Tag Archives: Lehigh Valley Miata Club

Mazda MX-5 Miata: Pennsylvania Road Trip Yuengling Brewery Visit + PA Dutch Foodie Tour

Every time I’ve taken a trip down i78 through Pennsylvania whether my last road trip to Florida or the trips to Alabama and Virginia before it, I thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool to organize a Yuengling Brewery Tour Miata Cruise?” Yes! Yes, it would… Today we made it happen.  My buddy Bill and I headed out first thing in the morning, on this freezing cold day where my whole car was covered in frost. But the weather warmed up, and we had a blast.

I wanted to invite as many Miata people as would come, but realizing that this is potentially a “Drinking & Driving” event, I didn’t want to open the door for any irresponsible behavior. So neither Bill nor I really drink alcohol, it was reasonable to have a small sampling of beer paired with fine Pennsylvania Dutch food before and after the brewery visit.

First stop was Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, PA off of I81 for some Gingerbread Hotcakes… Mmmm yummm!

It was soooo delicious! Now we were ready for the tour. I’ve done the Yuengling Brewery visit before a couple of years ago, and since then there’s been some changes. For one, the building across the street has been turned into the Gift Shop and the starting point of the tour. It’s the old Yuengling Ice Cream building, which looks really neat. But the actual brewery place rocks. Very educational experience and I enjoyed it very much. Could really appreciate how such a small operation can have such a big reach along the Eastern Seaboard.

Of course the sampling of beer on tap was outstanding.

I asked for the medicinal option since I am once again fighting the flu. Not sure if it worked, but it was delicious.

My favorite experience was the photo op with the Miatas.

After this sobering photo shoot in the freezing cold, it was time to warm up driving some twisty roads to Hawk Mountain and checking out the bird sanctuary there…

From there we were hungry enough for the final stop of the day: lunch at Deitsch Eck – Dutch Corner in Lenhartsville, PA

Not sure what part of the day was my favorite… everything we did had it’s awesome highlights! We actually planned on doing much more but unfortunately ran out of day light. Next time perhaps we’ll incorporate a visit to the Pocono’s on this trip, checking out Jim Thorpe Twp called the Switzerland of the US, or maybe checking out Amish country and sampling some of their delicious hoke-cooked food. Not sure but I definitely want to do this trip again! Summer time would be ideal, but Fall Foliage season would be even better.

Stay tuned…

Thanks to Bill for this awesome Pennsylvania Road Trip…

Post Card from Deitsch Eck in Lenhartsville, PA Winter MX-5 Miata Cruise

The final stop on our day trip to Pennsylvania for the Yuengling Brewery Tour in Pottsville was a late lunch at Deitsch Eck in Lenhartsville, PA

We took the scenic route to get there via Hawk Mountain. Miata people may remember Hawk Mountain especially from the Lehigh Valley Miata Club January 1st tradition called the “Polar Bear Run” where they spend about two hours zig zagging and zoom zooming along to Hawk Mountain… taking the more direct route we arrived there in minutes. And I have to say even the main roads were plenty twisty and scenic!

I loved seeing all the Christmas Tree fields… especially now in December just before Christmas it’s big business. There were evergreen fields all over, and I really wanted to check them out because of my little Colorado Blue Spruce project where I’ve planted about 100 trees from seed (they’re  not trees yet, but I’m hoping in 10 years they will be nice and tall).

This place must look amazing in the summer time or during fall foliage season… but I bet it gets super crowded too being such a close driving distance to Philadelphia.

Next stop: LUNCH!

The burgundy car corner…

Scrapple with Dutch Fries

Apple Butter

Our plan was to continue the tour northward to Jim Thorpe, PA for a scenic tour of the gateway to the Poconos… Wikipedia calls it the Switzerland of the US… and then follow the Pocono route to i80 to go into New Jersey through the Delaware Water Gap… but with only 1 hour of daylight left, we decided to call it a day and head home.

Welcome to New Jersey!

Love the side profile of a moving Miata…

What a great day!

Mazda MX-5: New Year’s Day Polar Bear Run with Lehigh Valley Miata Club

How to best spend New Year’s Day? Go on a 300 mile road trip with the Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club on their annual Polar Bear Run through the rural back country roads around Pennsylvania.

