Once again, a reasonably comfortable night – the Caddy seats are certainly comfortable, though I could do with an extra few inches. We washed, and then set off for Chattanooga, Val driving. We stopped off en route in order to make our daily purchase of groceries, and to try to phone Vicki*, only to be told by some rather drippy female that Vicki had moved, and no, she was sorry, but she didn’t know where to. Great. Another good idea up the spout.
So we carried on into Chattanooga and finally managed to navigate our way to the Incline Railway. However, just as we got out of the car, it started to rain, and then pour. Val spotted an ice-cream parlour across the street, so we ran across there and ate a banana split while entertaining the girl behind the counter with our accent. We then trotted back to the railway + boarded. We had to endure some American brats, but the ride was fairly remarkable – up an 80% incline. At the top we walked along to Point Park, the scene of the Siege of Chattanooga, an important Civil War battle. The park had been laid out well, with cannons, wagons etc, and a good view over the river. We were looking around the small museum there, when the rain started again, with a vengeance. A ranger came down to tell us and the party of schoolchildren there that we were in a dangerous place, and should go back. The rain that started bad got progressively worse – I have never known anything like it – we were blinded, could barely walk, and felt as though we were being pelted with gravel. We were totally drenched, head to toe, and still had to wait for the railway to take us down. However, back home (the Caddy) we changed into dry things and drove off south, eventually finding a place to rest our heads in a good old rest area, 20 miles north of Mobile.
Vicki was another of our contacts, an almost relative I had met in 69, when she visited England with her family, vaguely related to my aunt. We had remained pen pals for a while, but had not had any more contact for years, so it was no surprise when the address Mum had found for us was no longer any good.
P.S. from Val: Much singing of Chattanooga Choo Choo while driving this stretch.