This past week I left the comforts of my 60 degree high and headed for the hell known as the central valley. My brother graduated from High School. Congrats John! The trip is a long one. about 7 hours from Fort Bragg, which for me is a 3 hour drive that I decided to take at 10pm after work. The next morning we picked up the rental car, made a gallon of iced tea, packed up our things and headed out. We were supposed to get an SUV to help with the transport of things my mom had stored back in Oakhurst. Of course the SUV was not returned, so we got a brand new town and country. This meant we had to leave later, and with my mom’s navigational skills got lost and ended up turning the 7 hour trip into a 12 hour one. Of course, we stopped at the vortex known as IKEA. Overall the trip was really great. My mom and I had a blast driving down there, even though we got lost a couple of times, she’s an incredible form of entertainment. I got to see my 2 year old nephew that I haven’t seen since he was a couple months old, along with my sisters and a good friend that I’ve known forever. I had some good food and some not so good food, and had a somewhat relaxing time even though it was nonstop driving and sleeping in 4 different beds over a span of 6 days. Now I’ve been back in Humboldt for a few days, and I feel a little wiser. I learned a thing or two on this trip:

My pizza dough can be frozen

and carried 12 hours to another location to make enough pizza for 10 people, but the dough balls will inevitably explode and make a mess.

When the dough sits for a couple days it gets a sweeter flavor and a definite yeasty aroma.

Even though I’ve been to IKEA 3 times, I still get sucked into the vortex and get a little overwhelmed.

IKEA has a nice As-Is section, with a lot of fabric remnants, duvet covers, and curtains for a fraction of the cost, like a quarter of the cost, just because it has a small hole in it.

A breakfast place can make crappy pancakes, that upset you because for the amount you payed could have made 4 times as much that would have blown your socks off.

Handy Manny is the new Dora the Explorer.

My nephew is officially the cutest 2 year old ever.

Automatic doors on a vehicle are cool only for a little bit but get annoying after a while.

I will never pay for Sirius Radio.

New minivans drive like mid size cars.

1 gallon of iced tea will last my mom and I four hours. I kid you not.

Waitresses question your motive at Red Robin if you order a gardenburger and don’t renew your basket of bottomless steak fries.

I should have questioned her motives for serving me such a crappy burger.

Panera Bread has some tasty cinnamon rolls and coffee.

The Chevy’s in Fresno took out their El Machino and do it all by hand now, but they never bothered to paint over the sign on the wall.

Chevy’s still has some of the best freakin’ salsa. not so good chips.

If there were a Dairy Queen anywhere in Humboldt I’d be there every day and be 20 pounds heavier. Seriously, their new strawberry and golden oreo blizard kicks some ass.

That’s all I can think of right now, and for food for thought, I leave you with BATA’s to eat some of those crazy delicious tomatoes, with bacon, avocado, and alfalfa sprouts. And to accompany, some fruit salad consisting of fresh Pineapple and Strawberries. The ratio of 1 pineapple to 1 pound of strawberries is incredibly amazing. I’m not joking. Go out right now and buy a pineapple, Costco usually has them for a good deal, and a pound of juicy strawberries.

When preparing bacon, try cooking it in the oven.  Line a baking sheet with foil, pop on a cooling rack and lay out the bacon. I like crispy bacon so I go for 20-25 min at 400 degrees. Cleanup is easy and you need to make sure you use good quality, thick cut (pepper) bacon from the deli.

When it comes to pineapple, I usually cut off the top and bottom, and then peel sort of like a grapefruit or orange, with a knife then I cut into 4 and then remove the core like an apple, then into small cubes or giant chunks if you think that will slow you down when attempting to eat the entire thing by yourself.

Also, steak on a salad is fantastic, hot fudge sundaes with mint chocolate chip ice cream make any day better, and iced coffee can cool you off like nobody’s business.

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