Nestled within a steep valley through which runs the Lehigh River, the town of Jim Thorpe feels like the spot between a mattress and a pillow. It's a nice little town steeped in its rich history, peppered with art galleries and little shops. Little seems to be an adjective that easily attaches itself to the words I use in describing the town: nice litte town, quaint little shops, little facades of coffee shops and art galleries along Race Street. Perhaps in my mind I wish the town to be small enough that one can put it in one's own pocket, to be pulled out and once in a while to be gazed upon. Like a snow globe, which you can probably purchase in one of those quaint, little shops.
Jim Thorpe also happens to be an excellent mountain biking town. Lots of trails in the area. Last year, my brother Uly, coming out from another 6-month stint as crew doctor for a cruise ship that sailed around the world, spent a couple of months visiting us in Scranton. Bonnie and I took him out to Jim Thorpe to bike the Lehigh Gorge Trail. He did pretty well for a smoker who alternates between a stick of cigarette and his asthma inhaler.
We had the entire two months planned, capped by a major road trip from PA to Florida with several stops in between. After the second week, before we could hit the first mile of the trip, we were sitting around in the kitchen, drinking an assortment of beer that we rounded out from the store, he says to me, "Tol, about this trip,... there's kind of a snag." His voice had turned one level in earnest and it seemed a coincidence that he chose the moment when Bonnie stepped out of the kitchen. He then proceeded to tell me that his girlfriend had called him from the UK to tell him that she was pregnant. I don't know why but my reaction to this piece of information was an incredulous, "You schmuck!" Meanwhile his face was a painting of happiness, he all but went Costanza on me, a-la "My boys can swim!"
He had to go to fly out to the UK the following week. Nine months later, out came Gabriel, shown here growling out System of a Down's Toxicity.
This spring, Bonnie and I went back to Jim Thorpe to ride the entire length of the Lehigh Gorge out and back. It was a nice Saturday to get in some miles on a flat terrain. After the ride, we checked into a hotel, hit the showers and took a little nap.
In the evening we met up with our friends Sam and Carl. Sam is one of the nicest persons I've ever met. She went to our Haloween partly last year as a nun. Those last two statements are not necessarily related. Carl came in with a huge screw through his head and won funniest costume. He's also a big Rolling Stones fan.
We walked around town, downed a few drinks at the bar at Antonio's, then had a dinner in the same place. Antonio's is my favorite italian restaurant.
We then headed up to the Mauch Chunk Opera House to see the Rolling Stone live!
Well not quite the Rolling Stones, but it's next to the real thing. The band's name is Satisfaction, a Stones tribute band. When the band members walked onto the dimly-lit, smoke-filled stage, if you allow yourself to be deceived you can almost swear it was Mick and Keith and the rest of them. Mick had all the moves down and he never went out of character for even a second. Keith had the signature throwing his picking hand up in the air. And they sounded just as close to the real thing.
It wasn't the Rolling Stones. But we didn't have to pay an arm and a leg.