Previously published on Motorcycle.com
Perhaps one of my favorite biker events to date, this year’s CAMS was a great success, an opinion echoed by everyone in attendance. CAMS III, the CA Meeting of Sportsters, is an annual summer event paid for and supported by the riders belonging to a particular Yahoo! club – two in fact – the SoCalSportsters and the BAS or BayAreaSportsters.
Both groups being internet e-mail forums primarily for owners and enthusiasts of Harley Davidson Sportsters and Buells, but often welcoming bike outside that arena – such as an organizer’s BMW Having lurked the board myself for nearly half a year I thought it best to finally meet the people I’ve been reading about and do what we all like best – riding the roads of California!
After a few months of back and forth online scheduling it was decided and they all knew where they wanted to be the same great place they rode to the past two years, Songdog Ranch in the Central California Cayuma Valley (http://www.songdog.com/). Sondog is a full service western style camp and retreat for rent by groups, bikers mostly. “Full service” meaning the “rally weekend package”, that includes not only the location to camp, meet and party, but also a full tri-tip & chicken BBQ dinner and breakfast the next morning prepared by the staff and owners of the ranch host & wife, Rev and Joan. ??Combine that with the available beer cooler and camping supplies such as tents, sleeping bags, and the like, you need bring nothing but your wallet, motorcycle and want of a great weekend in the country! Rev and Joan are great people to say the least, being riders themselves, and occasionally dealing with over 300 customers in one weekend’s rally, our little group of 30 was nothing but pleasure and friendly faces. The CAMS event happens the same place each year, and the good people at Songdog welcome us back every time with open arms.
A Brough Superior at the Vintage Bike show in Ventura.
Being my first time to attend CAMS, everything was new, from the 130+ mile trip north of Los Angeles, to the hangouts along the way, to the motorcycle camping, the scenery and the great people of the yahoo club! Something about the trip I didn’t expect, it might be wet and raining along the coast, but its surely the opposite when you turn in towards the center of the state. Upon arriving at Songdog, the temps must have gone from 50 to 100 degrees in the sun – consider yourself warned not to pack cold weather clothes beyond your riding layers.
I met four of the group @ Bartel’s HD in Marina Del Rey around 9am. We rode up the coast along the PCH to Oxnard, hopped on the 101 for just a few miles and exited to Hwy. 33 on the north side of Ventura. After a gas stop for the peanut tank riders, we made it to the Deer Lodge in Ojai by 10:30 am just in time for the temps to begin rising and breakfast to be served. The group made the stop to say hello to a few members that would not be attending this years CAMS due to broken parts both body or bike… more good people.
First stop – besides gas for the peanut tank – is the Deer Lodge in Ojai… to meet even more harley riders from the SoCalHarley Yahoo! group.
Rolling out after the morning cigar and bullshit in the parking lot, the group headed out for the FUN part of the trip, the twisties above Ojai along 33 north. Nice long sweepers and mostly clean surface mixed with a few tight ones thrown in for good measure. A great mix for the range of cruiser to café sportsters in the group. Both high and low elevation and breath-taking scenery the whole way to Cayuma 55+ miles away. Despite the closed road for a helicopter ambulance pickup along the way – none of our group btw – we made it to Songdog by 3pm with plenty of time to rescue a flattened rider from the BAS group and serve dinner before sundown, I’ll never forget the bedpan pico de gallo. Then came the awards!
Another annual custom at CAMS is the awards ceremony. Small offerings in good faith and fun. Such awards as First to Pass Out, PITA [pain in the ass, on the boards], attendee’s favorite bikes as well as returning members award to those that have been to every CAMS to date. Some awards were pre-determined, others were chosen by the crowd and applause. All in all , great fun, especially since I won the “best sportster” award this year with my stock and stylin’ 30th Anniversary Edition 1987 XL1100. Thanks for the compliment people, greatly appreciated! Among the rest of the crowd of about 25 bikes attending this year were a handful of Buells also known as “bug killers”, a Honda 919 hooligan special, one S3, one harley softail, and three BMW’s [F650 and R 1100 RT]. Apparently the next step in touring bikes after the sportster for this group.
Until this bike show I’d never actually seen an original A65L in person… just the chopped one I have in the garage you see in the collection below.
After the awards were over and the tents had been constructed, time for bonfires, beer and hours of catching up with both new and old friends commenced. Under a canopy of bright shining stars, in the warmth of the night, the group finally tired from the day and retired with many smiles!
Sunrise quickly came and the scent of french toast and coffee had awakened the lot of us just in time to pack up and hit the roads before the heat kicked in. Great roads and sunshine awaited us ahead and no one wanted to sit around in the sun and waste the chance to ride. Saying farewells to our friends from the north the SoCal group hit the road for 100+ miles of fun, sun, an antique bike show in Ventura and a fish & chowder dinner @ Neptune’s Net. Thanks to “the committee” for bringing together the group once again this year. Can’t wait for next year!
XLent times were had by all!!! -alfonse
Songdog.com Songdog Ranch is not a dude ranch, nor some ritzy get away for the rich and famous. It is a secluded rustic get away campground for the ‘real’ and adventurous.
SoCalSportsters · Southern California Harley Davidson Sportster Owners and Enthusiasts – An e-mail forum primarily for owners and enthusiasts of Harley Davidson Sportsters and Buells to promote rides and get-togethers to share our common interests.
Bay Area Sportsters The Bay Area Sportsters Group aims to bring together Sportster owners for group rides, motorcycling social events and sharing of tech tips. Our goal is to provide a monthly ride and meeting for the local riders. We welcome all riders and all bikes, but are specifically targeted to Sportster and Buell riders.
Apwired.com Photographer and intern @ Motorcycle.com Alfonse Palaima writes and shoots his first story.