Before we forget the reason for this trip - celebrating our 35th Wedding Anniversary - let's take a little trip back in time before our vows were taken.
Do you remember phone bills? How about long distance charges? I found the above phone bill in the basement archives. The magenta asterisks mark four of my calls to Betsy. Three of them to Cleveland where she lived at the time and one to Uniontown where she was born and raised and where her parents were still residing at the time.
$4.19 for a 17 minute call. If those rates still applied most people would be bankrupt!
My dad made the hand written notation of charges. Why there are two different amounts I have no idea.
Here is an explanation of the rates and charges. Rather complicated wouldn't you say?
And who was C&P Telephone?
The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, usually known as C&P Telephone, was a d/b/a name for four Bell Operating Companies providing service to Washington, D.C., Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.
At the time the Bell Telephone Company had close to a nationwide monopoly on all phone service in the United States.
Bell Telephone was often referred to as "Ma Bell". In 1984 Ma ended up having a few babies.
At the time of the Bell system breakup in 1984, the monopoly advantages enjoyed by the company (which were wrongly attributed to the free market, not government favoritism) had created an economic behemoth with $150 billion in assets, $70 billion in revenues, and a million employees. The Justice Department had determined that the company had grown too big, however, and filed suit under the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1974. The case, United States v. AT&T, was settled by a consent decree in January 1982, under which the company agreed to give up its 22 local exchange service companies, but keep its interests in Bell Labs and Western Electric.
The 22 companies were divided into seven independent Regional Bell Operating Companies, RBOCs, or “Baby Bells.” AT&T continued to operate its long-distance services.
Source: © 2017 The New American
My, how things have changed. Cell (wireless) phones have revolutionized business and personal communications. 95% of Americans now own cell phones. Contrast that with 46% who still have phones with land lines (wired). Why? Read this for an explanation.
Well, I think that is enough about phones and phone bills. Let's get back to the future.
Here are a couple of photos from the previous two days which Donna took and I thought should be included.
Betsy at the Tennessee Aquarium. I think the expression on her face is what is called "a look of wonderment".
Ashok and I whiled away a few hours people watching from the condo balcony. I really like these kinds of candid shots.
For some reason this shot of the previous day's sunset did not get included in the trip report for Day 2.
Friday, May 19th
A Cycling Tour of the Former "Dynamo of Dixie"
Our second ride along the Tennessee River took us south near the old industrial area which gave Chatt one of its nicknames: "The Dynamo of Dixie".
Knoxville and Chattanooga were centers of activity for the agents of northern financiers who were investing in the area. Knoxville attracted a large iron manufacturing company as well as factories producing paper, flour, soap, and other products. By 1870 Chattanooga had some fifty-eight industrial operations, including iron works, furniture factories, sawmills, gristmills, and other factories. During this decade capital investment in the city increased by nearly 450 percent.
And it wasn't just miles and miles of steel pipe which were churned out. At one time Chattanooga was home to 30 distilleries and one large brewery.
The line on the map above shows the approximate route of our bike ride - the heart of Chattanooga's old heavy industry area. Some factories still remain, many have gone by the wayside.
Photo by Donna
While peddling to the new section of trail we passed the staging area for the IRONMAN Chattanooga Triathlon.
Betsy and Donna signed up and both took first place for their age group.
The 2017 IRONMAN Chattanooga offers 40 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Click on the photos below for a larger image.
On this day we rode a section of trail that looked so new I was wondering if the concrete had set.
We saw a bike rental station similar to this one on the previous day's ride.
8 bucks for 24 hours!? You can't beat that.
I thought this "bike rack" was purty enough to be a sculpture.
Bike Chattanooga is a bicycle transit system featuring hundreds of bikes at over 33 stations located throughout Chattanooga and available for us 24/7, 365 days a year. Each station has a touchscreen kiosk, system and neighborhood map, and docking points which releases bikes using a member key or ride code. You must be 16 years or older to ride Bike Chattanooga.
Poor placement of this map made it a bit tricky to both read and photograph.
The intrepid riders. Donna and Ashok did a stellar job of planning our visit and we packed a lot into our three and a half days.
I took this photo while using my rear view mirror.
