2019 Minnie Winnie 31k, aka Goldie
2019 Minnie Winnie 31k, aka Goldie
An RV road trip from Houston, Texas, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, will take you over 813 miles of southeastern US countryside and wilderness terrain. Simply take Interstate 10 east from Houston to exit 85B, then Interstate 59 north to Chattanooga. While staying in the Houston area enjoy urban RV camping at RV parks, or for a more natural setting, camp north of the city at Sam Houston National Forest. The national forest has over 150 000 acres of beautiful natural areas and is a great place to hike on over 100 miles of trails, or boat and fish on the lakes located in the park's boundaries. There are also three RV campgrounds with access to the water, where you can set up camp for your Houston area visit.
While in the Texas city of Houston, enjoy arts and entertainment in the Theatre District, a 17 block area in the downtown area that is home to an entertainment complex, theatres, live performance venues, and restaurants. Visit the Space Center Houston and handle moon rocks, shop at Texas’s largest mall, the Galleria, or check out the aquatic critters at the Downtown Aquarium. There are 337 parks covering 54 405 acres to enjoy in Houston, and the Houston Zoo and Houston Museum of Natural Science are located at Hermann Park.
While in Houston, check out a unique wildlife viewing opportunity at the Waugh Drive Bridge on the Buffalo Bayou. The site is a well kept local secret. It is home to the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony, a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats. Visit at sundown when the bat population emerges for their nightly excursions to feed on insects.
This local bat population is probably the largest in Texas, and is resident year-round, unlike other bat populations that migrate to Mexico during the winter months. A bat observation deck is installed down the river at Buffalo Bayou Park, which makes a great spot to view the Waugh Street Bat Colony on their nightly outings. There is a second bat colony in northwest Houston at the Watonga Drive Bridge. Observe bat viewing etiquette which includes viewing the bats several feet away from the bridge so as not to disturb them and give them room to fly.
Coordinate your RV road trip with the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During the fall you can take in the events at this awesome state fair which takes place over 11 days, on a 100 plus acre site, and brings thousands of visitors to the region. Thrill-seekers can ride on carnival rides, animal lovers can check out the livestock being displayed, and there is plenty of shopping and food venues to sample. Get tickets ahead of time and check out their schedule of activities and events at their website.
The fairgrounds are easy to access on routes from the Interstate as you pass through Baton Rouge, and parking is in a large open field so there is generally enough room for RVs and tow vehicles. There is no overnight camping at the state fair, however, there are many RV campgrounds in the area, most of which have RV hookups and generous amenities.
As you continue on your journey up Interstate 20, through Birmingham, Alabama, sports enthusiasts should definitely plan a visit to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Museum. This museum features memorabilia from famous athletes like Joe Louis, Hank Aaron, and Carl Lewis just to name a few.
Located in the Uptown District of Birmingham, and attached to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, the facility is three stories high and contains 33 000 square feet of exhibit space, with over 6000 pieces of sports memorabilia, making it one of the largest sports halls of fame in the US. It also includes a theatre. Exhibits include Heisman Trophies won by Auburn University athletes Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Want to stay for some overnight camping in the Birmingham area? Camp at the Oak Mountain State Park. The campground here has 27 RV sites with water and electric hookups and accommodates RVs up to 60 feet in length.
Visit Talladega National Forest and camp at the Coleman Recreation Area Campground.
From Interstate 59, as you head up to Chattanooga, head south at exit 205, on Route 68, 411, and 9, to Rabbittown Road, then head east to Route 500, which will take you to the campground.
The Coleman Lake Recreation Area has 39 sites with water and electric hookups, and plenty of recreational opportunities. Amenities include an ADA accessible comfort station, showerhouses, restrooms, and potable water supplies. RVs up to 35 feet can be accommodated. The Talladega National Forest covers a vast 392 000 acres, on the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains in Alabama. If the weather is unpleasant you can take the beautiful Talladega Scenic Drive, and stay warm and dry, along State Route 281 for 29 miles with views of the wilderness area and mountains, including Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in Alabama. The wilderness region contains eight lakes which are good for fishing, swimming, and boating, and there are great hiking trails for walking and cycling.
Once you arrive at your Chattanooga destination, be sure to visit Ruby Falls, the tallest and deepest underground waterfall in the US, at Lookout Mountain. The falls attract half a million visitors annually to tour the cavern and view the falls, which have been named one of the best things to do in Tennessee for over 90 years. Tours of the falls sell out, so purchase tickets online prior to your visit.
The Ruby Falls Cavern Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and welcomes visitors to the site. The castle resembles a 15th-century Irish castle, and was built from limestone excavated from the elevator shaft that provides access to the falls! Choose from the Classic Waterfall Tour, the after-hours Lantern Tour, or the Gentle Walking Tour, if you have mobility issues. You can also explore Lookout Mountain and spectacular views of the Cumberland Plateau from the Lookout Tower or the Blue Heron Overlook. There is even a gift shop and cafe at the cave site to shop and grab a quick bite. Looking for adventure? Try out the zip lines available here as well.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, has plenty of great attractions for visitors to the area. Visit the Chattanooga Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium, Hunter Museum of American Art or Battles, or Chattanooga Museum during your stay in the region. For something a little different, try the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame Museum, it turns out Chattanooga is the birthplace of the tow truck! Transportation aficionados may also enjoy the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
Camp at Cloudland Canyon State Park where camping is available at the West Rim Campground. There are 72 sites with water and electric hookups, showers, and flush toilets. There is no designated limit on RV size, as sites are generous, however, most sites accommodate units up to 50 feet in length.