Tag Archives: pa

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!

Yuengling Brewery Tour Pottsville, PA Post Card 2 Winter MX-5 Miata Cruise

For purely selfish reasons I wanted to go back to the Yuengling Brewery and Gift Shop in Pottsville, PA with my Miata to take some cool photos against the background of their historic building. Today: Mission Accomplished! And I didn’t just get my Miata into the pix I got my buddy Bill to participate with his ’07 GT soft top as well.

The Red Roadsters pix:

Next stop… Hawk Mountain before lunch at Deitsch Eck…

Yuengling Brewery Tour in Pottsville, PA Post Card Winter MX-5 Miata Cruise

I’ve been planning a visit back to the Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania for a while… my goal was to bring a few fellow Miata owners along… and today my buddy Bill and I made it happen.

In this post I’ll share all the Brewery and Gift Shop photos… in the next we’ll do the Miata pix.

Because this cruise involved “Drinking & Driving” I thought it would be critical to mix a bunch of food into the event, so it’s not just all about beer. We first had breakfast at Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, PA and then lunch at Deitsch Eck in Lenhartsville, PA

There are two Yuengling breweries in Pottsville. I knew that, everyone probably knows that if you know anything about Yuengling, but that didn’t prevent me from punching in the wrong one into my GPS.

Luckily they’re only 2 miles apart… we arrived on a Saturday so there was plenty of street parking. There are meters right outside the brewery which apparently you don’t need to feed over the weekend. Cool!

I’ve done the tour before a few years ago… things have changed since. Now the tour starts at the gift shop across the street which is the Yuengling Ice Cream building. The Yuengling Ice Cream which I’ve tried from a local supermarket here in New Jersey (and loved it) doesn’t any affiliation with the Brewery other than being owned by the same family. They unfortunately don’t have a Dairy Tour… which is too bad. But the new set up is fantastic. Lots to see and buy at the Gift Shop:

You can buy everything from t-shirts to neon signs…. from a few bucks to a few hundred bucks to spend, whatever’s your budget.

You can also buy cases of beer… some of it only sold locally and not available outside of Pennsylvania (apparently).

NASCAR! POCONO… Trioval

My favorite… Yuengling BBQ sauce!

I’ve got to visit the Yuengling Brewery in Tampa, Florida

Let’s start the tour across the street… into the cave!

Still operating! Making it the longest continuously running brewery!

Tour over… now to the sampling room!

The bar at the Yuengling Ice Cream building has a liquor license, which means in addition to your two cups sampling beer, you can buy more… including a growler or a mini keg! Super cool…

This was such a super cool experience. I highly recommend it!

Mazda MX-5: 2,000+ Mile Miata Road Trip and Foodie Tour from NJ to Florida in the Winter

2,355 miles to be exact.

It’s been a mild winter so far, and I had this genius idea to drive my Miata from New Jersey to Florida to volunteer the Roar before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway this January. The plan was to drive during the day so I minimize the possibility of hitting black ice in the Northern States and arrive Daytona Beach in time to have dinner with some friends there. It almost worked.

I got to meet with some folks from the First Coast Miata Club in Jacksonville along the way which I already wrote about. That was awesome, but I wanted to share a few thoughts about the drive part of the road trip and the foodie tour I got to do in different states along the way.

This trip was completely and totally BBQ based when it comes to food. I divided my driving in two stints. Home to Rock Hill, SC on the first day which covered about 680 miles and the rest on second day for the first trip. And Daytona Beach to Christiansburg, Virginia on the first day which again was about 640 miles and the rest on the second day which was around 500 miles. The Rock Hill stop was convenient because there was quite a few restaurants in town, I tried Cook Out chain for the first time since I was starving when I arrived. But since it was still early in the day I researched something more substantive to try. The Dixie Pig came highly recommended online and through the front desk at my hotel, so I went to give them a try and boy am I glad I did. The food was absolutely delicious. Their ribs kept on repeating on me for several days after I had them, but my favorite menu item was their “Pig Wings” which was on the appetizer list just below Chicken Wings. What are Pig Wings? Apparently they are baby pig (under 250 lbs) upper legs, succulent and juicy and served smothered in a variety of sauces. I tried the garlic sauce option first time. But liked them so much I made sure to stop by Dixie Pig on the drive home too and tried BBQ sauce option. Mmmmm mmm! I highly recommend both this restaurant and especially the “pig wings” menu item. Well worth the $10 bux price!

On the drive home the stopover in Virginia was near to another barbecue joint called Due South BBQ. I had googled it in advance and wanted to go there after I check in at my hotel, but since I missed my exit I ended up going directly to the restaurant. It too was amazing, especially all their sauce varieties! I got a pulled pork sandwich and another brisket sandwich which seemed like a good idea at the moment when I arrived hungry… but turned out to be way too much meat for the night. The sign outside the restaurant did say “Come Pig Out With Us” and I certainly did. My favorite feature of the restaurant was a display stand near the counter full of bones that were neatly sealed in individual bags with a sign: “Take One, FREE” for your dog. Which I made sure to do… and my fake beagle Maxi Max really enjoyed chewing on them for a few days now.

With the Jacksonville Miata club we hit up Metro Diner which is apparently known for their Chicken and Waffles… a typical southern dish. Several of the Miata guys ordered the fried chicken option, while I went with a New Orleans Shrimp and Grits dish where the grits were prepared differently (they were in solid block not running like they typically are). Great stuff!

