Up The Road

Wednesdays at 6:44 p.m. and Thursdays at 7:45 a.m.
  • Hosted by Kim Weir

A production of NSPR

Hosted by Kim Weir, produced by Sarah Bohannon

If you’ve always assumed travel is simply a matter of putting one foot—or hoof or ski or paddle or wheel or axle—ahead of another, then Up the Road host Kim Weir suggests you think again. Travel matters. Here in Northern California as elsewhere around the world, responsible travel means appreciating and conserving natural resources, preserving cultural and historic sites, and supporting local and regional economies in healthy ways.

Each week Kim Weir will take you Up the Road, pointing out things to do and places to go while exploring history, natural history, and other aspects of “place” that create the ecology of home.

Host 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. 

Todd Lappin

 

This week we’re heading out to the 24 Hours of LeMons endurance car race at Thunderhill Raceway just west of Willows, a free-wheeling parody of France’s 24 Hours of LeMans. LeMons is best described as “the Burning Man of car races.” Just plain wrench-monkey fun, folks, with lots of NASA and sundry other engineers here, not to mention creative Silicon Valley computer jockeys. (Thunderhill is owned by San Francisco’s branch of the Sports Car Club of America, so how can you keep the city folks away?) On a good day, expect to see such things as flying pigs, backhoes, upside-down sports cars, and even the Starship Enterprise out there lapping the track.

 

 

Christopher Michel

We head up the road this week to Joshua Tree, about an hour north of Coachella Valley and party-central Palm Springs. But if you’re going you’ll need to put pedal to the metal—or bike shoes to the pedal metal—quite soon, because by June it gets hot, an average high of 100-plus through the summer. Speaking of the plus side: In summer, you can grab a prime camp spot even on weekends without a reservation.

Wayne Hsieh

This week we add another woman’s perspective to the story of life in California’s gold camps. An everyday perspective. Of the very few women who made up gold-rush communities, most were not notorious—definitely not internationally notorious, like “Spanish dancer” Lola Montez—but just plain folks, doing their best to get food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. 

Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler

This week we return to the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada, California’s gold country, to meet more of the bold, sometimes brazen women who made their marks early on. Appropriately enough, the U.S. senator who introduced legislation that led to the Nineteenth Amendment (and women's right to vote) lived in Nevada City. World-class soprano Emma Nevada was another well-known native. Locally famous was gambler Eleanor "Madame Moustache" Dumont. Scandalous internationally was Lola Montez of adjacent Grass Valley. 

Jeannie Stafford USFWS

We head up the road this week to Sage-Grouse country. California just happens to take in the far western edge of the Great Basin, high plateaus known for sagebrush and wide open spaces. California is the far edge of home for the Greater Sage-Grouse, which lives only in the West, nibbling at and nesting in sagebrush.

Christopher Browns

We head up the road this week to the Salton Sea in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. Most people don’t make it much beyond the population centers—Palm Springs with its swimming pools, mid-century modern architecture, and groovy antique shops; luxury golf courses valley-wide, gushing with greens and water fountains; upmarket shopping in Palm Desert; and classic resorts such as Spanish-style La Quinta, near Indio, where Frank Capra of It’s A Wonderful Life fame, retreated to write that equally rad 1935 rom com It Happened One Night.

Jessica Kantor

We head Up the Road this week to the Nord Country School in tiny Nord, California. This spot in the road just northwest of Chico, central to cattle, fruit tree, and nut ranches, puts on some of the best community events anywhere. When was the last time you went to a pie auction? The next one is coming right up, Saturday night at the Chico Elks Club, and you won’t want to miss it. Tickets are still available through the school, or online through EventBrite.

Tom Hilton

We appreciate Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe this week, a chronicler of the California Gold Rush better known as Dame Shirley.

Originally from New Jersey and Massachusetts, the dame came West with her physician husband during the heady early days of California statehood. Her descriptions of life in Rich Bar and Indian Bar, gold camps on the Feather River not far from Quincy, were published in the form of letters to her sister. (A “bar” in this case is an accumulation of sand or gravel in a river exposed at low water, the easiest place to find gold.) Clappe’s history was so apt that the well-known writer Bret Harte may have “borrowed” from it, liberally, in his own work. Ever generous, Dame Shirley called these “unconscious plagiarisms.”

Lily Gicker

We head up the road this week to Downieville, known these days for its northern gold-country charm and the annual Downieville Classic point-to-point mountain bike race, a 29-mile gold-rush-era route from Sierra City to Downieville.

Erin Johnson

 


We head up the road this week to get outdoors during prime time for winter bird migration. And, in the process, participate—hands-on—in research that will help birds survive in these increasingly crazy days of climate change. It’s all about data—keeping track of how many birds of a particular species show up, where, and when, and then continuing to track those birds over time.

 

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