Would Mild Summers Really Make Fresno A Popular West Coast City?


Sunday had some pretty amazing weather, for a June day in Fresno. It was perfect… well until the windstorm later that evening. But BEFORE that, perfect.

This brought a much overdue thought into my head: Would the removal of consistent hot Summers make Fresno a truly desirable city? Is it the one thing that is holding us back?

Fresno heat-haters would say “Duh, dude!” But is it that simple?

Yes, bro, I know that Fresno has more problems than hot Summers. We got the gangs (although I’m pretty sure Oakland, SF, San Jose, Sactown, L.A. and San Diego all have those), a lot of stucco and a shitty looking Highway 99 corridor.

But I really don’t think people are truly looking down at Fresno for that.

Plus, Fresno has all the things you could want in your standard city: A diverse and creative culture, a rising Downtown, plenty of things to do on the weekend, three world class National Parks in the backyard, etc.

So it comes back to one thing: The heat.

You Have Heard Of This New Technology Called “Air Conditioning” and “Shade”, Right?

People afraid of the heat forget about the benefits. The perfect Summer evenings on a patio with a beer in one hand and a taco in another. Or the nights when it’s perfectly comfortable to swim and… have more beer.

Maybe Sactown is the only other West Coast city that can brag about that. Sorry, Portland & Seattle, we got ya on something.

Paying Triple To Not Experience A Hot Summer Is Crazy!

When a nice house in Fresno that costs $250,000 is going to cost $1,000,000 on the coast, I think “I’m good here, thanks.”

I admit, this past weekend of “coastal” weather was nice and I appreciated it. Enjoyed it. But I’ll go ahead and continue enduring hot Summers, for now, and not feel like an idiot when my mortgageĀ bill comes. You can enjoy your 70s.

Where Is THE Place To Pull Off Highway 99 In Fresno?

I have a lot of thoughts about the 99 corridor in Fresno. Most of them are bad. It ain’t exactly a pretty way to see Fresno. It ain’t pretty and very little has been done since it was built, to change that.

There is a big rabbit pot hole I could go down about how bad a first impression Highway 99 gives people traveling through. But that is a post for another day.

Today we figure out the best place to exit off the 99 in Fresno. The best place for you, the person traveling through, that only has time for one stop and likely won’t visit Fresno again.

DOWNTOWN FRESNO

I imagine you are coming from Los Angeles (but it doesn’t really matter) and there is nothing South of the Highway 41 interchange. Nothing. So we’re going to head slightly North and try Downtown.

If you’re a beer geek, get off at Ventura and head East add you’ll see Full Circle Brewing. Go. Enjoy. Head a block & a half more and visit the regional beer king, Tioga Sequoia. Maybe pop into Bitwise, get a glimpse of Fresno’s rising tech scene. Did you see the baseball stadium? Yeah, that’s where the Fresno Grizzlies (aka the AAA Astros) play.

The rest of Downtown? There’s a lot going on, there really is, but you don’t have time for that today, you need to get back on the road.

BELMONT AVENUE

We have a food element and a fun element here. The fun is Roeding Park with the renowned and newly expanded Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Not to mention Storyland and Playland.

Then go across 99 on Belmont and have a good-ass burger at Triangle Drive In.

HERNDON AVENUE 

Once it could only boast the throw-back truck stop called Kline’s. Now (if you go West over the tracks) you have a Five Guys burger that was SOME FREAKING HOW voted better than In & Out for best burger place in the country. Five Guys just copied In & Out, how the hell could!?…. nevermind. One day it will have a Crackle Barrel, if you’re into that. For now, there is an Olive Garden and High Speed Rail construction. Oh and there’s a rad song:

SHAW AVENUE 

Speaking of In & Out, here is your 99 spot to get your Double Double and “animal style” fries. But the best thing about Shaw & 99 is also THE unique place in Fresno: Forestiere Underground Gardens.

A unique view into our Trinity Courtyard #undergroundgardensfresno #thingstodoinfresno #visitfresno #realizefresno

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And it is this wonderous and unique place that makes me choose Shaw, with a visit underground, as the place to get off Highway 99 in Fresno. Have fun. Let me know what you thought. Tell your little L.A. friends all about it.

*Highway 99 photo by Raymond YU. Downtown photo credit: Blogspot.com

If You Can Spot What Is Wrong In This Fresno Traffic Pic, You Are Not The Problem

There are some things we need to work on before Fresno can be considered a “smart driver” city.  Some would say a lot of things.

I would say there are two key ones to start with.

  1. Leave space. Yes, create a space for people leaving a driveway or street that deserve a chance to be on your street or to be able to turn into a parking lot. Don’t block shit. Where are you going that is so fucking important that you can’t afford to let one car in?! Admittedly, I will still do this on occasion. Hey, I don’t really mean to, but it happens. Then, of course, when the other driver is staring me down wondering why I had to block his way, I sit and pretend he is not there as I beg for the light to change.
  2. Leave the right lane open. You are at the intersection of a two lane street without a dedicated right turn lane. You move to the right lane to go straight. You are now blocking the person behind you from turning right. If you spotted this as the problem in the above photo, you already know this and are cool. I know it’s not always practical to leave that lane open, but it should be thought of more.
We Know Some Stuff

One thing I do like that we do right? Not honking at the person at the front who is waiting two seconds after the light turns green before he/she goes. This is a big tip to maybe help you not get into an accident. Wait two seconds before heading out into the intersection.

