Glamis... Imperial Sand Dunes, or whatever way you care to call it, is a paradise for off-road adventurers, on quads, dirt bikes or four wheel drive vehicles. Glamis equals to "utopia" in the vocabulary of anybody who loves riding quads, dirt biking, four wheeling, or just plan exploring the great outdoors in the southern California desert.
I spent nearly a week enjoying the dunes with friends Dan, Dennis, Deven and Dylan from December 28, 2019 to January 02, 2020, camping, quadding, eating, and just enjoying beautiful desert scenery, and great company.
Photo: Camp, as seen from the air on Friday, December 27, 2019, the day before I arrived. The pavement is Gecko Road, which is one of the main access roads used for camping at the dunes. Note the "sand highways" in the foreground of the photo.
Photo: It's late afternoon on Saturday, December 28, 2019, and camp was already set up by the time I arrived, around 1330 in the afternoon, after a 10+ hour drive from the greater Sacramento area. Camp is set up on Gecko Road, about three miles south of the Cahuilla Ranger Station, near the tiny settlement of Glamis, which is really just a siding on the railroad.
Our camping trip got off to a later start, as both Tejon and Tehachapi passes were closed to do low snow that happened Christmas day. I turned around and went home, but my friends waited out the storm, found a 1-hour window Thursday night to cross Tehachapi Pass, and arrived to set up camp early Friday afternoon.
Camp was in place when I arrived, and all I had to do was set my small tent, at the far left of the photo, arrange my gear, and pop a top on a beer.
Photo: It's Saturday afternoon, December 28, 2019, and here's a photo of our camp, as seen from the air, thank's to Dan's drone. Our camp is in the center of the photo, on the lower side of the road.
Photo: My long time friend Dan Weir did most of the cooking, as he's an experienced camp chef. Tonight's dinner was grilled prime rib roast, grilled carrots, along with cubed sweet potatoes that Dennis baked in the oven of his motorhome. As with every meal, we used liberal amounts of hot sauce, which make an outdoor meal in the California desert even better!!
Note the juicy helping of prime rib... we all enjoyed "seconds" and nothing went to waste.
Photo: Sunday, December 29, 2019, we woke up to a bright, sunny, 36-degree morning, which is somewhat cool, when you consider that we're camping in the extreme southeastern corner of California, only 25 miles or so north of the Mexican border.
Deven dishes up a plate of breakfast Dan has just cooked on the griddle.
Photo: Dan and Deven relax in camp, around the fire, as we enjoy breakfast on this Sunday morning.
Photo: Sunday morning breakfast, cooked on the griddle featured Italian sausage, bacon, chorizo, potatoes, eggs, fresh salsa, hot sauce and cheese, all on a toasted flour tortilla. When we camp, we eat in fine style!
Photo: After breakfast, we decided to take a quad ride over to the "Mall," which is located near the Glamis store. The "Mall" is about an hour's ride from our camp, if you don't get distracted, as there are many distractions, including hills to climb, canyons to explore and dunes to conquer. At Imperial Sand Dunes, you can ride your quad, dirt bike, dune buggy or four wheeler ANYWHERE within the 8 by 25 mile designated area, which makes it the largest sand dune OHV-friendly recreation spot in the state.
One of the major distractions, located about halfway between our camp and the "Mall," is a hill, known enthusiasts and all those on the web as "Oldsmobile Hill." It's a steep hill what presents quite a challenge all who attempt it, but Deven was up to the challenge, and climbed the hill several times with ease.
Photo: "The Mall," located near the Glamis store features several restaurants, souvenir shops, firewood stands, and lots of auto parts stores and repair garages. Nothing is permanent, as it's all set up in tents, as the season in Glamis runs from around mid-October to mid-May. This is hard-core desert, and summertime temperatures often run at 120+ and hardly cool down at night.
During the late fall, winter and early spring season, BLM charges $35.00 week for a "Glamis Pass" to allow camping, but if you arrive during the summer, the camping is free, if you can take the heat.
