The Next Adventure

Feels strange to be blogging again. It’s definitely been too long. I will try to summarize whats been going on since I last posted.

My road rash from falling off the bike in Malibu got REALLY infected just as I returned to Winnipeg. I spent lots of time in the hospital, and couldn’t walk. Had a bunch of pockets of infection cut and drained, and took lots of antibiotics. Had an allergic reaction to some of the antibiotics, had to take painkillers. My head wasn’t quite right, going from tons of exercise and being outdoors all day to being trapped on the couch with a bum leg. I am glad that the infection eventually cleared up and I am ok now. Bug thank you to Nurse Practitioner Jill from Seven Oaks hospital. She was an angel. If you read this for some strange reason Jill, thank you.

Getting my leg cut open to drain the infection juice out. The price you pay for adventure.

A photo posted by Aiden Stefanson (@sterling_froster) on

After that it was back to work. I was hired at Woodcock Cycle Works in the service department. Learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and got to spend a summer hanging around bikes. What a great transition!

But my girlfriend was offered a job in Whitehorse Yukon. All to took was a google search and a quick look at the mountain biking trails and I was sold. It must have been fate, because the bike shop (Icycle Sports) was hiring mechanics, and I was hired after a Skype interview. Suddenly, I had to pack up my entire life and move a 36 hour drive away.

Leaving my friends was tough when I thought I was going for 3 months. Now, I don’t even know how long I’ll be here. At least a year, but who really knows. It’s tough. As someone who has always been really close with a lot of people, its been a little hard to deal with. I mean I can take all of the memories, experiences, and knowledge (intrinsic and otherwise) that these people have given me, but you never know what things will be like if you come back. Like a could, You know they will always be there, but it will never be exactly as it was. Knowing that things, and people are always on the move, changing, and that all you can do it enjoy in the moment.

Driving by yourself is a lot different than biking. Biking is relaxing, fun, a time with your thoughts. Driving is stressful, fast, the stakes are high, and its a drain on your mind and body. You feel utterly removed from the act itself. I missed the wind, the smells, the micro-sensory details and local knowledge you only pick up on at a snails pace. I do not look forward to driving for 4 days (36 hours) again anytime soon, but I made it from Winnipeg to Whitehorse in one piece without hitting any moose. I’ll chalk that up to a win.

I’ll fill you in on my first month in the Yukon ASAP.

I’m Done

So I really fell apart at the end with the blogging. I think some of it has to do with how I handled the ending of this trip emotionally.

The ride to the border of Mexico didn’t go down at all like I had imagined it a million times over. I had always pictured it being this big amazing moment accompanied by fireworks, strangers cheering me on, and an overly emotional George W. Bush standing in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner, arm cocked, giving me a presidential quality thumbs up. Well none of that happened.

It was quite the opposite actually. I felt very little. It concerned me that I felt so dead inside when this should be a really grand event. What that means, is that what I envisioned as one big moment was actually a lot of moments spread out. By the time I reached the finish line, It didn’t really matter anymore. My goal was never to see the border of mexico, my goal was to reach the border of Mexico. The importance of the border wasnt the geopolitical line in the sand. I was looking at it wrong all along.

The finish line represented the end of my goals. I have nothing to work towards. I stand in the midst of a black hole right now, until I am able to refocus myself. As unsettling as it is, I know that’s ok. Like a dog chasing a car, I have no idea what to do that I’ve caught it.

I’m nervous about a “come down” period on the horizon. I fear that spending all of my time doing exactly what I want, when ever I want, answering to no one, and all of the awesome stuff that’s happened, “regular” life will be an adjustment. Only time will tell. I really do miss everyone I love, and am excited to see them, don’t mistake that. It’s just that not every day can be as good as some of the ones I’ve had. that’s what makes them so special, and why I will remember them forever.

My nightmare

I’d like to talk about something serious.  The only person I mentioned this to was my mom. 5 times on the road, I was haunted by a horrific nightmare. Each time I awoke from it was worse than the last, and is effects were felt far into the day. Like a cloud of smoke that wouldn’t clear, choking my mind and poisoning my thoughts.

