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I Love You, California
11 minutes | Jun 7, 2019
Ep 30 - Portola
Last season we went way back, hundreds of years ago and talked a bit about Sir Francis Drake and his legacy along the California shoreline. Today we are going to close out season 2 by talking a bit about another historical figure, still hundreds of years ago but after the time of Drake. In the 1700s the Spanish Empire was looking to expand its reach more into the new land. While they had already landed in areas of South and Central America, there was little foothold going up from Mexico and into California. Previous explorers had described and landed in the areas that we now know as San Diego and the Monterey Bay. This led the crown to dispatch another group led by Gaspar de Portola, with the mission of displacing the Jesuit Catholic order and creating settlements for the Franciscan Catholic Order in the new world. This mission is why today we know the name of Portola. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
8 minutes | Jun 4, 2019
Ep 29 - Mokelumne City
There are many ghost towns in California. As is the case with towns like Bodie, Drawbridge, or Idria, many have buildings spotted around signaling the once active and prosperous town. There was once a ghost town in California that few know much about today. It existed at the meeting point between the Consumnes and the Mokelumne rivers in Central CA, somewhere between Stockton and Sacramento. It was a growing city center with everything looking up for it - so what caused the quick rise and fall of this town that is now remembered as Mokelumne City? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
8 minutes | May 25, 2019
Ep 28 - The Weedpatch Camp
After the Louisiana purchase and the Mexican-American War our country found themselves with a lot of land causing the great westward expansion. Many families ended up in the mid-west, states like Oklahoma, where they were given land to farm and ranch and make something that was their own. In the 1930s those families faced one problem after another - first it was the great depression - then it was the Dust Bowl. A series of poor rain seasons left the central part of the countryside thirsty and left the people hungry. Without food many families were forced to look elsewhere - this is when they heard about our state, CA, and the agricultural mecca that it was. As all those families starting coming here looking for work and opportunity in what is called the largest American migration of people ever, we had to find someway to house and help all these workers.Many were stopped and turned away at the state line, but then the Farm Security Administration came into action and built several worker camps up and down the valley. The most famous of those still standing is our destination today. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
8 minutes | May 17, 2019
Ep 27 - The California Condor
In California we tend to love our symbols and history, our landscapes and natural features, and our native flora and fauna. From our Golden Poppies to our Otters to our Kelp Forests to our Tule Elk, we tend to cherish those who belong here along with us. One of our native creatures was declared extinct in the wild in 1987 when the last few specimen were gatherer in an attempt to save an entire species. The last 22 known animals were collected and raised, housed and bred, and slowly reintroduced into the wild. Today that number is almost 500 with many being born and raised in the wilds of California - the largest flying land bird in North America. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
7 minutes | May 3, 2019
Ep 26 - The Oroville Dam
Back in episode 20 we talked some about the Mother Orange Tree of Butte County which used to be located at a bridge crossing the Feather River. That tree was moved and other bridges were built in the area to accommodate a huge engineering and infrastructure project, one of the largest in CA at that time. What we built was a landmark feat that is now recognized as the tallest dam in Butte County, oh...and the tallest dam in California...oh, and the tallest dam in the United States still to this day. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
8 minutes | Apr 23, 2019
Ep 25 - The Watts Towers
I have heard them described as ugly or an eyesore. I have also heard them described as a feat of human artistic ingenuity. Whatever you may think of their aesthetics, you cannot but marvel at the feat of creation that you will find when you travel deep into the southern end of Los Angeles to a community known as Watts - where an Italian immigrant who was known locally as Simon decided to build something that took over 33 years to construct. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
7 minutes | Apr 15, 2019
Ep 24 - Carmon Neff
I grew up originally in Merced CA which meant that we knew and visited people often just over the line in Madera County, in the town of Chowchilla. One time when traveling through the area my father took us outside of town to drive past a small ranch property. This site had all sorts of statues and windmills covering the property, all made out of welded and cut scrap metal. You had dinosaurs and insects, creatures of all shapes and sizes pieced together from old tractor parts, rebar, large gears, chains, leaf springs, and about anything else you can think of. This was when I learned the name of Carmon Neff. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