This year I talked Chris into joining me. But I goofed by not actually signing up on the LVMOC web site. Saw the post about this event on Miata.net forum and figured that would be sufficient enough to join, because apparently the event was open to non-members. But that wasn’t really the case when we showed up. What’s worse, I wanted to keep a low profile, not stand out. Keep quiet. So Chris and I went to grab some food at our meeting spot: Cracker Barrel in Fogelsville, PA… thinking we’d make it in plenty of time for the 10:30am departure. Turns out departure time was 10:15am and we missed the whole driver’s briefing and almost missed the cruise, if not for a nice lady from the club running into the restaurant and getting us to hurry… We came out to the parking lot to a sight of 18 cars all sitting there ready to go, engines running, and there we were front and center… embarrassed and not at all keeping a low profile…. Sorry!

The cruise however went perfectly. Organized excellently. No delays along the way. No people getting lost. No incidents to speak of. The only difference from last year was far more snow on the ground. So instead of grey farm fields that we drove through accented by bright red barns, there was lots of white snow on the ground with the red barns really popping out. Because of snow there was tons of “cinders” on the ground, which is little sharp gravel Pennsylvania uses instead of Salt for the ice. Those cinders pelted everyone that drove through it, especially when following other cars. I had a bunch hit my windshield and I was hoping that they wouldn’t crack it. Lots of dust got kicked up too and I was cringing a bit about my K&N filter working overtime on this drive.

The route was identical to that of last year. But the restaurant for lunch was much better. I had a traditional Polish pork and sourkraut dish which was excellent, but was repeating on me for the remainder of the day. Excellent day spent hanging out with Chris which we finished by recording another Miata Fiata Talk episode.

some pix:

Of the 20 cars that showed up, all but 1 ran topless…. I kept my lid up. I know it’s not in the spirit of the Polar Bear Run… but I get sick easily and with a trip to Florida coming up to marshal Daytona 24 hour’s Roar before the 24, I couldn’t afford to do anything foolish.

Great start to 2017… hopefully many more events to come!

Mazda MX-5: Dash Cam Video from the Polar Bear Run around Penn’s Lehigh Valley

A few short clips from my dash cam, recorded on New Year’s Day while cruising around the hills surrounding Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania with the LVMOC group on their annual Polar Bear run. This was such a fantastic experience even though the weather was a little gloomy and there were a few flurries along the way:

The driving was lead and follow. Pretty slow at times. Obeying local speed limits and traffic signs. The group was about 26 cars, many had CB communication, while I was just enjoying listening to the engine and transmission go through the gears.

I loved seeing all the red barns along the way. They were such a great contrast to the otherwise dull surroundings. It was awesome.

We also passed a lot of dairy farms, corn fields, vineyards and wineries. And every once in a while we all re-grouped and continued. Here’s a nice shot of all the cars in attendance.

Mazda MX-5: Polar Bear Run Cruising Rural Pennsylvania with the LVMOC on New Year’s Day

What a way to start the new year: January 1st and I’m off on my first Polar Bear Run with the Las Vegas Miata Owners Club… no wait, I mean Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club… cruising the rural country roads of PA. Somewhere on the outskirts of Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch country, saw plenty of horse buggy warning signs along the way. It was an absolutely awesome experience, I really thoroughly enjoyed myself!

I saw a post on Miata.net in late December inviting people to join the LVMOC group for a “Polar Bear” run in eastern Pennsylvania just outside of Allentown (about two hours drive from where I live in NJ). But after being shaken down for money at the last “club” event I went to with a different group I was a little weary considering this event. But decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did. The turnout was amazing, about 26 cars showed up… some Miata owners didn’t actually bring their cars relying on their winter vehicles like Subaru WRX’s or Mini Coopers, but the rest came out in force and drove around with the top down. (Something I completely chickened out to do myself… especially with the trip coming up to Australia, I cannot afford to get sick).

I left my home bright and early, just before 7am thinking I’d make it to the meeting spot at Cracker Barrel in Folgelsville, PA in time to have breakfast before the meet and cruise. I got there way early. Absolutely no traffic on the roads that early on New Year’s Day. Although I had a freaky encounter with a Subaru BRZ that blew past me on Interstate 80 in New Jersey. About 100 yards after he passed me, his rear window blew out and shattered on the highway. I could hear the little glass bouncing off the tires on my undercarriage. Freaky… to say the least.

