COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) –– The Miracle Riders began their journey Monday morning that will take them to the four corners of the United States.

This annual trek to raise money for good causes started as a solo ride by Columbus restauranteur Scott Ressmeyer.

Now there are nearly two dozen riders

And the first day is always nerve-wracking for Ressmeyer.

“Apprehensive,” Ressmeyer said. “That’s because of the responsibility of the guys. You know, You see all the family out here like this and. And I feel responsible for them, you know, And I got to bring them all home so they can come to see their loved ones when they get back.”

The year’s ride is 26 days, touching all four corners of the United States. The ride takes them to Maine, then over to Washington State, down to San Diego and then back across the country to Key West, Florida before coming home on June 16.

One rider, Doug Pullen Jr,. says he approaches safety this way.

“Keep your head on a swivel,” he said. “Try to keep your mind clear. You get tired. It’s a lot of long hours. And that’s really just trying to keep a clear head, always paying attention to what’s ahead of you. You know, we don’t have to care about each other as much as we have to worry about everybody else.”

The riders are raising money for the Columbus State University nursing program. But Ressmeyer is clear that you can’t do that without safety at the forefront of the 12,000-mile journey.

“Safety is the No. 1 thing,” Ressmeyer said. “We already had a safety meeting first thing this morning when we got together. Leaving out with a group, everybody is excited. I don’t care if they’ve done it every ride with me or if this is their first ride. They all have those butterflies in their stomach. And that’s that moment when you maybe don’t pay attention. Being escorted out of the town by the motor squad. You know, you got to pay attention to what you’re doing. You can’t sightsee. Everybody wants to get the picture and all the bikes riding, but you have to pay attention because we don’t pull out in front of the guys on the motor company. And that would be a horrible way to start the ride.”

The first day was uneventful and all of the riders made it to the first overnight stop in Charlotte.