Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Snow Tubing
It Is The Closest My Wife Will Get To Actually Skiing

On Thursday the 13th of February we headed up to the Allentown area of Pennsultucky. Just north of Allentown is a nice ski area called Blue Mountain in Palmerton. This is where we would ski and snow tube for the next two days.

We stayed at the Best Western in Allentown, right off route 22. It is on a pretty busy street, so at night the traffic needs to be drowned out with the fan in the room. The hotel is brand new and still had the new car scent to it. It had a nice indoor pool and a fitness center. Our room was on the 2nd floor, number 224. Very clean, nicely decorated and very comfortable. Equipped with a 40" LCD (but no set top box or HD), a king bed and a full pull out sofa for the boys. After settling in we headed down to the pool for a quick swim. After a dip in the pool I took some laps on the treadmill, and quickly made myself exhausted on the elliptical. Now that calories were sufficiently burned, I headed to the business center to hit up some free Internet. Brand new PC's with laser printers and fax machines were at my disposal. After a quick Facebook update and a couple of Tweets, I was back up in the room. I will skip my lone ski details and focus on dinner that night and the next day with the family at the tube park.

Local Beer. It's What's For Dinner

Dinner time rolled around and we were once again back in the room. I told my wife lets hit up the local guide for a food recommendation. There were about 10 nice places to eat and we had to make the tough choice, but once I saw the local micro-brew and restaurant, how could I pass up some good local beer? The place was called Allentown Brew Works. I hit up the business center again on the way out to get directions and to make sure the place was not a total dive. It looked good on the web, Allentown Brew Works, and it was not to far away from the hotel, so away we went.

Anyone who knows me or any reader of this blog can tell that I love beer, good beer. The first two types on my must drink list are Stouts and IPAs. The natural think for me to do was to cruise the beer menu and look for a Stout. On the "seasonal" page was a Stout that caught my eye, Blast Furnace Imperial Stout. Being an Imperial, I knew it would have a higher ABV, and I was right. At 8.5%ABV it was right up my alley. Served in a brandy snifter it was full of chocolate, caramel and a bit of oatmeal/coffee. A nice smooth mouth feel gave this a great drinkability. A+ in my book. And to accompany the Stout I had a nice beer and cheddar cheese soup. Perfect fit, the saltiness of the soup went very well with the sweetness of the stout. Next was my entree. I smoke a lot of meat at home, so naturally when I saw pulled pork on the menu I had to get it. This was probably a mistake on my part. You see their pulled pork was pretty good, but it was just not MY pulled pork. The battered fries were very good. And with dinner what did I drink? My other top two, a Double Indian Pale Ale called "Hop'Solutely". This was PURE HOP JUICE. And wow what a color, I wish I could do a better job at describing it, maybe like a very dark raspberry ice tea. Brewed with Cascade, Chinook, Amarillo, Summit and Tomahawk hops and sporting an 11.5% ABV and an IBU of 74, this one was a killer. I was in love from the first sniff. The grapefruit punched me in the face and then kicked my ass when I sipped it. Perfect bitterness rounded out nicely by a stronger then usual malt profile. This was one of the best DIPAs I have ever drank. I wish they bottled it. A++

We decided to skip dessert as we were very tired. I contemplated bringing a growler back to the hotel, but at around 23 bucks, I did not think I would finish the full 1/2 gallon so I was left with only the pleasant hop finish in my mouth. If you are ever going to go skiing at Blue Mountain or have some summer time fun at Dorney Park, do yourself a favor and eat (and drink) at the Allentown Brew Works. (Sorry but the two beers I drank were on the seasonal menu)

Awake, Awake, It Is Time To Tube

Friday morning came quickly and we were all showered and headed down to the breakfast area in the hotel for some eats. If there was anything about this hotel to complain about it was two issues I had with the free breakfast. First the Belgium waffle mix was way to watery. It made the waffles like a balloon, nothing inside but air. And, secondly, the egg omelets were like rubber. But other then that I can not complain. it was clean and there was plenty of food to eat. Four types or cereal, bagels, muffins, hot cinnamon rolls, the rubber eggs, the waffle balloons, some fruit, etc., etc. After breakfast we went up to pack, check out and load up the van. Off we were and up 145 we went. It did not take long to get to the mountain, maybe 10-15 minutes. The road actually comes up over the mountain from the south and once you head over the crest you make your way about 1.3 miles down to the Tubing Park.

Now mind you it was a Friday and most of the kids should have been in school. Well they must have all cut out that day, they were here on the mountain. The ticket line was not that bad, but as we walked toward the first lift line, wow, it was then we knew it would be like Disney World (but without the nice weather and theme rides). The ski lifts did not take nearly as long as the tube lifts. The first one we got on was the family tube. It was a large tube that the whole family gets in (up to four) and then they hook you up to the lift and it pulls you up the hill. Once at the top there is a sign that says "Roll Out Here" and they mean it, you have to roll out at the top so they can unhook the tube from the lift. Once free you walk over to any of the 20 trails and get in the tube and they push you down. But you must again wait on a line at the top of the hill before being pushed down. I timed the ride down, 15 seconds. You wait on a 20-30 minute line to go 15 seconds. At least in Disney the time you invest on the line gives you a return of around a 2-5 minute ride and sometimes longer. We did not go on the family tube again that day.

Next we got on the single rider tube line. Once we secured a tube for each of us we settled in for the long wait. And while waiting on the line all the kids are getting impatient. There is a lot of parents yelling at the kids while on this line. My little one just sat in his tube or the verge of sleep the whole time we pulled him through
the line. This lift was a carpet lift. It is like a conveyor belt that you stand on and it pulls you up the hill. Think about an airport people mover. At the top you are allowed to anchor the tubes together and go down like a train. A lot of people were doing this. My wife and 3 year old tied up together. My 10 year old and myself went solo. We took a running start and jumped on the tube on our bellies and went down head first. Very nice. But then in like 12 seconds you were at the bottom and looking at the line again. Better off back at the Brew Works drinking. We went down a couple more times and got hungry. After a quick drive to the top of the mountain, we hit the lodge to get some food. Holy crap, the lines were even bigger inside. We decided the day was over and we would get something on the road. As I drove down 145 south, I was tempted to stop in the Allentown Brew Works again to grab a growler. I waved as I drove by instead. Looking in the back seat I noticed my little one was now asleep. I told my wife we would head towards home until he wakes up. He never did, all the way back to East Brunswick he slept soundly.

Well that pretty much summed up our little trip to Pa. We pretty much bummed around on Sat. that followed and on Sunday I was smoking some ribs. I had my wife's parents coming over to watch the Daytona 500 after the Ranger game. On Sunday while I was eating my baby backs all I could think about was how well a growler of Hop'Solutely Double IPA would have went down with the ribs. Oh well, the Avery Maharaja was a good substitute.

Tired In The Lodge

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About Me

My name is Bo Carlson. I am married to Kim and have two awesome boys. First and foremost I love my family. I love my wine, my beer, my food and of course The New York Yankees.

I am an in IT as a Network Admin. Scuba diving is a passion of mine. Blogging is pretty new to me and I am sure you can tell. I hope you take a look around and check out my posts.

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