How will my stock Polaris RZR 800 handle Little Sahara sand dunes on Easter Weekend?
April 27th, 2014 was my first trip to Little Sahara sand dunes in 20 years!
It was Easter time and I was deciding where to take the UTV and do a little marketing for UTV Service
I decided on Saturday at Little Sahara in central Utah. I knew there were going to be an ample amount of people wanting our bandanna and sticker kit, which included a redneck phone protector (the ziplock plastic bag we put the scarf and sticker in).
So the plan started by finding someone to go out to the dunes, which becomes the largest city in Juab County temporarily. Approximately 25,000 people gather for this weekend.
The first words out of all my friends’ mouths are about how many people would be there – it will be a zoo!
My sister Colleen and brother-in-law Tim Verrinder were coming down from their home in Nampa, Idaho, for a celebration of my mom’s birthday. It was on Friday of the same weekend.
After talking to Tim about going to the sand dunes, he thought it would be fun and had never been there in all the years he lived in Utah. He was excited to see it. Craig Pantuso agreed to spend the day so he and Tim could catch up – they are lifelong friends from back in high school days.
Now we were three in a two-seat Polaris RZR. This was not going to be the best scenario. I started thinking about how we could get another ATV or UTV to take down with us. I also found out from my past experience that it’s not good to ride alone.
My wife Jackie and I started cutting bulk material into scarves and then folding and stuffing them with Utvservice stickers into plastic zip-lock bags for our give away bags.
I was still thinking about how to get another machine for the trip-when my good customer and friend Don brought his Polaris 800 in for a checkup (I had replaced the upper end on the engine). So after some horse-trading, he agreed to let us use the RZR for Saturday. Better yet he was going to be at Little Sahara for the weekend, also, and the Polaris would already be down there. All we had to do was pick it up, ride, and deliver it back to their campground!
Friday in Salt Lake City, the weather was less than perfect with plenty of wind. Don left a message on my phone that the Polaris RZR was down at the dunes and ready for us. But the conditions were very windy and a bit cool.
Not exactly sure how to dress for the next day, I made sure I had extra clothing. I am a planner so, on Friday I checked everything on my Polaris RZR 800 – tire pressures, oil level, full with gasoline, extra 5 gallons of fuel. I loaded everything onto the trailer and put it in the garage.
All ready to go – 3 coolers with water and ice, and at 7:00 A.M., my brother-in-law’s Tim and Don Hart show up with a bucket of chicken and some Calvin’s (beer) – must be an Idaho term.
Next stop was at Craig’s house and off we went to Sand Mountain. We drove the route my dad used to take me 40 years ago. Did I really say that? Ugh
It’s approximately two hours to get there from Salt Lake, and this is one of those roads you won’t drive very much. There are new views along the way, including all the new homes and roads at Saratoga Springs in what used to be a bunch of barren lands.
We arrived at the entrance to Little Sahara where you pay your fee. At the pay station brother-in-law, Don had a senior park pass and it saved us 50% entrance fee! $9.00 instead of $18.00 -there are a few advantages to being a senior.
The Polaris RZR 800 S we were borrowing was at the base of Sand Mountain. So we headed that way and as soon as we made the turn to the mountain, we could see the city of motor homes, trailers, campers and every toy known to man. We were now a part of the zoo. There were three asphalt turnarounds at the base of Sand Mountain and it looked like you could just park anywhere. So we pulled up next to a big camp, unloaded the Polaris and went to pick up the other RZR.
Our first agenda of the day was to meet some people and give our packets away in return for some names and emails.
We were about 15 minutes into our marketing plan when Don and I had lost sight of Craig and Tim in the other machine. Driving around the near vicinity we noticed the UTVService machine, but no one in it. All of a sudden here came a nice white Polaris 900 XP heading up to the sandhill. Craig and Tim were in this machine. Come to find out the guy had rolled it the night before and thought something was wrong with it. So they were diagnosing the problems.
It did not take long to give away our kits and we knew that staying around this 24-hour party was not for us old guys. So we were ready for a day of playing in the sand. We headed to the back of Sand Mountain where there was plenty of riding. It wasn’t long before Don and I realized that it was not a good thing that we had put the coolers with all the food and water in the machine that Craig and Tim were driving. These guys got easily distracted and we didn’t know when we would see them again. After we made the back of Sand Mountain, it did not take long before we were completely by ourselves and thoroughly enjoying what turned out to be a 75-degree day with no wind and plenty of sunshine.
I was completely surprised by how well our Polaris 800’s handled the sand. We were just having a great time. And when we got hungry or thirsty, we just pulled over for a little snack and would watch all the different groups of riders come by. Some were motorcycles testing their skills at the jumps and landing in the soft sand. Others were the sand rails and they were riding together (some of these machines probably costing upwards of $100,000), then the quads and side x sides. You name it they were driving it.
After about 6 hours of riding, we decided this was about as much fun as we could have for this great outing.
So the test on the upper-end rebuild of Don’s 2009 Polaris 800 S was a complete success!
No burning oil, great power, and the engine never missed a beat.
One lost whip flag, a bucket of chicken and lots of drinks gone. We were a tired group of senior citizens. I think the four of us could not have spent a better day!
I will definitely be riding the sand dunes another time.
More lessons on riding the sand dunes take place every time I travel there.
Sand paddles would be a great advantage to have.
A small tool kit with some hardware.
Several groups of motorcycles came by to borrow this and that. We were able to accommodate most of them.
If you are in need of service work do not hesitate to give me a call.
Until we ride again.
Thanks for reading.
Owner of UTV Service specializing in shocks and suspension.
I have always loved making cars and now UTV’s run and handle there best. I do not believe in taking short cuts and when something comes along that does not fit my values I will not sell or back that product.
Business owner for over 35 years. 3-Time Nascar short track champion at our local race track Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, Utah
2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat Turbo-Current
2015 Polaris XP1000 -Sold
2011 Polaris RZR 800- Sold