September 26, 2012

Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in Mississippi River Trail | 2 Comments

Charleston, MO to Tiptonville, TN

Distance 62 miles; 45 miles on my bike and 17 miles I hitched a ride , ride averaged 9.2 mph, ride time 4:55, actual time on road 6 hours and 20 minutes.  Expenses $15.81

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Pastor Mike arrived right at 6:45 as promised we went across the highway to the new Huddle House restaurant located in the Flying J station where we had a good breakfast and even better conversation.  We continued with our discussion of the night before and I’m convinced Pastor Mike is right I need to continue sharing my stories from the road.  For any of you who might think I’m becoming a religious zealot and about to start preaching to you, I’m not.  On the other hand I cannot ignore or deny God’s existence and how he protects, provides and guides me on my bicycle adventures.

Today once again I rode into a strong headwind challenging my mettle to continue riding south to the Gulf of Mexico but did manage to ride 45 miles.  I took the advice in the MRT guidebook to stay on the Missouri side of the Mississippi river and cross over to Kentucky via the ferry at Dorena/Hickman.

Ferry crossing from Dorena, MO to Hickman, KY

This route on the MRT crosses the very southwest tip of Kentucky for only nine miles.  I stopped for a quick lunch break and when I came out of the diner a couple local gals visited with me about my ride.  One of the women cautioned me to be extremely careful riding this area.  She has a son who races bicycles and does triathlons and brought his bike when he came for a visit.  After a couple days riding he decided the roads in this are too dangerous to ride as they are narrow two lane roads with no shoulder and lots of big gravel hauling trucks thundering along the road.  Yep, after riding only six miles on State Hwy 94 I was thankful I hadn’t become a grease spot on the road.

Welcome sign to KY but was as I was leaving the State. Glad I didn’t become a grease spot on the road.

Crossing into Tennessee, the 6th State on my journey down the Mississippi

After nearly five hours of exhausting non-stop pedaling into a 30 mph headwind I decided to stick out my thumb to see if I could catch a ride to Samburg, Tennessee the community I intended to stay in this night.  Amazing the first pick-up to pass me went by without slowing down but a few seconds later I heard a vehicle pulling up behind me and it was the same truck the driver Jereme had turned around and came back to give me a ride.  Jereme said he didn’t stop for hitchhikers but I looked like I could use help.  It was a short six miles to Samburg and while we were driving there he said there were no motels in town and only one church and perhaps I should go on to his home town Tiptonville as it is a much larger community with at least one motel and several churches.

During the additional eleven mile drive to Tiptonville, I learned Jereme had gotten into a multi-level marketing network with a company called World Ventures which offers heavily discounted tours and cruises around the world and in two years he and his wife were now earning a six figure income.  Almost sounds too good to be true I said but Jereme assured me he had worked hard recruiting his first 8 down-level folks and then helped each of them to recruit 8 folks and now his network has over 1,800 people and he doesn’t know more than about 84 of them and they are spread out all across America and several other countries.  He’d even be willing to show me his paychecks.  Quite impressive of an accomplishment and proves what can be accomplished with hard work and determination.  Jereme gave me one of his business cards and I told him I’d check World Ventures out when I got home.  This is twice in one week I’ve had folks promoting network marketing something I’ve always considered a “Pyramid Scheme” where only the first few folks who get involved become wealthy but that’s just my opinion.  I promised myself I will check out both Jereme and Jack’s networks.

Jereme dropped me off a convenience store at the intersection of SH 21 and 78 in Tiptonville where I could get a bite to eat before going in search of a church to help me find shelter for tonight.  While at the store, I met a retired Conservation agent who in turn introduced me to another local who seemed to know where all the churches were and who Pastors at each.  One of the churches the guy told me about was the local United Methodist Church.  Pastor Mike had told me I should always go to a Methodist church first as I would have instant credibility as a family member of the church.   In my early youth it was a Methodist church sponsored Boy Scout Troop which began turning my life around.  I began attending church regularly than and was baptized in Methodist church and even served on the administrative board at our church in Nevada for a few years.  Pastor Mike was right as when I made contact with Gail the Church’s secretary she immediately set about locating Pastor Marita Burkeen.  When the Pastor arrived at the church she and Gail began contacting folks for me to stay with and said at the worst they would put me up at a cabin of one of the church members.   Since it is Wednesday I asked Pastor Marita if she would like me to speak at the adult Bible study group this evening and she agreed to allow me the opportunity.  At six o’clock we went to the Bible Study room and in a few minutes about 20 folks were assembled.  Pastor Marita introduced me and I gave a 20 minute talk followed with a question and answer time and was delighted to see how many questions were asked and 45 minutes went by quickly.  I think the my talk was well received but I did ask the Pastor if she would critique what I said good or bad and if anything she thought I might add for future talks.  After the study group meeting I learned one of the ladies in attendance had offered to let me stay at a guest home she has adjacent to her home.  With that Pastor Marita’s husband Wayne took me to a Dairy Queen for some dinner.  While I was giving my talk a thunderstorm erupted and it poured rain for the rest of the night.  This area like the others I’ve traveled through has been in a drought and desperately in need of a rain. I arrive and the sky opens up, I’m beginning to think I should promote myself as a “Rainmaker” instead of the Old Guy on a Bicycle.

After finishing dinner Wayne drove me to Mrs. Mary Tipton’s home where I was to stay but upon arriving there we discovered the guest house water heater and stove weren’t working.  Pastor Marita and Gail were already at Mary’s home waiting for us as they had contacted the church member who has the rental cabins and arranged for me to stay there instead.  Gail said she would pick me up in the morning to take me back to the church where we had left my bike.  In addition she had phoned the local newspaper and arranged for me to be interviewed by the Editor for 8:00 AM in the morning.  I thanked my new church family for their kindness taking care of me when I needed shelter.

Have I mentioned God provides when in need?


  1. Karen Hulme
    October 25, 2012

    So glad you visited us at the tiptonville first united methodist church. I sure enjoyed your stories. What a great witness you are for all of us! Keep up the great work and pedal on…

    • 4theoldguy11
      October 25, 2012

      Hi Karen,

      Sorry I have been so slow to get back to you. Since coming home I’ve been swamped with tasks that need done yesterday. Thank you for the kind words. The adventure the length of the Mississippi River became more of a Spiritual journey of self-discovery for me. I can not nor will I ever deny God exists as he is guiding me, protecting me and providing for me. I believe it is his will for me to share with folks how he is working in my life. God Bless you and all the good folks at the Tiptonvill First United Methodist Church. Frank


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