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Each year the ride commemorates the long, arduous march Native Americans made from the southeast to Oklahoma as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. What followed marked one of the darkest periods in relations between the states and Native Americans.
The event is sponsored by the Trail of Tears Remembrance Association, Inc. Bill Cason is the ride leader and originator from the event’s inception.
The Trail of Tears became known as the Trail of Tears because of its devastating effects on the Indians and because of the tears shed by them as they faced leaving their homelands and the extraordinarily long and devastating walk. Many died from disease, exhaustion and exposure to cold weather.
Riders traversing through Fayetteville will arrive here Saturday morning for gas, lunch and restrooms and will depart at approximately 11:30 a.m. until 12 noon. The westbound lane of the bypass from Fayetteville High School to U.S. 64 during that time will be for motorcycles only.
The 2013 Trail of Tears Remembrance Ride will start at 8 a.m. EST on Riverfront Parkway in Chattanooga and follow scenic Highway 41/72 around Lookout Mountain to Jasper. In Jasper, the ride will leave Drane Hood Route and follow Highway 41 to Monteagle.
This route is one of the most scenic and historic routes in the state. As the ride comes off Monteagle Mountain, it will pass through Cowan and on to Winchester.
The group will take Highway 64 at Winchester, which is on the Bell Removal Route. This route went from Calhoun to Memphis into Fayetteville.
Official Trail of Tears Remembrance merchandise will be available during this stop at Fayetteville High School.
Upon departure, the group will follow Highway 64 to Pulaski, the only point at which two land removal routes cross the Benge and Bell Routes. This is a historical point on the Trail of Tears. From Pulaski, the motorcyclists will continue on Highway 64 to Lawrenceburg, where the Trail of Tears was routed through downtown.
Lawrenceburg holds a Trail of Tears re-enactment each year in November. From Lawrenceburg, they will head south on Highway 43 to Florence, Ala., and finish the main ride at McFarland Park, the last stop for Saturday’s official ride. They will arrive at approximately 2:30 p.m. CST.
“ There is no registration fee. The ride will be police escorted, and riders will be required to obey all law enforcement orders. Riders need to remember that helmets are required; they need to keep up with the pack and always stay in the right lane,” Cason said.
The Official TOT Kickoff Event will be held Friday, Sept. 20, at Thunder Creek Harley Davidson on Lee Highway, Chattanooga. The event will feature live entertainment, vendors, lots of great food and cold beverages. Visit www.thundercreekharley.com or call 423-892-4888 for more information.
At the finish in Florence, there will be plenty of activities for a welcome of all riders. The three-day festivities include Native American & motorcycle vendors, a Pow Wow, demonstrators, exhibition dancing and great food from 10 a.m. to park closing.
On Sunday, Sept. 22, the “Extended Ride” will continue onto Okmulgee, Okla., the home of The Muskogee Creek Nation. Please visit the website for more information by going to www.trailoftears-remembrance.org or calling toll free 1-877-TOT-TRIP (868-8747).