I Love You, California
Ep 30 - Portola
Season 2, Ep. 30
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.
Ep 29 - Mokelumne City
Season 2, Ep. 29
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?
Ep 28 - The Weedpatch Camp
Season 2, Ep. 28
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.
Ep 27 - The California Condor
Season 2, Ep. 27
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.
Ep 26 - The Oroville Dam
Season 2, Ep. 26
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.
Ep 25 - The Watts Towers
Season 2, Ep. 25
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.
Ep 24 - Carmon Neff
Season 2, Ep. 24
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.
Ep 23 - The California Field Atlas
Season 2, Ep. 23
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.
Ep 22 - The Carrizo Plain
Season 2, Ep. 22
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.