Kim Weir

Host, Up the Road

Kim Weir, a former NSPR news reporter, is editor and founder of Up the Road, a nonprofit public-interest journalism project dedicated to sustaining the Northern California story. She is also an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers. North State Public Radio’s Up the Road program is jointly produced by Up the Road.

Photo by Yuichi Sakuraba

Today we head up the road to visit Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, and all the rest of the Peanuts gang at Santa Rosa’s contemporary Charles M. Schulz Museum. This impressive collection commemorates the life and work of cartoonist Charles Monroe “Sparky” Schulz, a longtime, low-key Santa Rosa resident until his death in 2000. Despite his quiet, very local life, Schulz was internationally celebrated—more widely syndicated than any other cartoonist, and the only newspaper comic artist ever honored with a retrospective show at the Louvre in Paris.

Photo by Chris Chen

Today we head up the road to the North Coast college town of Arcata and its annual celebration of both Kumamoto and Pacific oysters, mainstays of Humboldt Bay’s immensely successful aquaculture industry. It’s good to talk up top-notch local products. And it’s great to be able to boast about local water quality, which growing robust oysters implies. Oysters thrive—and can safely be farmed for human consumption—only in clean, healthy, protected waters. In California that means the northern reaches of Humboldt Bay, also known as Arcata Bay. Much of the south bay is unavailable for aquaculture, protected as the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Preserve, home to hundreds of local and migrant bird species and other wildlife—a destination also well worth your time.

Photo by Nathan Hughes Hamilton

Today we head up the road to Shasta or Old Shasta, a ghost town and state historic park flanking the highway just a few miles west of Redding. Beyond Old Shasta—not to be confused with Mount Shasta, the town on the mountain farther north—the highway becomes quite an adventure, narrow and winding. (Watch for oncoming shadows, most likely fully loaded logging trucks.) This isn’t everyone’s favorite road to the coast.

Brian Neudorff

This week we head Up the Road to revisit the great California country fair. If you haven’t already noticed, it’s the season. The Glenn County Fair, which has been going strong for more than 100 years, wrapped up a few weeks ago, followed by Chico’s Silver Dollar Fair. But not to worry. There any plenty of fairs still to come. A few suggestions in a minute.

Erik Fitzpatrick

Today we head Up the Road to Memorial Day weekend and one of the most amazing events anywhere. Almost 50 years ago, when it first got rolling, it was known—take a breath—as the World Championship Great Arcata to Ferndale Cross-Country Kinetic Sculpture Race. This moving tribute to “form over substance” has honored its exuberant roots as it evolved into the 42-mile Kinetic Grand Championship. Less officially it’s called “the triathlon of the art world,” meaning that both bodies of art and artists’ bodies are publicly put to the test.

Photo by A. Maleki

We head up the road this week to Angel’s Camp, where—in a sense—Mark Twain got his start as a writer and humorist.

Rojer

This week we head up the road to 1967 and San Francisco, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, when Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Janis Joplin and Big Brother, and the Grateful Dead rocked the known world, which was, until then, uptight, far from outta sight.

Photo courtesy Gold Nugget Museum

This week we head Up the Road to celebrate the hometown parade. There’s nothing quite like it. If it’s your town, you know everyone on parade, as well as the folks lining both sides of the street. Despite that, every year it’s all new and exciting. A community on parade creates its own celebrities, not even counting the queen and her court, or the bigwigs riding upfront in the bright, shiny convertible. And not counting all the marching bands, the Boy Scout troops, the Brownies, the classic cars, the fluffy floats. And the horses!

Nico Aguilera

 

Today let’s consider journalists and snow. To hear some people talk, plain old journalism isn’t worth the paper it used to be printed on, and journalists matter even less—clearly ridiculous. Journalists do valuable work, passing along useful info, day after day. The big leaguers are more than useful, busy as they are writing one after another “first draft of history,“ a phrase used as early as 1905. What’s news today is history tomorrow, yet another truth that’s self-evident.

Photo by Craig Howell

This week we take one last big-picture look at California’s gold country, where the original gold rush of 1849 got the state off to a rip-roaring start. There are other areas in the state where gold was discovered and mined, later, so the story goes on and on. There’s so much story, in fact, that even in 1849’s Sierra Nevada gold country we’ll have to come back to some of these places again and again. So, consider this the end of the introduction.

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