RIP Dee Cameron
Dee Cameron died this weekend after heart surgery. He was born I think in 1941 and was quickly propped by by his dad John Cameron on the family Crocker. John was one of the original members of the Boozefighters club, whose exploits in Hollister indirectly and infamously led to the sensational movie The Wild One with Marlon Brando. Dee was his father’s son, and carried the torch in his own way by riding fast bikes, drinking whisky and living a life that was worthy of its own book, if not a movie.
From his earliest days he was racing bikes and messing about with cars and trucks. He frequented the Max Bubeck rides in Death Valley, raced at the Catalina Grand Prix, drove and repaired big rigs, rode the AMCA road runs in Borrego Springs and the Velocette Club rallies among others. Dee would often arrive with his wife Deanna on their gigantic 1920’s modified Autocar flatbed truck after flying down the freeway for a few hours with a bike or two on the back. Any of the California riders of the past several decades have Dee Cameron stories involving riding bikes on or off road, camping in tents, drinking and telling stories until late in the night, and repeating it all again in the morning.
One of my favorite stories is from the Max Bubeck rides through Death Valley. The tradition was the the riders would all go up to the top of the hill above Zabriski Point, then turn off their motors and coast about 20 miles down the hill to the hotel in the bottom of the valley. Dee won the race many times, and not without some controversy. He later told me that if I wanted to win that I needed take his lead and pump up my tires to 100psi to reduce rolling resistance. And to clean all the grease out of the wheel bearings, and take the oil out of the gearbox! Word is that he even would put rocks into his bike’s saddle bags to have additional weight for gravity to act upon! Whatever tricks he tried, they worked and he would typically cruise further and faster that the other guys on his old Velo MAC.
Dee welcomed visitors to he and Deanna’s home, and loved to show his photos to visitors. I snapped these photos during a BBQ there for the 2012 Velocette Rally. More pics are here: http://occhiolungo.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/dee-cameron/ There are many web pages with info about John Cameron, a few by Dr. Sprocket are here.
A fair recollection of Dee would include the fact that Dee spoke his mind –often and loudly! He wasn’t concerned if that made him unpopular, and it did have that effect with some people. And some of the the Dee stories that are commonly told will reflect that. But many people enjoyed Dee for who he was and were not offended. He certainly treated K & I with respect at all times and showed us nothing but kindness. I was glad to be his friend, and I’m sorry to see him go.
Rest in peace Dee.
Mike Jongblood and Dee Cameron
If you look closely, you can see where Dee recorded his weight as he got in shape and dropped about 50 pounds in 2006.
Dee has a laugh showing me some old family photos.
“On behalf of the SoCal Chapter of the AMCA”
A memorial service for Dee Cameron will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at the Prescott VA Hospital. Viewing at 12:00 PM and Service at 1:00 PM
Northern Arizona VA Hospital
500 Hwy 89N, Building 152 Chapel
Prescott, Arizona 86313
Enter the Facility off Hwy 89N onto Whipple Parkway and Park in Lot C, T, or S
Please join us at the Memorial Gathering following the service at 2035 Holly Oak Dr, Prescott, AZ 86305
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