About the Owner/Operator Rufus Marye
Rufus Marye is a 2000 graduate of The McCallie School in Chattanooga, a 2004 graduate of The Citadel and a former Field Artillery officer with Tennessee Army National Guard. He is an OIF veteran and OEF veteran and lives in Chattanooga. His hobbies are studying Chattanooga history, running across the Market and Veteran’s street bridges, smoking a cigar at Burns tobacconist on Cherry Street, drinking coffee, listening to jazz music and enjoying locally crafted whiskey and beer. Above all, Rufus loves being with his lovely wife, Katie and daughter Ava.
So it turns out long ago Chattanooga had a tour bus and it was called The Tennesseer. The bus currently sits in The Corker Tire museum in Chattanooga and although the bus isn't currently used I thought such a great name should be. So, I got with my good buddy Kirk Rhodes who helped me do the original Chattanooga Double Decker logo and we made the conversion with some changes.
Though the double decker bus is gone we shall still continue to dedicate ourselves to showing the most scenic city in America to people. Why do we do this? The answer is painfully simple. Because we love Chattanooga.
P.S. The double decker bus that was used to do tours for 7 years is still in Chattanooga by the way. It was dedicated to a local business at 400 East Main Street and has been renamed "Ava" in honor of Rufus's Daughter.
How The Chattanooga Tennesseer came to be.
On July 28th, 2009 upon turning on to Carter street following a routine teeth cleaning at the dentist’s office, I had an epiphany. What if Chattanooga had an open top Double Decker tour bus that could show the rich history and scenery of not just a small portion, but more, much more of the city I love so much. Eventually I would formulate a route with views as far North as Stringer’s Ridge, as far East as the Historic Brabson-Loveman home, as far South as the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel and as far West as the Moonpie Factory. All the while crossing all three of Chattanooga’s drivable bridges for a total of 4 times and driving along the South and North Banks of the Tennessee River in order to show her majestic beauty as well as the grandiose mountains surrounding the “The Scenic City” in about approximately 1 hour. Though I had this dream in 2009 it wasn’t until my 2010 deployment to Iraq that I garnered the rest of the funds I needed to turn my dream in to a reality. While I was in Iraq, I swore that when I returned I would deliver the most historically accurate and scenic tour ride in Chattanooga. Upon returning in July 2010, I attained the business licenses I needed before searching far and wide until finding the perfect bus (well, perfect for the price) in Los Angeles, California. On the night of October 1st 2010, the bus celebrated her first maiden voyage by taking my classmates and I out on the town to celebrate our 10 year high school reunion. I decided to name the company Chattanooga Double Decker.
Although the double decker bus was a hit over the next seven years it was incredibly hard to maintain and it also had a real problem of breaking down. Also, due to insurance costs and regulations we were only allowed to carry 14 passengers on the entire bus. Due to both those issues, I found myself going to a vehicle rental business trying to rent a 15 passenger van as a substitute when bus was broken down. I had such a hard time trying to rent a van I decided to buy my own van and use it as a backup while also trying to rent it out. As a result I started my own van rental business and decided to name it VAN MAN. Finally, I just decided it would be safer and easier to cut the top off of one of my rental vans and do tours with it instead of the double decker bus. But what to call it? Obviously since it wasn't a double decker bus anymore it had to be named something else.