7 minutes | Apr 1, 2019
Ep 23 - The California Field Atlas
One day a year and a half ago or so I was driving home from work and listening to various podcasts as I tend to do and I heard someone raving about a new book they had just received about California natural history. It was a bit odd in that they just gave generalizations, it was a book, talked about California Naturalism, and was just beyond beautiful. Not only that this was on a podcast about pod culture and technology, not the kind of place I expected to hear about such a book. As soon as I got home and looked up the book on Amazon but it was sold out and going for way too much from third-party dealers...so I just added it to my wish list and forgot about it.About 6 months later I was on a photography trip from my home in Central California up the coast of Oregon and back. On the way we stopped in a local museum in the town of Ukiah and I saw the book in their gift shop. I got excited, related the story to my wife, and decided I had to buy it then and there and I was not disappointed. Today’s episode is about the California Field Atlas by Obi Kaufmann. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
7 minutes | Mar 26, 2019
Ep 22 - The Carrizo Plain
If you have grown up in California there is a spectre that has haunted out collective unconscious for many years - and that spectre is the San Andreas Fault line. Many people know it is a thing, know it affects people and public policy here in California, but not as many can tell you exactly where or how it runs. There are signals of the fault line all over California if you know where to look - but there is a great valley in the southern half of the state where the fault line is most prominent. The best part about this valley is that no matter what time of year you visit there is something to experience. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
6 minutes | Mar 18, 2019
Ep 21 - Harold Richardson Redwood Reserve
There is a group called the “Save the Redwoods” league that has been active for a hundred years and works for the preservation of coastal sequoia groves up and down the state. Earlier this year they gave us a gift by announcing the purchase of a large chunk of land in Sonoma County. This land has been privately owned by a family for a century who have kept in in pristine and almost completely untouched state. With this purchase the league is working to open up a new park and hopes to have it ready by 2021. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
6 minutes | Mar 11, 2019
Ep 20 - The Mother Orange Tree
Butte county has a lot of interesting features and sites - as the county covers an area of the north valley as well as the foothills and mountains north of the Sierras. There is a lot of California history in this part of the state but one item is a living relic from a past time that had huge effects on the California economy. We are talking about tree that started in Mexico, purchased in Sacramento, and planted finally in Butte County - in 1856. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
6 minutes | Mar 5, 2019
Ep 19 - Moaning Caverns
In 1851 when gold miners were working all over the Sierra foothills they heard a sound in the distance - it was described as a “moaning,” which lured people towards the entrance to a cave. While this cave had been known for thousands of years to the indigenous people in the area which they referred to as “Samwel Cave,” the modern explorers referred to it by the sound that they heard. It was rather forgotten about until 1919 when it was re-rediscovered - the people who found it decided to file a mining claim over the land, which was granted, and the new owner immediately started working on the cave for exploration and public access. This site that once struck fear in the heart of indigenous people is now one of the top attractions in Calaveras County. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
7 minutes | Feb 25, 2019
Ep 18 - Point Sur
There is a lot of beauty along the Central Coast as you head down the Pacific Coast Highway - leave from the Carmel area south you will pass Point Lobos and head to the undefined area known as “Big Sur.” After you pass over the most photogenic Bixby Creek Bridge you start to see a huge rock off the distance by itself. As you get closer you notice buildings on that rock surrounded by beaches and a large open field - and unfortunately you aren’t allowed to drive in - the area is blocked by fences...unless you plan a trip around a certain time on a certain days where you get to do one of the great walking tours on the central coast. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
6 minutes | Feb 18, 2019
Ep 17 - Pulgas Water Temple
