Trail of Tears History
Come ride the official Trail of Tears route, from Ross' Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee to the official start in Bridgeport and then on to the certified Trail of Tears National Historical Trail site by the National Park Service at Waterloo Landing in Waterloo, Alabama. This ride is recognized by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission as the official Trail of Tears Route and was recognized by the Alabama legislature as Joint House Bill 95-346 and signed by the Governor on 7-13-1995.
The information below tells what the event and ride was founded for, and why the 72 Highway Route through North Alabama was chosen and why ATTOTCA chose to Ride the Drane/Hood Overland Route as the "TRAIL OF TEARS COMMEMORATIVE MOTORCYCLE RIDE©"
The "Trail of Tears Commemoration and Motorcycle Ride©" was started to educate the public and mark a particular Trail of Tears overland route that was lost in history. This route runs from Ross' Landing in Tennessee and follows closely to U.S. Highway 72 then on west to Waterloo was chosen because of the deaths, extreme hardships, many escapes and the miserable conditions the 1,070 Cherokee Indian that arrived in Waterloo encountered. This is why for the last 17 years volunteers that organized this ride followed this route. A few former-volunteers decided to end the ride at McFarland Park in 2006 and started their own ride down Highway 64 through Tennessee.
In May of 1838 U.S. Gen. Winfield Scott was commanded by the President to round up as many Cherokee as he could in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. About 17,000 were placed in concentration camps near what is now Chattanooga and over 1200 were placed at a camp in Fort Payne, Alabama. Between May and June, over 5,000 were moved down the Tennessee River by flatboat west to Oklahoma. Then in June of 1838, a drought caused the water to get too low to move any more people. So the U.S. Government knew that conditions were deteriorating (the Indians were dying of dysentery and other illnesses) and it decided to move 1,070 rebellious Indians to Waterloo following closely to U.S. 72 through North Alabama. Years later, Legislature was drafted for this route and the founding organization, the Alabama Waterfowl Assoc., used their non-profit status to sponsor ride, sell tee shirts and other merchandise to raise funds to place signs, historical markers and education programs for this project. Not only did the ride raise awareness to this one route, it got the general public aware of all the Indian Removal Routes.