Photo: When we got back to camp, we fired up the grill, and Chef Dan threw a couple racks of ribs on the grill. He'd pre-seasoned the ribs, and they made for an outstanding meal.
Photo: Tonight, I actually elbowed Dan aside in order to cook a pot of my "Cowboy Beans," which made a perfect side dish to Dan's amazing ribs. Check out my recipe by clicking on THIS LINK, as these beans are an amazing addition to any main dish, when you're camping in the desert.
Photo: The ribs have finished cooking, and Dan cuts them up, on the warm grill, ready to be enjoyed.
Photo: My plate of ribs and beans. Dan grilled the ribs and I cooked the beans in my large cast iron pot. It all worked well...
Photo: After dinner, it was time to relax...
Photo: After dinner, Dennis relaxes by the fire, as his granddaughter, Dylan, digs herself into a hole. The sand is soft in the area, and Dylan loves to dig, and during the six days we camped, she ended up digging a hole about the size of a hot tub, complete with seating around the perimeter.
Photo: Dennis and Dan relax around the fire, with three of the quads in the background. Deven was out on his quad enjoying a late afternoon ride before the sun went down.
Photo: Dan, Dylan and Dennis relax around the fire on this beautiful Sunday evening, December 29, 2019.
Photo: Monday morning, December 30, 2019, we woke up to one of the prettiest sunrises that I've ever seen. Despite the beauty of the sunrise, the temperature was a cold 38-degrees, so the morning fire, along with a hot pot of coffee was really welcome.
Photo: On this Monday morning, Deven and Dan teamed up to make breakfast. The Chew family really knows how to set up camp, and the camp stove is equipped with a great griddle, and a grill ..
Photo: Dennis, the patriarch of the family, loads up a plate of breakfast. There's nothing fancy in our camp, as we use paper plates and simply serve ourselves from the griddle. The food is great!!
Photo: Today's breakfast of bacon, chorizo, potato, eggs, cheese and hot sauce, all on a large, toasted corn tortilla. We were out of fresh salsa, and too preoccupied with today's quadding trip to take the half-hour into nearby Brawley to purchase more salsa. Despite the lack of fresh salsa, the breakfast was delicious.
Photo: Today, we decided to take a long, 25-mile trip each way to the Mexican border fence. I'm riding the red Honda quad in the foreground. Dan is on his olive drab Honda Rancher, and Deven is riding the yellow Honda.
BLM requires that all quads, bikes, sand buggies and four wheel drive vehicles display a bright flag, at least eight feet above the ground. If you're riding a quad or a bike, a DOT approved helmet is mandatory.
Photo: Before crossing I-8, Deven split off from us to explore other nearby dunes. Dan and I crossed the Interstate at Gordon's Wells, which is a legal crossing for OHVs, and rode our quads to the fence, at the Mexican border. Dan launched his drone, and as if flew overhead, we waved, as it snapped our photo. Behind the border fence is Mexican territory.
Thanks Dan Weir for allowing me to publish the photo.
Photo: I'm a happy guy as I stand at the Mexican border and give Dan a "thumbs up."
Photo: I'm riding Deven's Honda TRX-4000 quad - which actually belongs to his daughter, Dylan - at the Mexican border, with the fence, and Mexican territory, in the background. Thanks, Dan Weir for taking the photo and allowing me to publish it.
Photo: After we returned to camp from today's adventure, we were treated to a pretty, but not spectacular sunset. You're looking at the Santa Rosa Mountains in the distance.
Photo: Dennis made dinner tonight, which was a pan of lasagna he'd made at home, frozen and heated up for tonight, along with a couple slices of garlic bread and baby onions for enhancement. Dennis' lasagna and garlic bread are always welcome at every camping trip!
Photo: After dinner, we were treated to a pretty sunset, as Dan relaxes around the fire. Every morning and every night, we enjoyed a cheery campfire as we brought a full load of wood in my truck, as we love a campfire.
