Saint Anthony Sand Dunes “Don’t let the big dunes scare you”
Our second annual trip to the dunes to Saint Anthony turned out to be a good one even though we saw rain, hail, wind & sun, we plan this trip 5 months in advance to get a full hook up camping spot at the Idaho Dunes RV this is the camping place that holds the UTV invasion on Labor Day.
It is a nice big RV campground area able to hold a large number of big rigs with all the toys, and when I say toys we saw them all this last weekend. I want to say this about the staff running this place-thank you for running a tight ship especially about the curfew times, My wife and I go to bed early and we wake up early it is just us, I am sure the neighbors around us would have played their music very loud and partied till the early hours in the morning but your staff let them know about the quiet hours and we were able to really enjoy staying at your campground because of your policy.
It just happened to be a weekend race with the old timer cars and the big sand car shootout, the old-timers are exactly as it says they are old-time sand rails, buggy’s and all the rides that were getting built in the 70’s I remember seeing a lot of these type vehicles when my dad would take me to the Little Sahara sand dunes in 1974-77 we have come a long way baby!
The big sand cars are true high expensive purpose-built cars with high dollar suspension all-aluminum Chevrolet ZL motors and aluminum transaxles putting out around 900 horsepower, these cars are bad to the bone and they have all kinds of look. After speaking with a lot of the big sand car guys we found out most of them live in California and this has become an annual event for them. A lot of the owners had towed 14 hours + and they spend upwards to a week here which gives them enough time to wait out some bad weather and also fix some broken machines and believe me they can break and then it is a big job getting the new parts out to the middle of the sand dunes if broken beyond drivable condition. Some of them end up working on them all the time and not able to go have fun That’s Racing.
I lived, breathed racing for 30 years of my life and still get all excited seeing any type of race cars and these big sand cars were no exception, this group of people put their hearts, time and money in their sport and I can appreciate all the hard work and time along with family members supporting the craziness of racing. I hope to see them again on our annual trip to the beautiful sand dunes in Saint Anthony Idaho.
On Saturday at Devil’s dune the drag races up the hill were happening and after raining a good portion of the night Saturday morning took a break in the weather that made it possible to go have some fun that morning and play in the dunes slowly while heading over to the side of Devil’s dune, once we arrived over to where the drag races were being held the crowd had already started to gather-it might be the buggy and sand car races but the crowd came in there UTV’s and ATV’s, Motorcycles, etc.
The longer we stayed the more the crowd filled in with their UTV’s including Polaris, Can-Am, Yamaha, Textron, and we watched for several hours of the sand cars get a running start down the hill then catch the flagman at the bottom of the dune and head straight up the hill to the finish flag getting radar speed clocked as high as 138 MPH! the finish flags were set at mid-mountain.
After several hours of enjoying the show and talking with other UTV people the clouds were getting darker around the outskirts of the dunes and we decided the best thing to do was to start heading back to camp, it was Pat & Laurie along with Jackie and I in our Polaris XPT’s so we head to the back of Devil’s dune and take the big dune side back to camp and when you are driving through these dunes there is no such thing as any straight lines, first of all, you have to go have fun and then the dunes make you go left and right constantly to make nice smooth dune running possible. About time we reached Egin Lake the weather was taking a turn for the worse including starting to hail. I am leading and decide to follow a group of UTV’s heading toward what looks like back to our camp after a little while longer we realize we are lost! So it is time to fire up the GPS and google maps to find out we were about 2-3 miles too far down and had to turn back, this is twice in two years of getting lost looking for the entrance from the dunes to the Idaho dunes campground, Take a GPS with you and mark your RV spot these are big sand dunes and can easily get lost for a while.
These dunes fit my riding style really well when I say my riding style because I think we all have different styles of driving that we do and what we have fun at. My preference now is some long runs with high speed turns that let us keep playing without having to stop at the top of all the sharp ridges like our dunes at Little Sahara these Idaho dunes let you run hard without slowing down and keep your belt temperature low enough to have some great fun.
My style of driving is not much jumping I am kind of a wimp when it comes to this and I will not be winning any drag races soon, I have done all my racing for the last 30 years and now I am totally happy to watch everyone else race and jump and then watch them fix there broken cars the rest of the day (did that been there) now my goal is to keep my UTV in top-notch shape and hopefully be prepared to ride for several days with my wife and friends make a few adjustments and have fun! This is why you won’t see too many power additions to my 2017 Polaris XPT but a lot of comfort and safety additions.
I believe if you are at the time in your life when you would rather enjoy the riding experience & scenery along with having fun with the least amount of break downs keep in mind the more power added to your engine making more horsepower will add more stress to many other parts of your UTV taking away part of the reliability. Next thing you know your clutches and drivetrain will need some work and then when you fly over the next hill and come down hard some of your front end parts may break. Remember when you start building a race car it starts becoming a work in progress including possibly broke down on the vacation that you had planned for 6 months and the fun is over.
I have found that my 2017 Polaris XPT will take Jackie and I everywhere we want to go and have not found a hill that it will not climb along with having plenty of speed for us to have fun so we can do this all day long or at least until we start running out of fuel.
When you read this I hope it helps you make some buying decisions for your own UTV think about what you will be riding the most in and how hard you will be pushing the limit so this will help decide how many spare parts and tools you will need on your journey and vacation.
I might not jump many feet in the air but I feel that I can hold my own when cruising around large sand dunes and having a great time doing it like my old friend Dave Fitzgerald told me once “I’m better than most on some days & not as good as a few on other days”
Let’s have fun.
Until we ride again