Frank Briscoe, 10-2-12
Lake County Banner– Page 1
by Evan Jones,
Compared to his last ride, Frank Briscoe’s trek from the headwaters of the Mississippito the Gulf of Mexicois just a hop, skip and a jump. Briscoe and his well-loaded bicycle made a stop in Tiptonville last Thursday as he makes his way from Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf south of New Orleans following the path of the Mississippi River. “I have an extreme passion for bicycling”, he said. “In fact, as of October 2011, I have logged over 23,000 miles since I began biking in 2005”.
“I have always appreciated the great outdoors, e.g., football, motorcycle racing, hunting, the Boy Scouts (as a Scout and Scout Master), jogging, hiking and backpacking, caving, sport rappelling, white water rafting and canoeing. Some of these have taken their toll on this “Old Guy. I wondered how I could continue to enjoy outdoor sports, exercise my body and soul, and still be able to get out of bed the next morning! I found it in biking.
“On October 4, 2011, after 126 days and more than 6,000 miles I can say I made it from the northwestern most corner of Washington State’s San Juan Islands to the southeastern most tip of Florida, I fulfilled my childhood dream. It was much more than I ever imagined and truly renewed my spirit and introduced me to fabulous, caring and kind people along the way”.
Briscoe, 66, is a retired car dealer and entrepreneur from Nevada (pronounced NE-vada), Missouri. Now on Social Security he often seeks a church or fire station for overnight accommodations and last week he spent the night at the Tiptonville Methodist Church. Faith and friends have sustained him on the long ride which he says he attempts to make about 65 miles per day.
“The best part is meeting the people”, he said as he waited out a thunderstorm Thursday morning. “It has been amazing”. He said he has become closer to God on his many bike adventures. “He is there”, Briscoe said. “He has taken care of me and provided for me”.
During a really long stretch of deserted road in Minnesota, he was thinking he could really needed a place to stop for food and water. “There up ahead appeared this country store, in the middle of no where and it wasn’t on my map”, he said. “It just appeared. It had the nicest people running it. The owner asof the store and a Christian came in and asked, “Do you believe in God, if you do he will take care of you when you are in need”. And his closest call “so far”on the trip came in Minnesota. “It was on a highway that had virtually no shoulder. I could see an 18 wheeler coming up behind me. He laid on his horn and I got over as far as I could. There was no on-coming traffic. When he passed me, he got just as close to me as he could. The back wheels on the trailer came within inches of me me”. “I have no idea why he did that but it was on purpose”.
He is dedicating his ride to the fight against Multiple Sclerosis and is a fund-raiser for that cause. His business card leads with “Say no to MS”.
Briscoe crossed the Hickman-Dorena Ferry to get into Kentucky and then biked to Tiptonville for an overnight stay. After leaving Tiptonville he planned to use the Great River Road bike trail to Memphis and the cross into Arkansas. Someone warned him about the steep hill just above the Obion River near Bogota. “I’ll make it”, he said with a laugh. “I haven’t found a hill I can’t walk up yet”.