Engaging Journeys, Engaged Journalism

Author Archives: Kim Weir

Don’t Just Kill the Lawn. Why Not Create Habitat?

Some Californians seem shocked to hear the water people finally say: “Hey folks, rethink that yard! We don’t have enough water for lush lawns.” Why the surprise? California is the only state in the union where rain doesn’t typically come in summer, which (aside from the gold rush) is why they call it the Golden […]

Wild Horses, Please Drag Me Away

Escape from the Daily Grind and Go Wild . . . at the Wild Horse Sanctuary near Manton Horses originated here in North America. Ancestors of today’s horses migrated to Europe, Asia, and Africa but were frozen out here by the last ice age. Then horses came back. The thundering herds of Western yore started […]

Hostel Territory Inland

Go East. You’ll Find Fine Hostels There Too.  Many of California’s hostels are situated along the state’s long, long coastline, which seems only natural. Not every state has a coast, let alone so much of it, so of course people want to go coastal here. But the Golden State barely even begins at the Pacific […]

The Ecology of Home

This part of California is home to me. I can’t claim generations of northern California kinship as my friend JoEllen Hall can. Jo descends from the pioneering Stover cattle ranching clan. Her family still wintered horses in upper Bidwell Park (good grazing) not all that long ago. Her mother was a talented trick rider, too, […]

Ready to Hostel-Hop the Coast?

Hostel Territory Part 2: Upscale Scenery on a Backpacker Budget Said it before and will surely say it again: Hostels are among the best travel bargains around, for travelers of all ages. And hostelling now, during the off-season, is ideal for Californians. You won’t meet as many international travelers, always an appeal of hostel stays. […]

Who Revived the Electric Car?

Electric Cars Roll Again One scene alone in Chris Paine’s film The Revenge of the Electric Car is worth the price of Netflix rental. The occasion is the big spring North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Paine, behind the camera, is chatting up Elon Musk, CEO of the upstart Silicon Valley electric car (EV) […]

Making the Most of Hostel Territory

Part I: San Francisco Not just “youth hostels” anymore, California’s classy low-rent accommodations welcome travelers of all ages, and certainly anyone with a mild sense of adventure plus a willingness to toss sleeping bags onto bunks. But these days, fresh linens and towels are the rule rather than the exception (no need to BYO bedding […]

Who Killed the Early EVs?

Some people called it a murder mystery, others, an infuriating call to political action. Star of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, Director Chris Paine’s documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? told this shocking tale in the form of a classic whodunit. The story began in California, where in 1995—inspired by news of General Motors’ groundbreaking […]

Is It Time (Yet) for Electric Cars?

Why the Electric Car? Gasoline-powered cars stink. Just ask Chuck Alldrin. That’s no philosophical or political judgment. It’s simply an observation. It wasn’t until Alldrin started driving electric cars that he noticed how bad other cars smell. “You just don’t think of it,” he says. “You don’t notice that the car in front of you […]

Is It Time for Tiny-House Villages?

Tiny-House Villages Offer Transitional Housing as Well as Much More Permanent Options It was a natural step for Andrew Heben, the transition from the Occupy movement into creating collaborative housing for homeless and low-income populations. He became aware of the need for more and better housing options for the homeless during his Occupy days, in […]