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8.03.2016

Initial Planning: Iron Butt California BunBurner 1500 Gold

This is a quick writeup on an idea that I've been brewing since I came back home to California two years ago.

In July 2011, I attempted an "extreme" Iron Butt BunBurner Gold 1500 (riding 1500 miles in a 24-hour period) from Columbus, OH to Rock Springs, WY en route to the Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™that took place in San Jose, CA that year. This was partially motivated by the lack of vacation time that I had (a.k.a. I had none, basically show up or don't get paid so I had to get the distance done quickly) and that I had successfully completed two Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000 rides (riding 1000 miles in a 24-hour period) and wanted to see if I could pull off an even longer ride.

Unfortunately, I was unable to complete "Gold" part of the BunBurner due to a major closure on I-29 and 50 MPH cross-winds raging through Western Nebraska. However, with the distance I was able to cover in the initial attempt, I was still able to add 450 more miles to complete a SaddleSore 2000 with a standard BunBurner 1500 certification, continuing from Nebraska to Elko, NV in less than 44 hours.

Now that I am back in California, a state known for temperate weather for most of the year, I want to attempt the ride again during a comfortable time of the year and complete it within the state itself. Now that I'm back here, I've been able to give Eleanor the maintenance and care that she's needed after near five years in the Midwest, and I think she and I will be able to complete the ride with minimal issues. Of course, this is assuming that motorcycle, road, and weather conditions remain in my favor.

But that's the thing about these kinds of long endurance rides. There are so many variables within them that all you can really do is be prepared for anything that can be thrown at you. The map below is the proposed map of the ride from start to finish. It's a giant loop with the exception of sections of I-5 that are basically traveling up and down.

At the moment, this is in planning stages, but I hope to get some more prep work into this throughout the course of the year.

For more information about the Iron Butt Association, visit http://www.ironbutt.com/.

7.13.2016

Quick Bites: Anthony's Fish Grotto (La Mesa, CA)

Back in May, I was given a videography assignment that sent me to San Diego to film a high school championship lacrosse game. This was my first foray into San Diego in over ten years, and the last time I was there, I hung out in the dorms of UCSD and didn't get the chance to go out and explore town. (Okay, that was technically La Jolla so it really didn't count.) Now with a lot more latitude and an adventure companion, it was time to try some local cuisine!

Thanks to a quick Facebook shoutout to friends asking for suggestions, I received quite a few different restaurants to choose from. We made the decision to go for seafood and this place was actually mentioned twice from two different friends!

Anthony's Fish Grotto (9530 Murray Dr., La Mesa, CA 91942) is one of two locations in San Diego, the other one in the Downtown area. From start to finish, this restaurant did not disappoint.

For starters, our server brought in freshly baked dinner rolls and a sundried tomato whipped butter spread. This combination just melted together in your mouth. I probably could've stuffed my face with just this, but there was a few more surprises up ahead. Now I want to deconstruct this butter spread and recreate it at home.


The appetizer was freshly fried calamari with house marinara and tartar sauce for dipping. The calamari was tender and not chewy, and the breading was light, flavorful, and crispy. Both dipping sauces were light and didn't clump onto the calamari.


And now for the main courses. The first plate was a shrimp scampi sautéed in garlic butter, tomato, basil, and sherry sauce served on a bed of penne pasta tossed with parmesan cheese and butter. The shrimp was tender and melted off the fork (I'm going to use the word melt a lot in this review). The penne was cooked al dente, and the entire plate didn't last very long.


My dish was their trademark squid steak, sautéed in Italian breadcrumbs. I've had squid steaks that were too chewy or drenched in excessive amounts of oil, but this rendition was light, easy to cut, and yes, MELTED in your mouth. I requested a side of their garlic mashed potatoes and a rice pilaf (not pictured). The carrots were thrown in by mistake, but very well cooked and tender.


We were stuffed after this taste adventure so there was no dessert to be had this time. I have a feeling that this won't be the last time that we'll be visiting this place. Maybe we'll try the one in Downtown San Diego for a change.

The La Mesa location is right off Interstate 8, shares a parking lot with a Best Western Plus hotel, and is ideal for banquets and events. As for dining in San Diego, this place has definitely made the short list. Perhaps a gathering would be in order here? Who knows.

For more information about Anthony's Fish Grotto, visit http://www.anthonysfishgrotto.com/.

Anthony's Fish Grotto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

6.29.2016

Quick Bites: The House of Seafood (Carson, CA)

I don't normally stop in Carson for lunch, but there have been so many new restaurants as of late opening up in newly-remodeled shopping centers that never-before-seen ones have piqued my curiosity. The House of Seafood happened to be one of them, and it was a pleasant place to eat in lieu of the Swedish meatballs served at that one furniture store I picked up housewares from. One of the challenges about finding this place is that it's pretty far from a major road, and unless you were driving past it or trying to enter the South Bay Pavilion across the street, it is easy to miss. With that being said, this is what I thought about the food.

6.15.2016

Tales on the Courier Shift: Large Packages (and those that lack one)

On this episode of "Tales on the Courier Shift," I get to see the worst side of customer service, as in the side that's lacking. I get it, service jobs are hard and have their share of difficulties. However, that gives nobody free license to act like complete a-holes to their peers, regardless if they're not working for the same company. We're all trying to make a living here so spending additional energy to make someone else's day a bit more difficult is a bit counter-productive and downright cruel.

What makes this incident particularly more evil was that I was being targeted specifically for the vehicle I was operating. I received the brunt end of the rage of the night manager of C&O Cucina (3016 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey, CA 90292) because of an unfounded fear that I was going to destroy the very food that I was being paid to deliver. Obviously, my role there was not to sabotage a delivery, but there he was, giving me a hard time in front of other delivery drivers.