Wednesday, August 25, 2010
But no, that's not the funny. The funny was that the kid's favorite part of the trip was our stop at the Casey Jones Village in Jackson, TN (a mere hour from our home). We stopped there for lunch (it's like a Cracker Barrel) and they of course had toy trains so what was supposed to be a stop on the way to Nashville for a bite ended up being 3 hours so he could play with, you guessed it, the toy trains.
All that planning, ALL that planning, and we really could have just had a day trip. We plan to take him again this weekend as on the bright side, good to know that something relatively close does cause delight...as I'm running out of ideas!
Monday, August 23, 2010
The Real Incline Railway
A little Chattanooga Attraction 101 before we proceed.
There is this mountain. And when you drive up this lovely mountain there are turkeys in the midst (yes) see below. And the first attraction you come to is Ruby Falls and if you keep driving further up, you come the incline railway, and then if you drive up some more, you come to Lookout Mountain of "See Rock City" fame. Hope that clears things up.
Come to think of it, we didn't do the incline rail thing either although we did get out to look at it...WAY too steep. Me and my chunky self would have catapulted the thing to Florida, so just not interested in that. This thing has been in operation for decades with no disasters and I find that, well odd. I think the time is due as that thing defies gravity and I had no desire to be on CNN Breaking News.
Now to Ruby Falls. First the positive, the waterfall itself --spectacular! Probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in nature live and in person. The downside? I was in no mood, and certainly wasn't my three year old to a half-mile trek in an underground cave to get there. I was a 7 on my panic attack scale and climbing to an 8. You're on this tour and there is the "there is no way out" kind of feel. Over half way there, the husband says...should we try and go back? Sensing that I was near stroke level. At that point I was like an Egyptologist--"NO! We must get to Tut's tomb." I can't recall the website mentioning anything of such of a schlep (Ruby Falls quite possibly has the least informative website I've ever experienced to be a major attraction.) The Husband thought it was purposely vague...as if I had known I'd be literally be stuck underground for almost 2-hours in a cave I most certainly would not have signed up.
After the schlep and the furrowed brow says it all.
When you finally get to the waterfall, it's a fantastic sensory overload experience. The sound, the smell of the water, the mist from it. The scale of it. The breeze from it. Sure they Disneyfie it some with dramatic movie music and colorful lights....part of me wished for just a couple of minutes of nothing "produced"...so that we could have experienced it like the original excavators did to be in awe of what that moment must have been like when they found it.
Would I do Ruby Falls again? No. But lest you think we hated our vacation, we didn't! We loved the Children's Museum below...and actually did something "non" wheel related that was well received...we played in the sandbox "digging" for dinosaur bones. We also loved the open to the public Coolidge Park with it's carousel and free sprinkler park.
I know, pretty darn cute.
But the adult in me, really LOVED our ride back to Memphis when we decided to avoid the freeway and took Hwy 64 down the southern part of our state east to west. Six hours door to door with stops and some lovely countryside and no semi trucks to deal with. You pass small towns on adorable old-time "squares" and stunning farmland. We came upon many surprises that delighted the child too...like Cowan, TN (which I'd never heard of) had a little train museum. Good times.
Cowan, TN Railroad Museum
Friday, August 20, 2010
Now that "that" title song will be in your head all day, let me run and tell it all Trip Advisor style with my own review of the first "big" family vacation with the husband and three-year-old. We chose to spend a week in Chattanooga, which is on the eastern side of our wonderful state and a place I'd never been.
I'll never-ever do the family vacay thing down South in August. It was just too hot to be enjoyable. I get grouchy when it's hot. So does this kid. All outside activities were out and even finding motivation for inside activities was taxing. Also, things you'd think the kid would enjoy, he really didn't.
A real conversation had several weeks ago:
Friend: Your son will LOVE the aquarium.
Me: Really? Unless the fish have wheels I doubt it.
So how did the kid like the Tennessee Aquarium? What takes most four hours to browse through, took us about one hour. Forget reading about what kind of shark you are looking at or learning anything about endangered lake fish and why we should care. Oh, no, no, no. There are toy trains at the hotel room that are lonely.
One reason we picked Chattanooga was because it struck me as a train themed town and the boy loves some trains...but he doesn't love 'real trains' as much as he likes toy trains and model trains. So we went to the model train museum in the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel.
Have you ever been to a museum that you just wanted to take under your wing and just say, "let me take you over and make you awesome?" This was one of those.
The model train piece of it was great...really interesting how detailed somebody was replicating the entire city of Chattanooga with model trains and I was most struck with the replication of the "incline railway" (more on that in the next post). But the room was hot as if the air wasn't working, the carpet worn, all gray and depressing with cat art on the walls. Really? What does cats in bathtubs have to do with trains? And then in some places these sheets were hiding part of the walls. Why? Is there some kind of leak? It's all in the details. And it's minor things that take a WOW experience to just an average one.
Model view of incline railway. That is one steep, steep, steep model train.
Friday, August 6, 2010
1) The cloud of poison lifted from our home. No, the kid could not go to birthday party. But because I'm Super Mom, he's an only child, the light of my life, and he was born late and thus spoiled, he got a cake and a present for himself to make up for it.
2) I was the victim of a hit and run accident. No injuries but it could have been a catastrophe. Kid (aka non-licensed driver) steals pick-up truck from father, drives like a fool, hits me and two others and drives off. Totals one of the cars hit, I now need a new bumper. Got tag number so kid likely spent night in juvey - with mean-angry gang members. Which brings me to my next topic.
3) If above kid were mine, I would beat him within an inch of his life. Seriously, it could have been a catastrophic accident. I think back on my teenage years and although I wasn't perfect, I would have never-ever done this and cannot relate on any level. If my son ever does this, commit me to the crazy train.
4) I despise politicians with such fervor that I cannot even describe it. But I feel it's my civic duty to vote for the worthless bunch, because women have died for the right to vote. So I voted. Yay me. My strategy was to simply vote for all the candidates that the Commercial Appeal endorsed. I figured they were the best source as I can't say I was all that informed on the merits and worthiness of "county court clerk."
5) Random. Have you seen Police Women of Memphis? OMG. What a sad, depressing show. I cry every time I watch it at the proliferation of domestic violence, crying children, extreme ignorance & foolishness and the inability to speak the Queen's English. I hope one of these police women found my hit & run kid driver and beat him within in an inch of his life. I can only hope.