Saturday, 13 August 2005. Trenton, GA to
While I was up and out of the room by my usual 6:30-7:00 am, Mike slept
late, and we did not get on the road until nearly 9:30 am. The
morning was damp and foggy -- and a day where mountaintop viewing was
likely to be blocked by clouds. But we set out for Lookout
Mountain taking SR 136, then the Lookout Mountain Scenic Highway (SR
189). on the fringes of the
Chattanooga National Military Park -- the first and largest of the
four National Military Parks.
On these fields and hills, Union and Confederate armies clashed during the
fall of 1863 in some of the hardest fighting of the Civil War. The prize
was Chattanooga, key rail center and gateway to the heart of the
Confederacy. Lookout Mountain was key to the Confederate
defenses with its commanding view of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River
valley. The trip to the top of the mountain took us along a ridge
which apparently is a favorite of hang gliders. Much of the mountain
itself appears to be developed and has been incorporated as the City of
Lookout Mountain, GA.
After coming down off the mountain, we get on I-75 and then I-81 north.
I've been on I-81 many times, but not in the last few years. It has
become a much more busy highway. I remembered it pleasantly as an
easy and beautiful ride. But it's now, quite obviously, a major
north-south trucking route.
We stop in Roanoke, VA for the night.
After a brief rest, head into the city for dinner. I remember
Roanoke as a sleepy factory town, with almost no nightlife. But
"old" downtown now has a vibrant few blocks of restaurants,
galleries, museums and shops. Lots of motorcycles about. Had
o.k. pub fare at a pleasant local bistro.
Then decided to find out what Saturday night might be like at the gay
bars in town. While Roanoke is reported to have a sizeable gay
population, I felt like I was being transported back 30 years. One
bar, Backstreet, was truly sleazy -- now I normally don't mind sleazy
bars, but this was a place where you only drink bottled beer and wash your
hands when you leave. The other, the Park, was a dance club with a
cover. Both were in dingy industrial areas. We were going to
go into the Park, but when we parked our bikes there was this man,
obviously drunk, soliciting us. I got nervous about the safety of
the Road King, and decided to leave. Oddly, a few years ago this
would not have bothered me, but I guess I'm getting too old (and
tire to early) for this stuff.