Some people might call it a junket.
Others might call it a boondoggle.
Still others might call it a trek, or an outing, or an expedition, or a jaunt, or a journey, or an off-site meeting, or a field trip, or maybe even a vision quest.
And still others would probably just call it for what it really is, an opportunity to get paid to ride your bike.
Well, call it whatever you like, but we call it Kali Kamp.
That’s right, it’s that time of year again where we, the Kali staff, pack our tents, grease our chains, pump up our tires, fill our coolers and head for the woods.
Or, as is the case this year, head for the beach just beyond the woods.
We’re taking Kali Kamp to Santa Cruz for three days of shuttle runs, bbq and frivolity.
But sadly, you are not invited.
We really want to invite all of you, but we haven’t quite figured out how to make that work, just yet. Trust us, we’re working on it.
Since we can’t bring you along to our camp we thought we give you some quality tips on how to plan and execute your own camp.
So we reached out to our resident camp counselor, party czar, two-wheeled wizard and world class boondoggler Jon Sacks to find out what makes or breaks a Kali Kamp.
He suggests the first key to a successful getaway is location, location, location... He can highly recommend Whistler, Park City, Sedona, Bentonville, Tahoe, the Dolomites, and for us resident Californians looking for something closer to home: Santa Cruz.
There is something special about Santa Cruz and, in particular, the riding in that part of the world. The trails run the gamut from long double-track climbs and flowy epic singletrack, to miles of deep and steep sketchy trails, with the occasional rock garden thrown in for good measure.
It is crucial once you have picked your location to do as much research as is humanly possible. Get yourself onto the internets and search up the best trails, the best places to eat, the best places to get a hot shower and a cold beer and on the flipside it is also important to find out the places to avoid.
We here at Kali are also super lucky to have a whole network of amazing shops, filled with experts, to guide us along our perfect Kamp journey. In this case we have secured the shuttle bus from our friends at Cyclepath Outfitters and they are busily helping us map out our choices.
It has been made clear to us the three most must-do trails we need to ride while we are on that side of the mountain range are Braille and Sawpit in the Demo Forest and there are some amazing trails over by UC Santa Cruz campus, but those are all illegal, so definitely won’t be riding those.
The second key to an amazing Kamp is making sure everyone is properly fed and watered. So may we make just few suggestions if you find yourself in the vicinity of Santa Cruz.
"AJ's looks like a typical corner gas station, but it's a great market on the inside." said Eric Brecheen. "They have great falafel, burgers, gyros, gourmet food, beer, wine, international offerings. Plus a massive selection of ice cream too." Just roll into this little local treat after a long day on the bike and any, dare I say all, of your cravings will be satiated. We've never gotten our cars washed here, so can't vouch for that part of the business, but the rest is a gold mine.
"Oh My God," said Nicole Normandin. "If you're going to be in Santa Cruz you have got to go to Gayle's. It's my grandma's favorite restaurant. They have everything and it's all great." Gayle's Bakery and Rosticceria is actually in Capitola just around the corner from Santa Cruz and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We recommend you try the pastries, the pies, the sandwiches, the salads, the cookies and the Chicken Schnitzel. It's truly all good.
And despite our misgivings about recommending any bbq spot outside of Luhling, Texas, we have to say we thoroughly enjoy the offerings at Aptos St. Bbq. The brisket is pretty darn good, the ribs are lovingly prepared and the beer selection is spot on.
The third step to holding a highly successful getaway with your friends is picking an amazing place to ice up your beers, fire up your grill and lay your head.
In the past we have stayed up in the hills above Santa Cruz, living the real California off-the-grid lifestyle and sleeping in yurts and tents.
But this year we decided we wanted to be a little closer to the ocean and, to be honest, the possibility of a cellphone signal didn't seem like such a bad idea either. So we have ponied up and reserved camping spots at New Brighton State Beach.
Finally, the last and most important thing to consider when executing the perfect offsite boondoggle is the invite list. Luckily for us the extended Kali family is amazing and we couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend our "work" days with. Here's to hoping we can invite more and more of you in the years to come.