Up The Road

Wednesdays at 4:44 and 6:44 p.m. and Thursdays at 6:45 and 7:45 a.m.
  • Hosted by Kim Weir

A production of NSPR

Produced by Matt Fidler 

About Up the Road

If you travel mostly to escape the daily drudge, Up the Road host Kim Weir suggests you think again. Travel matters, every bit as much as other choices you make every day. Which is why Up the Road encourages everyone to travel responsibly. Here in California as elsewhere around the world, responsible travel means appreciating nature, valuing natural resources, respecting and preserving culture and history, and supporting local economies in healthy ways.

Up the Road is dedicated to responsible California travel—to sustaining the California story by deepening your connection to this unusual and surprising place. Each week Up the Road shares stories about the land, its natural history, and its people, the lives they have lived, the stories they have told over the centuries, and the stories they are creating right now. The stories that keep us all here, that create California’s unique ecology of home.

Host Kim Weir is editor and founder of Up the Road, a nonprofit public-interest journalism project dedicated to sustaining the California story. She is also a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, and author of all of the original California “handbooks” put out by Moon Publications, now Avalon Travel. Weir lives in Paradise, California.

Up the Road is a joint production of Up the Road and North State Public Radio, initially produced by Sarah Bohannon. The show is now produced by Matt Fidler and distributed by PRX. Up the Road’s theme song was written and produced by Kirk Williams.


Sam Beebe

This week we seek out the California, Western, or Pacific gray whale, one of the mightiest migrants of them all. A close-up view of the gray whale, California’s official (and largest) mammal, is a life-changing experience. When those massive, dark, white-barnacled heads shoot up out of the ocean to breathe, saltwater spray with the force of a firehose blasts up from their blowholes. That spouting is how you’ll first spot them all along the California coast—whether from whale vistas on land, or from onboard boat or kayak tours.

Photo by Amit Patel

We’re celebrating more “good migrations” this week, this time in California’s heartland. As if in Kansas, early immigrants to California's great valley gazed out on green waves of vegetation washed clean by March rains but burnished to a golden brown by August. The shallow lakes and marshes rippled with birdsong, and ancient rivers meandered through jungles of deciduous forest, riverside thickets home to the valley's most complex web of wildlife. Prairies of perennial grasses buzzed with life, and stretched to distant foothills on every horizon.

Ian Sanderson / Flickr: http://bit.ly/1WCKTfR

We’re strolling California beaches this week, to appreciate the northern elephant seal, another seasonal migrant.


By now you’re probably in the holiday thick of it, with unholy visions of Monster High dolls, Trolls, and Star Wars Stormtroopers dancing in your heads.

Photo courtesy Nevada City Chamber of Commerce

Lately we’ve been exploring the notion of harvest, which the turnings of fall bring to mind. With any luck you’ve managed to follow the advice of garden writer Elizabeth Lawrence. “Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” Amen, sister.

Because, by the time the leaves have turned and fallen to earth, the holidays are upon us. No time for lollygagging now.

Photo by Ian Sane

Lately we’ve been talking about fall, which puts us in mind of harvest—the season we like to think we’re reaping what we’ve sown, at least if things go well with us.

Photo by Doniree Walker

We’ve been exploring the notion of harvest, a wonderful metaphor for Fall. As Langston Hughes said of the Civil War and the official end of slavery, “Harriet Tubman lived to see the harvest.”

Photo by Dace Kirspile

It’s fall, finally. There’s something about fall that reminds us of our connection to the earth and its endless harvests, all those intertwined cycles of mortality. There’s something about fall that inspires metaphor. Such as: “How can we expect a harvest of thought who have not had the seed time of character?” from Henry David Thoreau. And, from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “We are reformers in the spring and summer, but in autumn we stand by the old.

buffdawgus / David Cross / Flickr

This week, we’re heading up the road to go for gold.

Mark Twain wryly observed that “a gold mine is a hole in the ground with a liar at the entrance.” There were, and are, lots of gold mines dotting the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada, California’s gold country. But there’s other gold too, including countless cultural riches. This time of year even leaves turn gold, if not russet and red. Particularly colorful in all regards are the neighboring gold-country towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley.

Up The Road: Mountain Towns In Autumn

Oct 12, 2016

We’ve been talking about harvest, such a long, enjoyable season here in the North State. There’s so much harvest to celebrate from here into the holidays, in fact, that we’ll come back to that subject for an extended stay. More fleeting in fall is leaf-peeping season. So this week we mention some wonderful mountain towns where, with any luck at all, you’ll find some stunning fall color, brisk autumn air, and local character.