A tiny little taste of what the off-road racers feel

On November 18, 2018, Jackie & I got an invitation to go for a nice long desert ride in our UTV’s from our friends, Lance & Shannon they ride an Arctic Cat trail 700. We first had declined this trip because of a property sale that looked like it would not go through. We were tightening up our belts and not spending any extra cash for a while. Believe me, it was hard to say no when a fall ride in my Polaris XPT at Sand Hollow was mentioned. It happened to be right around my birthday; who doesn’t want to go for a ride to celebrate then?

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and, all of a sudden, the property sells – the trip was on!

We had gone on this very familiar ride one year ago.  This year’s ride is a 70-mile trail Lance has mapped out on his GPS.  Too bad my Magellan is so hard to understand! I could never get this trip downloaded onto my GPS unit.  Maybe it has something to do with my advancing age and newer electronics, not completely sure.

We drove down from Salt Lake City on Thursday evening,

towing the side x sides through the rush- hour-  traffic in this explosive city, and off to Cedar City in search of the hotel. We stayed at the Marriott Spring Hill Suites.  This is a great hotel with large rooms and a new feel; it also has 8 spots in the back for your truck and trailer with a well- lit up parking lot for safety.  You know, got to keep an eye on my Yeti!

Bright and early Friday morning we head down to Sand Hollow, about a 50- minute drive to get there. As we head into the park, it is the familiar red sand which has blown across half the road leading to the day use parking lot.

With no wind at all, it is going to be a great day and I am excited to get loaded up and head out.  We all buckle up and start our journey, taking a hard right as soon as we pass through the famous tunnel and head toward the far west end of the sand dunes. This will lead us down to the bottom wash which heads straight south.  While heading over the mountain at Sand Hollow, you can’t help but catch your breath overlooking the reservoir.  All the wonderful red rock cliffs.  We just sit in amazement that we are here and get to enjoy this kind of scenery in our own back yard.

So, we head south to Fort Pearce at the lower end of Utah for a quick break and some lunch.  This was one of the only times we ran into another UTV on the trail. Then we head south again into Arizona for a while, until we get to the Glitter Mine.  If you have never seen this type of mineral, it looks like shards of glass all strewn throughout the hillside. This will be a fun stop while Jackie looks for just the perfect rock of gypsum to put on display at home. After carefully loading up her treasures, off we go even deeper south in Arizona before heading east and then take the turn up North through the Black Rock Canyon area. This is just great scenery in the middle of no-where.

We get down to an offshoot of our planned trail and head over to Dutchman Draw. Lance has found a ride that a group of jeeps posted with some serious rock crawling, and we wanted to see if we could get through ourselves. We got to the entrance of the canyon where the rock crawling begins. Lance hops out of his UTV to take a look around and definitely decided we are not going to attempt this stretch of climbing.  More than likely we would have spent the night broken down on a bolder the size of our UTV. The extreme rock crawlers must have a no fear attitude.

When we get to the east side coming back into Utah it follows a riverbed for quite a while with uneven boulders strewn throughout the trail – this works your suspension and your patience.  After a while, we come back onto dirt roads, and we can see the back side of Sand Mountain about 10 miles away.  We stop at an area where Lance has been told to look for what is believed to be a dinosaur bone.  With his handheld Garmin he walks right up to the bone – at least hoping it is a dinosaur bone.  They are going to do some research on this piece. If it is what we hope, it will be quite the display piece.

We have been on the trail for about 8 hours, and now we will be getting back to the truck at dark.  Good thing I put a light bar on my UTV! It will come in handy for the first time since I installed it on my Polaris XPT a year ago! I guess we don’t night ride too much; again, maybe age has something going on here.

After a full day of riding 72 miles, we are exhausted and ready for some food.  We head into the town of Hurricane and stop at Lonny Boy’s BBQ – it was absolutely great food and company.

I can’t even begin to imagine how the off-road racers spend so much time in their vehicle and so many more hours and miles. There is no doubt in my mind that off-road racers are true athletes mastering a sport that I love.

When the trip is all done, I have taken a lot of mental notes about my suspension on my Polaris and I am convinced there is a lot of improvement needed for this kind of riding with my UTV. This winter I will be rebuilding my Fox Shocks and start to do some re-valving myself, keeping in mind how and what my UTV is doing while under slower riding conditions and lots of whoops.

Thanks again for taking this trip with us,