It varied slightly, but it was riffs on the same theme. I’ll describe one and you can picture the rest of them.

I’m standing in the ice cream isle at Super A grocery store in Gimli. Someone I know, my parents friend approaches me. I can’t remember how I got here. When did I get here? I remember being in Oregon last… Why am I Gimli?

She comes up to me. She says something about how most people wouldn’t have made it THAT far. How there’s no shame in what I achieved. That I still did a lot of miles, even if I didn’t go all the way. And then it sets in. I didn’t finish. I failed.

Each time I awoke from this was worse and worse. I struggle to think of it even now that I have finished. I know I couldn’t possibly go home like that, because if everyday felt like that, if I had that conversation with ANYONE, I don’t know if I could go home at all.

No mater how hard it got, how bad I hurt, how tired or sore I was, that dream made me feel so sick and so ashamed I knew I had to complete what I had started. I’m not kidding when I say I would rather die than feel that.

A lot of people talk about visualizing success. That picturing your successes help to make them real. Let me tell you, the visualization of that specific failure has been the most powerful motivation I have ever experienced. I don’t wish that feeling on anyone, and simply writing about it is bringing me close to tears in the middle of this restaurant.

Those dreams will stay with me for a very long time.


Feelings n stuff

I miss being alone already. Don’t me wrong, I’m excited to see my girlfriend, friends, and family, but I enjoy the isolation.

Everyone in LA seems “alone”, trapped in their own head, living in a TV rerun that they know the ending to. Held down by egotistical materialism that snares them into circles of fake people, with fake money, in a fake city. A mirage in the desert, held in suspended existance by the collective will of a desperate majority. A people so removed reality, that it’s the only thing they crave anymore. Television life through the small screen of the automobile window. Reality supplemented via network entertainment, and hopes that your constructed reality becomes the next dose of sedative for the sad masses who “used” to be just like you.

I crave the loneliness of being away from people that comes from being free of expectation, not the kind that stems from being misunderstood, or scared of people. I have enjoyed every second of being alone that has forced me to act outside of expectations, approval, and feedback loops. The kind that frees you. A freedom that allows you to practice being anyone you want, but really just clears the way for you to act as who you really are.

I am in touch with my emotions, feelings, and expectations more than ever before. It’s OK to cry, to want to give up, to be angry, upset, to feel sadness, disappointment, or anything else. It’s easy to tell the truth, exactly how my worldview and ideology interprets it. I have worked on seeing things not as they are, but seeing the meaning that underlay. The forest through the trees to be cliché.

It’s been a hell of a ride


Outside LA

So the last week has been a total change in his this entire trip functions. I went from riding and camping  totally alone, to a party of 3 (Sebastien and Stephanie from Quebec), to a party of over 50.
I cannot thank the boy scout troupes and the church of LDS enough for the hospitality they demonstrated. I was a little taken aback. Having volunteered with youth camps, I knew I had to undergo background checks to prove I want a criminal. They took on a huge liability by hosting a total stranger, and I am forever grateful. I will remember those young men for the rest of my life.


After leaving last Saturday, I got in an accident in Malibu. A huge truck pulled out in front of me, and about to hit it I slammed on the brakes. He reversed, so I missed but I was wobbling pretty badly and bailed into the road. Bags flew of the bike and I skidded, taking some meat out of my leg. The guy got out and was less of a jerk than I expected. In fact he was really nice about the whole thing.
He owns a chain of pet food stores, and drive me and my bike into Santa Monica to a repair shop. Along the way we dropped off pet food at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s agent’s private ranch. Very cool! How else do you see that? Mevi (the guy driving me) is an Israeli immigrant living the American dream. He tight me how to bribe a cop in Mexico, how to spot the happy ending massage parlours, and had advice on maintaining a successful marriage with a Jewish woman.



