Summary Intro: A trip out to Sand Dunes Frontier for ATV Adventure was exciting and risk taking for a group of 7 friends: 4 guys and 3 girls between the ages of 22 to 29. It was the first time for the 5 of us and second/third times for the other 2. We were a diverse group. I am from Wisconsin, 2 guys from Washington, and the 4 others are from Oregon. Six of us were sore from the previous night’s dancing/clubbing/drinking and function on a few hours of sleep. However, we were as energetic and looking forward as we can be to experience the thrill on the ATV out in the sand dunes together.
Our trip there: In the early morning of Sunday, September 5, 2010, we made a 3 hours drive to Florence, OR in two cars. First, we stopped by McDonalds and Starbucks to obtain breakfast. Then we stopped by gas stations to fill up the gas tanks. The trip out there was a time to remember. It was not the normal boring highway drive. The sightings were amazing and picture perfect: greenery, hills, mountains, small curvy roads, rivers, and all the nature related there is to it. It was not rainy or scorching hot; the temperature was cool and ideal in the car for travel. It was a smooth ride there.
Arrival: We arrived around noon. We got in line to sign up and registered because it was on a first come first serve basis. We signed up so that each of us will drive our own vehicle. Our slot time was 1 hour. After we signed our life away, we sat ourselves down on a bench in front of a TV screen for 10 minutes of orientation and safety presentation. Our waiting time until we can drive the vehicles was approximately 3 hours.
Lunch: We drove to a nearby town for lunch and to waste time. We were basically in the middle of nowhere; however, 20 minutes away, there was a small town by the river. There was a festival going on with live music and roasted corns. We ate lunch at this restaurant overseeing the river and then walked around the festival ground enjoying the peaceful scenery. We have our desserts at B J’s Ice Cream Parlor for a double scoop waffle cone. The town is simple and pleasant. We had a great time touring around and the hours passed by quickly.
Waiting: Excited and anxious, we drove back to the ATV ground expecting to experience the thrill of our lives; however, we were told that our turn was not up yet. Later, we discovered that our turn was accidentally given to another group of 7 individuals and we were required to register again and wait another 2 hours until our turn. Filled with anger, frustration, and disappointment, we cannot just leave to go home after 3 hours trip out there and 3 hours we had waited. We sat on the waiting bench under the hot sun, yet chilly wind to wait. These two hours were dreadful. All of our excitements have completely diminished.
Drive Action: Finally, 5pm, all seven of us were ready to rock and roll! We were all given 5 minutes training on how to operate the vehicle and then each of us seated our behinds on each one. We snapped some pictures for memory and followed the staff out to the dunes. Adrenaline rush and excitement appeared out of nowhere. Anxious and risk-adverse feelings crept up as the engine roared loudly and the gas pedal being stepped on. The sand dunes looked hilly and frightening. It was not a flat surface. It was up and down with other adventurous individuals driving smoothly up and down the hills in the distance ahead. We drove far into the dunes and stopped for final instructions from the staff. After that, we roamed freely among ourselves. We drove together and explored the hills together. Each of us experienced sinking our vehicle in the sand. That’s the hard part because we have to help ourselves out of the sand. Sticking together helps a lot. We had a blast time out in the dunes. Finding our way back was arduous, but eventually we found it.
Departure: Pricing is a major pain in the backside. Our vehicles sunk so often on the way back. We stuck together to help each other out. We were late arriving back at the ground 15 minutes and each of us was fined $30! That’s $210 of fined for the 7 of us. Unbelievable! It was definitely an outdoor adventure to remember for all of us. We got back to our cars and made our 3 hours trip back to Beaverton, OR. We stopped by Pizza Hut to order pizza and breadsticks to bring home for dinner. We sat around the dining room table and ate together. After that we gathered around the computer screen to review our day’s adventure through the pictures we have captured.
My Personal Review: I shouldn’t judge the book by its cover. I was scared and worried and lost all self confidence after I watched the 10 minutes video training. I didn’t think I can drive that vehicle. At the same time, I was thinking, if my friends can do it, why can’t I? I motivated myself to try something new; otherwise, I will not have the chance again. Once I tried it, I felt glad to have tried it. It’s great to gain an experience, especially if it’s once in a lifetime!
Pros: Fun with a group of friends, adrenaline rush, new experience, physically active, total control, team building
Cons: Need strong individual if vehicle sink in the sand, price & fees, waiting time
Rating: I rate this experience’s total package 4.3 stars!