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. 

Joe Parks; Flickr

Today we head up the road to Mono Lake, an ecological marvel on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.

Robert Shea

We head up the road this week to visit Bodie, California’s official gold-mining ghost town and a very remote state historic park well worth the visit.

Photo by Srikanth Jandhyala

This is also high season for the all-American road trip. And there’s one supremely scenic road you need to visit—or revisit—this summer, even if your only trip is a quickie to Southern California, to check in with family and friends. Skip the mind-numbing thrum of I-5 and go the back way instead—US Route 395, sometimes still known as the Three Flags Highway. Those “three flags” would be Canada, the US, and Mexico, because the original route ran from San Diego near the Mexican border to British Columbia, taking in big-sky stretches of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington along the way. 

Photo by Keoni Dibelka

Today we head Up the Road to the heart of the State of Jefferson and its once (and possibly future) capital, Yreka.

There’s something profoundly different about a place proud to be in a constant state of rebellion. In the bigger picture that place would be California, which has considered more than 200 different independence proposals since statehood in 1850. Some of the first serious attempts to break away came from thoroughly dissed Los Angeles, still a dusty cowtown when the streets of San Francisco were almost literally paved with gold, after the gold rush.

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.

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