My wife Jackie our dog Zaydin and I headed to the sand dunes in beautiful southern Utah at Sand Hollow State Park for two days of riding fun!
It had been about 25 years since my last experience on the sand dunes & I remembered how much fun I had. Way back when I had played at the sand dunes was on my friends Honda 250 EX 2wd. Guessing it weighed in at around 450 lbs.
Now we were taking out 2011 Polaris RZR 800 and really looking forward to having a great time as a family outing.
After settling in at the campground we headed over to the ATV apparel store to purchase helmets, goggles, gloves.
We had made our own scarfs so now we were ready for some serious sand dune riding. The advantage of the campground we were staying at was just hopping in your machine and start spinning your tires in the sand and head up the mountain.
We planned our outing for Monday and Tuesday so as not to have as many people riding.
- Cooler with water -check
- A couple of oranges -check
- Tank full of gas -check
- Our dog -check
Strap in and hit the sand dunes!
We are into the ride about 15 minutes and having a blast heading up in the mountain of sand. Winding and turning on this warm sunny afternoon. The forecast is for 80 degrees and I think we have made that mark!
As we are driving up the mountain and through the crests on the hills, they are starting to get bigger and never been here before I started getting hesitant to just drive over what looked like a cliff of sand.
Jackie sitting in the passenger seat holding on to our faithful dog. I thought it was time to make sure we were not going to fall off a cliff. After all, I have to make sure there is a place to sleep for me tonight right?
As we are coming up to one of the larger crests I decide it is a good idea to stop and make sure we are not heading for a quick trip down the other side. Stopping about 4 feet from the top.
After stopping and realizing we are OK to proceed I hit the gas and go nowhere. Tires spinning stuck in the sand.
Jackie and Zaydin hop out while I try it alone, maybe less weight will pull us out. Hit the gas and sand flies at all 4 tires.
I ask Jackie if she would push at the same time I hit the gas and try to get us out. She accepts the challenge and as soon as we are ready she pushes the RZR and I hit the gas the sand flies up higher than her head and comes straight down on her.
Apologizing as I am climbing out of the RZR for the first time since getting stuck. I take my helmet and goggles off to assess how bad the situation is.
I look down at the right rear tire and it is ½ gone! And the front tires are not a whole lot better. Ok-well, let’s just pick up the back end of the UTV and move it over. 1, 2, 3, lift. We did not even move it one inch out of the sand.
Our UTV weighs a lot more than the ATV I had driven before in the dunes. Approximately 4-times the amount.
Wait a minute we have a winch! Looking around to see where to hook it to. Nothing within 200 yards of our Polaris & even with the extra-long winch cable of 50’ that is not going to work.
After trying to do what looked like the obvious to get us out. We realized we are high centered on the sand itself. We need to dig out the sand from underneath the UTV- nothing to dig out with but our hands, wish I would have grabbed that tiny little shovel I saw in the compartment of the 5th wheel that has never been used since the day I put it in there.
We start digging out and after about 15 minutes of this & watching the sand fill back up the area as fast as we are digging it out. It started to seem hopeless.
Now this beautiful 80-degree day somehow shot up to about 100 degrees at least It seemed like that.
I think we are going to spend our last time together right here on this mountain. Not even thinking we are about 1 mile away from camp.
Telling Jackie that if this were a weekend day. There would have probably been 10 ATV’s come by.
All of a sudden we here in the distance the sound of an engine. We are going to be saved! Closer and closer it came until he popped over the crest and saw us stranded on the mountain.
A man and his son on an ATV with great big paddle tires and they were both dressed as if they were ready for the Baha 1000
This guy knew what he was doing. And after giving us a quick tug backward and we became free!
Now off to have some fun. But I will have to say with caution in the wind. We enjoy some time riding and playing in the sand. Now it is time to head back to our camp.
We are heading down toward our campsite. We come across another UTV it looks just like ours accept this is the 4-seat version of the Polaris RZR 800. It is stuck exactly like we were. Well, it is our time to pay it forward and we head straight over to them. Knowing exactly how they are feeling.
An older gentleman and I say that cautiously. His daughter and her young son were out having some family time together.
The dad’s pride is bound and determined to dig them out.
After talking with her for a minute and offering our services. She says they need to get the rental machine back soon or were going to have to pay for another ½ day rental.
Now with my vast experience, I get our UTV in position to hook up our strap and pull them out.
She hops in there machine and I am ready to pull at the same time. We both step on the gas at the same time and out it comes down the hill.
Hugs were given and off they went to return their rented Polaris sand buggy.
Jackie and I talked about if we had rented our machine and spent even 1 hour of the 5-hour rental that takes the fun out of spending a lot of money and not being able to enjoy all the time.
So keep this in mind when renting a UTV or ATV and heading to the sand dunes to play.
Listen to the rental place and if they do not give any information before heading out to play we have made up a list everyone should think about before spending your hard earned dollars.
This six things the rental place or the division of natural resources forgot to tell you.
The big crests of the hill have the softest and deepest sand
- Stop on the downhill side
- Don’t spin your tires once you realize you are stuck
- If you plan to do a lot of sand dune riding buy or rent paddle tires
- Lower your tire air pressure for sand dune riding
- Follow the sides of the mountain for easier riding
Until we ride again.
Give us a call at UTV Service
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