Everybody loves a picnic, but what is that one item you must have to make it the perfect picnic.

Monday was National Picnic Day, which is completely ridiculous because who picnics on a Monday? I propose we just plan to celebrate the day this weekend when picnics are supposed to happen. In the meantime, we need to figure out what delectable picnic foods we'll include in our basket, and where exactly we are going to go.

I asked our listeners which one picnic item they must have. Here's what they came up with:

* fried chicken
*potato salad
*macaroni salad
*cold beer
*baked beans
*deviled eggs
*big appetite
*camp chair

When it comes to picnics I believe in keeping it simple. Less is better. I would be perfectly content on a picnic with fried chicken, chips, baked beans, and an ice-cold soda. I love the idea of fried chicken on a picnic. It's just easy -- unless you are the one preparing it.

I understand those who like to have some sort of salad with on a picnic. I'm not a big salad fan, plus I worry about the dreaded food poisoning when the potato salad has been out in the warm western Colorado air for too long. When it comes to picnics, simple is the way to go.

You must have a dessert, so cookies make for a quick, easy, mess-free way to enjoy something sweet. Brownies are not a bad option, either.

I'm surprised nobody said watermelon. But, here's the deal, watermelons can be messy, and somewhat problematic if you haven't pre-sliced your pieces and you don't have a table to cut on. But, if you insist, I'm okay with watermelon at my picnic.

Now that we have the menu lined out, the next question is where shall we go?

It really depends on how far you want to travel. If you want to stay close to home, one of Grand Junction's parks would make an ideal picnic spot, whether you want a table and pavilion, or just want to spread a blanket out on the grass. Don't forget, we have some nice parks in Fruita and Palisade, as well.

One of my favorite picnic spots is the Devil's Kitchen area on the Colorado National Monument. Beautiful scenery, it's not a far drive, and you have plenty of great places to choose from.

James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is always a good option. Plus, there's Highline Lake, and heading up to the Grand Mesa is always a great idea. Of course, there are countless other places to have a springtime picnic, just use your imagination.

Be sure to pack paper plates, cups,  napkins, plastic utensils, ice, and a garbage bag for your trash, just in case there is no waste receptacle where you end up. A good rule of thumb is to always leave the picnic area cleaner than the way you found it.

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