Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer

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Join Lowell Thomas Award winning travel correspondent Tom Wilmer as he shares his travel experiences from across America and around the world.More from Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer »

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Santa Barbara Wine Industry Ages Well

The movie "Sideways" put Santa Barbara's wine country on the map. Now, more than a decade later, wines of this Central Coast region have come of age. Both reds and whites are generating acclaim and even rivaling Napa Valley in taste and variety. In January 2016, the federal government awarded Los Olivos its own AVA (American Viticultural Area). The designation recognizes a wine-grape growing region as being distinct from surrounding areas in climate, soil and geographical features. Guest host and Associate Producer, Lisa Osborn went to the Santa Ynez Valley to talk with winemaker, Fred Brander (http://www.brander.com), who led the decade-long effort for Los Olivos to achieve the AVA designation for Los Olivos. She also spoke with Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association (http://www.sbcountywines.com/) about the new AVA and the booming wine business. Winemaker Fred Brander. The owner of Brander Vineyards (http://www.brander.com) led the decade-long effort to achieve the AVA designation for Los Olivos. "It's very exciting to have a new AVA, because it provides more clarity and more spotlight on our unique growing region," said Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of Santa Barbara County Vintners Association. "Santa Barbara is one of the most unique growing regions in the world. Having a new AVA helps us to better tell the story." A new economic impact report revealed that the wine industry adds more than $1 billion annually to the Santa Barbara County economy. Los Olivos becomes the sixth AVA for Santa Barbara County, distinguishing itself from Santa Ynez Valley, Happy Canyon, Ballard Canyon, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley wine growing areas. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.ORG Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com, iTunes, player.fm (U.K.), Podcasts.de (Germany) and numerous other podcast sites around the world. Funding is provided by Oahu based Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative In addition to serving as an Associate Producer and guest host for the NPR Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, Lisa Osborn is the host of the podcast Lisa.FM Thrive! She also blogs at Traffic411.com . You can find her on Twitter at @Lisa_FM

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18:43
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Alcatraz Clergyman Father Bush Recalls Time on "The Rock"

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary opened in 1934 and when it closed its cell doors for the last time in 1963 more than fifteen hundred prisoners had served time on the Rock. Throughout the prison's 29-year history there was an average of one guard for every three prisoners. Today, there are only four or five surviving Alcatraz ex-cons and about four surviving guards. Of the many members of the clergy who saw duty on the Rock, the only living, former clergyman is Father Bernard Bush S.J. It was curiosity about the mysterious island penitentiary in the middle of San Francisco Bay that first attracted Father Bush's attention. The young seminarian decided to volunteer his services on Alcatraz in 1958. Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer on Alcatraz Island, administered today by the National Park Service, for a visit with Father Bush while en route from the island prison aboard an Alcatraz Cruises vessel as he vividly shares his recollections from his four years on the Rock. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.ORGs Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com iTunes, player.fm (UK), Podcast.de (Germany) and numerous other podcast sites around the world.

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12:31
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Alcatraz Guard recalls his time on "The Rock"

Retired Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary guard, George DeVincenzi served on "The Rock" from 1950 to 1958, departing just five years before the infamous island prison closed forever in 1963. Correspondent, Tom Wilmer met DeVincenzi at the fall 2015 Alcatraz Alumni Association reunion weekend. Fittingly, they sat down for a visit in the old prison hospital, directly across the corridor from where DeVincenzi long ago played checkers with the infamous Bird Man of Alcatraz. Come along and join San Francisco native, George DeVincenzi, as he recalls his life on The Rock. Alcatraz Island is administered by the National Park Service. Check out Alcatraz Cruises.com to learn about visiting The Rock. DeVincenzi's book, Murders on Alcatraz is available on Amazon. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.ORGs Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com iTunes, player.fm (UK) podcasts.de (Germany) and numerous other podcast sites around the world. Funding is provided by Honolulu based, Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative

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18:53
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Alcatraz Ex-con Recalls "The Rock" and a "Whiff of Fresh Mown Grass"

Robert Luke, assigned prisoner number 1118AZ, arrived at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary on April 14th 1954 and was paroled on April 29th 1959. It was the smell of fresh mown grass wafting across the island from somewhere in San Francisco that stimulated the transformative moment in Luke's life, and spurred him to go the straight and narrow path. He's 88 years old and he's been out of prison for 56 years, but it was only five years ago when he first confided to anyone other than his immediate family that he is an ex-con. Robert Luke authored a revealing book about his life on the Rock, Entombed in Alcatraz. He now returns to Alcatraz Island on a regular basis where he has achieved "Rock" star status, regaling visitors from around the world about his recollections of his life at Alcatraz, and of course, autographing his top-selling book. I had the pleasure of spending part of a weekend with Luke while attending the fall 2015 Alcatraz Alumni Association's annual reunion. I'm correspondent, Tom Wilmer, come along and join me on Alcatraz Island, administered today by the National Park Service, for a conversation with Robert Luke and discover just how a whiff of fresh-cut grass transformed his life. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on the NPR.ORG Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com iTunes, podcasts.de (Germany) player.fm (UK) and numerous other podcast sites around the world. Funding for this podcast is provided by Honolulu based Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative

