Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

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!

Post Card from Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, PA Winter MX-5 Miata Cruise

First stop on our winter Mazda MX-5 Miata cruise today was at Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, PA

Some pix:

Bright and early in the morning, checking out the brand spanking new “Welcome!” sign on i78 across the Delaware River from NJ.

Plenty of ways to get to Dutch Kitchen, we chose to take the simple way… Pennsylvania Route 61 from i78 all the way up through Pottsville (our final destination for the day) across i81 and right into Frackville, PA

Looks like a normal building form the outside, but within it’s your typical Diner train cart with counter seating… perfect!

wasn’t feeling so well so first order of business Crab Bisque!

however, breakfast proper was my favorite: Gingerbread Hotcakes!

Onwards… back down the mountain to Pottsvilel fro the Yuengling Brewery Tour… “America’s Oldest Brewery!”

Very scenic route even on the main highway without having to deviate onto country roads (which we later did)

Next stop: Yuengling Brewery Tour in Pottsville, PA

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: 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…

Post Card from IndyCar at Pocono Raceway, The Tricky Triangle

Greetings from Day 2 of IndyCar at the Pocono Raceway… on the Tricky Triangle. What Turn 4?

So this time I’m doing something different, while still volunteering for a Motorsport event, it’s not quite marshaling. But I’m in pit lane, there are race cars around me, I’m happy!

A few weeks ago I worked with a guy from Pennsylvania at Watkins Glen who invited me to come volunteer IndyCar at Pocono… What? I didn’t know we could do that… I thought marshals weren’t needed on ovals… err… triovals.

They are not, but volunteers are always needed. I filled out my application… got a typical cryptic response that made me wonder if I was in or out, and tickets for the event showed up in my mail box a few days before the race. Cool!

The role for this event was: “Customer Service” with Team Pocono. Some would call it a security role, but there were actual security at the event that were hired help and were getting paid for their service. We worked for free, and we were the only ones in pit lane, where you know… it’s actually dangerous.

Our role was to check wristbands and paper tickets of spectators and VIP’s that were roaming around pit lane during all sessions of the event. I didn’t think this was even possible because typically the pits are off limits to spectators at other events I volunteer at. IMSA and F1 have a special Pit Walk for the spectators which is a watered down experience that lasts for about an hour or so primarily designed for spectators to take some close up pictures of cars in pieces and maybe grab an autograph from their favorite driver. Here, the pit lane was open to anyone who was willing to spend the extra money for this pit pass, and it wasn’t that pricey.

In many ways this activity is where IndyCar is most similar to NASCAR rather than other series like IMSA or F1. The other similarity was running the oval which meant there wasn’t to be any racing as soon as the rain hit the forecast. That combined with a time-certain TV schedule meant that despite the scheduled race for today, the feature activity of the weekend, the actual race got moved to Monday because of the rain (even though as usual the morning was nice and sunny with some overcast)… This was the first time I’ve ever had a race postponed to the next day of the week.

The actual role of customer service was really neat. I got to interact with a bunch of spectators, several crew / team members of the pits I was responsible for, and got to see several drivers up close. The first day of my participation I was absolutely rubbish. There was a person smoking nearby who I missed completely, which was one of my responsibilities. People kept on sneaking up towards the pit wall every time I would turn my back, which wasn’t meant to happen. Someone walked in with a beer, which again was a big no no… Someone brought their young kids in, again this wasn’t good. But on the second day I got the hang of it.

As usual we were not allowed to take any pictures of the cars, but I snuck a few selfies in.

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Only British flags were flying on communication antennas in pit lane to commemorate the one year anniversary of Justin Wilson’s death which happened at this event last year sadly.

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First day I worked the “South” pits watching over Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan pits. While second day I got bumped to the North pits looking out for Marco Andretti and Takumo Sato. Second day we really had nothing to do. (because of the rain)

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I was most impressed with the whole registration process at Pocono. Things were well organized, people were knowledgeable and things went very smoothly. Camping was provided right on the inner course where I had driven once when I volunteered as F&C during an SCCA event.

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Chits for food were provided both days, and food was tasty!

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For the second day there was a car show with some interesting things on display like these Jaguars.

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For support event we had Vintage IndyCar organized by USAC.

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There were also lots of stock cars and dirt track cars on display very popular in Pennsylvania and among the crowd who were naturally mostly NASCAR fans. The whole weekend had a very low key feel to it, almost like a club event. Not too many people in attendance which made the event feel very open and drivers super accessible.

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The days on post were quite long and my feet were burning by the end. Luckily I had enough wet weather gear with me to stay dry when the skies opened up on Sunday.

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As a keepsake we got a pin for participation and a program. Which is more than we normally get while volunteering for F&C.

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All in all I had a hell of a time and even though I left the track when the rain started because I was not going to camp in the bog that the water created, I’m very much looking forward to the 98 mile drive back there on Monday to finish what I started/signed-up to do.

It was a fantastic experience to be sure!

Mazda MX-5: Philadelphia Miata Meet & Cruise, Philly Cheesesteaks and Twisties

How to scrub brand new tires? Take the car on a little road trip… today’s excuse for a drive was a “local” Philly Miatas meet and cruise… I called it cheesesteaks and twisties… 2 hours each way and a total of just under 300 miles on new tires which are nicely broken into now and ready for  daily use.

Big thanks to the guys that organized the event today!

We had a total of 6 cars… 4 or 5 of them at a time. There were 2 NA’s, 3 NB’s and my NC. Only two of the guys were from Pennsylvania while three of us were from across the river in New Jersey. The other two Jersey guys were from South Jersey living in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

One car broke down shortly after we started the cruise, which was a bit sad. It was a Supercharged NB that kept on blowing a fuse which we kind of thought was a result of hitting a pot hole large enough to cause a short in one of the wires. We left the fella behind on the side of the road waiting for AAA… and while we were eating our cheesesteaks before heading off for some spirited driving around PA’s twisties, he showed up with his second NB… How cool!?!

After giving the new tires a bit of a workout driving in suburban Philadelphia along the banks of the river, I broke off from the group and went to visit my buddy Brian whose wedding I attended in Bangkok, it was a great opportunity to catch up although way too brief.

Fantastic spring day spend driving the Miata with the top down with a new group of friends in Philadelphia… looking forward to more of these in the near future!

Some pix:

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Turns out there are two styles of Philly Cheesesteaks: sliced and diced. The sliced type is like the famous Pat’s or Geno’s… or better yet like Tony Luke’s which I had for breakfast on my way to the meet. During the cruise we stopped at Dalessandro’s which serves diced steaks and the line for food was way out the door! You know it’s good when you look across the street at Chubby’s hoggies and steaks and there’s no line out the door there. Delicious stuff!

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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.