Motorcyclists will find any excuse to ride. Not that we need an excuse but it adds to the fun. As is finding the longest, most interesting path to achieve our goal.
One morning a few years back, my dear man woke with a notion. He does that sometimes. This particular morning, he decided to take up canning his own cocktail cherries. Happy hour is kind of a big deal at our place. And Manhattans are our cocktail of choice the vast majority of the time.
A proper Manhattan needs an excellent cocktail cherry and he was set on making his own. We could just go to the local grocer and pick up some cherries that have been in transit for who knows how long. Or we could scoot over the hill (what we call crossing the Sierra) to get some fresh from a farm.
So of course that’s what we did.
Mission: cocktail cherries
A quick breakfast and off we went, enjoying the glory of the Sierra over Carson Pass. It was a brisk ride and the lakes were still capped in winter ice, making for a captivating ride.
Our destination was a question mark. We just knew we’d pick one of the farms that looked good when we got there. We landed at Clement’s Ridge Produce in Clements, California. They stock lots of fresh produce, locally-sourced sundries, and have a killer deli and bakery. Our first order of business was visiting the deli and devouring their offerings. After 150 miles of spirited riding, we were ravenous.
With our bellies full we could think straight again. J thoughtfully chose the cherries that would become the culinary canvas for his first experiment in cherry-canning. And fortunately, our space limitations kept us from buying too much else, though the temptation was strong with all of the yummies on display.
On the return trip, we stopped at Peddler Hill vista overlooking Bear River Reservoir on Carson Pass (CA 88) for a rest break. There were a lot of riders out enjoying the agreeable weather and many stopped at the overlook as well. We helped them get pictures at the majestic vista as we often do when we see folks wanting to capture their smiling faces on their journey but have no one to take it for them.
Just as we were heading back to the bikes to saddle up and finish the ride home, a westbound rider hit the brakes and swung quickly around into the pullout next to us. It was our pal Fonzi, a fellow whiskey aficionado, who we know from our time at Overland Expo. How he recognized us while riding by at highway speeds, I’ll never understand. But we live nowhere near each other and we were all far enough from home that there was a lot of serendipity at play that afternoon.
And before we left, a couple of riders he knew from a tour in Baja rolled in and stopped to say hi. The odds of this happening are remarkably small. To top it off, they were on the way to look at houses in our little Nevada town of Dayton.
And all of this came together because one morning, J got inspired to make cocktail cherries.
Cherry on top
The cherry mission was simply the inspiration for the ride—the cherry on top so to speak. The depth of this spontaneous adventure lies in all of the experiences surrounding it that have lasted well beyond that one ride. We still laugh about our random encounter with Fonzi.
And in the following days, J immersed himself in the canning process, diving into kitchen chemistry and experimenting with various bourbon syrups that produced the best flavor. The fruits of his new-found hobby have since found their way into our friends’ homes, spreading the joy of happy hours and Manhattans.
It won’t be a shocker to you that we don’t have the ability to can cherries in our current state as full-time RVers with only a microscopic kitchen to work with. We brought our remaining stash with us when we hit the road but ran out long ago.
Our nomadic scenario has impacted our friends as well who have come to cherish the delicious J’s delicious treats. In fact, during one happy hour not long ago, we even got a panicked message from a friend who was horrified to find himself out of J’s cherries. He desperately needed to know what alternative to use to preserve marital bliss in the midst of a cherry crisis.
An adventure gone good
It may surprise you that I don’t subscribe to the adage that it’s not adventure if nothing went wrong. That’s a total load of crap. Our 300-mile cherry ride was quite an adventure filled with surprises and delights. Everything went great and it was fantastic. Its legacy makes it even more fabulous.
Adventure on, friends! Wrap yourself in the memories and lasting impacts that each adventure leaves in your lives.