Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chattanooga Day 3 - Kayaking

We started Day 3 off with kayaking... for those of you who just panicked a little thinking I lost my mind kayaking while pregnant...I did a lot of research, and the car ride up there was bumpier than the river we were on.  There were no rapids.  

I had called around to a few places and finally landed on .... I'm not mentioning the company's name because I don't recommend using them, and I'm about to tell you a less than flattering story about them.  A lot of places were closed for Memorial Day weekend.  Long story coming, skip ahead if you just want to look at pictures.  Sorry, no pictures of kayaking, didn't figure it would be a good idea to bring our camera or iPhone to take pictures while in a kayak.

I got the impression that this kayaking business was "informal" while I was on the phone with Mr. Ray, the head of the operation.  He said just call and let them know an hour before we were headed out there and there would be a college student waiting for us.  

The craziness started before we got there...I misread the directions, and got us incredibly lost (have you seen the title of our blog yet?) an hour late lost...oh, but!  The kayaking place is 100 yards (literally) from the time zone we actually arrived on time, in spite of being an hour get it?  They didn't care either way.  

We drove past the place a couple times before we realized that they were working out of a shabby apartment complex office....with no signs anywhere to be found to help the people driving out into the middle of nowhere to find their operation.

Mr. Ray came out as we pulled up and directed us to drive down the little driveway where we ended up on a river front lawn with a college kid sitting behind a folding table with a few kayaks beside him.  Realizing that there was no one going with us (the places I've been before had guides, or at least a big enough operation where you could just follow other groups down the river to the end point), I tried to question the kid about how long the trip was, and what would be at the end as the indicator for us to pull out.  He mumbled something about a rope swing, and to call when we get there and they'll come get us.  Luckily Mr. Ray had waterproof bags for us to bring one of our phones with us.  They plopped us in the water and off we went.  We saw a rope swing but considering we had been on the river for about 5 minutes, I was pretty sure that wasn't the end.  

The river and surrounding mountains were beautiful.  It was so peaceful, just the two of us, and made us feel very small.  Again, sorry no pictures.  There were very few people out on boats.  Just about the time I was ready to be done, we saw a sandbar which a volleyball net (which Mr. Ray had mentioned to Tim), and pulled up there and gave them a call.  I heard mumbling about "be there in 3 hours" and I was going to lose it (pregnant + tired  exhausted + hungry = grumpy lady), but then I heard we'll see you in 15 minutes.  

Mr. Ray pulled up in a boat that I'd typically seen used for water skiing with a posse of two other men and a woman.  I was thinking they were coming in a vehicle on the road where we pulled out that would accommodate us and the kayaks.  We crammed into the front of the boat while they tied the kayaks to the back of the boat.  I was feeling kind of woozy at this point, having been out in the sun for a few hours and had gone through all of my snacks.  I just kept telling myself that it was only 15 or so minutes back.  Mr. Ray takes off with the kayaks flying behind the boat over the rapids and his posse yelling at him to take it easy cause I'm pregnant, and within 5 minutes, a kayak broke loose.  The force from the rapids yanked the handle clean out of the kayak.  So we turn around several times to catch the kayak, because Mr. Ray is not a patient man and instead of going by carefully the first time so they can grab the kayak, he blazes by it several times, with his friends trying to catch the darn thing.  They finally got it tied back on and we proceeded...

...for two more minutes...before the handle snapped off again...I was thinking "duh, what made you think it would hold this time".  And again after swinging around a few times they pulled the kayak onto the boat so that one of his poor friends looked like he was being crushed by the kayak in his seat.  Meanwhile, I stuck my shirt in the water and put it back on to try to keep cool, and was feeling incredibly sunburned at this point.  And on we went...until...

...SNAP!...the rope snapped and the other kayak was left, circle, circle...grab kayak...take off... rope gets caught in the engine...several more minutes of them trying to get it out of the engine...take off again...guy almost falls out of the boat...kayak comes off both kayaks have been pulled into the boat...oh wait...there is a piece of cushion from one of the kayaks that came out and is, circle, circle around...grabbed cushion piece...Mr. Ray made some comment about the boat they usually bring to pick people up (so why didn't you bring THAT boat this time).  We finally made it back to shore, and scrambled off to find the hungry pregnant lady some food.

Thanks to the Urbanspoon app on my iPhone, we found Petunia's Silver Jalapeño.  The name alone makes you want to check it out doesn't it?

Petunia's Silver Jalapeño 

After some BBQ and fish tacos, we were much perkier and ventured into the little market next to the Silver Jalapeño. 

We bought some strawberries to munch on and chatted with some colorful locals.  

After some much need rest at the hotel, we headed back out for dinner and ended up at FoodWorks

Shrimp and Grits...yum
We ventured to the art district and walked around the outside of the Hunter Museum of 'Merican Art (the "A" was missing from the sign).  

Me in front of one of the bridges in Chattanooga

I don't know what he's doing but it made me laugh

This strip is in the art district and holds one of my favorite restaurants and coffee/dessert places we went to.
The cookie is almost as big as my hand

The cookie was a very good finish to a long but fun day.

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