What an awesome day we had today riding a UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle, 4×4, ATV or whatever you want to call it) in the Oregon Sand Dunes!
The girls were excited today was their last day of school for the week, and they had less work than usual, so they got right to it and got going. They moved quickly and got all their work done before lunch time, and even had some time to play with friends online.
I had a few work calls, did some work and made the reservations for our adventure this afternoon at the Oregon Sand Dunes.
Carol did laundry and worked on lunch, she made Crab patties using her mom’s recipe for stuffed crab shells. The crab patties were delicious, and sparked lots of conversations through the day about “Crabby Patties” and all sorts of Sponge Bob trivia. Hahahahaha…. Never a dull moment here.
After lunch, we all worked on cleaning up, hanging laundry and getting things ready so we could leave by 1:30. Our ride was from 3 to 5, and we needed to get there at least 45 minutes early to do all the paperwork and watch the instructional video.
We left in time and got there early enough to do everything. I signed a million waivers.. hahaha… put down a hefty “deposit hold” on my card, on top of the pricey rental fee, paid an extra few bucks to rent goggles (helmets were part of the rental already), and got everyone in to watch the instructional video so we could get our stuff and get going.
We chose our goggles first, then went outside to watch the video. High tech place, they just have a QR code for you to scan and watch their video on Youtube on your own device. So we watched their almost 14 minute video, which was instructional, but also scary for Bella. By time we were done watching it, Bella was saying she didn’t want to go. The video showed people doing stupid things, going super fast over dunes without knowing what was on the other side, and just dropping down a cliff and rolling over, that kind of stuff. She was freaked out.
Our ride was waiting for us right there, a 4 seater Can Am 1000. Our instructor guy came tell us about the machine and how to navigate the trail, what to avoid, etc. and after getting us situated, we were ready to go at 2:45 so he just let us go and gave us the extra 15 minutes.
There are two paths you can take, one if towards the big dunes with lots of up and downs, it’s the more fun part, but also the part that the instruction video made look the scariest. The other is towards the beach, which is full of bumps and no hills, but once you get there it’s super beautiful and cool. We were not sure which way to go first, so there was a couple in front of us and we just followed them.
They turned left once we hit the dunes area, and we were in the big dunes section. Right away there is a huge dune to drive up to, so I took it easy and drove up, as we got to the top since I could not see the other side, I slowed down and the UTV got stuck way up there. Bella was then freaking out, she started crying, hard, that she was scared and wanted to go back home. Imagine this, we just came out from watching the videos, we are on top of a huge dune with a big downhill on both sides, the UTV is stuck and just spinning.. yeah, she was bawling. I got out to talk to her.
Once I was out and looked around, my first reaction was wow, this is awesome…. then I got back to helping Bella, I went and opened her door, talked to her, calmed her down, told her we’d go back and go towards the beach since there are no big dunes there, just lots of bumpy sand. She stopped crying but was still terrified since we had to go down. I put the UTV on Low (even though we were told to only use High, but we were stuck), and that did the trick. We got out pretty easy from there, and I took the lowest part of the hill down, and went slow so Bella would not be too scared.
From there, we drove towards the beach… very bumpy, like you’re riding a jet sky through non stop waves.
But still super fun and cool to be in the dunes. We were going slow, than a bit faster, than slow again… trying to get Bella to feel safe yet have some fun.
Eventually my co-pilot had us go right at an intersection, but we actually needed to go left to get to the beach. We rode for a while in the Bull Run section, without realizing it, but we figured we had taken a wrong turn, so eventually we turned around.
I stopped the UTV while Carol tried to get use situated, and while she did I took a check on how there girls were feeling. Bia was still super excited, and Bella not so much. hahaahahh.. Carol was able to find her grounds and we got back on track to the beach. Riding there is easy, just bumpy.
Once we got to the beach, everyone was in awe… wow… what a view. Beautiful. Looked like a desert with all the sand, sand flying around, wind… but with the ocean right there.
We all got out, walked around a bit, felt the sand. It was super fine sand, that would just fly as we dropped it from our hands. Well, it was quite windy too.
We enjoyed it there for a bit of time, took some pics, and decided to head back. My plan was then to go back to the dunes, and take turns going up and down easy dune hills, and see if Bella would warm up and try, and then get her fears out and go.
Once we got back into the big dunes area, I stopped and Bella and Carol got out so I could take Bia up and down the big hill near where we were. Bia moved to the front seat and we went… I was feeling a lot more confident too, so I went a little faster and we drove up to the top of the first hill. Then I turned to face the downhill and we went… woooohooooo… that was fun, Bia was screaming in excitement, and told me to do it again right away. I so drove by the other two and I signaled we’d do one more. This time, I went further back so we had a bigger and steeper climb up, and it was super fun to go up and then straight down. Bia was super excited. We went back to see if anyone else wanted to try, Bella said she did this time. Yeeee.. plan was working.
Bella sat in the front seat, I took it easy with her and did the same first path I did with Bia… and Bella loved it. We went back, got the other two, and did it again. This time, Bella was in the back seat with Carol, and as soon as we were done with that hill, Carol signaled I could go into the dunes and just keep riding. FYEAAAHHH!!! It worked! Bella had worked out her fear, and we got going into the dunes, driving up and down the big piles of sand, having lots of fun.
This was one of the coolest things I’ve done in a long time, it was so fun! The girls trades spots a few times, Bella came in the from just a bit. Carol went a bit more, as she needed to be with Bella in the back, and Bia was going nuts in the front. Bia would direct where I should go, and often was asking me to go straight up the middle of big hills, which I didn’t do as the top of those was very steep, but we did get to the top from a side, and drive down right from the middle.
We rode all the way to the end of the dunes, where the dunes near a big bridge and that stretch of land ends. We were having a lot of fun. The girls asked me to go faster and towards bigger up and downhills on the way back, so I did.
What a blast! We were doing so much faster that we got back to the beginning with almost 20 minutes to spare before we had to return the UTV. Bella had enough, so I dropped her and Carol, and went on one final quick loop with Bia, super fast and high. hahahaha…
We had to return by 5, so we drove back and returned the UTV exactly at 5. Bia said this was the most fun day of her life! Hahaha.. I have to say this was up there for me too. I’m guessing it was for Carol too, not so sure for Bella, but she rocked it.
From there, Carol found a very nice pizza place downtown Coos Bay, and we went there for dinner. The place is called Front Street Pizza, and it was really nice. Building is cool, decoration is cool, and the pizza was awesome. We had a great time there, good conversations. We had another Sponge Bob trivia too. hahahaha… The girls told us what they loved the most and the least about our Dunes rides… Bia loved the big dunes the most, going fast and high. Bia loved the least going slow. Hahahaha. Bella loved the most that it was beautiful. Bella loved the least the bumpy area.
On the way out, Carol saw a sign that they are having a Halloween costume dinner, so we thought that would be a good plan, so she went back and signed us up (meaning, paid for a table), so we now have a nice plan for Halloween night, with a great meal, in a cool place. It’s supposed to be all decorated as well for that night.
From there, we were driving back, and stopped at an ice cream place. Good ice cream!
And once we got back, everyone showered, we watched some TV and went to bed whenever. No school tomorrow, so no worries with time.
What an awesome day today.