20 February 2013

Our Last Valentine's Day Weekend Together as a Family of Two! (Sunday & Monday)

  • After having a horrible night's sleep Saturday, I got up and showered. After I showered, I dressed and packed up the suitcase while J showered. When we were completely packed and ready to leave, we went downstairs and took all of our stuff to the car. While J smoked, I went in to to get some breakfast. The breakfast spread was great! I had a bowl of fruit loops, a blueberry muffin, strawberry yogurt, orange juice and I grabbed a banana for later. J came in and checked us out while I was eating. He complained about the bed and the lady said the hotel was only 4 years old! The rest of the hotel was really nice, but the beds were cheap! 
  • When we left the hotel, we went to St. Elmo to ride the incline. (We had to pay to park there, and it was exactly $2! Remember that $2 J found Saturday!?) I was terrified and the higher we went, the more my terror intensified. By the time we were at the top, J was convincing me that I didn't have to ride back down unless I wanted to. He would ride down by himself and bring the car up to get me. I was in agreement at the time (but I did eventually calm down enough to ride it back down).
  • We got off at the top and walked down the street to the Battles for Chattanooga Museum and Point Park.
  •  We looked around the museum and store, but didn't see anything we wanted, so we went out to Point Park and paid $3 each to walk around. The park was mostly a military park, with cannons, statues and lots of historical information about the site and battle that was fought there and nearby. The views surrounding the park were incredible! You could see forever!  

Point Park

View from Point Park
In Point Park
  • When we left Point Park, we walked back to the Incline gift shop and J ordered me some hot chocolate to warm up. It was freezing outside! Then we walked to the top of the building to look out over Chattanooga.
  • By the time we got back downstairs, it was 10 minutes til boarding time to go back down, so we got in line so we could sit in the front. The ride down was not as bad as I thought it would be and it was much less-terrifying than going up. Especially since going down, we were facing the direction we were going. 
The other railcar was coming up, so we switched lanes! 
  • When we got to the bottom, we went into the gift shop to buy a few postcards to satisfy my obsession. haha.
  • After we left there, we went back to downtown Chattanooga to find somewhere to park for the day. We found a parking garage that only charged $8 a day instead of the $9 to park at the aquarium. We walked around awhile instead of going straight over to find something to eat. We walked along the river and I took a few pics at Ross's Landing
Ross's Landing

Artwork on the wall leading to the landing.

My Love. ♥
  • By the time we left Ross's Landing, I was freezing and really had to pee, so we went to find somewhere to eat. The first place we tried was so packed, we could get in the door! (Cheeburger, Cheeburger) The next place we went to was closed and the next place had their menu outside and nothing looked appetizing. We finally ended up eating at Big River Grille & Brewing Works. I wasn't that hungry, so I ordered off of the kids' menu. I had a grilled cheese sandwich with carrots and ranch dip. I ordered pickles on my grilled cheese, but they didn't put them on there, so I had to get the waitress to bring me some to add on to it. I hate when they forget! I ended up liking the ranch dip so much, I dipped my sandwich in it, too! :P
  • After we finished eating, we walked around a little more before we had to go into the Ocean Journey building for our backstage adventure! It was great! We got to see the penguins from above, the biggest tank from above where we got to meet the divers and feed the fish and then we got to meet a rare gecko and pet it! 
Penguins! 

 This sea turtle was injured by a boat and as a result, his back fins had to be removed.
He has trouble swimming down low, so he stays near the surface where his butt often floats above his head. Bless him.


Gecko


  • We had so much fun on the backstage tour, J wanted to do the River Journey, too, but I convinced him we should save it for another trip, so we could go see something else. 
  • We left the aquarium and headed back to the car. When we left the garage, J couldn't get the ticket to go into the slot, so he pressed the button for assistance. Turns out he was trying to insert the ticket from another parking lot! HAHA! We got a good giggle out of that.
  • We pulled out the GPS and headed towards Rock City which was near the incline. Rock City was awesome! I was freezing, but it was totally worth it! There are so many pictures on my camera and phone that I don't have time to look through all of them, so I'll just post a few sneek peeks from my phone.
J taking a smoke break.

