Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A Historical Note on Riding the Dunes at Glamis
“Bo may know football, baseball, tennis, hockey, lacrosse, and the theatrical arts, but does he know off-roading?”
-Wendy Anderson, Glamis Dunes Riding Instructor, 1989
When one thinks of dunes, dunebuggies, off-roading said dunebuggies in 115-degree heat in the middle of the desert, and busting sweet wheelies on Gecko Road, he can only be thinking of Glamis. Beautiful Glamis, California, situated nine hours off the I-5 on scenic Route 78, becomes temporary home every day to migrant Appalachians (a.k.a. “toughies”), unemployed cable guys, women bikers, and the occasional hipster on his way to Coachella, all united by their love of riding the dunes.
The off-roading underground has long known Glamis to have the best sand drags around, capable of handling both the traditional dunebuggie and the sleeker ZR-9 ATV, but word has begun to spread throughout the last 18 years, ever since the release of 1991 cable TV flick “Gecko Road to Nowhere.” Former professional baseball and football star Bo Jackson, for example, is tacitly acknowledged among the wider sporting community as an avid, skilled rider and Glamis advocate. The release of GR2N coincided with Jackon’s rehab of the hip injury that eventually ended his dual-sport career. Required to spend his days on bed-rest, Jackson interspersed his watching of game film with daytime cable TV. After catching GR2N, Jackson determined to ride the dunes at Glamis as soon as he regained his health and stayed true to his promise, making his first trip east in the early spring of 1992. Starting with a second-hand quad from Raiders teammate Jay Schroeder (who himself had frequented Glamis while a student at UCLA), Jackson quickly graduated to an ATV and then a sandrail until confident that he truly knew the activity. Today, Jackson off-roads annually at the ZR-9 Glamis Challenge, always arriving unheralded but identified to those in the know by his silver-and-black helmet.