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Local couple prepares for Trail of Tears ride

Every year Mark Swindle and his wife Vicky pack up and join hundreds of Americans to participate in the Trail of Tears motorcycle ride – but this year will be different, as it will be their first year to travel with the Trail of Tears all the way to Oklahoma.

Swindle said he has always wanted to travel the entire route of the Trail of Tears but has never been able to because of work.

“This year I was able to get off work, so we are excited to go there and get to see everything,” Swindle said. “It will just be another exciting adventure for us.”

Swindle said he does not know how long he and his wife have been participating in the Trail of Tears, but they have been involved every year for a number of years.

“People come from all over for it,” Swindle said. “My favorite part is getting to meet all of the different people from everywhere.”

The Swindles will leave Thursday going toward Bridgeport and will spend a night enjoying the festivities of music and vendors there before traveling the next morning.

The bike route will leave out early Saturday morning and will stop in Waterloo for the night. The next morning, bikers will meet in the Shoals area before traveling the remainder of the journey to Oklahoma.

Swindle said since it will be his and Vicky’s first time traveling to Oklahoma with the Trail of Tears, they plan to spend time out West.

“We don’t really know when we are coming back – only that we plan to enjoy ourselves while we are out there,” Swindle said.

Swindle said he is excited for the ride every year. “There is nothing like being out there and listening to the roar of bikes,” Swindle said. “As far as you can see is motorcycles.”

Swindle said he hopes he and the rest of the riders will encounter nice weather throughout the journey but said the ride will continue regardless.

“One year we had to drive through the storm from a hurricane,” Swindle said. “We haven’t always had the best weather, but the ride will continue regardless.”

Swindle said as much as he enjoys spending time with the people involved in the Trail of Tears, he also enjoys getting to spend time honoring a part of America’s history.

“It’s a part of our history, and we want to keep our history alive,” Swindle said. “Right now it seems like a good time to be honoring our nation.”