Cachuma Run 2006

The Cachuma Run 2006 was my second such ride to the legendary Cachuma Lake Vintage British Motorcycle Rally, at Cachuma Lake, near Santa Barbara CA. We left San Jose with around 20 bikesc an odd assortment of Triumph & BSA twins & triples, some Nortons, a Velocette or two & some sundry other bikes. By the time the weekend was out, 15 bikes made it home under their own power. The following is a photo chronicle of the trip, for your enjoyment...

We gather in front of Raber's Motorcycle Shop in San Jose CA on Friday morning. There were around 20 bikes when we started. Since the theme of this year's show was Triples, several Triumph Tridents & BSA Rocket 3s made the trip. That's my Yellow Bike there in the foreground, just behind that gorgeous red & gold 1973 Triumph Bonneville. Which, by the way, won 'Best of Show' at the 2006 Cachuma Lake Vintage British Motorcycle Rally. Before the weekend was over, he would crash the bike, but manage to limp home on it.

"The Gang", as it were. Ready to embark on the Cachuma Run 2006. That's me (Andy) in the middle with the white T-shirt on.

After leaving San Jose, Cachuma Run 2006 heads south mostly on country roads, through the rolling hills, but there were some highways. At Hollister (famous for the big Harley gathering & the movie "The Wild One") we head south on Hwy 25 to the tiny town of Tres Pinos. This is the last gas until Paso Robles, 125 miles on deserted country roads. Some of the bikes with smaller tanks, or poor fuel economy (ie: the Triples) just barely had that much range. What fun!

When you ride old British bikes over distance, you tend to stop often. Something must have fallen off of someone's bike. We all pitch in, put on our thinking caps, the dig out our tool kits & spares. You get pretty resourceful on the side of the road. At one point, someone pulled a strand of wire off of a fence to make a repair. And if it can't be fixed, the chase trucks aren't far behind. But who wants to ride in the van when you can ride your bike on this glorious day with all your friends?!

No one runs out of gas & we make it to Paso Robles with only a few stops for repairs. Our regular stop for lunch is at Good ol' Burgers and the Cachuma Run 2006 is no different. Good food, & some time out of the saddle.

Late Friday afternoon, after 350 miles of mostly backroads through the Central California hill country, Cachuma Run 2006, or what's left of us, pull into the 2006 Cachuma Lake Vintage British Motorcycle Rally. It's a lovely setting with trees, hills & the lake nearby. The sponsors of the rally did a great job of organizing things. Even the food was exceptional, prepared by culinary students from San Diego.

The Cachuma Run 2006 didn't end there. Once we got settled in, on Saturday after breakfast, they presented all these cool rides to the group. The surrounding area offers great riding over curvy hill & mountain roads, past wineries, large estates & horse country. Michael Jackson's infamous Neverland Ranch is in this area. Now, each of these rides they had planned was given a clever name. The one that went past the gates of the Neverland Ranch was called "Fruit Loop". I can't imagine why. Here, the Yellow bike poses with some BSA Rocket 3s on a vista overlooking the Neverland Ranch. We couldn't see much either.

Home of the Rabers Crew while at Cachuma, the Rabers Camp.

And populating our campsite was our merry band of miscreants. That's me (Andy) sitting in the chain in the front-middle.

This is the incomparable Lola riding her 1967 Triumph TR6C. I'd say she rode with the best of them, but I couldn't keep up with her. This is a very rare bike, by the way. You've heard of "Oil-in-Frame Triumphs"? Well this one is an "Oil-all-over-the-Frame" model. At least rust is never a problem.

Me British mates! They're all from England. Although most are now living in the US, one couple came over from England, picked up a 1971 BSA A65 Lightning out of the paper & made Cachuma Run 2006. Man, those Brits are tough. They can drink too.

The centerpiece of the 2006 Cachuma Lake Vintage British Motorcycle Rally, and thus the Cachuma Run 2006, was the bike show. After riding Yellow Bike 350 miles to get there, then another 100 miles or so on "The Fruit Loop", I cleaned it up, put it in the show & won First Place in the Modified Class.

Sunday morning, everyone went on a big ride together, probably more than 100 bikes. We descended on the quiet little town of Solvang CA (it looks like a fairy tale Dutch village, complete with windmills & cottages) like a swarm of locusts. But they didn't mind. First off, we're Classic British Bike Nuts, everybody likes us! And second, they're used to seeing lots of bike because their town is home to an awesome motorcycle museum.

We arrive in front of the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum en mass.

The museum is large, well-lit & filled with gorgeous, interesting motorcycles of all eras. From the early 1900s through the modern era, race bikes, historic bikes, prototypes, you name it. They really like us there. We go every year, with a large group. It's $10 at the door, by the way. And it's worth twice the price!

This is a private collection and the owner, an enthusiast of the highest order, doesn't just look at these babies. He likes to get them out & start them once in awhile. And when would be a better time than with 100 Classic British Bike Nuts in the middle of the Cachuma Run 2006. Here he fires up an
This is just a small sample of the amazing variety & quality of this collection of Classic Motorcycles. You could spend the entire afternoon just soaking in all the bikes, displays, engines, photos, memorabilia, & history. This is a destination for all motorcycle fans. You must see this museum. The best $10 you will ever spend. And Solvang is a really cool town also, very charming & quaint. In fact, I liked it so much, that I've been back again, since Cachuma Run 2006.

After leaving the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, we went up the road to the next town, Buellton, home of the Mendenhall Museum. It's a family-run private museum dedicated to the memory of Jack Mendendhall, one of the true pioneers of early SoCal racing, hot rodding & particularly Dry Lake Racing. It's an interesting collection of cars, engines, license plates, gas pumps, pictures, history & tons of memorabilia.

Monday morning, we depart Cachuma Lake for our return trip. Lola's oily, rusty old TR6 develops an electrical short and, once again, we're on the side of the road. At least there's shade. That's Bob Raber talking to Lola, attempting to analyze the problem. We got it going again in no time. Cachuma Run 2006 was not to claim another bike, not this time.

I couldn't resist posing with my faithful Yellow Bike, which actually gave me trouble on the way to the show, running on one cylinder for the last 5 miles or so. Fixed it as soon as we got to the show. Won the show (modified class) and now I'm going home. What a weekend!

Wow! We made it! Or...at least some of us did. Several bikes ended up in trucks or trailers. But, these bikes took us the distance. What a perfect end to a perfect weekend, and Cachuma Run 2006.

The last Cachuma Lake Vintage Motorcycle Rally was held in 2007. There hasn't been one since. I went to two of them, 2004 & 2006, and they were both wonderful shows...but for me, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE!


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