On his way from LA to Baja Kiwi off-road photographer Mike Peffers checked out the famous Glamis sand dunes. effectively kit it out for overnight 4x4 trips.
The Algodones Dunes, commonly known as Glamis, at over 517 square kilometres ( 200 square miles) is the largest OHV ( Off Highway Vehicle) sand dune recreational area in the USA. It is located in the south east corner of California near the border with Baja, making it an ideal place for us to get our off road fix before heading into Mexico for the SCORE Baja 1000 ( see feature story in the March 18 issue, Ed). We headed into the southern section of the dunes, officially known as the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area. Arriving on Veterans’ Weekend, it was supposedly quieter; having missed the mayhem of Halloween the previous weekend, and the upcoming craziness of Thanksgiving when the dunes are supposedly crowded with all manner of Sand Rails, UTVs and motocross bikes. Another benefit was that it is free to stay on Veteran’s Weekend.
Yep, it’s big alright!
The sheer scale of the place from the lookout makes it hard to imagine the place ever getting “crowded”. In fact, other than a few tyre tracks in the sand showing where some had been playing, we could not see anyone in the dunes despite seeing over 100 of RVs and trailers when we drove in. It turned out that being Veterans’ Weekend, everyone was well in the dunes watching a multi force fly-over. We did get to see a few UTVs and bikes playing, and a local, Cole Larby, taking his new V8-powered Sand Rail out for a skid. And see his Dad’s custom painted rail, decked out in honour of a ’ 57 Chev.
Bit of a drag
Come 4.00pm, and it was time for “drag racing”. Located adjacent to a road near the entrance to the Recreational Area, a flat section is turned into an impromptu drag strip where everyone lines both side of the “track” and anyone can turn up to put the hammer down. There’s no flag drop or Christmas Tree, you just drive up and run. By yourself or with a mate, there are no winners or losers, just those with the biggest grins on their faces ready to do it again. We were lucky enough to be invited to jump in Mike Iler’s sand rail, a roadregistered, four-seat, 484kW ( 650hp) V8-powered Manx, fully kitted out with intercom and music to enjoy the ride. Then at 6.00pm, it’s all over for the night as everyone heads back to their campsites and RVs scattered throughout the area. To wrap up the day, we shared a few beers around the camp fire hearing stories from the locals about their OHVs and how often they come and play at Glamis (a lot), as well as their opinions on Trump, Mexicans, etc.
Sand dune perfection.
Run what ‘ya brung on sand drag strip.
Area caters for every possible type and/or style of off-road vehicle...