Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Holiday Haze, NJ Biking, and Wet Hops

My holidays came and went like a steamroller over a harpsichord. They were busy enough that I have just now recovered. Here are some of the highlights.

Having a 5.5 month old complicates the usually over complicated space of time leading up to and between Christmas and New Years. My wife and I spent Christmas at my folks house (1 hour away) and a few days after at her folks house (4 hours away). Strangely the level of effort it took to pack up the family and kid paraphernalia and arrive at the destinations was almost the same.

Aware of this fact my wonderful wife suggested I bring a mountain bike to her folks place and take a morning off to ride. Before she could finish her sentence I had found a what looked to be a suitable trail within a few miles of her parent's house. It was a large park with many trails of which no bikes were allowed, save one. They had recently opened up a 3.5 mile loop to bikes which is cool. 3.5 miles is not enough but I figured I would do a few laps, besides, I shouldn't complain when thrown a bone.

This 3.5 mile loop was not however built with bikers in mind, poor drainage and bad lines made this one of the less enjoyable trails I have ridden. Then I figured out why the park authorities had decided to generously dedicate this sloppy mess of a loop to mountain bikers.

Because no self respecting walker/jogger would dare tread there! That's right this stretch of heaven in the back corner of Cheesequake Park in NJ given so generously to the brethren of the bike is on a stretch of the park that runs up against the Garden State Parkway. Pretty much wherever you are on the loop you can see, hear, or smell exit 120 on the GSP. As I said before, I shouldn't complain. I was happy for the nod from the wife and the chance to hit the trails over the hectic holiday mess.

Something else unique to the State of Gardens is tackiness. I know many other states enjoy their fair share, but there is something amazing about New Jersey tackiness. I should say now before any NJ'ers get too miffed I spent five glorious years in NJ so don't get your lawn ornaments in a tangle. The tackiness I am referring to reaches it's flash point around Christmas. Everyone has that house in their hood that has so many lights it can be seen from space, but unless you are in NJ that house still holds onto a sliver of dignity. Below are a few examples:

One of the highlights to the holiday season was the Harvest Ale from Sierra Nevada. This is a "wet hop" ale which uses hops fresh instead of dried in the brewing process. I don't know much about brewing intricacies but I do know this, me likey the wet hops. Give it a try if you can find it.


Unknown said...

you really should create and apply a "typo" tag for all your posts.


Cycle Jerk said...

It would probably read "Thaipo" or "Tiepoh" or something like that.