Day 2: December 23, 2010
To the Queen
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When I asked my waitress at Litton's where a good place spot was for breakfast, she sort of screwed up her face and offered a meek "Cracker Barrel?". Looking online wasn't too much more productive. With one exception, the independents I found had luke-warm and worse reviews. That exception was The French Market Crêperie which even got some "Don't miss" comments at UrbanSpoon. So that's where I headed this morning but without quite enough research. The Crêperie opens at 9:00; I was there about 7:15. I took a picture of the Christmas decorations across the street then hit the road.

I had somehow convinced myself that I had never driven US-70 and US-27 to Chattanooga but that's exactly the route I followed for the 2009 Fourth of July. Familiar sights soon reminded me of tat. But those sights did not include an appropriate breakfast stop. There were several McDonald's and the like (Sonic seems to be almost as common as the Golden Arches in these parts.) but no mom & pops. The maps in my GPS are a few years old and, even though it did turn up a few independents, all were out of business or totally gone. I crisscrossed Dayton, Tennessee until I was finally rewarded by the sight of an old and unlit neon sign. The "Dayton Coffee Shop & Restaurant" is exactly what I was looking for. Those pictures on the wall are all of local folks, many in military uniforms. Each table also has pictures of locals under glass. At my table, the pictures were mostly from the '60s & '70s. Maybe they all are. The meal was $4.96.

Dayton is where the Scopes "Monkey Trial" took place in 1925. I've posted photographs from here before but without the hand made paper chain and popcorn string decorations. Natural decorations were also in evidence. Neither the court house nor the museum were open.

That empty parking lot is the same one that was filled with vintage motorcycles when I was here in September for the "Pre-1916 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run". As soon as I reached Chattanooga, I headed directly to Coker Tires in hopes that it would be open and I could get into the museum. Score! Not only did I see the museum, I learned that there's a lot more to Coker than I knew. I knew of them as dealers in tires for vintage automobiles and motorcycles. Turns out they also do complete restorations of both cars and bikes and manufacture wheels, too. They probably do even more things that I'm still not aware of. The second picture is in the lobby and the others are in the museum. Even the museum surprised me since I thought it was pretty much dedicated to motorcycles. Four wheeled vehicles may actually outnumber the two wheeled kind although there are plans for adding a second wall of bikes. I picked a Stutz and an original Mini to show the range of vehicles that Corky Coker has collected and which he shares for free. Thanks to Corky for that and thanks to Mike and Lynda for their hospitality today.

It was still a bit early to check in so I made brief stops at both the Terminal Brewery and Aretha Frankenstein's before heading to my "motel". The Delta Queen looks just as cool as she did when I stayed on her a year and a half ago. Although it's very much an uphill course, sentiment to return her to mobility still exists as does sentiment to scrap her. Last month a group held an event called "Rally on the River" during which qualified volunteers exercised the aged lady's engines though she didn't move an inch. She's currently for sale with a variety of bidders weighing in. The Queen's future, including whether it gets better or worse, is very much up in the air just now.

A special week day rate is offered during the winter that allows me to sleep on this king sized bed for less than I paid for my bunk room in 2009. The bed just about fills the cabin so that moving around in it is kind of like moving around in a camper; But it's a really nice camper. The Gingerbread family certainly appreciated the specious bed even though one of the "other kids" is missing. He just couldn't be found when I left the motel this morning.

The first picture is the view from my room and the second shows the area to the left. After a tiny bit of exploring, I headed up to the Texas Lounge to another Christmas tree and, eventually, dinner. I've found three Christmas trees so far.

After dark, I went ashore briefly to get some pictures of the lighted boat. Back on board, I grabbed a shot of the two bridges that the Queen sets between, the light trees near the aquarium, and a close up of the Queen herself. That's the Texas Lounge behind the big wreath.

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