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Kim Weir

Host, Up The Road

Kim Weir is the founder of Up the Road, a nonprofit public-interest journalism project. She researches, writes, and hosts Up the Road, a radio show and mini-podcast about California co-produced by North State Public Radio. Kim got her start as a travel journalist in 1990 with the publication of the first and original Moon Handbooks Northern California, a surprise best-seller. Six other Moon books on California soon followed. She is a member, by invitation, of the venerable Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Kim earned a BA in environmental studies and analysis, with an emphasis on botany and ecology, and also holds an MFA in creative writing. She lives in Paradise.

  • President Nixon would stroll the beach below the Western White House in San Clemente wearing coat, tie, and wing tips—proving he was no Californian, even if he was born here. But visit the library and birthplace of Orange County’s most famous homeboy anyway. Quite the political theme park. Join us for more, just up the road.
  • This week we visit America’s first theme park, also once a fruit stand and berry nursery—the Orange County home of the boysenberry. What started, in the 1930s, as the Knott family’s fried-chicken-dinner stop soon grew into a downhome monument to the Old West. Join us for more, just up the road.
  • Before leaving Orange County, let’s first step back and forward-looking back into California’s past as a preview of coming stories. After the Big Orange, we start Follow That Story, to explore an idea or theme by visiting key places around the state that tell that story. For example: November’s Manzanar show helped tell the story of racial injustice. Join us for more, just Up the Road.
  • We’re finally arriving at Orange County’s Disneyland. When I was a child, we went a few times. I didn’t know going to Disneyland was a privilege. It was just fun. Kid’s stuff. So why do grownups go there to pop the question, get married, honeymoon, and even celebrate anniversaries? What’s that about? Join us for more, just up the road.
  • Often in the south state, at the first sign of aging a bulldozer or plastic surgeon gets called in. Not at Orange County’s Mission San Juan Capistrano, where saving local heritage is the priority. As for the mission’s returning swallows, Father Junípero Serra started the story, and a schmaltzy song carried it forward. Join us for more, just up the road.
  • Artsy Laguna Beach goes its own way. Before 2002, for example, high school football players wore team jerseys for the Laguna Beach Artists—honoring local history but not intimidating opponents. Now they’re the Laguna Beach Breakers, at least honoring the subject of much local art. Join us for more, just up the road.
  • As mentioned earlier, Orange County’s beach towns have very different personalities. Huntington Beach gained fame as a supremely casual home to California surf culture, while next-door Newport Beach and its yacht harbor has been a rich-people’s playground since the 1920s. Join us for more, just up the road.
  • After Disneyland (don’t worry, we’ll get there), what’s there to do in Orange County? Obvious next destination is the coast. Which, here, means the white-sand beaches of California fantasy. Their beaches may be similar, but beach towns here are quite different. Take Surf City. Join us for more, just up the road.
  • Disneyland is open, social distancing and masks required. (Yes, you can get Disney-themed face masks, even a $300 Minnie Mouse backpack.) Disneyland—like home, but more so, fans say. The surrounding neighborhood, Orange County, is like California. Join us for more, just up the road.
  • Some say the most engaging museum in Sacramento is the old city cemetery, once known, poetically, as the City of the Dead. Grand monuments, lovely gardens. Some of downtown’s public buildings could be taken together as an art and architecture museum. And area reserves, a natural history museum. Join us for more, just up the road.