Photos by Jackson Allen and Brian Barnhart.Words by Jackson Allen.

Year after year, with the occasional break for bouts of frailty, we have been donning our long johns and setting out on a cold weather camping trip sometime between Christmas and New Years. Our divergent work schedules align briefly, campsites clear out and gulping lungfuls of cold air under a winter moon seems like a nice reprieve from stuffy houses and fatty food.

This year we piled into Brian’s van and set out for the lowlands that surround Sacramento. What follows is a roughly chronological version of our trip told in photos.

Parking lot party.

Benicia Skatepark.

Brian Barnhart taking some laps in the Benicia Skatepark pool. Brian taking laps in the Benicia skatepark pool.

We bought and borrowed enough firewood to burn a witch at the stake. Here Murph contemplates that very scenario.

We woke up to some strange noises. Turned out to be peacocks. Chunk ain’t a specist so he made friends.

Our first campsite sat a few miles downstream from one the most iconic Northern California transition spots but we had other plans for the day. Brian got up early to shoot the sunrise over the river.

We were all pretty excited to get out of the van but Colby’s dog Cru Jones definitely took top honors.

This ditch was littered with ceramic shards from broken clay pigeons, but all of the 15 or so flats we got were caused by the thousands of tiny goathead thorns all of our tires contracted. When we first showed up people were actively shooting into the ditch but seemed happy to redirect their fire long enough for us to get out of range. Some of us fell prey to the thorns immediately while others got a full session in, but almost all of us ended walking the mile or two back to the van.

Brandon was one of the lucky few who didn’t immediately get a flat and he rejoiced with two miles worth of skids and really angry looking pedaling. Photo: Brian Barnhart.

After a trip to a bike shop to buy an armload of tubes (and be called “Portlandese” by the snarky middle aged roadie staff) we wandered over to the Truxel skatepark for a sleepy afternoon session. Relative local Tristan Adams met us at the skatepark, slithered all around the bowl and perfected these toboggan tables in the process.

Brian kept his own tradition alive by rising early to shoot our second campsite at sunrise. Drought stricken Lake Camamche, CA.

Ione’s skatepark is the rare California gem that doesn’t have a fence surrounding it. Without the cage there is a pretty perfect box jump out of one of the bowls. The makeshift box was a blast and combined with the line leading to the box it almost felt like trails. Almost. Photo: Brian Barnhart.

Ione is actually full of little box jumps, here Murph lets the bars fly.

Mike Hernandez doing a turndown moments before he dropped to a knee and sketched something in the dirt using his finger. Classic Mike either way.

The van had 7 dudes, 7 bikes and all of our crap in it. Still pretty cozy. Anthony and Rob looking out.

As an afterthought we stopped by the Livermore bike park on the way home and took some laps. We even put on an improptu race. Here Chunk floats the big line.

Anthony hadn’t ridden his bike for weeks months before this trip, but he looked comfortable right away and shined all trip. That’s him in the front leading Mike down the stepdown and into the sunset. Until next year boys.

Jackson Allen

Dirt mound enthusiast. Amateur blogger. Professional hot mess.