Scenic Byways of Northern California
Scenic Byways of Northern California
Marie Webster Weisbrod
160 pages
087961-265-7
Price: $14.95
About the Book

Scenic Byways of Northern California Siskiyous to the Cascades South of the Oregon border is a remote landscape that is visited by fewer tourists than any other section of California. It is a treasure waiting to be discovered by the adventurous traveler. Marie Webster Weisbrod escorts you along eight routes in Northern California that have been officially designated Scenic Byways for their natural, historical, cultural, archaeological, and recreational features. You travel through old-growth forests and along white-water rivers, up cliff-shrouded canyons and over steep mountain passes, around the base of volcanoes, and through lava-strewn backcountry.

Through her words, the author introduces you to the natives and the pathfinders, the fur trappers and gold miners, the loggers and the settlers. Along the way you track emigrant trails and old stagecoach routes, visit historic sites and museums, Indian reservations and lumber towns, tour wildlife refuges and national grasslands. As you finish exploring one byway, you will be drawn by the author's descriptions, and Connie Van Pelt's illustrations, to begin the exploration of the next. So, travel with them and meet some mighty fine folks along the way.

You will find the Sources of Information section to be a big plus in planning trips with a section devoted to each of the scenic byways. Many dining and lodging places are listed with address, phone and, when available, their website and email. For the national forests and ranger districts, governmental agencies, visitor centers, recreational areas, chambers of commerce, museums, etc. websites are given as well as address, phone, and email, and which months, days of the week, and hours these places are open to the public.

1. From Eureka Times Standard, Aug. 2002. North Coast locales are richly weaved through the book's pages. Chapter Two journeys along the Smith river Scenic byway, which begins 4 miles north of Crescent City along Highway 199, covering places like Hiouchi, Myrtle Creek Botanical Area, Gasquet and the Randolph Collier Tunnel. The Trinity River Scenic Byway begins in Shasta City and continues on to the Whiskeytown Lake Area. . . . Other featured byways include the Big Foot, State of Jefferson, Trinity Heritage, Modoc Volcanic, Shasta Volcanic and Lassen Volcanic.

2. South of the Oregon border is a region of old growth forest, white water rivers, steep mountains passes, and volcanic back country.

Eight driving routes that have been officially designated scenic byways for their natural, historical, cultural, archaeological and recreational features are explored.... An excellent directory is included that highlights points of interest and recommended lodging and places to eat. Phone numbers and web sites are included. Come share the gorgeous views and solitude found along the scenic byways of Northern California. (Lassen County Times, July 9, 2002).

3. This handy paperback, with pen and ink illustrations by Connie Van Pelt, will introduce the reader to eight routes that wind through the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains. . . Weisbrod takes pains to not only designate the scenic byways but also fills in all the relevant natural, historical, cultural, archaeological and recreational features he'll encounter along the way. (Bob Walch Monterey County Herald, August 18, 2002).

4. ...the heart of the book is the author's account of her travels in Northwestern and Northeastern California, a travelogue that mingles local history, Native American customs, a concern for the environment and captivating descriptions of lush terrain. "Scenic Byways" is not a comprehensive guidebook, but rather a report from the field ideally suited for the armchair traveler.

My wife and I have relatives who live in the town of Smith River, so we've made the drive quite a few times, and I was eager to get the author's take. The Smith River is, she says,"California's only free-flowing river, with no dam to stop its 300 miles of streams and tributaries." She says the scenic byway "is a brilliant span of engineering".

"Although the route traverses four miles of redwoods, the only way to appreciate what John Steinbeck called 'ambassadors from another time' is to walk among them. Watch for signs to the Simpson-Reed Trail on the left side of the road, with ample parking for all vehicles, even big RVs."

Take it all in. "As you follow the path through the forest, your bootsteps muffled by spongy layers of duff, breathe the musky scent of loamy soil, the spicy aroma of wild ginger, and the fragrant blooms of the Western Azalea. Watch for sprays of pink lady's slipper orchids, and the pale green sprigs of maidenhair fern hiding in the shelter of flowering dogwood."

There are other places of interest as well. . . All of this makes me want to follow in Weisbrod's tire tracks, and I can thank the author for inspiring in me a wee bit of wanderlust. (Dan Barnett, Chico Enterprise-Record, July 25, 2002).

5. Filtered by the cedars and the sequoia gigantica beyond the window, the sun poured over Marie Weisbrod's shoulders...a diminutive figure, a woman of a certain age. Her recently published book, "Scenic Byways of Northern California"... points the way for any traveler "From the Siskiyous to the Cascades."

This mountainous territory, south of the Oregon border, is visited by fewer tourists than any other section of California. Weisbrod, the adventurer, has traveled solo for several decades in a camper van, boondocking and exploring her way across the country. She was encouraged by her family and a desire to demonstrate to other women the delightful possibility of wayfaring alone.

She points out that the small towns featured in her book are artistic enclaves...Anyone traveling Weisbrod's nomad route through Northern California will be rewarded by her first-person approach to history, archeology and the out-of-the-ordinary. (Roberta Glasheen, Idyllwild Town Crier, October 24, 2002).

6. Marie Webster writes in her new book that she sometimes is asked if she is a descendant of Daniel Webster. She...rejects him as kin. "After reading what he said about the West," she declares, "I would not claim him." What the senator said was this: "What do we want of this worthless area, this region of savages and wild beasts? To what use could we ever hope to put...these endless mountain ranges?" The senator was talking about the area Marie loves, the region she salutes in her "Scenic Byways of Northern California, From the Siskiyous to the Cascades.

As she guides her reader to byways in Northwestern and Northeastern California, Marie offers history, sources of information on where to stay, where to eat...of the beauty she cherishes...remnants of old-growth forest, wildflowers in the meadows, sunbeams casting shadows...showers arching rainbows from peak to peak. You might spot blue herons standing long-legged on river banks and hear the plop of steelhead trout...watch a bald eagle soar...What else? (Friends of the Idyllwild Library, August 2002).

7. Scenic Byways of Northern California: From the Siskiyous to the Cascades by Marie Weisbrod (illustrated by Connie Van Pelt) raises the bar for travel guidebooks. Ms. Weisbrod has written a reader-friendly book that belongs in every vagabond's library. She has traveled extensively in the Siskiyou-Cascade region, which serves to make the area spring to life through her personal observations and lively retelling of historical events. I can't wait to see more from this gifted author. (Diane Noble, California Chronicles, December 17, 2002).