Hanging with the boy scouts

I’m getting worse all the time at updating this blog. A lot if the state parks in southern California have turned off power and water, because of drought. Passing through Lompoc today and should be in LA in 2 days.

Lots of stuff has happened. Strangers have been really nice to me. In Sand City,  a woman gave me a Walmart gift card, because her son was also bike touring and people had been good to him. Another woman outside big sur gave me 20 because she figured I could use a beer.

Bug Sur was alright. It had this reputation as the most amazing state park, but it’s just one of the most modified. Paved trails, man made waterfalls, in ground lighting, and a ridiculously expensive lodge make up that reputation. Phieffer beach was the highlight for me.


No services anywhere near big sur, and the only gas stations in 100 miles gouged in prices. 5.99 for a bottle of water! I got really dehydrated and sick overdoing it on the his and trying for an 80 mile day. Lots of throwing up, and a little bit of passing out. Really felt like throwing in the towel.


Santa Cruz was awesome. Very chill town, lots of skaters, surfers, and bikers. On Friday morning I counted 150 people surfing at 9 am just off one of the many spots.

Monteray had a great aquarium. I was there just after 9 am and didn’t finish till almost 2. Way too much to see! And outside San Simmion there was a spot where seals gathered. The smell was terrible, but the seals were funny to watch. Like big lazy oafs.


Now, I’ve crossed paths with an LDS Mormon Boy Scout troup bike trip. They have planned the same stops, and the same pace, and have fed me and are letting me use their camp sites. Totally free. Very swag. Someone said I was a “good role model”, likely because he knew nothing about me.

Almost done! I have like a week left.


Planet of the apes road

So San Fransisco was a trip. Super nice place with lots to see. Turns out it’s so tiny because everyone live across the bridge in Oakland.

The mission district was neat, fisherman’s wharf sucked, Chinatown was super different (wander dish Stockton, not grant) and weird, and the seafood was delicious. In-n-Out burger is very overrated, it’s like California Wendy’s. Why do I even get excited about regional fast food chains?


Ran into Robert, who I had me in Bodega Bay three days earlier. He’s going all the way to the southern tip of South America. Very cool to see him a second time so randomly in the street in San Francisco.

Took a very cool road just south of San Francisco from a town called Pacifica. if you get off the main highway Pacifica has a really cool road that takes you through the mountains. the actual name is old Pedro mountain road but apparently locals call it Planet of the Apes road is it feels like you’re somewhere else entirely.

Like a fool I started the trail far too late in the day around 7:30. The Sun has been going down just before 9 o’clock so I didn’t leave myself enough time to do it safely. As I lost daylight I was trying to fly down mountain roads and it got more and more dangerous by the minute. narrowly avoiding a couple of sinkholes I was able to make it back to the highway in pitch black. stopping at a gas station to pick up some emergency lights I hobbled into the nearest town and was able to find a hostel to stay at. lesson learned plan these things a little better and don’t bite off more than you can chew so close to dark.

No photos turned out, since I had no light. Sad face.


The road to San Francisco

So I’ve been away from the blog again, but this time it was a lack of civilization keeping me away. Almost a week without any real access to cell phone networks or WiFi.


Avenue of the giants was incredible. The redwoods are unlike any other tree, standing still against the backdrop of time. Many of them over 1000 years old, they are truly unique.


The California 1 highway is less busy and more off the beaten path than the 101 which I took up until Leggett. Leggett had the two worst hills of the entire trip. 1700 vertical feet.  It wasn’t pretty, but I did it, and now I knew I can crush anything else that I encounter. I’m invincible now.


Mendocino had the best riding, lots of gentle rolling hills that were easy to stay fast through. Lots of wild deer along the road as well, which was neat. Raccoons are also a bigger issue than they were further north.


Lots of fog in Sonoma county. I passed into San Francisco yesterday afternoon, and plan on taking a couple days off here. If anyone has any suggestions on what to do, let me know



Mendocino Dragnet

So America’s police and drug laws are messed up, this we already know, but I had a sketchy experience firsthand.

