This year’s Fall Foliage Tour was set to be packed full of history... from driving through covered bridges to exploring the old Bethlehem Steel Mill, to a presentation from Stephen Arrington, the last surviving defendant from the famous John DeLorean trial of the 80s. This was my first time running the show for a fully planned DMA weekend of events, so this was a highly anticipated weekend! I was also happy to provide a ride for Stephen during the driving route, little did I know I was honored to provide his first ever ride in a DeLorean! Despite drifting a little on some wet leaves, I didn’t manage to scare him too bad ;)
The weather started out rainy and drizzling (I guess someone neglected to make a sacrifice to the weather gods!) so as attendees slowly arrived, we huddled inside in a local Panera Bread in Allentown, PA. But despite the weather, with goody bags and driving routes distributed, we maintained our high spirits and were ready to get underway.
The driving tour took us by 5 of the Lehigh Valley’s covered bridges, build in the 1800s, with the 6th being a stop for a pedestrian only bridge. As we weaved through the back roads of Allentown and the scene Game Preserve, there was no shortage of fall colors through the dreary weather.
The rain managed to let up just in time for our first stop at Bogert’s bridge. We took a quick break for our group photo and then quickly headed off to the Coopersburg Diner for lunch. Following lunch, we stopped at The Inside Scoop, where the owners Penny and Tony Caciolo graciously provided the group with complimentary ice cream! Tony and Penny had renovated the building into a classic 50s style malt shop, complete with jukebox and mid-century modern lighting.
Soon we headed back out for the second half, past the Lehigh University overlook and back down into the valley of downtown Bethlehem for our final stop at SteelStacks, the original Bethlehem Steel Mill dating back to 1915, now preserved as a visitor center and concert venue. The furnaces were last operated Nov. 18, 1995 with the oldest furnace dated back to 1915. The sights of the original rusty steel mill furnaces made for beautiful photography against the sleek contrast of stainless steel. We took a few group photos, and used the time to wonder around and explore the grounds.
That evening, we met back up at the SteelStacks visitor center for our banquet dinner, where it was beautifully lit with colorful lights at night to highlight the large industrial structures. Our guest speaker that evening was Stephen Arrington, author of In DeLorean's Shadow and sole surviving defendant from the DeLorean trial. His story is known for his role in the infamous drug bust and trial with John Z DeLorean. Stephen shared with us his history leading up to how be became involved with Pablo Escobar the leader of the Medellin Drug Cartel, his #1 hit man, Rafael Salazar, "AKA Rafa", and Max Mermelstien who smuggled 56 tons of cocaine into the United States-and sent over $300,000,000 back down to Medellin. Stephen also managed to share a few rare FBI investigative reports, reports and transcripts of the FBI’s secret tapes from the case as well as plenty of stories of what the jury never heard and what the Federal agents tried to hide. We didn’t take video as Stephen tours around to many events, so you’ll just have to attend in person or check out his book to find out more!
Bright and early the next morning, a smaller group of us headed back to SteelStacks for their Lehigh Valley Cars&Coffee event. We had our own special display right out in front of the arts building. This Cars&Coffee is not one as it’s been one of the largest ones in the area and quite the variety of exotic cars!
After walking around admiring the cars, we soon had to part ways and close out another ‘DMA Family’ weekend. I never manage to have a bad time with this group, even while running around coordinating an event! Can’t wait to see everyone again soon!