On Sunday, our journey through the Tennessee River Gorge ended when we got to the portion of the river where it becomes Bennett Lake. This corner of what is nearly a 180 degree bend in the river marks the first time a major road intersects Mullins Cover Rd, the road we were on, after a lot of slow miles.
We opted to stick to major roads at this point. In part because we’d had enough sitting in the car and in part because we were starting to get low on gas and we hadn’t seen a gas station for many miles. We worked our way back to I-24 and headed back towards Chattanooga. We were surprised to discover we were in the Central time zone and on the Nashville side of Nickajack Lake.
I decided we should stop and get some shots of Nickajack lake since we hadn’t managed to get any really great shots from down in the gorge. Unfortunately, I didn’t decide this until after we had passed the best exit for views of the lake. We went down several dead ends trying to find a road to the lake.
We ended up driving up the ridge around the lake a ways when just by chance I saw a break in the trees. We parked down the road and I walked back to the spot. It wasn’t much of a break in the trees, but it at least provided a view of the lake.
Driving through (the highway literally goes right over the middle of the lake) Nickajack lake is one of my favorite parts of the drive to Nashville (or the West end of Cumberland State park), although almost all of the drive is full of great views.
When we got back on the freeway to make our way rapidly towards food, we soon found ourselves in a traffic jam. I started taking pictures from the car. It’s always a bad sign when I start shooting through the windshield, but it gives you an idea of the kind of scenery that unfolds as you drive through this part of Tennessee . . . uh . . . Georgia? No, this was Tennessee. Barely. We crossed the Georgia state line about a mile after this image was taken.
That’s another interesting thing about driving from Chattanooga to Nashville–you have to go through Georgia to get there–at least if you take I-24. I-24 dips across the state line for about 3-4 miles as it winds it way through the mountains.
Every time we drive down I-24, I am amazed that such spectacular scenery surrounds the freeway. Having grown up in flat Columbus, Ohio where you could drive for 2 hours in either direction and barely see a bump in the landscape, the ancient mountains of the Southeast make my mouth drop open. I used to always think I preferred the Rockies. I do love the Rockies, but the gentler slopes of the Appalachians have equal, if different, charm.