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Wandering Biker

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Thu
1
Oct '09

Pigeon Forge, TN to Muscle Shoals, AL via Red Clay State Historic Park, TN and Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, GA and Russell Cave National Monument, AL – 351 miles

When I turned on the Weather Channel this morning it said that the temp was 45F. Brrr. Felt like it too.

The computer said to go directly north and get on the interstate going south. That seemed a little silly to me, so I took US 321 S directly to I-75. I’m sure the computer’s route was shorter as I followed a long, slow  line of cars out of Pigeon Forge until US 321 became four lanes. I ran through some patchy fog along the way and the humidity made it feel just that much colder.

My first stop for the day is Red Clay State Historical Site, TN just north of the Georgia border. This was the site of the capitol of the Cherokee people after the state of Georgia made it illegal for them to assemble. There were 11 tribal councils held here from 1832 to 1838, when the Cherokee were forcibly removed to Oklahoma. For many this site was the beginning of the Trail of Tears. I learned that at the time of their removal the Cherokee published a newspaper for their people in both Cherokee and English.

My next stop was the Chickamauga battlefield of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Georgia. This 5500 acre site was one of the major battles of the Civil war. There are more than 600 stone monuments at the site and there is a seven mile auto tour of the battlefield. I took a few pictures at the visitor center.

For my next stop of the day I had to pop back up into Tennessee, get on the Interstate for a few miles and then drop back down into Alabama. The National Park Service maps for Russel Cave National Monument show a northern “back” route to the park and since I was coming from the north I decided to go that way.

After getting directions from a postal carrier I found myself going down a very narrow and steep…well “road” would be giving it too much credit. It was mostly one lane wide and sometimes paved and sometimes not. About half way down the mountain I thought it started looking way too much like a scene from the movie Deliverence. Luckily the directions I got were good and I eventually ended up at the national monument. According to the park literature Russel Cave was inhabited by early North Americans from 6500 BC to 1650 AD.

I left via the “front” entrance and spent the rest of the day riding across Alabama on US 72. The section through Huntsville, AL was especially slow with lots of traffic and traffic lights. I was planning on spending the night in Florence, AL but when I got there I discovered there was bass fishing tournament in progress. I managed to find a room across the river in Muscle Shoals and had some BBQ for dinner.

My back, neck and arms are sore, probably from guiding my heavy and overloaded bike down the “road” to Russel Cave.

National Parks Tour progress so far – 38 sites, 18 states.

3 comments »

3 comments to “Pigeon Forge, TN to Muscle Shoals, AL via Red Clay State Historic Park, TN and Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, GA and Russell Cave National Monument, AL – 351 miles”

  1. ob Says:

    hi Biker!

    i cannot believe how close you are to reaching your goal: 50 sites/25 states… (i think thats what you said it was…) anyway… great job so far! great pics/blog!

    as always: safe travels…

  2. Curtis Says:

    Thanks ob…still have a ways to go….

  3. Auto Insurance Guy Says:

    Ah!!! at last I found what I was looking for. Somtimes it takes so much effort to find even tiny useful piece of information.
    Nice post. Thanks