 Fairytale from Mother Goose Village

Gnomes in Fairyland Caverns
  • We didn't leave there until they were closing, so after we left we headed towards the Chattanoga Choo-Choo Hotel to check in to our room. J had bid on hotwire.com for a three-star room at $61/night. This was the hotel that we got. The main building where we checked in was beautiful, so we thought our room would be awesome, too. We were surprised to see that our room was very much not up-to-date and the only thing that had been updated was the television. The mattress was so old that the end of it was higher than the rest of the bed and there was a huge dip in the middle of it. Needless to say, it was very uncomfortable.
  • We settled in and then decided it was time to go get dinner. First we walked around and didn't find anywhere that was open other than the ice cream shop and The Gardens. The Gardens wasn't our style of dining, so we asked if any of the other four restaurants were open and they said that the deli was, but all they served was soups and sandwiches, so we went next door to The Tavern. We had to wait FOR-EV-ER for a seat. They seated us on the second floor and it was so cold, I couldn't take my jacket off. There really wasn't anything on the menu that looked appetizing to me, so I finally just ordered a burger and some baked beans. When it finally got there, I was starving. I didn't think I could eat 1/2 pound of ground beef, but as it turns out--I can! I also ate the small serving of beans (I'm talking baby food jar small) and the waitress brought me another serving, which we were charged for. WTH? It's not like there's a shortage on baked beans in this country! They were $4! 
  • After we left The Tavern, we went back to the hotel to swim. When we got in, there were only 5 or 6 kids and 4 adults, with only one adult in the pool. (The other adults weren't even wearing swimsuits!) By the time we left, there were at least 15-20 kids in the pool and probably only 4 adults! What is wrong with this world that parents don't get in the pool with their young children!? There's no way I would let my 3 or 4 year old in the pool by themselves even if they were descendents of mermaids. SMH...
  • I need to mention that this was a 9-foot deep pool! 
  • When we got back to the room, I was freezing so I showered and then we crawled into bed to attempt to sleep. Not much sleep was had...
  • When we got up Monday morning, we dressed and packed the suitcase up. I wanted to take our stuff to the car then, but J said we'd do it after we ate breakfast. So, we headed over to the main building to see which restaurants were open. Only The Garden was open and it was $10.99/ person for the buffet. All I really wanted was cereal, a muffin and some yogurt and I wasn't about to pay that much for it even if they did have it. We turned around and went back to the room, grabbed our stuff and headed out the back stairs to take it to the car. J had had to park so far away the night before, that he left me and the luggage waiting on the sidewalk so he could go get the car. It was pretty warm Monday morning, so it felt great to be outside. After we loaded everything up, we drove around to the front of the hotel to check out. Then we headed out of Chattanooga to get on I-24. It didn't take long before we found a Cracker Barrel off of 72, so we stopped there to eat.
  • I had two little boxes of cereal with a small carton of milk, two chocolate milks, an apple, a pineapple yogurt parfait with granola, almonds, and cranberries, and a huge blueberry muffin which I ate later for a mid-morning snack. All of that was less than $8, so I'd say we got a much better deal than we would have at The Gardens. 
  • When we left Cracker Barrel, instead of getting back on I-24 as we should have, J turned left onto 72 because he thought it would take us straight to Huntsville. He was wrong...lol.
  • As we were driving along, I told him that nothing looked familiar and he said it was probably because we were going the other way and b/c I had had to pee so many times that I wasn't paying attention on the way through.
  • I saw a huge yellow sign advertising Raccoon Mountain Caverns and I told J that we should check it out because it looked interesting, so he turned down the dead end road. Turns out, being lost was a good thing because the caverns were really cool!
  • J got in free because he's military and my ticket was about $15. It was a 45 minute guided tour through the first cave. Since we had just learned about stalagmites and stalagtites and cave formations in my college science class, I found the different formations very interesting! 
Stalagmites and Stalagtites joining together.

 Soda straws and stalagmites hanging from the ceiling.

"Iguana Rock" and that hole at the top is where two flows of water joined together
and swirled, causing the hole to form. The geckos that live in the caves come in through the roof here.


Crinoid, or "sea lily" fossil.

 I think this is part of a Crinoid fossil as well.

 The round object in the center of the photo, with the "beard" is a cave shield. They are not very common and have only been found in 80 caves in the U.S. 

  • I had a great time and asked a lot of questions. I was afraid of falling because in a lot of places it was very slippery because of the water from the ceiling of the cave, so I was walking very slowly. But no one in our group seemed to mind. ;) 
  • I have to tell you that I expected to see some raccoons in the cave...but there aren't any. That was my only disappointment.
  • After we left the cave, we headed out on 72 again until there was a detour which led us to I-24 where we were supposed to be. Thankfully we hadn't gone too far of the correct path and we got to have an adventure along the way!
  • We only stopped one more time along the way home for a bathroom break and then we went to pick up our fur-babies! They were so excited to see us! 
  • **Here's where those stars from yesterday come into play. I called the Animal Care Hospital twice, two different times during the week before we were to board the girls. I asked both times about the pricing and both times I was told that it would be $20 for each dog, each night. So I planned on having them there Friday and Saturday night. I asked what time we had to pick them up Sunday and she quoted me a time that was only about an hour window. I asked what if we were unable to get them in that short time frame and the woman told me the price would be the same if we picked them up Monday as if we were picking them up Sunday. So we only expected to pay $80 for the boarding and then $39 for Sabrina's shots to be updated. When we got there to pick them up, they charged us $160. They charged us for Sunday night's boarding. I argued with the lady, but she wouldn't change the price, so we just paid and went home. Both girls had to use the bathroom badly when we got home and Sabrina peed three times before she would come inside! I don't think they took very good care of them and we won't be using them again. 
All in all, we had a great trip and enjoyed ourselves immensely! Even though my legs, back and head were killing me most of the time, I have to say it was worth it to spend some time together before the baby gets here. Hopefully we'll be able to go to the beach sometime this summer, but if not, at least we got our last hoorah in!
 
I hope y'all enjoyed reading about our little adventure! 

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