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15:44
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The Honolulu Fish Auction—an insider's tour with Dr. John Kaneko

In the heart of Honolulu harbor, directly across from the container port, there's a large, utilitarian, metal building adjacent to the docks at Pier 38 where the Tuna boats tie up. It's five a.m., and we're waiting outside for the 5:30 a.m. bell that announces the commencement of United Fishing Agency's daily wholesale auction— it's the only one of its kind between Tokyo and the East Coast. Buyers representing fish markets and distributors arrive in their oversized pick-ups. They chew the fat out in the parking lot and then start to amble in. They're clad in bulky jackets, parkas, and hooded sweatshirts, which seems a bit strange at first glance, since it's a balmy 71-degrees outside and the sun hasn't even risen yet—But the disconnect is quickly solved when it's our turn to head inside, where it's as cold as a winter day in Anchorage. While we wait for the bell to ring, we dodge frenetic forklifts shuttling iced crates bulging with freshly unloaded Big Eye Tuna, Swordfish, Wahoo, Marlin, Albacore and more. We are queued up next to a three-star Naval Admiral and his associates who have come for first-hand tour of the facility that falls under NOAA's jurisdiction. Dr. John Kaneko, Program Manager with the non-profit Hawaii Seafood steps up and introduces himself and invites us inside for a tour and to watch the auction. The Honolulu Fish Auction at Pier 38 was not on my list of things to do and see when I arrived at the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki, but when Joan Matsumoto who works at the nearby Sheraton, suggested signing up for the tour, I took the advice of a local in the know and I am so glad I did. The experience was a true eye-opener about the nuances of just what makes for truly fresh, first class tuna, Ahi, sashimi, and Poke. The 90-minute educational tour is open to the public, but requires pre-registration on the www.hawaii-seafood.org website ($25/adults and $20/children). Dr. Kaneko explained, "The tour was created to offer visitors a first-hand exposure to Hawaii's commercial fishery and seafood industry, and gain new perspective on what it takes to catch the fish and to study, monitor and manage the fishery for sustainability. The tour fees help the Hawaii Seafood Council (501c3 non profit organization) provide out-of-class room learning experience for our culinary arts and marine biology/oceanography students." You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on the NPR.ORG Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com, iTunes, player.fm (UK), podcasts.de (Germany) and numerous other podcast sites around the world. Support for this podcast is provided by Honolulu based Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative

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22:16
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National Geographic's Catherine Karnow on Photographing People

National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow is an instructor at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. Join Laurie McAndish King, Associate Producer for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, as she talks with Catherine about how to compose a photo, tips for photographing people, how to communicate with photo subjects who speak another language, and the proper role of post-processing utilizing Photoshop. Catherine also talks about the surprising and deeply moving experiences she has had photographing victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam, and tells us about her book, Vietnam: 25 Years Documenting a Changing Country, and her photo-workshops in Italy and Vietnam. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: iTunes, NPR.ORG, NPR ONE (app), Stitcher.com, player.fm (UK), Podcast.de (Germany) and numerous other podcast sites around the world

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27:25
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Ridge Vineyards' Paul Draper—Possibly America's Premier Wine Producer

79 year-old Paul Draper, CEO and winemaker at Ridge Vineyards in the hills above Santa Clara Valley, California, is one of America's most legendary wine producers. Known as the savior of Zinfandel, Draper was seminal in reviving and positioning old-vine Zin as a premier world-class California varietal. And it was Draper's 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon that won worldwide acclaim at Stephen Spurrier's 1976 Judgment of Paris wine competition. Draper, a graduate of Stanford University in philosophy, continues to nurture his philosophic approach to life through his Old World approach to winemaking. His methods are so traditional that he refuses the title of winemaker and prefers to call himself a wine grower. Draper says the term maker infers someone who's in the role of creator—someone who manipulates and adds ingredients. Draper's approach includes relying on native yeast fermentation as an essential ingredient in crafting fine wine. Come along and join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a visit with Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards as he recalls the winery's history that dates from the 1880s, and his incredible life journey that led him along a synchronistic path around the world. Draper's odyssey ultimately led him to his low-tech wine-crafting career that commenced at Ridge Vineyards in 1969. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning (2015 & 2013) travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on the NPR.ORG Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com, iTunes, player.fm and numerous other podcast sites around the world.

