BANDON — Erik Vosburgh, a senior at North Carolina State University, had the finish line in sight — and the finish line was on the Wild Rivers Coast.
After months of cycling from North Carolina to Oregon, Vosburgh reached the end of his journey in Old Town Bandon then rode part of the 60-mile Wild Rivers Coast Designated Scenic Bikeway in Port Orford.
Vosburgh is capturing his journey on film and plans to document what it means to live “the good life,” and pursue the American dream. He is focusing on the environment and how politicians, academics, entrepreneurs and regular people think about the role of transportation.
Vosburgh enjoyed touring around Bandon and meeting residents Aug. 4. He then enjoyed a meal at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, where he also spent the night in one of the resort's rooms, care of Bandon Dunes.
On Wednesday, Vosburgh cycled to Port Orford, where he was welcomed by the city of Port Orford, represented by Mayor Jim Auborn and other dignitaries at Battle Rock State Park. He was treated to lunch at Redfish Rocks prior to taking a tour of the Wild Rivers Coast Designated Scenic Bikeway, which begins at Battle Rock State Park.
Despite a flat tire on his way down U.S. Highway 101, Vosburgh was in good spirits during lunch with Mayor Auborn and Tyson Rasor of the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team. He also was greeted by Marie Simonds of the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, Julie Miller, Bandon Chamber of Commerce executive director, and Jody Fitch, Gold Beach city manager.
He decided to end his cross-country journey in Bandon at the suggestion of a friend who was familiar with the Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, whom he met on his travels.
Vosburgh said his main motivation for taking the trip was to make a film about transportation and how people get from point A to point B. But the trip, which began May 9 in Wilmington, N.C., turned into much more, which has changed his shift as well.
“Transportation is something I'm interested in, but it's also turned into being about the people I met and the bigger picture of the environment,” he said, adding that he now plans to make several films from his 100-plus minutes of footage.
He's spoken to people on both sides of issues regarding transportation, urban planning and the environment and conducted many interviews for his films.
“Tyson (Rasor) is a good example of the kind of people I've met,” Vosburgh said. “I didn't know about the great work he's doing and I was able to interview him.”
“We will finish on the Scenic Bikeway,” Rasor added. “And that land-sea connection along the Elk River and to Cape Blanco is a great highlight of what we have to offer on the West Coast.”
Vosburgh was overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone he met. Many people offered him a place to stay for the night, or home-cooked meals. And of course there was plenty of conversation.
He will return to his senior year at NCSU and complete his degree in environmental engineering this fall. One lesson he's learned more than any other on his trip is that there are many sides to every issue.
But it's been a great journey and one of personal growth as well.
“This has been a good way for me to sample the country and think about what I want to do next,” Vosburgh said.
Of Bandon and Port Orford, Vosburgh said he's never seen any place as beautiful.
“It's really special and this was the best place for me to end my journey because it's the most beautiful,” he said.
Those interested can read more about Vosburgh's trip at http://american-shift.tumblr.com.