Day 5 Thursday June 18
FIRST! Ride the hilliest route of the week to Columbus-Belmont Civil War battlefield-49 miles
An route northward to one of Kentucky's most popular state historic sites, location of one of the earliest battles of the Civil War. Nicknamed "The Gibraltar of the West" for its strategic location on the river bluffs, you'll be able to tour a museum, see trenches where the troops took cover, and examine the huge anchor chain used to block boats traveling downriver, as well as many other artifacts. Check out the spectacular view of the Mississippi River, highlighting again the strategic significance of the site. Two choices for lunch: FIRST-a snack bar right in the park: SECOND-a restaurant you'll pass by just outside the park exit in the tiny hamlet of Columbus. This paved route has a couple of moderate hills just outside the park entrance.
THEN! Return to Fulton County High School in Hickman, have a shower, load up your gear, and drive about 45 minutes south to our final overnight site in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
Arrive at the Dyer County fairgrounds in time to get set up for the last two nights, and then drive yourself to dinner at one of the many Dyersburg restaurants on your map.
LAST! Be back at the campsite in time for the Tennessee routes orientation meeting at 8:00 PM.
Day 6 Friday June 19
FIRST! Those on the meal plan breakfast drive in their vehicles to breakfast at Neil's BBQ in Dyersburg-map provided. Return to the fairgrounds to start riding the route to Reelfoot Lake.
You'll leave the outskirts of Dyersburg and cycle north toward the first rest stop at the Dew Drop Church. Continuing on, the route takes you along the scenic Bluff Road, dividing line between the river floodplain and the west Tennessee hills. Soon you'll pass through the lakeside Spicer Park rest stop in Samburg, with outstanding views of Reelfoot Lake.
THEN! Continue along Lakeside Drive, dotted with summer fishing and vacation cabins and homes.
Several restaurants will beckon to you for lunch. The Boathouse in Samburg and Blue Bank resort restaurant both have lakeside decks. You'll be able to stop in at the state park visitor center, browse the exhibits on the great earthquakes and area wildlife, or have fun paddling through the cypress trees in a canoe or kayak! After lunch you return to Dyersburg through mostly flat river floodplain. Today's route takes you very close to or even directly over the New Madrid Fault in several places, so be prepared to hold on to your helmet!!
LAST! Return to Dyersburg fairgrounds in time for a shower.
Drive yourself to dinner at a local restaurant; return in time for information on Friday's route at the
8:00 PM "Farewell to the Fault Line" meeting!
Day 3 Tuesday June 16
FIRST! Cycle to the Discovery Park Center in Union City, Tennessee.
Spend 2-3 hours if you like checking out the many scientific and local historical exhibits. Visit the aquarium featuring area aquatic life, including Reelfoot Lake, formed by the great earthquakes. Experience the vibrations of the earthquake simulator! Have lunch at the on-site snack bars.
THEN! Return to Hickman, where from 2-5 PM the residents will show you the best of southern hospitality on the local history tour!
Climb to the top of the century-old courthouse and take a look at the still-functioning Seth-Thomas mechanical "hand-wound" clock, one of only 4 remaining. Stop in at Kentucky Kernel nut company and vacuum-pack your own souvenir can of "Munchin' Pecans". Finish with a tour of the period Coulson family home, with free slices of freshly baked cakes! Each year this is our most-talked-about tour!!
LAST! Meal plan dinner 6:30-8:00 PM in the cafeteria followed by an expert speaker on the history and causes of the great New Madrid fault earthquakes of 1811-1812.
Day 1 Sunday June 14
FIRST! Check-in at Cape Girardeau, Missouri Arena building overnight site 11 AM-4 PM.
Set up your outdoor tent or indoor campsite; if you check-in before 1 PM, you may choose to ride a short introductory route to Trail of Tears state park north of town.
THEN! Sign up for our popular tour to a wine house on the banks of the "Mighty Mississippi" river.
If interested, you MUST sign up for this when you check-in as there are only two trips, one at 4 PM and one at 6 PM with a limit of 28 people each. Or you may choose to have dinner on your own at any one of dozens of local restaurants. Local visitor's bureau reps will be present to advise you on all the activities Cape Girardeau has to offer.
LAST! Orientation meeting for the week inside the Arena Building at 8:00 PM.
Ride your bike through parts of 4 states in just 7 days!
MIDWEST CYCLOTOURING bicycle tours presents: Ride the Fault Line
Day 7 Saturday June 20
FIRST! Ride to Full Throttle Saloon, Trimble, Tennessee
Today's route will take you through a rest stop at Newbern to the small town of Trimble, Tennessee, home to the Full Throttle Saloon and Distillery. Here, if you're so inclined, you can taste real hill country moonshine and some Tennessee whiskey! Take a tour of the production facilities. Wanna take some home? We can bring it back to the campsite for you in one of the support vans! There's a diner just down the block for lunch.
THEN! Return to Dyersburg fairgrounds site.
Along the way, you'll be riding along some of the most scenic roads of the week!
LAST! This year's Ride the Fault Line tour concludes upon your return to the fairgrounds.
We hope you enjoyed your bicycle tour through our 4 states here in the mid-Mississippi Valley.
Day 2 Monday June 15
FIRST! Cycle to Illinois' Horseshoe Lake wildlife refuge & Shawnee National Forest-51 miles round trip
After taking time to "fuel up" with the meal plan breakfast, pack up your camp to be ready to depart for Kentucky later this afternoon! Today's trip will take you on a tour of the southernmost part of Illinois. The route will first pass by the historic 170-year-old Thebes courthouse, with a commanding elevated view of the Mississippi River. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, legend has it that the jail in the basement of the building once housed Dred Scott. Next, ride around the perimeter of Horseshoe Lake wildlife refuge, keeping an eye out for the many diverse wildlife species, possibly including bald eagles. Ride to the small village of Olive Branch for a rest stop, and drop in at the Kozy Korner cafe for lunch. You'll then enter the deep and occasionally hilly backroads of the Shawnee National forest. After several miles of shady and sometimes challenging terrain, you'll reach your final rest stop. Here you can prepare for the trip back across the Mississippi River bridge to the Arena Building.
THEN! Drive yourself to overnight town #2-Hickman, Kentucky.
Have a shower, then transfer to your personal vehicle and take an approximate 2-hour drive to the second overnight community in Hickman, Kentucky. Set up your outdoor or indoor campsite in time for dinner at 6:30 PM.
LAST! Meal plan dinner 6:30-8 PM at the high school cafeteria followed by orientation meeting for Kentucky routes.
Day 4 Wednesday June 17
FIRST! Begin your ride to New Madrid, Missouri by cycling to the ferry landing to cross the river.
Stop off for the meal plan breakfast on your way to the ferry. Once on the Missouri side of the river, cycle through river bottomlands that are some of the most productive farmland in the U.S. Weather and river levels permitting, there will be an alternate gravel route to ride on top of the river levee.
THEN! Arrive in New Madrid, Missouri, namesake community of our tour!
Here you'll find a comprehensive museum featuring earthquake and river lore, an Antebellum period home to tour at the Hunter-Dawson state historic site, a restored 1800's era one-room schoolhouse, and a river observation deck. There will also be lunch options for the day here.
LAST! Reverse course and return to our overnight home at Fulton County High School in Hickman.
OR choose the longer 74-mile return option if you need more mileage! Just remember to allow time for a shower before the meal plan dinner is served at 6:30, then a speaker with information on tomorrow's ride to the Columbus-Belmont civil war battlefield at 8 PM.