Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Florida to California, Day One

Honess begins his trip at Atlantic Beach, Florida.
Courtesy of Charles Honess
By Charles Honess*
October 1, 2012—On my first day biking across the US for UMCOR I rode 50 miles, from the Atlantic Ocean through Jacksonville, Florida. This first day of the 3,000 mile trip is the time to check out all my systems: navigator, external battery, ear phones, etc., etc.

Half way through the ride, I stopped at a convenience store and got a soda and some water. I was checking my map in the parking lot to see if I really knew where I was… and I didn't. Lost!! Almost immediately a Jacksonville policeman, Sargent Mitchell, pulled into the lot and said hello. I asked him where the road was that I was looking for, and it turned out I had passed it a long time ago. He told me another way to get where I was headed, and I took off.

Fifteen minutes later, here comes Sargent Mitchell making sure I had found the road he had directed me to. Thirty minutes after that, he is setting alongside the road to make sure I didn't miss another turn. I am impressed, I thank him, give a fist bump, and I’m off.

Now it is time to quit and have Sparky [Paul Sparks, who is accompanying Honess in a support vehicle] pick me up. So, I call him on his cell phone and… no answer. We have an app that is supposed to show us where each other is located: No Sparky.

I am ready for a shower, food, rest, and I am getting a little worried. I look down the road, and I see a police car headed my way. Well, I had so much luck the last time, I decide to flag this fellow down. He pulls over, and right behind him is Sparky. Paul's phone had died, and the policeman said he knew where I would be. We get Paul a charger for his phone that night.

Angels in an unusual form? I believe so.

*Charles Honess is a retired businessman who is biking across the southern United States, from Atlantic Beach, Florida, to San Diego, California, to raise awareness and funds for UMCOR. He plans to visit United Methodist churches and community groups along the way. For information about Honess’ trip and how your church or group might host him for such a sharing opportunity, please contact Landon Taylor, UMCOR executive in charge of church and donor relations, at telephone 212-870-3928 or email

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