Where once stood acre after acre of industrial noise, belching smoke stacks and busy port and rail loading area is now mostly empty lots and abandoned buildings.
The now shuttered power house for what was once part of the sprawling complex of the United States Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry Company. The plant was originally built in 1882, as part of a consolidation of 12 plants in eight states.
There were many excellent interpretive signs illustrating and explaining the history of what was once the Dynamo of Dixie. Click the above photo to better view the sign.
The US Pipe and Foundry Company circa 1950.
I always appreciate a good "You are here" map. Click to better read the map.
After our ride we retreated to the coolness of the condo and spent the afternoon reading, webbing, people watching from the balcony and generally taking it easy.
For dinner Ashok grilled us steaks. Considering he does not eat beef I do not know how he managed to perfectly grill our streaks. They were delicious and a real treat for us.
The next day Donna and Ashok had planned a hike for us. And it was certainly a hike to remember.
Saturday, May the 20th:
Exploring the Cliffs and Canyons of Northern Georgia
As you can see, Chattanooga is within spittin' distance of both Alabama and Georgia. Today we would be going to Georgia - but not very deep. Our destination was just 30 miles from Chatt.
Cloudland Canyon State Park is a 3,485 acre Georgia state park located near Trenton and Cooper Heights on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. One of the largest and most scenic parks in Georgia, it contains rugged geology, and offers visitors a range of vistas across the deep gorge cut through the mountain by Sitton Gulch Creek, where the elevation varies from 800 to over 1,800 feet. Views of the canyon can be seen from the picnic area parking lot, in addition to additional views located along the rim trail. At the bottom of the gorge, two waterfalls cascade across layers of sandstone and shale, ending in small pools below.
The park is located on the Cumberland Plateau, atop Lookout Mountain. On the summit of Lookout Mountain, the waters of Daniel Creek and Bear Creek cut gorges through the rock, converging to form Sitton Gulch Creek.
The park, previously known as Sitton Gulch (or Gulf) or Trenton Gulf, was purchased in stages by the state of Georgia beginning in 1938. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a project of Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression built the first facilities and signs in the park, which opened the following year. Today the park features a variety of campsites, cabins, hiking and recreational activities.
After another tasty breakfast prepared by Chef Ashok we headed down the road to Georgia.
Knowing it was going to be another toasty day we got an early start on our hike.
By the time we reached the park my breakfast was already burned up. Fortunately I was able to talk Donna out of the left over steak from the night before. This made for a delicious and long lasting second breakfast.
Our first look at the canyon and cliffs of Cloudland Canyon State Park. This was the beginning of a full day of spectacular scenery and lovely woods.
Over we go! Note the railing support on the right. Typical CCC work - beautiful, sturdy and built to last. Sorta like the Wife!
Down, down, down we went into the lush woods.
It is worth pointing out this species of Rhododendron is different from that which grows in West Virginia and much of the rest of the Appalachian Mountains. Our common species in West Virginia is the Great Laurel(Rhododendron maximum), although there is some overlap of the two in the southern part of the state.
The range maps below illustrate clearly the differences in ranges between the two.
The Mountain Laurel was spectacular!
Ashok captured the moment with this nice shot.
Another rhododendron. Yep. Azaleas, both evergreen and deciduous are in the genus rhododendron. This one is the Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum). I have met quite a few West Virginians who love this bright orange azalea. This has led to me referring to it as "West Virginia Gaudy".
"Suppose there's a bear in there?"
"Nope. I don't see one"
When we climbed up out of the creek bottom we broke out on the rim trail. Fabulous!
Taking in the views.
Look what I found - my old pal Mountain Spleenwort (Asplenium montanum). This plant is a promiscous little feller as you can see from its philandering ways below.
Asplenium montanum readily forms hybrids with a number of other species in the "Appalachian Asplenium complex". In 1925, Edgar T. Wherry noted the similarities between A. montanum, lobed spleenwort (A. pinnatifidum), and Trudell's spleenwort (A. × trudellii), and in 1936 concluded that Trudell's spleenwort was a hybrid between the first two. In 1951, Herb Wagner, while reviewing Irene Manton's Problems of Cytology and Evolution in the Pteridophyta, suggested in passing that A. pinnatifidum itself might represent a hybrid between A. montanum and the American walking fern, Camptosorus rhizophyllus (now A. rhizophyllum).
