Glamis
"4200 miles - 7 riders - no sleep - The largest dunes in north america.... "



So there we were in Coo's Bay Oregon. Fourth of July. Sitting at the bottom of Comp Hill (boxcar) watching the drags. Near us was a fellow with a rediculously modified Banshee and we got to talkin. Now this fellow wasn't your average run of the mill insurance salesman, he wore shorts and tee-shirt, no helmet and rode a Banshee that easily put out over a hundred hp. When Baby Man approached him, he quickly identified that this was not his machine, but his buddy's who had cracked his head open earlier and was in the hospital. BM asked the obvious question about whether or not they had helmets. To the day I die I will never forget how the fellow answered. Kind of with a southern drawl and perhaps a not a whole lot of time spent in the school system - "Helmit? Oh weeeez go a helmit! It's in the truck." BM responded with -"How many is 'weez'?" (lol) Nevertheless, the dude was o.k. and we got to talkin about places we've been and dunes we'd riden. In any sand conversation, inevitably Glamis, CA will be mentioned. When the conversation turned to Glamis (we'd never been) our good friend from the far south transformed like the excorsist and became very animated - "Glamis? Glamis is da shit! Oh man, Glamis, Glamis is da shit" and the rant continued between storied of huge sand bowls "man i'nt even go in der wifout a two-fidde, then i be bwwwaaaaaaaaa all the way out - man! Glamis is da shit!!" Funniest goddamn thing I ever seen in my life. Needless to say, we had to go.

We were'nt even sure where Glamis was, so off to the internet we went to find Imperial Dunes, CA. Located in the South Eastern tip of California - if you are looking for precise directions go to http://www.glamisonline.org/directions.asp - Since we are based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the Glamis trip would be no small journey.

We poured over maps for months establishing route down and back. We decided on a major road trip where the journey would be half the fun. Our path took us down the I-5 through Seattle Washington and through Oregon into California where we picked up the 80 and headed over the pass to Reno. We drove by Reno and  headed for Vegas. We drove right down the strip in Vegas - X-Trailer, ATV's and all, turned around and drove right back out of town - lol. We actually grabbed a hotel outside of Vegas - we don't normally stop on a road trip, but we were close to our destination and wanted to freshen up a bit. In the morning, we stayed on the Nevada side of the border and crossed back into California at Needles and headed through Lake Havasu. Lake Havasu isperhaps the nicest little city I've ever seen in my life. If I had the means to move - I'd move there. In a heartbeat. Open me a little bar and a dirt bike shop and be a happy guy. It's got a distinctly Mexican flavor to the architecture and a resort like atmosphere. It also has the most beautiful blue lake you've ever layed your eyes on surrounded by picturesque scenery. We like Lake Havasu.

A hop skip and a jump and we were into Blythe, next stop Brawley and Glamis. The whole trip down was about 36 hours of driving. The way home we cut over to Ocenaside and when straight up the I-5. We made the trip home in 26 hours non stop.

Glamis is an interesting place, with interesting and friendly people. We met some really super people across from the Glamis store that let us stay on their land for free and helped us change our tires and get the required permits and such. No rules on private land folks. Except for those of your host, and our host wanted us to clean up after ourselves, and have fun. The Glamis store, on the other hand, is well stocked, and grossly, rediculously over priced. You also best be a caucasion if you plan on shopping there. Not sure who the gent was, but one of our riders and friends is Oriental and it was made very clear that his money wasn't quite as good as the rest of ours. Sad that this kinda thing still exists.

Nevertheless, we did most of our shopping in Brawley, where the folks are really nice and willing to help out with free water fills and such (if you go to the right place), and reasonably priced groceries and fuel. We also made the journey down to El Centro in search of a good bike shop - incredible that in a place like Glamis, it's nearest city (Brawley) doesn't have a bike shop!! In fact, people were kinda surprised that we'd want one....hmmm... any entrepreneurs out there??

It's really a shame that no one has quite yet figured out the amount of money that could be made with a first class hotel/bike shop, bar and casino right at the dunes - cuz we woulda dropped a bundle there. At any rate, we were there to ride, so that's what we did.

