Friday, February 27, 2009

Chattanooga road trip revisited

As you can see by the title, I went on the road yesterday. The story begins last week when Gale decided she wanted to get some yarn for dyeing and asked me if I wanted to ride along. Sure, why not? Thus, plans were made for yesterday.

I arrived at Gale's house bright and early-ish, but it still took us nearly an hour to hit the road as I got to see some of the goodies she had recently dyed, and I had to pay tribute to Hobbs, her wonderful dog, with some vigorous petting.
I rarely go out I-75, so I did some rubbernecking while we talked about all sorts of stuff. It was a partly sunny day, which means mostly clouds with an occasional bit of sun peeking through the grey skies. I won't bore you with details of the trip up, as it was thankfully uneventful, just a lot of traffic, including so many trucks.

Our first stop and the reason for the whole trip was R & M Yarns in Georgetown, TN. This is a small store that sells mostly mill ends. Many of the wools were a bit scratchier than I would personally like for a sweater, but they had a lot of examples of felting with these wools. Someone there crocheted, since most of the felted hats were crocheted instead of knitted. They teach classes, including weaving, and there was a really lovely felted, woven shawl. I will admit to being very spoiled by the wide selection of yarns locally available here in Atlanta, so while their yarn selection wasn't the best, I would definitely shop there if I lived nearby. The two young women who were working are both very nice and helpful. One weaves and the other knits, and we had a good time talking to them. They did have a couple of colors of Brown Sheep's Wildfoote I haven't seen, and I almost never leave a yarn shop without buying something, so I've got enough for a pair of socks (of course).

I didn't take a picture of the shop as while we were there, another customer came in, and we got to talking about the local yarn shops in Chattanooga. Before either Gale or I knew what was happening, we had agreed to let her lead us to Genuine Purl in downtown Chattanooga. (They don't have a website, so I have nothing to which to link you.) Trying to follow someone down country lanes that they know so well, and you don't know at all is one thing, but trying to do that when the person who is leading you wants to go 20 miles over the speed limit is entirely another thing. Let's just say I wish I had known before we agreed to let her lead us. I am a Southerner, and I know there's nothing better than a out of stater going really fast down those two lane roads to the local police. I kept her in sight and drove more cautiously as I truly didn't want a ticket. She didn't lose us, and she led us to Genuine Purl.

By this time, it's after 1:30, and we're starving. She points us in the direction of a couple of restaurants and sends us on our way. (Which was rather a relief as she could talk non-stop, and while we appreciated the kindness that was forced upon us, we didn't want her to join us for lunch.)

Northshore Grille was one of the places she named, and it was open, so there we went. Now, while neither Gale nor I are chubbiest women in the world, we're not slim either anymore. Gale, who is very outspoken, asked our waiter couldn't he tell that she enjoyed her food too much. He laughed and said he wasn't going to touch that one, so I said "good man" while laughing. So when Gale decided on fish and chips, he said, without missing a beat, "you know that's going straight to your ass". We both were laughing again, but Gale still wanted her fish and chips. Now it's my turn, and he puts his arm across my shoulders and asks what I'm having. I've decided on a turkey melt, but I'll be virtuous and have cole slaw as my side. He says, "it's bleu cheese cole slaw, and it's going right to your ass too". I laughed and said I'd have it anyway.

I really liked the Northshore Grille. I was describing it to Keith, and I told him it reminded me a little of Manual's Tavern and a little of Virginia's while it was still on Virginia Avenue. (That was before they moved to Krog Street and ultimately closed. I thought Virginia's in the old place was just wonderful.) Classic rock played in the background. One of the walls was painted with an advertisement, and since part of it was covered up, I wondered if the wall had originally been an exterior one. There is a very large bar area and a good sized restaurant. If you are a fan of classic rock radio stations, you'll like Northshore Grille.

As for the food, my turkey melt was pretty wonderful, except that I don't like pepper encrusted turkey. I had to take my sandwich apart and scrape off some of the pepper. I don't remember if the menu specified the turkey that way as I would have chosen another dish if I had known. Gale's fish and chips looked phenomenal. She did offer me some chips, but I declined in an attempt at self control. As for the bleu cheese slaw... I loved it, but I really like bleu cheese. Gale doesn't, so she didn't like the slaw.

This was when I realized that the camera was still safely stowed in the bottom of my knit bag. Sorry for lack of pictures. We got directions to Ruby Falls from one of the guys working there and headed back to check out Genuine Purl.

I thought it was a very nice shop with a very good selection of yarn. Right inside the door to the left is a small table were 3 or 4 ladies were knitting and chatting. They all stopped to look at us, so I said hello first. I then told them that I had worked at a shop in Atlanta, had heard about Genuine Purl and wanted to visit. I took the initiative as no one had even said hello when we walked in. Maybe we weren't who they were expecting. We wandered around the shop, which has 3 rooms devoted to knitting and a 4th with needlepoint supplies. They have Koigu, which I don't often run across, so I bought two skeins.
I will say, I do wish that R&M had the yarn selection of Genuine Purl. R&M would be my hands down go to yarn shop if I lived in that area except for the yarn selection.
After that, it was back to Kermit, Gale's Honda Element, and off towards Lookout Mountain. I had really wanted to take Gale to see Rock City as she had never been, but that's part of the Lookout Mountain tour. It was probably a bit after 3 when we arrived at Lookout Mountain, and the tour is $15.95. That's not bad if you have time for it, but it was a cloudy, winter day after 3 p.m., and at best we'd have to hustle.

Instead, I took a picture or two, and we went here. Yes, there is a Starbucks right across the street from the entrance to Lookout Mountain/Rock City. We refueled and headed over to Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls is a waterfall at the end of a pretty uninteresting cave. The whole point of going is the waterfall. I've been in other caves that have better formations, but none that have this type of water feature. It is a very easy cave walk, less than 1/2 mile roundtrip, so even the novice cave visitor can enjoy it. It was here that I finally noticed that the camera was still set for taking pictures of yarn, so my pictures are not that great. (Yes, technology is great, but the human using it has to have a clue. Isn't that what led to the rise of the machines?)
The last picture is looking straight up into the cave. Over the millenia Ruby Falls has shifted position, but it happened so slowly the stone around it eroded forming a cathedral like chamber. Sorry that my poor photography skills can't even begin to show the wonders of caving.
After that, I got into the driver's seat and took us home.
The worst part of the day? When I stopped to put gas into Kermit and could hardly move. Some parts of aging totally suck, and I had gotten really stiff driving Kermit. It amazes me that the angle change of a centimeter or 2 will put so much stress on muscles.

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