All Aboard

Yesterday Bill mentioned the disappointment that Botticelli’s Venus isn’t shown to it’s best advantage in its home in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  I know someone who was disappointed at seeing the David by Michelangelo in that same city; she thought that many fewer people should be allowed into the gallery at any given time so that it is quiet while you are observing the statue.  I also know several folks who were underwhelmed by Stonehenge; they feel it is too close to the highway (technically the highway is too close to Stonehenge) and there is a chain link fence along the road that runs up to it.  And of course I did have a client once who just didn’t love Paris the way he thought he should. He couldn’t explain it at all and felt a little sheepish about it.

One of the days I was visiting Pat in Nashville, we drove down to Chattanooga for a day.  After we’d gone all through the huge aquarium there, I told Pat I wanted to see the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  After all – why not.  I’m guessing if it took me 66 years to get to Chattanooga the first time, I probably won’t get another chance!

We turned on the GPS… we were only about 3 miles away but it was downtown traffic so we wanted to be sure.  A left turn took us to the back of a hotel where there were some older trains but there wasn’t an entrance so we turned back.  A right turn after the hotel was the same… train cars but no entrance.  The front of the hotel has mostly pay parking and there was no signage whatsoever for the CCC.  We finally parked in a questionable spot and I called the hotel itself.  The gal who answered the phone said you had to go through the hotel lobby to get there.  Hmmmm.  We left the car in our questionable space and traipsed into the hotel.  It became clear immediately that this hotel had been the train station at one point but these days it is in sad shape and most of the retail spots in the big open atrium are dark.

If you walk all the way through, you do indeed come out to the train yard and the CCC is right there but that’s about all there is to say.  Not clean, not spiffed up, no signage, no speakers playing the famous song.  No little café serving coffee with cute names and no gift shop with magnet and postcards.  All the other train cars in the yard are in very sad shape; a few look like there might be some refurbishing going on, but I wouldn’t bet any money on when it will actually be finished.  As long as we were there, Pat snapped a photo of me in front of the engine, proof that we had actually found it!  Truly, the model of the CCC in the hotel lobby was more impressive than the actual train itself.

Luckily since we hadn’t thought about looking for the CCC until that morning, neither of us had any great expectations so it wasn’t nearly as disappointing as it could have been.  I think it’s the big build up in our expectations that causes most of our disappointments – at least it is for me.

What would you call a coffee drink at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Coffee Shop?

56 thoughts on “All Aboard”

    1. I have always thought to myself that black means no cream no sugar but I guess now that you mention it, if you put sugar in it, it’s still black isn’t it?

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  1. Compare your photo with the one shown on Wikipedia for Chattanooga Choo Choo. As I expected, the train didn’t get that name until after the song became popular. Prior to that it was called something like the Birmingham Special, a harder name to lyricize.

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    1. You are correct. The reason that it was significant. It was the first line between Chattanooga and Cincinnati I believe. But not called the choo-choo. I’m sure train engineers turn over in their graves every time someone says choo-choo.

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      1. I have heard your stories
        About your fast trains
        But now I’ll tell you about one
        All the Southern folks have seen
        She’s the beauty of the Southlands
        Listen to that whistle scream
        Git that Birmin……. Hmmm

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  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    The coffee drink I think would be called “The Chug-a-Lug”. It would be very dark, strong coffee with a shot of some kind of liquor to make steam come out of your nose.

    We get home today. Lots of election drama here in AZ while we were here which makes me appreciate Mn elections. I hope the New Democrat Governor spearheads some sensible water policy. They are building homes and businesses without any water plan as the Colorado River and Lake Meade go dry.

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  3. I have not been to Chattanooga and not seen whatever was attempted with the apparently moribund Choo Choo hotel complex, but the song upon which it is all centered is so redolent and atmospheric of the1940s, I can’t imagine why they chose a locomotive that looks like it came out of a Disney cartoon to represent the theme.
    Imagine if they had instead chose a ‘40s-era locomotive or better yet a whole train and kept a 1940s feeling throughout the complex. Naming things would be easy. You could refer to ‘40s-era train songs or other songs of the period or make any number of allusions to ‘40s personalities and associations.

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      1. I looked into it a little further. Apparently the redevelopment of the station and the Chattanooga Choo Choo theme, to the extent it is a theme, is the brainchild of a group of local businessmen. That explains a lot. How can you have an ice rink in the context of Chattanooga Choo Choo and not name it the Sonja Heine Ice Arena?

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        1. I agree PJ about the missed opportunity. If there had been options, I could’ve dropped some coin on a couple of postcards or a magnet or even an over-priced coffee drink.

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  4. Well you Statesiders have the Choo Choo on your doorstep (what’s a thousand or two miles to you guys), so naturally you mostly haven’t got around to seeing it. But Jane and I DID have dinner in the diner on the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the night before our Nashville restaurant adventure. Sad to hear it’s all in disrepair now, the station was in its full glory in 1992. I have no idea if the train, converted to a restaurant, was in any way a “real” Choo Choo. It was the only actual restaurant we ate in (ie expensive, tiny portions with posh names), I have no memory of what we ordered, but it was extremely good, and soon vanished. We stayed the night in the hotel, whether it was in a room, converted carriage, box car, coal tender, I don’t remember. But a good experience.

    And we went to the tow truck museum! I had no idea such beauty existed! A converted prewar Buick, among other things.

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  5. There is an old joke, al a dad joke, with this song as a reference. I cannot remember jokes, but all day the punch line is in my head: Pardon me boys, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes.

    Any dads out there that know the joke that goes with it?

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  6. Train/railroad-related terms that could be used as coffee drink names that sound cool but I don’t have to say what they may be: Hotshot, Derailure, Night Owl, Baby Lifter, Boilerman, Gandy Dancer, Roadmaster, Ashcat, Eighth Notch, Clown Wagon, Brass Collar, Full Head of Steam, All Black, Coupler, and probably several others…

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      1. Was yesterday’s comment about Venus on the Halfshell from you as well. About the new sign on, I have no idea. I think it depends, at least partially, on the device you’re using. I have to sign on for every comment I make. Rather cumbersome and tedious.

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      1. Ok…i guess… Apparently, success in voiceover involves a certain amount of being in touch with feelings and ‘new agey’ energy type stuff. Or, at the very least, not being perpetually angry. Huh. Clearly, I will need to work on that…

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  7. So at the shop the morning barista, Roy, always uses oat milk in drinks unless you specify you want regular cow’s milk, and honey unless you specify sugar. It’s not unusual for a customer to order on the app, and then at the pickup counter, you hear them ask, “Pardon me, Roy, is that the Chai tea sugar moo moo?”

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