The dunes are, in a word, incredible. We live in the land of mountains and are used to seeing big hills, but never anything like the view comming in from the Nevada sie of Hwy 534. The dunes are visible from very far away and they stand out as mountains on the horizon. It's an awe inspiring site. It also kinda makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. These dunes are big. I know now what our southern friend in Oregon was talking about. We got settled at our campsite and saddled up for a look-see ride, just to check out the dunes. Ok, in Glamis, you don't go for a look-see ride. You go for a day trip. And you don't ride the dunes like you do in Oregon either. The sand here is soft. Soft like snow. The top edge of any dune is soft enough that front, bald, sand tires don't turn. And when going down over the edge of a dune you must add gas or you get a real good view of the dune up close as you go over the handle bars. Right before your machine lands on you. Both me, and Baby Man got to experience this in the first hour of riding.

I made out not too bad - no damage, but BM rides a 250R bike, and he kinda got caught up in the hooker (the rear paddle tire) and it beat him up pretty bad. We're pretty sure he ended up with at least a concussion out of the deal, but we were to busy riding to take him to the hospital, so he slept it off. (grin), He was back riding - with lots more respect - the next day.

We rode. And rode. Then took pain killers and rode some more. We were there through the week so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The place, of course, is some 300,000 acres of riding. Here, you plan your trips and you tell people where you are going. We had brought a couple junior riders with us - Jo and Hongstar - so we pretty much stuck to areas where they could get around without killing themselves - which, by the way is an easy thing to do in Glamis - but after a few rides the rest of us were jonesin bad to see how big it really gets out there.


The Machine and I decided to ride right down the middle. So we sent the newbies in the truck with fuel over to Gecko - we rode, caught up with them and gassed up and headed down the south out of bounds fence in the north dunes section to about the middle in search of China Wall. The dunes in this area get big. REALLY big. To big to jump. Some, to big to play with - you just ride straight up and be glad that you made it cuz on an ATV, a 3 or 400 foot tumble down can ruin your day.

I remember loooking at the next dune, saying to The Machine - "That's the biggest damn sand dune I've ever seen in my life" - I said that periodically throughout our journey. The dunes got bigger, and bigger and we got farther and farther from any form of medical assistance untill I realized that if you got in trouble out here - you'd be in trouble! Pictures do no do Glamis justice. Untill you stand on top of a dune that's height is measured in 3 digits and the wind is damn near strong enough to blow you off and you look down at a 80 degree slope that is your first drop off - only to realize that at the bottom of the dune begins another hard, long, climb right back up the next one...... Only then can you experience Glamis. No camera can capture that.

I remember at one point on our little tour - being able to see our campsite, and saying to the machine - "hey man, mebbe we should just ride this valley out and catch the rest of these later" - The Machine said - "screw that, we're here to ride, we ride all the big ones" In hindsight, I'm thinkin that he said that cuz he knew if we'd left the section we were in, we probably find reasons to ride the easier areas and not make it back. He was probably right.

Don't get me wrong, now that we've riden there, I want bigger, nastier meaner dunes!! But I say that while sitting in front of my computer - not pearched on a dune top with front and back tires hanging over both sides.
But, we did ride, and we rode from South to North from big dune to bigger dune. We rode the nastiest part of the big dunes - the verticles, the chutes. And in a word, it was awesome. In a description, it was nothin you have ever seen or experienced in your life - unless you've been to Glamis.

And then it was over. Scenery began to look familiar. Comp hill was just off in the distance. The ranger station visable and getting larger with each shift. The hills rolling a little more. Our addrenaline fading away...

Now the stories to those that remained at the campsite. The graphic tales - hands vigourously grabbing air-throttles and imaginative clutch levers while re-inacting some close call or maneuver. He's right, ya know, our southern friend from Oregon - "Glamis is da shit".

Our remaining time was spent riding the northern areas, exploring, hill climbing, jumpin, having fun. The Machine and I don't hang as much anymore, but when we do, we talk about that ride, that day, in Glamis.

We spent the next few days trying to talk BM out of jumping the Canal and then packed up and left this magical place for new horizons.

Our next trip to Oregon wasn't quite the same.

I'll close out my ramblings with a few pics, but, and I can not stress this enough. Before the tree-huggers and Euro-weenies shut this place down for good, go, ride Glamis. Cuz friends and neighbours, I'm here to tell ya, there aint no place like it on earth.