While in Daytona I was limited to the track food which the Central Florida Region SCCA didn’t skimp out on. We were offered delicious sandwiches every day and had a tasty pizza party one of the nights. They had so much pizza we were asked to take a  bunch of it home, which I did… so we had pizza for a few days that weekend.

The race weekend (without any actual real racing, it was all practice sessions) went by super quickly. And I departed Daytona Beach bright and early Monday morning. No sooner did I settle onto the highway at a comfortable cruising speed when all of a sudden I heard and felt a massive rock smashing into my windshield. It was weird because there were absolutely no cars in front of me other than a pick up truck in the right lane some distance away putzing along, and another car that had passed me like half a minute earlier in the left lane at a high rate of speed. That rock put a tiny chip in my windshield, right in line of sight on the driver’s side of the glass. Boo!

I was a bit concerned driving through the Carolinas because on my way down the Charlotte news was in panic mode… they were predicting 2 to 6 inches of snow over the weekend (& actually got 8). I knew it wouldn’t be snowing on my drive home but I also knew that ice was a possibility… a little side note: while in the hotel room listening to the news freak out about winter weather (which apparently the Carolinas don’t normally get) I quickly researched and booked a flight for my second trip to Florida at the end of the month to volunteer the actual race – Daytona 24 hours. But back to the drive, there was a lot of snow on the ground as soon as I crossed into North Carolina. The roads were nicely salted and fairly clear. The snow however started melting which meant my car got absolutely sprayed with that salty slush. But I made it through OK. The scary part was actually about an hour closer to home in Pennsylvania. All the road sings were lit up with “Warning, Winter Weather” and there was very fine but dense snow making visibility limited. But what worried me was the fact that about half an inch of that slush had formed on the travel lanes of the highway. It wasn’t enough to plough. And no snow trucks were out yet. So I backed off the accelerator and started following one of the many semi-trucks on the road who cleared a path for me. As soon as I arrived my home area in New Jersey I went right to the car wash to hose off all that salt off the car.

It was an excellent trip, even when my car sustained some minor damage with the chip in the windshield. I ordered a repair kit on eBay for about $10 bux and will seal the chip so that it doesn’t spread and form a bigger crack.

Some photos from the drive:

The cheapest gas I found was in South Carolina shortly after I got on i95 from i26. The prices did swing wildly for 93 octane premium gas with $2.43/gal price at this location and $3.25/gal at another Sunoco just a few miles down the highway (same state and probably same county, just different town). It was interesting to say the least and I used the GasBuddy app to check prices ahead of time when I was running low on fuel.

And some foodie tour pix:

The sandwiches from Due South BBQ in Virginia.

Pig Wings from Dixie Pig in Rock Hill, South Carolina with an old Mazda pick up parked outside.

Chicken and Waffles and Chicken and Mashed Potatoes from Metro.

I think I will repeat this road trip again come March to volunteer the St. Pete Grand Prix and Sebring 12 hour… it’s a lot of fun!

Mazda MX-5: 1,000+ mile Road Trip to Virginia (Southern Part accessible from North Carolina)

I’ve been looking for an excuse to take a longer road trip and the opportunity presented itself with a marshaling stint at VIR in Alton  Southern Virginia (so far south it’s mainly accessible from Milton, North Carolina… yep!)

The fastest route per Google Maps was down the I95 corridor through all the major cities until Richmond, VA and then across with just over 485 miles each way. But I elected to avoid the tolls (which are absurd pushing $100 bux) and the unpredictable rush hour traffic patters to take the more leisurely drive through I81 in Pennsylvania increasing the distance to 530 miles and about another hour to tack onto the drive.

The goal for my trip was also to test the performance of the new Timken RX-8 wheel bearing hubs and see if they would increase my fuel mileage which has recently dropped down to 31mpg average, based on my last two trips to Watkins Glen. I discovered that indeed the hubs did make a difference. My gas mileage increased to 34mpg on the open highway, while in town it dropped to 28mpg, which is normal. So all was good. I was hoping to match my all time best of 36mpg’s but the roads were too hilly to accomplish that, and I had the A/C on blast which didn’t help either.

Overall i was really happy with the car and how it handled the road. The 8 hour journey took a little bit more on the way down, and a lot more on the way back up. But I did make several stops along the way to use the restroom and buy some food. Generally I tried to stop every two to three hours to let the car cool down for a few minutes. It worked very well, but it did slow me down. The ride home took almost 12 hours but that included two 1 hour stops for food.

And a few pics from the trip:

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Good morning Maryland!

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Howdy West Virginia!

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The new Virginia welcome sign… I kind of liked the old one better with the Bird on it instead of this Lovers campaign… why is Virginia for Lovers anyway?

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Well, at least you know you’re in the south when you see more Confederate flags flying than American stars and stripes… hmm

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Hello VIR… what a beautiful facility!

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Yep, I’m in the right place!

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So you gotta drive down into North Carolina for a few miles, just to turn around and head right back into the track…

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Prior to coming to the track I figured I’d stay put and have everything I need at VIR… but it turned out that the best place to get food was back in town, which is a good 15 miles away. So I went out for dinner every night in Danville, VA and during the half an hour journey used the opportunity to charge up my phone for the night. This added another 120+ miles to the overall journey.

Looking forward to the next Road Trip soon…

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!