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  • 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.
  • The dream of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad—a cross-country rail line to connect the West with the rest of the nation—was first dreamed in…
  • Sitting around the pool doing nothing is no sin in Palm Springs. Countless swimming pools here, reportedly one for every six residents—all kinds of water…
  • Greater Palm Springs is another good place to travel with, and among, people again.In the beginning was the desert—the Colorado Desert, and its wide,…