CU-Boulder graduate begins 4,600-mile journey at Yampa Valley High School |

CU-Boulder graduate begins 4,600-mile journey at Yampa Valley High School

Teresa Ristow
Robert Shearon
Scott Franz

— As a new college student at the University of Colorado Boulder, Robert Shearon often found himself drunk and in trouble with the law.

He received five minor in possession tickets and ended up in hospitals, detox and jail after nights of drinking he couldn’t remember.

“I always just though it was bad luck because there were so many cops in Boulder. I wasn’t drinking every day, and that’s what I thought an alcoholic was,” said Shearon, now 25, who came to realize that his frequent social drinking and marijuana use was actually an addiction over which he had no control.

Shearon then found CU’s Collegiate Recovery Center, a sober community on the Boulder campus that connects students in recovery who are choosing to live a substance-free lifestyle.

At the center, Shearon met other recovering students who helped him remain sober, which allowed him to graduate last May after seven years of college courses.

“I realized it was a different way of life,” he said.

Now a year-and-a-half sober, Shearon is embarking on a 4,600-mile journey from Colorado to Alaska on a motorized scooter.

He plans to share his experience with addiction and recovery with young students along the way and made his first stop of the trip Tuesday morning at Yampa Valley High School.

“It was cool to connect with the kids,” said Shearon, who spent an hour visiting with about a dozen YVHS students, sharing his struggle with alcohol abuse and his road to sobriety.

As part of the trip, Shearon is collecting mile-by-mile pledges to raise money for a Second Chance Scholarship to help CU students like him get another chance in college, and as of Tuesday, he had raised $9,855.

Shearon said if he had someone relatable had been there to talk to him about addiction in high school, he might have realized the problem he had years sooner.

He plans to visit other high schools and alternative schools, as well as recovery and treatment centers during his trip, which he hopes to complete by late July.

Shearon plans to travel about 100 miles per day on his 49cc Honda Ruckus scooter, which travels about 30 miles per hour, and will camp at stops along the way.

After a send-off from his younger brother and a friend from Steamboat late Tuesday morning, Shearon headed toward Vernal, Utah.

“He can relate to people well,” said David Shearon, Robert’s 19-year-old brother. “If he can help one or two kids from getting into trouble, then the trip is 10 times better.”

Learn more about Shearon’s trip and the scholarship by clicking on his project at or follow his travels at

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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