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The Legendary Waikiki Beach Boys Past & Present

It was Duke Kahanamoku more than anyone else who put Waikiki and the legendary Beach Boys on the map as Hawaii and Waikiki's ambassador to the world. It all started with his stellar performance at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm where he swam away with a gold and silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle and free-style relay. Racking up more Olympic medals over the years, he simultaneously introduced Hawaiian-style surfing to Southern California, Australia and New Zealand. Back home on the beach at Waikiki it was Duke and his brother who helped propel the legend of the Waikiki Beach Boys on to the world stage. They taught vacationers to surf and took them out for outrigger canoe rides through the surf. The Waikiki Beach Boy experience was birthed in conjunction with the newly opened Moana Hotel back in 1901. By the 1920's The Waikiki Beach Boys had become legendary as gregarious hosts and entertainers embodying the hypnotic charm of the Aloha Spirit. Hollywood stars such as Bing Crosby, Carole Lombard, John Wayne, and Judy Garland fell under their spell. Probably the most legendary character was tobacco heiress Doris Duke, regarded as the world's richest woman at the time, became an avid surfer because of her enchantment with the Beach Boys, and eventually purchased a home for Duke's brother near her Diamond Head Estate. The wild and crazy days of the Waikiki Beach Boys settled down over the years, but they remain as a vital part of the magic allure for tourists from around the world who want to learn to surf or take a spin aboard an outrigger canoe. Ted Bush, who's family lineage dates to prehistoric times in the Hawaiian Islands, grew up on the beach at Waikiki in the 1950s and well remembers the legendary Beach Boys. Ted Bush and his daughter, Traci, continue the Waikiki Beach Boy tradition with their Waikiki Beach Services business on the seashore in front of the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider hotels. In addition to surfing lessons, they offer stand up paddling lessons, catamaran charter sails in addition to traditional outrigger canoe adventures and surfboard rentals. Come along and join Ted Bush as he talks about the Waikiki Beach Boy experience, past and present. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.ORGs Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com, iTunes, player.fm, and numerous other podcast sites around the world. Funding for this podcast is provided by Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative

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Alan Day-- A Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs.

Alan Day and his sister, Sandra, grew up on the Lazy B ranch in the remote outback of southern Arizona. They both worked side by side with the ranch-hands running cattle and managing the range. When they grew up their lives took divergent paths—Alan took the reigns of running the family ranch while Sandra, better known today as Sandra Day O'Connor, went on to become a Supreme Court Justice. Back in the 1990s when I accompanied the governor of South Dakota to visit and interview Dayton Hyde at his wild mustang refuge, I had no idea that it was Hyde who had talked Alan Day in to starting the first Federally funded Wild Mustang Refuge on his own South Dakota Ranch. At the time, I never imagined I'd someday have the pleasure to meet and visit with Alan Day, one of America's foremost Wild Mustang training experts. Come along and join me for a conversation with Alan Day as he shares touching memories of his life on the range and his book, The Horse Lover a Cowboy's Quest to Save the Wild Mustang, with a Forward by Sandra Day O'Connor. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.ORGs Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com, iTunes, player.fm and numerous other podcast sites around the world.

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18:52
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93 Year-old Jimi Yamaichi's life in San Jose's Japantown & WWII Internment

Japantown in the heart of downtown San Jose has been a vital part of Santa Clara Valley's history since the 1890s. The first wave of Japanese immigrants (Issie), were attracted to the area for job opportunities in the burgeoning agriculture industry. The insular Japantown neighborhood provided the Japanese with a safe-harbor place to shop and socialize. Within two months of the onset of WWII, Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 forced all Japanese to pack their bags and relocate to internment camps far from the Pacific Coast. Japantown resident, Jimi Yamaichi was 19 years old when he and his family were ordered to report to the San Jose State University Gymnasium. Within days the Yamaichi family boarded a train for Southern California, where they and the rest of San Jose's Japantown community were processed and sent to various internment camps such as Manzanar, Tule Lake, and Heart Mountain. Jimi and his family were eventually imprisoned at Tule Lake for the duration of the war. When Jimi returned to San Jose in 1946, a brutal struggle to secure a union carpenter's-card ensued, but he eventually went to work in the building trades as the first Asian carpenter accepted by the local union hiring hall. 15 years after World War II, Jimi was still confronting racism. In 1960, when Jimi tried to purchase a home in San Jose, his offer was flatly refused solely because he was of Japanese ancestry. Come along correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a visit with Jimi Yamaichi at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.ORGs Podcast Directory, NPR One (App), stitcher.com, iTunes, player.fm and numerous other podcast sites around the world. Funding is provided by Hawaiian Reforestation Initiative www.legacytrees.org

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