Valentine (valentwine) wrote,

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Chickamauga's where I've been

On Wednesday I caught a ride to Cumming, Georgia, and picked up a 1988 Cadillac Sedan deVille, then caravaned back to Nashville in it. This car was one of the last great American sedans to feature vestigial tail fins. As I left the state of Georgia I drove up into Chattanooga across the East Ridge, then through the pass around Lookout Mountain (See Rock City!) and across Nickajack Lake before driving up, across, and down Monteagle Mountain.

As I made that beautiful drive in my tail-finned road locomotive I began to think about what we're about to lose. The American Dream seems lately to be on such fragile footing. I wondered, will I be able to drive my kids across these mountains someday in a family truckster? What will my future station wagon even look like if I am allowed to have one?

As I drove across Nickajack I could see CSX trains running down the old NC&StL trackage along the shoreline, chugging toward the Cowan Tunnel. I began to wonder if we'd ever see a passenger route along those tracks again. I began to wonder what that would look like. Would it be an Amtrak train? Or will there be a newly competitive market for rail travel?

I don't know from what vehicle I'll be showing my family those ridges and valleys, but I hope they'll still be every bit as lush and green 20 and 50 and 100 years on as they were on Wednesday.

Anyone wondering how a senator from the Southern state of Tennessee could end up the champion of the Green movement should take a ride over the Cumberland Plateau with me in any car with tail fins.

(In case you were wondering what I was doing driving a Cadillac across the Tennessee River Valley:

The car was a surprise present for a little old lady whose car I look after on behalf of another man who takes care of her financially. Her 1986 Mercury Grand Marquis had finally gone to the great junkyard in the sky. Today I delivered the Cadillac to her and absolutely made her year. It is the nicest, newest car she's ever owned. It is a real beauty, owned for the past 20 years by my brother-in-law's grandfather who took immaculate care of it.)
Tags: cars, green, nature, tennessee, trains
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