Clay is home!!!! He rode on the Remember the Removal bike ride. He was away from home for 22 days. I have other post dedicated to his journey. He had 1,022 pictures on his iphone. I selected some photos from his phone and put them on this post. I asked Clay to typed the captions to the photos. He actually typed the captions himself. I wanted to do this post first. Next, will be a post about his arrival. I even have his arrival on video. I will post that on the next blog as well.
Everything below here is in his own words about his trip.
We left Tahlequah, Oklahoma on June 1 and started making our way to North Carolina where we would meet with the eight fellow riders from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The first day of driving was just pretty boring. We made it all the way to Nashville, Tennessee the first day and would finish the trip to North Carolina the second day. Arkansas and Tennessee had some fairly large hills like the one above. I took this picture in Tennessee the first day.
This picture was taken the second day while we were in the eastern edge of Tennessee. We could start to barely make out the edge of the Smokey Mountains from miles away. This is the point when I started to get very excited. They were enormous. In the area of Oklahoma where we live, there is nothing but flat land so to see mountains is a big deal.
It seemed like as soon as we passed the state line into North Carolina is when the mountains started to get really big. We were climbing in elevation forever. You can tell in the picture that the road we were on was steep.
This picture was taken from a scenic lookout that we drove through. The picture just doesn’t show how big and gorgeous this view was. At this point, we were about fifteen minutes from Cherokee, North Carolina.
This is a picture I took out the back window of the car while we were driving so that’s why its blurry. The vine that is taking over everything is called Kudzu. Kudzu is native to Japan and China but was introduced in the eastern part of the U.S. in hopes that it would help with erosion. The vine strives much better here than its native countries and has started to take over the eastern part of the country. Hopefully it doesn’t make its way across the Mississippi River. Vine is almost impossible to get rid of so they have started too research uses for the vine.
This is Chief Vann’s plantation home in Calhoun, Georgia. The home was built in 1804 and belonged to Chief James Vann. James Vann was the wealthiest man in the entire Cherokee Nation prior too the removal. It has a full wine cellar basement, two stories with 12 foot ceilings and a half story on top. It is one of the oldest remaining structures in the state of Georgia. Many important people visited this home including President James Monroe.
This is the dining room of the Vann House.
This is the elegant fireplace In the living room where Vann would entertain guests.
This is taken from the back balcony of the Vann House looking into the yard. They replicated slaves quarters in the back lawn.
This is the staircase on the second story. The staircase in the house is considered an engineering marval because it is a floating staircase.
Brick stove in the slaves quarters.
This is taken at Blythe’s Ferry in Tennessee. The Alsenay siblings are standing on a map made out of marble that shows the different routes taken by the Indians during the removal. Blyth’s ferry is the location where thousands of Cherokees were ferried across the Tennessee River.
This is the second group of riders being ferried across the river.
This was taken at Big Springs Park in Kentucky. This was the location of a spring that thousands of Cherokees depended on for fresh water during travel to Indian Territory.
This was taken at Fall Creek Falls Park in Tennessee. I don’t think it was significant to the Cherokees but many Cherokees could’ve used it as a water source. Something interesting is that the non-animated version of The Jungle Book was filmed at this park. Bridge fight seen is the same bridge I’m about to walk on.
This is Fall Creek Falls. The only way to get to the falls was to hike. A few of the other riders and I took the long hiking trail which provided us with awesome picture taking opportunities. The trail to the waterfall was pretty treacherous, especially after climbing the Cumberland gap in the same day.
This is the bottom of the Falls. The water was extremely cold. Some of the riders swam in it.
This is the entrance to the Trail of Tears Commemorative Park in Kentucky. This was the burial site of two significant Cherokees. We were supposed to camp here but there was a chance for storms.
This is Mantle Rock in Kentucky. The rock is elevated 30 feet above the ground and is 188 feet long. Mantle Rock could’ve been used as shelter for Cherokees while traveling. They say there are plants that grow around Mantle Rock that don’t grow anywhere else in the state of Kentucky.
This is a picture of the atrium in the hotel we were staying at on one of our rest days in Jackson, Missouri.
On the road in Kentucky. The rider in front of me is Carmen from North Carolina. Notice all the corn on the left side of the road. Corn must have been the most popular agricultural crop is that area. It was everywhere!
This is one of the wings of Wildwood Springs Lodge in Stillville, Missouri. It was built in the 1920’s and little has been done to renovate it so it was very old and rustic.
The wing that we stayed in. It looked really creepy.
The lodge was really nice in its hay day. It had covered porches all around it with really pretty views of the Ozarks.
This was the atrium of the hotel we stayed at in Springfield, Missouri. It was really cool.
This is the road going through Pea Ridge Battle Field in Arkansas. The reason we visited here was because there was an infantry of Cherokees that fought here.
This was taken at Fantastic Caverns in Springfield, Missouri.
Now this is my kind of cheeseburger. One of the riders ate this at a “hole in the wall” diner in Westville, Oklahoma. It had 6 patties of meat and 4 buns. He ate it all!
This was taken the day of our ride in ceremony. It was a gate that was in the shape of a bicycle. We were about 15 miles from home right here.
In Between Stilwell and Tahlequah, they had made signs of encouragement telling how much further it was to home. They also had quotes from the riders along the side of the road as well. This was one of my favorite parts of the day.