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. 

Photo used courtesy of National Park Service

Native peoples called the high Modoc Plateau area "the smiles of God," a strangely fitting name for this lonely remnant of the Old West. One good reason to visit the remote Modoc Plateau is to study now obscure California history. The lava caves and craggy volcanic outcroppings at Lava Beds National Monument enabled charismatic “Captain Jack” and his Modoc band to hold out against hundreds of U.S. Army troops, with superior arms, for more than three months before being starved into defeat in 1873.

Ian Grant / Flickr, Creative Commons

McCloud, onetime mill town in the shadow of Mount Shasta, is famous for its wild spring mushrooms. Buyers show up every May to gather in the best of what local fungus hunters have found, then quickly pack and ship the fresh mushroom crop to appreciative chefs as far away as New York. What better theme could McCloud choose for its Memorial Day weekend party? 

Up The Road: Redding Rodeo

May 11, 2016
Photo used courtesy of the Redding Rodeo

This is rodeo country. About half of pro rodeos in California are held in or very near the Central Valley, which makes sense if you think of roping, riding, racing, and wrangling as fundamentally rural.

But historians say that’s not quite right. Rodeos arose after the Civil War. They evolved in part from competitive cowboy R-and-R after long, hard cattle drives. Impromptu skill contests offered good, clean, social fun, after eating all that dust on lonely trails, delivering beef on the hoof to hungry eastern markets. Rodeos also took up elements of wildly popular outdoor urban entertainment based on the romance of a Wild West that started to disappear almost as soon as it galloped into the American imagination. Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane, and other stars of traveling rodeos and exhibitions created job opportunities that kept cowboys employed well into the 20th century.

Up The Road: Sutter Buttes

Apr 27, 2016
Ken Schneider / Flickr, Creative Commons

You’re driving home up 99, feeling as road worn as an old tire. As the landscape opens before you and the sky expands, the freeway stress starts rolling away. But it’s not until you reach the Sutter Buttes that you fully relax and breathe, deep. It’s not until you reach the Sutter Buttes that you know you’re almost home.

Up The Road: Wildflower Century

Apr 20, 2016
Photo used courtesy of Chico Velo

When John Muir wandered west out of the Sierra Nevada in the late 1800s, he was overwhelmed by California's great central valley. “When California was wild,” he wrote, “it was one sweet bee garden throughout its entire length . . . so marvelously rich that, in walking from one end of it to the other, a distance of more than four hundred miles, your foot would press about a hundred flowers at every step.”

Up The Road: Wild Horse Sanctuary

Apr 13, 2016
Katey Barrett / Photo courtesy of the Wild Horse Sanctuary

Horses originated here in North America. Prehistoric ancestors of today’s equines migrated to Europe, Asia, and Africa but were frozen out here by the last ice age. Then horses came back: The thundering herds of old Westerns first escaped from Spanish explorers and soldiers.

rubengarciajrphotography / Flickr: http://bit.ly/1PKK2mI

Most of us don’t think of “travel” as history. We probably don’t think much about travel at all. When it’s time to take a break from the dailiness of life, we line up some time off, grab the credit card, and go.

But travel is history, and that history suggests that how we travel matters.

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