tickets for tomorrow. We are not going to change our watches, as we will be back on Central Time soon.

We took some great pictures in the aquarium, but it really is a place you need to see for yourself. It is a very good aquarium, rivaling Baltimore and Chicago. The aquarium also features a butterfly house. It was very good.

We ate supper at the Bluegrass festival in the mobile vendor area. Betsy went back to listen to the headline band as I write this blog.

We especially enjoyed the penguin exhibit.

Betsy inside a tube in the giant crab exhibit.

Remember the huge houseboat we passed yesterday and that stayed at our marina last night. We passed them again today and here is the proof. This baby is huge.

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