The annual Trail of Tears Remembrance Motorcycle Ride will be Saturday, Sept. 15, beginning at 8 a.m., rain or shine. The official TOT Kickoff Party is Friday, Sept. 14.
In downtown Chattanooga, motorcyclists should travel West on Martin Luther King Boulevard to Riverfront Parkway where traffic directors will be present to line everyone up.
Officials said, "The 2012 Trail of Tears Remembrance Ride will start in Chattanooga, and follow scenic highway 41/72 around Lookout Mountain to Jasper. In Jasper, the ride will leave the Drane Hood route and follow Highway 41 to Monteagle, Tn. This route is one of the most scenic and historic routes in the state. As the ride comes off Monteagle Mountain, it will pass thru Cowan, Tn., and on to Winchester, Tn. We will take highway 64 at Winchester, which is the Bell Removal route. This route went from Calhoun, Tn., to Memphis. We will remain on the Bell route to Fayetteville, Tn., where we will stop for lunch, gas, and restrooms. Official Trail of Tears Remembrance merchandise will be available during our stop at Fayetteville. We will depart at 11:30 a.m. or noon, CST. (Note: Westbound off bypass from Lincoln County Junior High School to US 64 will be “motorcycles only).
"Upon departure, we will follow Highway 64 to Pulaski, Tn., 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. We will continue on highway 64 to Lawrenceburg, where the Trail of Tears was routed through downtown. Lawrenceburg holds a Trail of Tears reenactment each year in November. From Lawrenceburg we will head south on highway 43 to Florence, Ala., and the end of the main ride at McFarland Park.
"The last stop for Saturday’s official ride is McFarland Park in Florence, Ala., we will arrive at approximately 2:30 p.m. CST. Ride safe."
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.
The Official TOT Kickoff Party will be held on Friday, Sept. 14, at Thunder Creek Harley Davidson on Lee Highway. The party 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, Ala., there will be plenty of fun to welcome all riders. The two-day festivities (Sept. 14 and 15) - Native American & Motorcycle vendors, a Pow Wow, storytellers, beadwork activities, exhibition dancing and great food will be open from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. All area schools are invited on Friday afternoon for a day of education in Native American Culture.
On Sunday, Sept. 16, the “Extended Ride” will continue on to Wewoka, Ok. This will complete visits to the nations of the five civilized tribes. Please visit the website for information and details.
For more information visit www.trailoftears-remembrance.org or call toll free 877 TOT-TRIP (868-8747)