California Dreamers #3


It’s easy to find “adventure” these days, much harder to find the real thing.

It seems to have been heatmapped and hashtagged to the point of abstraction; a conceptual cliche.

So how does one create an adventure?
Like a jazz composer, you have to leave room for improvisation.



As soon as I knew that NAHBS was happening in Sacramento, I started making plans to ride there from my hometown of Santa Rosa. Twice in the past  I’ve biked the hundred miles to Sac by taking country highways, but this time I wanted to find a better way – I’m always hungry for dirt roads and remote scenery.



Creating a route was fairly straightforward – I used RideWithGPS and AllTrails to explore the area by satellite and looked for the brown ribbons of trail to connect the dots between where we would be and where we wanted to end up.

I invited some good friends from Oregon, Montana, and Nagoya. As my list of riding companions grew, I started to feel the weight of responsibility. That’s when I started to really stress out.



What would happen if we got lost, or busted for trespassing, ran out of water, or worse?

This was unknown territory to me, and anything could happen.

I spent quite a few nights awake, reviewing the plan over and over again. I was worried about my lack of control. Before too long, the day of our departure had arrived.


The first day went according to plan – our route was dialed, the timing was perfect, and we hit every note just right. We managed to find an ideal campsite right on the waterfront, our only neighbors the waterfowl whose honks carried across the glassy expanse of Lake Berryessa.


The second day was Thelonious Monk. I knew where we needed to go, but I wasn’t entirely sure how we’d get there.

Luckily, our cooperative of riders worked together to find our way. We hopped multiple gates, crossed over miles of pockmarked cow pastures, and eventually found our way to the summit – Berryessa Peak, 3060 feet in the sky.

Then it was all downhill to the fertile Capay Valley and a long, arduous grind through the orchard-lined highways of Yolo County until, at long last, we arrived in Sacramento just after sunset.



I’m so glad that our journey together was a success. I’m already looking forward to the next one. I hope you feel inspired to go find your own route, and don’t be afraid to improvise – that’s where the adventure really begins!


Nicholas with his buddy Beautiful Bruce Gordon Tourer.




To be continued to Shige’s story…



California Dreamers #1  – Text by Shinya Tanaka

California Dreamers #2 – Text by Rie Sawada

California Dreamers #3 – Text by Nicholas Haig-Arack