Ride the Fault Line Tour Visits Area
In what has become a recent tradition, over 250 bicyclists traveled through the area Monday, June 13, as part of the Ride the Fault Line tour. This marks the fourth year the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum, of Piggott, has served as a rest stop for the tour, which visits four states in seven days. The past few years a route adjustment to flatter terrain, as opposed to the rigors of Crowley's Ridge, meant the addition of stops in both Rector and Marmaduke. As they have in year's past, Northeast Arkansas rolled out the red carpet for the riders, who represented nearly a dozen states.
This year's event got underway Sunday, as the riders set out from Sikeston and pedalled the 73 miles to Kennett where they spent the night at the American Legion building. Monday morning they made their way across the St. Francis River to Clay County, with a water stop at the Call's Chapel Church and a full rest stop at the local museum.
During their visit to Piggott many of the participants also took the opportunity to visit both HPMEC and the nearby Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum. The previous evening museum director Adam Long spoke to many of the riders during their stop in Kennett, giving them the background of the museum and its ties to Ernest Hemingway.
Afterward, the riders were off on the next leg of the journey. They made their way south along U.S. Highway 49, to Rector, for a rest stop at Memorial Park where they were hosted by members of the First United Methodist Church.
Kaye Huggins, a member of the sponsoring group, said the riders were very complimentary of the park and the way the picnic pavilion was set up for their convenience. She and the other church members enjoyed visiting with riders from all over the country -- mentioning states such as Michigan, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
"It was really great visiting with them and hearing their comments about our area and our park," Huggins said. Among those greeting the riders was FUMC pastor Mace Straubel, who especially enjoyed visiting with riders from his native Michigan.
Among those stopping for refreshment was a family from Gardner, Kan., the Levi Shorts. Wife Shannon said it is a family affair as her parents have been avid cyclists over the years. Her father was among those on the ride.
"I started at an early age," she said, "riding across the state of Kansas when I was seven-years-old."
Son Ethan, 10, was eager to talk about his adventures on the trip, including looking forward to riding on a couple of ferries before the event ends. "I just like to look at new places," he said. "I'm really having fun."
His brother, Colby, 8, is also an eager cyclist, and is an amazing rider for his age on the 400-mile trip. "I really enjoy being with my grandparents, and my parents," he said.
Three participants from Chattanooga shared information about the types of bicycles they are riding, pointing out the difference between racing and touring models. One significant difference is the weight, with the racing bike coming in at about 20 pounds and the touring model at 35 pounds. They are veteran cyclists who have made trips all over the country, with one most notably along the Pacific Coast Highway from Oregon down to San Diego.
The riders, and their support staff, made a stop at Marmaduke for lunch following the visit to Rector, en route to an overnight stay at the Paragould Community Center.
Tuesday they were slated to make the return run to Kennett by way of Highway 412, and today, Wednesday, June 15, the route will take them back north to the New Madrid school. On Thursday they are slated to ride the ferry to Hickman, Ky., and on Friday there are a number of alternate routes with optional visits to the Discovery Park of America at Union, Tenn., Reelfoot Lake or Belmont State Park.
On Saturday the riders are scheduled to travel back from Hickman County, Ky., across the bridge at Caruthersville, and make their way back to Sikeston to complete the journey.
Those wanting additional information on the Ride the Fault Line tour may visit their website at www.ridethefault.com