Today's story is Leg 3, stage one of the Coast-to-Coast run, on my 10,000 mile Honor Flight Northern Colorado Endurance Ride. This was the beginning of things going "South."

Official "Mission Dog Tag" from the SoCal PGR

When all said and done, I had ridden over 1500 miles the previous 24 hours on the Border-to-Border run and I think it's safe to say that I never really fully recovered from that monster of a run in only 22 hours with the 6 hours of sleep that followed.

I got up about 4:00 Pacific time to get ready and head up to meet Scott Wiles and his crew from the SoCal PGR who would meet me at the Point Loma beach at the end of I-8. It was there they would sign my witness forms for the beginning of the Coast-to-Coast run and the 1161 miles I had to do for my destination of Junction, Texas. I chose to do this leg on an overnight run to avoid the heat of New Mexico, Arizona and as much of Texas as possible.

After signing my witness forms and giving me some precious gifts of sand they got from Seal Beach (this is where the Navy Seals train and the sand they gave me came directly from the spot they enter and exit the ocean while training) and my own official "dog tag" to honor the ride, the SoCal PGR crew escorted me 173 miles to the state line at Yuma, Arizona.

Mike, "Joker" Courtright, Mike "Point Man" Privatt, and Ray "Videographer" Trosper getting Charley a burger before leaving Yuma. Arizona. Photo by Scott Wiles

It was somewhere between Ozona, Texas and Sonora, Texas that the first of many things I would lose, would be lost, forever. Remember that part in the beginning about why I didn't have any pictures to share.? That part about losing Steve Bourassa's brand new Hero GoPro 3?  I was tooling down the road, minding my own business and in a zone when in the blink of an eye it happened. The mount holding the GoPro (with a fresh battery) snapped and all I had time to do was look in my rear view mirror to watch it bounce off I-10 multiple times and then 2 cars and three semi's proceeded to pass over the debris.

Charley Barnes at Point Loma Beach in San Diego, California


Sick to my stomach doesn't even cover it friends. Not only did I just lose Steve's brand new GoPro (which I knew was going to cost me around $400) I had lost every picture and video I had taken to that point. Both border crossings, being searched, me in front of the camera several times for some classic 'selfies,' all of it, gone in the blink of an eye.

I quickly found an emergency turn around and proceeded back to the scene of the crime to see if perhaps, with a miracle, the unit had not been destroyed or at the very least, attempt to recover the scan disk that contained all my fond memories of Mexico. By the time I got back, I was even sure where it happened. No debris, no scan disk, in fact, no sign of life anywhere there in Texas for lord knows how far.  I did 'well up' a bit, I won't lie, because to me it was a bad omen that I was going to have to shake off and work through.

I had to move on so I had a quick little memorial for Steve's GoPro, watered the pretty weeds on the side of the road, grabbed a luke warm water and was off like a new brides nightie for Junction, Texas where I would call it good for the day and find some sleep for the afternoon to prepare for a midnight departure, and on to Stage 2 of the Coast-to-Coast run into Jacksonville; only 1176 miles away.

Would I make it in time?