Morning of the Beerfest:
Diener 5K in RBC (not me, E and his friend Natalie). Went down the road a piece to catch the race. Watched as E placed first in his age group (and broke his personal record). I then watched as E had to wrest his trophy outta the figurative hands of another individual when the organizers mistakenly botched up the judging. Funny thing was that E had grumbled about the humidity (rain) earlier and how he just wasn’t feeling it today (I’d like to say that he was whining about it, but he wasn’t). When I mentioned this to mom in between the warm-up and the actual race (I stopped by the liberry), I followed it up with, “Yeah well, if he’s not feeling it, then that means he’s gonna walk away with a medal or something.” Guuuh! See!?!
Within two hours after the race, we were on the road to Beerganooga for the second beertacular Beergrimage of 2008. I was frightened that perhaps this was going to be a normal trip, with rooms in a normal hotel, where we would behave in a normal fashion, but NO, nothing was normal…thankfully nothing will ever be normal when it is tinted with a hint of Fleegan (but what is normal?). The rooms that E had Hotwired for us were in the Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel, which I thought was just a quaint way of saying the Chattanooga Hotel. They were in fact rooms at a hotel that’s sole purpose is to showcase the much-loved Chattanooga Choo-Choo, which evidently began running in 1909 and stopped running in 1970. This hotel was not one hotel, but a compound of three hotels divided by old Pullman cars (which you may stay in for a price) and surrounded by a train track that is used by a vintage New Orleans street car, complete with cable. There are restaurants (Dinner in the Diner), gift shops and swimming pools. The front lobby is the old 1908 train station (beautifully domed with floor to ceiling rounded, multi-paned glass windows) that looks out the front on bustling Market Street, and out the back onto the rather mini-Versailles-esque gardens (complete with individual species gardens, water fountains and topiaried plants (boxwoods, wisteria, and sundry other topiariable things). We were in a miniature railway heaven. The rooms themselves were efficient and relatively spacious (two beds, tv armoire, bathroom with loo-vestibule and a small table with two chairs by the sliding-glass doors which opened out onto what E affectionately called the three inch balcony (it was just a decorative iron railing that was almost flush to the building, you know, a pretty way to allow you to look out at the pool, but keep you from falling overboard). E obtained our rooms in this familial paradise for the bargain price of $59 each, plus some change. These same rooms are currently priced online at $139 per night. Suh-weet! Nice job Slim!
Just a bit more on the hotel, and then I’ll move on to the most important part of the trip, the beer. The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel website touts: It’s a hotel! It’s a song! It’s a train! Now, picture it: two singletons, no children, staying in a child-friendly hotel, full of trains, gardens, snack shops and such…and our friends, the Catoes, parents of le enfante incredible, staying in a swank hotel with a marble bathroom floor and grandiose lob-bay…well, I found myself looking around for the camera at one point because of the hilarity of the situation. The Choo was very nice and was remarkably quiet (except when Kansas Slim was inspired to sing a few verses of the song Chattanooga Choo-Choo), even with rooms that faced out into the swimming lagoon of Hotel Deux that happened to be filled at 10:30PM with tiny little squealing bodies (this was after our return from the Beerfest). Well, it was quiet until about 2:30PM, when the silence was unmercifully broken by some little devils knocking on Eric’s hotel door loud enough to wake me from my slumber next door. I heard the knock in my sleep, heard the ensuing giggles and the slapping of feet as the scamps escaped down the corridor. I didn’t wake at the initial knocking, but snapped to, muttering the word “Children!” when I heard the giggling (a bit like the hospitalized and comatose Dr. Guggenheim in Rushmore when he comes to briefly to mutter the name “Fisher”). I immediately slipped my trusty earplugs into place and slept unmolested the rest of the night.
Check out the splendor with your own two eyes:
The Beer (at least the ones I partook of and remember…my note taking went down the tubes almost immediately)/The Plan (Laura and I would get different beers and sample each others’…we all ultimately ended up sampling each others’ beer …because we roll that way):
New Belgium (Ft. Collins, CO)-They were only offering Fat Tire and Mothership Wit (no La Follie, nor Springboard). I had the Mothership Wit, Laura had the Fat Tire.
Highland Brewing Company (Ashville, NC)-They offered Gaelic Ale, St.Terese's Pale Ale, and the Kashmir IPA . I took the Gaelic Ale, Laura took the St. Terese’s Pale Ale and one of the gentlemen took the Kashmir.
(For all of you other attendees, please leave comments on the beers that you partook of, please. I know the there was some Good People, Magic Hat and Sweet Water, but I’m sure there was more.)
In a crowd of ball-shifting men and high-maintenanced women, the four of us got our beer on. I remember one beer tasting like roses, another tasting like a cream soda Dum-Dums…the rest are a blur. Oh beer, why do you make me forget!?!
Sucked (we couldn’t stomach it out until the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies)
We witnessed with our ears and our eyes possibly the most awful attempt at entertainment (I was far more entertained at the dinner table of Mellow Mushroom where the tiniest schmear of hummus was shared by four ravenous individuals and where more pizza than you could shake a stick at disappeared into thin air). I think I may have heard the band play a song about Shake-n-Bake? Maybe I just dreamt it…although we watched some very baked people trying to shake-it to the music. And then, there was the guy with the purple face…
The walk back to the hotel after the beerfest:
Just beautiful! Love the city, especially at night. Nothing like the look, feel and smell of a city at night. The Catoes let us come up to their room for a nightcap of coffee. This was where we witnessed the caressing of the face of one Catoe by the foot of the other Catoe. It was really quite sweet, until the caress-faced Catoe realized what was touching his face and he had a conniption.
The trip home:
Stopped at World Market and purchased some much needed beer. I scored a Rogue Dead Guy Ale pint glass to replace the special Bush & Bull pint glass that I accidentally left in Denver over two years ago, a pint glass that I needed for properly making my Vietnamese coffee. E and I decided that we wanted something ethnic to dine on, something that we couldn’t get back in our Queen City of the Coosa. We thought Greek would be nice, so earlier that morning E did a Google search for Greek restaurants in the area. Mykanos, The Acropolis, and the Cracker Barrel were some of the suggested choices. After looking in vain for the Greek Cracker Barrel, we settled on The Acropolis. We had an equally small schmear of hummus, but for two less people, so it went a tiny bit farther (I did not get my hummus on on this trip, therefore I had to make hummus for dinner tonight). I had lottsa feta and Kalamata olives on my salad. Verrah nice.
I am so certain that I have not done justice to recounting this trip…but I’m tired and must rest my eyes.