Photo: The angle the photographer took my be a little odd, but I relax by the fire, and enjoy the beautiful Monday evening, December 30, 2019.
Photo: All four quads are silhouetted against the beautiful evening sunset. There is nothing so beautiful as a sunset in the desert...
Photo: Tuesday morning, December 31, 2019, Dan and I decided to take a drive into Brawley, and enjoy a breakfast of menudo, at Brownie's Cafe. Since Brawley is located only about 20 miles of the Mexican border, you'll find lots of Mexican food, and at Brownie's Cafe, the menu is split between Mexican comfort food, and all of your American favorites. Click on this link to read my restaurant review of Brownie's Cafe, in Brawley, CA.
Photo: After quadding on the dunes all day, Dan fired up the grill, and threw on another prime rib. The cheery fire and the good food are welcome on this chilly New Year's Eve.
Photo: Dennis helps himself to dinner. With every meal, we served dinner buffet style, which works with our group.
Photo: Tonight's dinner of fried, seasoned corn, baked, seasoned potatoes, and the star of the meal, grilled prime rib.
Photo: My dinner of grilled prime rib, baked red potatoes, along with a help of pan-fried corn. Delicious. Dan is an excellent camp chef!
Photo: Wednesday morning, January 01, 2020 - Happy New Year! - as chef Dan cooks breakfast on the griddle.
Photo: Today's breakfast features leftover prime rib from last night, chorizo, bacon, potatoes, eggs, all on a large toasted corn tortilla. Delicious!
After breakfast, we all "did our own thing" and just leisurely quadded around the dunes, close to our camp.
Photo: The next morning, Thursday, January 02, 2020, it was time for Dan to cook another amazing breakfast. Today's breakfast was an extra treat, as besides the usual potatoes and eggs, we enjoyed fresh mango salsa, grilled to perfection, along with maple breakfast sausage, chorizo and mild Italian sausage.
Photo: "Chef" Dan raises his spatula in salute as he cooks breakfast today. Note the large corn tortillas toasting on the grill. We love tortillas and eat them with every breakfast, and nearly every other meal.
Photo: I made a "breakfast taco" using one of the large toasted corn tortillas, and I stuffed it with potato, eggs, chorizo, salsa, shredded cheese, with hot sauce of enhancement. On the side, I enjoyed maple breakfast sausage, long with a side of Italian sausage.
Today's breakfast HAD to be one of the best camp breakfasts that I've EVER had the pleasure to enjoy! "Chef" Dan went out of his way to cook a simply AMAZING breakfast!
Photo: I couldn't resist enjoying "seconds..." as today's breakfast was SO GOOD! Maybe it was the fresh mango salsa... the maple sausage... or the chorizo? I don't know, but it was delicious and I enjoyed "seconds."
Photo: Deven, Dennis and Dan enjoy today's fine breakfast. If you look in the background, you'll get an idea of what the terrain looks like at Imperial Sand Dunes.
Photo: It's late afternoon, and I've just come back from a ride on Deven's Honda Sporttrax 400EX quad, which he so graciously let me ride during this trip. This is a great quad, and I really enjoyed quality time riding "Old Yeller..."
Photo: Tonight was our last night in camp, so it was a time to enjoy a special meal of grilled ribs and chicken.
Photo: A slab of pork ribs, and a couple pounds of chicken wings make for a great dinner tonight. We fried more corn on a side burner, but didn't eat any potatoes or tortillas tonight.
Photo: Tonight's dinner was simply amazing! We enjoyed perfectly grilled pork ribs, chicken wings, along with fried corn. Thanks to "Chef" Dan, as he's a great friend and an accomplished camp cook.
I spent a week with great friends enjoying Glamis, and all the dunes have to offer,and I can relate the fact that if you like to ride a dirt bike, a quad, a dune buggy, or a four wheel drive vehicle, Imperial Sand Dunes is paradise for you!
Imperial Sand Dunes ... Glamis, CA/
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