At the Polar Bear Run there were no bad experiences. It was a very light traffic day being a holiday and we stayed as a group mostly while cruising together along the rural roads. I was very impressed with the condition of the roads, very minimal pot holes and in general a smooth ride. In a way the roads reminded me of New Zealand roads like those leading from Auckland to Taupo for example,  very twisty and lots of elevation changes with beautiful scenery along the way. We passed plenty of farm land, many corn fields, a few wineries and vineyards. It was just great!

The total run was about 75 miles long. That’s in addition to the 106 miles it took me to get to the meeting spot and another 108 or so to get back. The low fuel light came on about 10 miles from home. I went straight to my BP gas station and the car only took 9.8 gallons and $20 bux. Which is quite cheap for such a trip. The transmission, brakes and engine got a really good work out, and my new BFG Comp 2 A/S’s got a great scrubbing too.

We stopped at Hawk Mountain Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary for a group photo (and a much needed pee break). So enjoy some fotos:

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I would love to do another event like this in the future!

And some more photos from the meeting point at Cracker Barrel:

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One car I was particularly interested in checking out was the Niseko Edition – the Icy Blue special edition NC1 Miata. It was also nice to see the Marble White NC1 Miata in direct comparison to the Crystal Mica Pearl NC3 which was also in attendance. So many beautiful cars showed up, it was great to see all the variety… I always focus on NC’s but even with NB’s there were several shades of light blue which I really liked. What a great time! Can’t believe so many people showed up in the heart of winter… in January!

Mazda MX-5: Miata Meet & Cruise Cheesequake to Jersey Shore, Sandy Hook

What a great day for a car show! What a great day for a cruise… Started bright and early this morning, setting my alarm clock to 7am to wash the car from all the damn pollen in the air.

mazda miata mx-5 car wash

And then hit the road for the Jersey Shore. The New Jersey Miata’s facebook club organized a nice little get together at the Cheesequake Service Area on the Garden State Parkway where I saw more MX-5’s then I have ever seen in my life. Mostly NA’s and NB’s but there were certainly plenty of NC’s too that eventually went back on the road bound for Sandy Hook.

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The funny bit on the cruise we blew past the exit that leads to the Highlands. The leader of the pack that we were following had some spirited driving in mind along the twisty roads of Central Jersey, but I don’t think he expected so many cars to follow him. But it was nice to see a convoy of Miata’s snaking along the neighborhood.

We made a scenic stop at the Navesink Twin Lights which was great because on a clear day like today NYC and the rest of Long Island was clearly visible in the distance. And then proceeded down to Fort Hancock at the tip of Sandy Hook for a few photos.

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The good thing was there were Miata’s everywhere. Everybody was driving at their own leisure, people were coming and going. The crowd was acting smart and mature and there weren’t anybody getting in trouble for doing silly things…

From Sandy Hook we went down route 36 to Long Branch for lunch, convoying with the Delaware Valley Miata Club to Max’s Hot Dogs. On the way I hear a bit of a ticking sound bouncing off the curbing, and sure enough as we parked our cars I noticed a screw sticking out of my left front tire… great! Luckily it wasn’t deep enough to actually puncture the tire so I got to drive home for the next hour and a half without too much of an issue. (There was traffic, that wasn’t cool) I’m really thankful for the good folks at Del Val Miata Club for being quick to offer a helping hand, including pliers and a tire repair kit ready to fix it as there were probably no gas stations able to do this job on a Sunday afternoon. The car wasn’t pulling in any direction, and when I checked the pressure upon arrival it was normal, so luckily I didn’t get a flat! Phew….

Special thanks to TF$ Motorsports for organizing the event and providing all the attendees with these cool stickers:

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A blow dryer… how appropriate!

Of all the photos I saw from the event posted on facebook, this is the only shot that actually has my car in it, and a nice panoramic view:

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photo courtesy of: Joel Naftelberg

Moss Miata donated some giveaways for which the organizers of the meet held a raffle. My buddy with the silver NC PRHT won a set of Roadster rubber pedal covers. Nice touch, thanks Moss Miata!

All in all excellent event, that I’m really glad I took the time off work to come out and have some fun. IT was the first time I had the convertible out on the highway with the top down… and there were three other cars just like mine (PRHT) with the top down doing a convoy… everybody passing us by was checking the cars out, and quite a few were taking pictures or videos of the cars. Glad to see that, for sure.