On cross-country trek, Californian carries message

SOUTHINGTON -- Everyone has a cross to bear. Chuck Johnson's is 12 feet long with a wheel on the bottom.
For the last 16 months, Johnson, 39, of Anaheim, Calif., has been lugging his cross down America's highways to "remind people about the important things in life."
Monday, Johnson, a carpenter, trekked through Trumbull County on his way to Cleveland.
Johnson paused on U.S. Route 422 to talk and pray with well-wishers. He wants to tell people that they need to remember that making money is not what should be the most important thing in someone's life.
Gets attention: "We need to realize that loving each other and God should be our top priority," Johnson said. "I wanted to try and reach people and remind them of that, and when you are walking down the road with a huge cross you get people's attention."
Johnson pointed out that his cross is filled with signatures from the hundreds of people he has met during his trip.
"I started my journey in Tijuana, Mexico," Johnson said. "I had $55 with me and it took $53 to build the wood cross and put the wheel on the bottom."
Johnson explained he put the wheel on the bottom to protect the wood. "It would get damaged scraping against the road," Johnson said, as he adjusted the blue sponge he uses to cushion his shoulder.
To the coast: He headed east when he left Mexico with the cross and two small backpacks. "I went to New York, came down through Pennsylvania and Ohio and am now heading West," Johnson said. "I'm just carrying the cross; God does all the work. He sends me the people."
He said his journey is not backed by any church and he never worries about food or shelter.
"I knew God was with me and would take care of me, and he has," Johnson said. "I've been doing this for 16 months, and out of that time I think I slept outside on the ground about 30 times."
Johnson said he is often invited to stay in someone's home. He noted that he does not ask for money but many have given him small donations.
He said he has no set plan and often has no idea where he will be when he decides to sleep.
"I just go as far as I can and stop whenever," Johnson said. He noted that he does not know when or where his journey will end.
Asked where is home, Johnson replied: "My home is where the cross is."

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