If you have a tip to help Fresnans drive smarter (and I’m pretty damn sure you do), please comment.

20 Years Of Pining After Fresno’s “Sparkle Jet”

I go back and forth when it comes to my favorite all-time Fresno band. Some days it’s the Light Thieves. Other days it’s Strange Vine. On days I’m feeling hardass metal it’s Farooq. Punk days it’s It’ll Grow Back. If you’d have asked me 20 [something] years ago, I would have said Neanderthals.

But the band I consistently go back to? Sparklejet.

The 20th Anniversary of Sparklejet has arrived and to celebrate, the band went back to the studio to record a new song. It’s called “UR A Dope” and they are letting you download it for free here. Check it:

If you’re like me, this may send you down the Sparklejet rabbit hole. To help guide you, here are nine Sparkle Jet songs that totally still stand out:

I love that the guys are still around and care enough to take the time to make new stuff. They always sound warm and familiar when I listen to them. Important sounding. Very Fresno, but somehow more sophisticated.

If you’re a fellow Sparklejet fan, I’d love to see your favorite songs and/or memories in the comments.

Fresno Inspired: Or Game


Shall we? Play a game? Let’s.

I call it an “Or Game” – stolen from Dorktown. A matchup of similar choices. This one is inspired by Fresno life. Or life in “Landland”. Here we go.

Downtown or Tower District?

It used to be no contest; Tower District. But now with all the things happening Downtown and the shinny newness of it all and the kinda stagnant vibe in the Tower… makes ya think Downtown. But I just may not be paying enough attention to Tower recently. Downtown is the fun choice but there is still more to do in Tower.

Winner: Tower District.

Blackstone Or Shaw?

Which one did you cruise on most? Which one used to take you to Yosemite? Yep, Blackstone. Plus it has Manchester and River Park. But Shaw does have Fashion Fair and Fig Garden Village, Fresno State and Forestiere Underground Gardens. But Shaw can take you into Clovis, if you are not paying attention, and that’s bad.

Winner: Blackstone.

Tacos or Tri-tip?

Fresno has been going nuts with tacos the past couple years and this year we seem to have solidified ourselves as the Taco Capital of the United States. Thanks in large part to Fresno Tacos and all the things. I think tri-tip can come back but it seems the magic of the Grizzlies marketing team would need to get behind it if it’s going to happen.

Winner: Tacos.

Fulton Mall or Fulton Street?

It may be time to stop looking at the construction of Fulton Street “Mall” and stop taking pictures and wait for it to be done. Fulton Street right now appears like it’s going to look cheap as fuck when it’s done. But it’s under construction still so I gotta give it a chance. And the crazyass crosswalk looks kinda cool:

But I am still, standing smugly at Inyo & Fulton with arms folded, looking down Fulton Mall Street, and waiting to be impressed.

Winner: Fulton Mall.

Tioga Sequoia or Full Circle Brewing?

This is not a fair fight. Tioga has been working at a higher level longer (and doing a good job at it) than Full Circle. And I’m excited for the future of Fresno beer with Pine & Palm in the NW, plus the soon to be coming Downtown, House Of Pendragon, Zack’s, 411 Ales and Border Hop.

Winner: Tioga.

Day Trip: Yosemite or Pismo Beach?

Dude. Yosemite is one of the wonders of Planet Earth. Nuff said. No strip of sand with small waves and cold water is going to beat that. But Pismo does have The Boardroom.

Let nature be your teacher

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Winner: Yosemite.

Colorado Grill or Triangle?

I confess it has been too long since I’ve sat down for a burger at Colorado so this may not be completely accurate. I have gone to both Triangle locations recently and enjoyed the burgers and such. Dammit, now I’m hungry!

Winner: Triangle.

FSU Football Games or Grizzly Games?

Oh man. Kinda tough here. The suckness of Fresno State football since Derek Carr left really hurts. The Grizzlies have a nice relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful Downtown Fresno skyline, baseball and a swimming pool. But beer is coming back to Bulldog Stadium and tailgating rules.

Winner: Fresno Grizzlies.

I could do more but let’s save them for a future post. Comment and let me know what ya think. Go FresNO!

Well We’re Not Getting Over That Pass Today, Let’s Drink!


I was going to write a post today about Tioga Pass still being super buried under snow. But then the Bee did one and I was like, “DAMMIT! THAT WAS ALL I HAVE!”

So I guess I will move onto writing about local beer. And not Mammoth Brewing beer because you can’t get over there to Mammoth because of the aforementioned Tioga being buried. 

I’m talking about drinking beer in a library. The Woodward Library to be exact. Thursday you can go to a fundraiser there that will have plenty of Fresno beer and food too. 

I plan to actually leave the comfort of my couch and attend. Hope to see you out there. I don’t especially like going into N.E. Fresno but at least you don’t need a snow plow to get in.

Speaking of, if you have not seen it, here is how the work is progressing getting Tioga Pass clear: