We did the Trail of Tears Remembrance Ride a couple of weeks ago and had a very enjoyable weekend. The weather was splendid – not too hot, not rainy, just perfect except it got pretty hot that afternoon standing around the vendor’s tents in the sunshine at Waterloo.
It was difficult to find the website for the actual original ride as established 19 years ago, as there has been a division with one faction now taking a route through Monteagle, across Tennessee to Hwy. 43, and dropping down into Florence, ending at McFarland Park. The ORIGINAL ride as organized by the AL-TN Trail of Tears Corridor Association, Inc. still starts in Bridgeport, AL and follows Hwy. 72 across N. Alabama into Waterloo which is roughly the same route the Cherokees walked from Ross’s Landing on their forced removal in 1838.
I had initially only found the information for the first ride, but the day before I searched again and did find the website for the ride across North Alabama and that is the one we participated in.
See: http://www.al-tn-trailoftears.net/. The organizers did an excellent job preparing for the ride and during the ride.
Vendors didn’t seem to be doing much business, primarily because there was no cell phone reception and they couldn’t process plastic. We saw a couple of small things we would have bought, but had spent what cash we had on lunch and T-shirts.
There was a police escort the entire route, yet vehicles did manage to break through occasionally. One lane was supposed to be for the riders to pass and the other kept clear for emergency vehicles and for the officers to use, yet movement caught my eye once and I turned to see a white SUV coming up beside me. The gal couldn’t wait a few minutes to get to her next shopping destination so was perfectly willing to break through into a road closed to all but the riders to get there. We did see a few other vehicles doing the same back behind us.
As we were going into Waterloo a rider went down just ahead of us and the one behind him took the ditch with an ominous looking concrete culvert to avoid him. Martin put on a safety vest and started alerting riders coming up behind us until the ambulance arrived and the gentleman and his bike were safely moved.
While we were in Waterloo another ambulance left and on our way out we saw the helicopter there to airlift the rider for care. We do not know what happened or the outcome of the accident.
The next morning the Florence newspaper contained a story of a rider who was in the area for the event colliding with another vehicle and that rider was pronounced dead at the scene. That accident happened in neighboring Colbert County.
The accidents on Alabama Highways continued into the next week. A Motor Maid’s husband was taking her bike to have the oil changed and realized a vehicle wasn’t going to stop for the light. He almost got out of the way when the woman ran the red light. Because of his awareness he is OK, but her bike has a nasty scratch on the saddle bag where the lady’s tire clipped it. If he hadn’t been as observant the outcome might have been tragic.
Another Motor Maid wasn’t so lucky when she was struck by an automobile and suffered severe injuries. She was airlifted for care and will have a lengthy recovery.
Next, the Motor Maid whose bag was clipped by the SUV tire had a co-worker hit by an automobile and may lose a leg because of that driver’s negligence.
I guess Alabama will likely remain one of the states ranking in the top ten for worst drivers in the country for 2013. We had members of the CMA pray with us and ask for a blessing on us and our bikes at the noon stop during the TofT ride – placing our trust in the Lord seems more effective than trusting other drivers to avoid distractions and show some consideration for those of us on two or three wheels.
Stay safe. Vrumblesramblingbikerblog.wordpress.com