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.

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.

Joe Parks

This week we continue exploring the “gold country,” the Sierra Nevada foothill areas where the gold rush rushed California into statehood. We checked into historic hotels last time. This time we’ll sip and nibble our way from town to town, sampling fresh veggies, fruits, and fruit of the vine.

We continue exploring California’s historic “gold country” this week, meaning those areas of the Sierra Nevada foothills that were well trod by the 1849ers, the first wave of gold seekers. This week we peek into historic hotels in storied gold rush towns. You could easily stay a weekend—or longer—at any of these establishments, given that there’s plenty to do and see nearby, and thus gradually work your way through California’s gold rush. If you tend to be cheap, camp somewhere and then stop by the hotel’s restaurant or bar to drink in the ambience, and thus support the local economy.

Photo by Kent Kanouse

Last time we talked about California’s contemporary creation story, the fictional tale that helped create the richest state in the United States. Native American stories about how this world came to be were much better, stunningly mystical, and more poetic. But a 16th-century Spanish novel about the island paradise of California, a land of gold, precious gems, and beautiful black women ruled by the great Queen Calafia, was the fantady that fired up European imaginations and inspired explorer Hernan Cortes’ crew to name this place California.

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