- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

VAIL, Colo. (AP) - Riding a Honda Ruckus scooter at 25 mph across North America, Robert Shearon has lots of time for introspection.

Shearon, 27, left Vail mid-May, determined to ride 4,600 miles to Anchorage, Alaska.

“It gives time to figure out what’s next in life,” he said.

What’s next, for now, is miles and miles of miles and miles.

BECAUSE HE WANTS TO

Shearon graduated Battle Mountain High School in 2007 and the University of Colorado in 2014. He rode a scooter all over Boulder while he was there. He had always wanted to go to Alaska, so he put the two ideas together.

He said he and Tony Seibert were planning to move to Alaska at some point. Seibert died in an avalanche last winter.

Shearon no longer wants to live there, but he did want to visit, so he jumped on his scooter and hit the road.

Sometimes the road hits back.

He spends an inordinate amount of time on road shoulder, along with the trash, rusting car parts and nails. There was the time, near sunset, one of his tires was stabbed with four nails. He patched it and rolled on up the road.

PEOPLE ARE OK

He meets all kinds of people and said he gets all the predictable reactions.

“Some people said, ‘You’re crazy.’ I get a lot of ‘Dumb and Dumber’ jokes and references about the ‘Into the Wild’ book,” he said.

Most people are friendly. At scenic pullouts they regularly offer him things like fried chicken.

“My diet is oatmeal, boiled eggs and granola bars, so I’m always happy to get something like fried chicken,” he said.

RAIN, RAIN AND MORE RAIN

He can see and smell everything. Road kill. Everything.

The spring rains rolled in as he headed west from Colorado through Utah, Nevada and the Loneliest Road in America (U.S. Highway 50), to California and up the Pacific coast. When we caught up with him late last week, he was in Seattle — almost halfway.

During the first three weeks it rained 15 of 21 days. Ironically, Seattle’s weather was spectacular.

He’s camping out every night and was getting really tired of being wet. A friend in the Lake Tahoe area offered him a place to stay. He was so sick of rain that he rode 15 hours one day so he’d have a dry place to sleep.

He travels almost all back roads. However, he got turned around in Seattle and ended up on Interstate 5. Cars were blowing by him at 80 mph. Minutes later, they were stuck in rush hour traffic and he was rolling by them on his scooter, still traveling along at 25 mph.

AS FAR AS HE FEELS LIKE

He travels as far as he feels like, usually 150 miles a day. Some days more, some less.

He starts looking for camping spots around sunset and takes a stroll.

He stops when he feels like it. Big Sur national seashore took a while. So did the redwoods in Northern California, the Oregon coast and the Olympic Peninsula.

“It’s amazing to see all this for the first time and to see it like this,” he said.

By the time you read this, he’ll be crossing into British Columbia, just over half way to Anchorage. He’s a little apprehensive.

“Grizzly bears are everywhere, and they can run way faster than my scooter,” he said.

SOBRIETY SCHOLARSHIP

He said he didn’t really have a reason to do it, other than the adventure, which is enough.

He wasn’t raising money. Now he is, for a scholarship to help other kids take advantage of the University of Colorado Collegiate Recovery Center.

In his last year CU he decided he had to get sober, and he walked into the Recovery Center trying to figure out how.

He met a bunch of other kids who taught him to live sober and have a blast while he’s doing it.

“Drugs and alcohol stood in the way of me being able to live the life I wanted to,” Shearon said.

The trip is an adventure, to be sure, but it’s also a mission, he said.

He stops along the way — and it’s a long way — to talk to school groups and other organizations, sharing what he has learned and his story of personal recovery.

Sobriety is not just for alcoholics who’ve been at it a long time.

“If you’re in a position that you cannot live the life you’ve always wanted to, it’s not unusual for young kids to get sober. Lots of young kids are getting sober,” Shearon said. “Even if you’re sober, there are still people out there doing crazy stuff.”

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Information from: Vail Daily, http://www.vaildaily.com/

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