In 1953, he reported preliminary cytological studies on the Aspleniums and suggested that A. montanum had crossed with ebony spleenwort (A. platyneuron) to yield Bradley's spleenwort (A. bradleyi), noting that D. C. Eaton and W. N. Clute had already made tentative suggestions along those lines. He also made chromosome counts of A. × trudellii, which had been classified by some simply as a variety of A. pinnatifidum. As A. pinnatifidum proved to be a tetraploid while A. montanum was a diploid, a hybrid between them would be a triploid, and Wagner showed that this was in fact the case for A. × trudellii. His further experiments, published the following year, strongly suggested that both A. bradleyi and A. pinnatifidum were allotetraploids, the product of hybridization between A. montanum and another Asplenium to form a sterile diploid, followed by chromosome doubling that restored fertility.
BTW - I had the pleasure and privilege of spending time with both Herb and Florence Wagner including 5 weeks at the Lake Itaska Biological Station in Minnesota.
I gotta tell you before today I never thought of Georgia as a place with deep gorges and towering cliff faces. Proof that I need to get out more.
Ashok took the above two photos of his trusty hiking companions.
After we hiked the Canyon Rim Loop, Ashok and I descended into the depths of the canyon to view the waterfalls. By now we had lots of company on the trail and the falls areas were practically a mob scene.
While most were content to chill and take in the view, a few people were enjoying the cooling waters.
This photo will give you some idea of the height of the falls.
Next we ascended back to the main trail and then went down god knows how many steps to the lower falls. This rock wall was trailside. Interesting.
Yippee! Another fern! This one is Marginal Wood Fern (Dryopteris marginalis). "D.marg" has done its fair share of philandering as well.
It is known to form hybrids with 10 other species and some of the hybrids are common and they can be identified by the malformed spores and sori which are not quite on the margins of the leaves.
Look carefully at this photo. See the rock in the middle. See the tiny person to the right of the rock. Now you know how tall this falls is!
I don't often see Tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera)this size . A real beauty. If left alone these trees get big. The largest know specimen is located in Esher Place in Esher (county of Surrey). It measures 30' in girth at 3' above the ground line. That is a big Tulip tree!
My last shot in the canyon - the falls from a small tributary. Now comes the fun part - climbing and climbing and climbing the several hundred steps back to the top. Whew!
What a great hike.
When we got back to the condo we chilled out, cleaned up and then went across the street to Brewhaus which bills itself as "Chattanooga's only German - American gastro pub".
We started out with a round of beers for Happy Hour and then ordered dinner.
Betsy and I split:
Then it was back to the condo for some last minute packing for tomorrow we would be wending our way back to Wheeling.
Sunday, May the 21st:
A Pre-dawn Stroll and Bye-Bye to Donna and Ashok
On our last morning I wanted to get out early for some pre-dawn snaps. Ashok rose early and joined me.
As you will see here I am not much good at low light photography, mainly because I am too lazy to carry a tripod.
Even at this hour there were already kayakers on the water. Most of them were there as support in the swim phase of the Triathlon which would be starting just as we were leaving town.
I am pretty sure the blue lights are from the Aquarium.
Shot from the south shore towards Donna and Ashok's place.
There were lots of people out this morning in anticipation of a busy day of cheering on the Triathletes.
The Market Street Bridge was nicely lit up.
The Market Street Bridge is a Bascule bridge, sometime called a drawbridge.
A bascule bridge (sometimes referred to as a drawbridge) is a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances a span, or "leaf", throughout its upward swing to provide clearance for boat traffic. It may be single or double leafed.
The name comes from the French term for balance scale, which employs the same principle. Bascule bridges are the most common type of movable span because they open quickly and require relatively little energy to operate, while providing the possibility for unlimited vertical clearance for marine traffic.
Source: © bridgehunter.com
To the left you can see the end of the movable bridge section and in the water below more kayakers paddling off to the starting point for the swim event of the Triathlon.
That was the last shot and with that Ashok and I headed back to the condo and by 7:30 Betsy and I were in the van and heading home.
I hope you all enjoyed the visit to Chattanooga as much as Betsy and I did.
Seeya next time...
Mike and Betsy.