In 1934, after years of fighting and arguing, San Francisco completed a dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley - which would feed water through a series of rivers, pumps, and pipelines across the state to the bay area peninsula which would feed water to the city and county of San Francisco. To honor this achievement for the people of the bay the San Francisco Water Department commissioned a structure be built at the end of the line where the water enters the Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir - the location, already a historical landmark for being one of the camping sites of the Portola Expedition, became what we now know as the Pulgas Water Temple. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
8 minutes | Feb 9, 2019
Ep 16 - John Muir
In 1838, many years before California would become a state, a boy was born in Scotland - the 3rd of 8 kids - it was a rough childhood for someone like him, a restless spirit that would get harsh beatings from his father for spending more time looking at landscapes than reading the bible. When he was 11 his family immigrated from Scotland to a farm in Wisconsin where he grew up, went to school, and eventually college for Chemistry. After traveling to avoid the Civil War and taking any job that let him move around the country he eventually settled in San Francisco which is what brought him to his eventual legacy - the father of our National Parks. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
9 minutes | Sep 22, 2018
Ep 15 - The Carson Mansion
Eureka CA has a long storied history that is integral to the California story almost as much as Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Yosemite. In 1849 one of the early Gold Rush people to come to California from Canada was a man named William Carson. After making a bit of money in gold Carson, a woodsman by trade, decided to move up north to the Trinity Mountains area to pursue the northern gold rush. In 1950 he felled the first tree in the Humboldt bay area - not long after he went full time into the logging business and sent the first loads of redwood to San Francisco. He made a fortune in logging, shipping, and railroad industry on the Humboldt bay and decided to partner with his company a build a grand mansion - a house that is still today considered the gold standard in American Queen Anne Victorian style houses in America. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
10 minutes | Sep 15, 2018
Ep 14 - McKittrick Tar Seeps
Kern County is famous for a things - but it was built on the back of oil. This is an area where the oil was easy to access that there are areas where it comes up from ground just by walking on it - where it slowly seeps out onto the surface. There are 5 places in the world where these natural asphalt lakes occur - of those 5, 3 of them are in California - and the one we are talking about today is along Highway 33 and the heart of the area that helped fuel the second industrial boom of our great state - that of black gold. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
7 minutes | Sep 7, 2018
Ep 13 - The Ghost Fleet
At the end of the second World War the United States had plenty of extra naval vessels - from cargo ships to tankers to buoy tenders to Liberty Ships to crane ships that were used all over the oceans of the world. We decided at the time that while we didn’t need all of these ships in operation, we needed to retain them in something like a storage somewhere in case we would need anytime in the future. A number of locations across 10 states were selected to park and mothball these vessels. The Suisun Bay, an area of water that connects the San Francisco Bay and Carquinez Straight with the mighty rivers of the Delta, was selected as one of the primary sites. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
6 minutes | Aug 31, 2018
Ep 12 - Casa de Fruta
If you ever find yourself driving down Hwy 152 west out of Merced county you will take what is known as the Pacheco Pass through the Diablo Range. After driving around the grand San Luis Reservoir you will find yourself dropped into a small valley with old oak trees and if you look closely you may see deer or even the occasional bald eagle. Then as you cross into Santa Clara county you will see signs and billboards for fresh fruit, a gas stop, RV parking, a coffee shop, candies, and wine. While the next exit may have all of those things available - most people know it is the place you stop to stretch your legs and use the bathroom. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
9 minutes | Aug 17, 2018
Ep 11 - Emperor Norton I
During the Gold Rush era of California History we get a number of big names that can still be found all over San Francisco on signs and landmarks such as Sutro, Levi Strauss, Doubleday, Bernal, and Coit - but there is another character from this time period that is not only still loved and revered for his eccentricities, but lives on in a popular tour route around SF where people dress like him and tell stories of times past. A man who was so unhappy with the governmental and legal systems running the state after losing a legal battle over a rice contract that he delivered letters to all of the newspapers in the area proclaiming himself “Emperor of These United State and Protector of Mexico” and thus started his 21-year reign. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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