Yesterday was a short drive out and around the mountain up to I-40 and south on I-75 to a small town, Niota, near Athens TN. We were told by other campers that we must visit the “Lost Sea” attraction over here.
It was cloudy and still HOT. This is the hottest and most humid summer we’ve ever experienced. In the evening we went to visit the Athens Elks lodge. Athens is an old city with lovely old brick buildings of the early 1800’s.
Today we toured “Lost Sea”, touted as "America’s Largest Underground Lake”. We walked into the cave through a yellow steel tunnel, as the color helps our eyes adjust back to daylight on our return. The temperature in the cave remains 58º year round. It was cool and humid.
We walked comfortably through several large & high cave rooms viewing the cave drapery formations and a few rare crystal formations. We were told of the mining of saltpeter (potassium nitrate) during the Civil War for gun powder production, and there was carbon graffiti on the walls from Confederate soldiers writing their names & the year 1863.
The cave was also used as a giant fall-out shelter to store food for thousands during the Cold War. The lake was awesome, so quiet & peaceful as we boarded our boats to go out on it. We saw very large colorless blind trout, who evolved that way after being placed in the lake as an experiment. They also cannot procreate, so more has been brought in over the years, and we understand because of the mutation they are not very tasty.
Afterwards we visited Striker Winery (tasting & buying) and then lunched at Shoney’s, enjoying the best food ever. We will certainly visit another Shoney’s in the future. Then we visited Sweetwater Valley Farm where they make many varieties and flavors of Colby & Cheddar for tasting and buying, which we did.
We ended our day with a fun evening at the Athens Elks Lodge for Hamburger Night and Karaoke. Yes, we sang, and someone even came up to Larry asking if he would sing Kenny Rogers’ “Lady”. This was the first time he ever got a request for a song.