Passing through Gualala California, I pulled into one of the marked state scenic lookout points over the beach and the ocean. Standing there was a guy, probably in his mid 20s, with a stupid tie-dye silk shirt. He has a bike helmet on and sunglasses. Behind him is a Bridgestone bicycle, nice frames, but well over 20 years old and not worth any money, BUT it has a set of really high end wheels worth over a grand.

I ask him about the bike and he replies “its the kush cruiser, it’s for blazing and going on sweet kush cruises”. He knew nothing about the bike or the wheels, and I’m instantly suspicious. He than offers to sell me “wicked bomb Cali kush”. Stop saying “kush” you idiot.

Now I notice he’s wearing steel toe, black Caterpillar brand shoes, and pleated khakis, and there is a white cargo van and a white Ford Taurus parked in close proximity, both with 2 white males in the front seats. It’s the cops! Suddenly it makes sense.

I refuse to discuss anything, proclaim that selling narcotics is illegal, and I must leave. A few minutes later, a Mendocino county sheriffs car pulls in front of me and slams on the breaks, attempting to force me to stop. Well I don’t know much about the county system, but I’m half a mile from the Sonoma county line, so I make haste in crossing it.

After I’ve crossed, the car pulls alongside me and asks me to pull over so we can “just talk”. Knowing my rights, I insist that I’m on a deadline, and unless I am being accused of a specific crime, I refuse to be detained, and have nothing else to say. The prick driving says “thats fine, warrants are easy to get” and pulls away.

Hats off to those brave men and women at the Mendocino sheriffs department, trying to entrap innocent people while discouraging tourism by making scenic viewpoints a hotbeds of imaginary crime. What brave work you do. Sleep well knowing your team of fine officers are keeping tourists in fear, and making legal threats outside of their jurisdiction

I feared most, losing all of my possessions (bike and camping gear) to California’s civil forfeature laws, where police can basically take anything they want and YOU, the rightful owner must prove that it hasn’t been implicated in a crime or purchased with the procedes of crime. This works especially well on vehicles and cash.

Let’s not forget the funding for local police that comes from a federal level based on the frequency of felony crimes (drugs) and how Mendocino sherrifs stand to benefit from “busting” a drug trade that didn’t currently exist. Great stuff.

So if you’re out there Mendocino sheriffs department, kindly go fuck yourselves. Each and every single one of you.

P.S. Buy some more convincing pants for your shitty idiot working the entrapment scenario. It’s really embarrassing for everyone involved.


Stuff I’ve noticed

I think I’m pretty insecure as a cyclist, because I seem to hate people in better shape than me, and gloat over people I deem inferior cyclists. People who talk about doing 200 mile days, I hate their guts. I think I’m just not secure enough doing my own thing. I need to feel “better” than someone to belong in the road, which is bullshit, I know.

No way around it, my setup is heavy. My heart and bike are super heavy. It’s like riding around in a Panzer tank. Hills are my enemy, and i push this thing around like it’s a baby stroller full of bowling balls.

Gas station food makes you feel like human garbage. Steve warned me, and I thought I was immune for some reason. No shocker that eating day old burritos from the Kum-n-Go makes you feel like Honey Booboos parents the day after Thanksgiving.

Beer is cheaper than water, somehow. A 24oz can of PBR is under 2 bucks, and a bottle of water is 2.19. Someone explain how this is possible?

Tons of people have gone cycle touring, and every one of them is a pleasure to talk to. They come out of the woodwork as soon as they see your panniers, and they always have great stories and advice. People who road the coast in the 50s have approached me. It’s incredible.

The further south you go, the sweeter the oysters get. Not in a good way. Washington had the best, and the further south you go, the more people feel the need to double deep fry them in Cajun seasoning and baste them in garlic butter. Let seafood just be it’s own thing. That said, Humboldt county has the best beef by far.

All of Humboldt county smelt like pot. Every mile or so you would get a good long whiff, and I’m not talking like pot smoke. I mean fresh, herbaceous, growing really close to a major highway, fields of pot.