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On The Trail!

Sand Blast V with Performance UnlimitedReprinted with permission from Randy Thomas.

For the fifth year in a row, Performance Unlimited of Hartford, WI. has put together one of the more revered four wheeling events of the year, the Sand Blast Weekend.Sand Blast After obtaining globules of discounts for the over 82 registrants and reserving blocks on campground area as well as carferry space, the weekend was set into motion on Wednesday night, June 25th. Registrants came from all over the mid-west for this momentous occasion, including Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even California. This was an "all American" 4-wheeling weekend!


To register for this year's Sand Blast-VI, do one of the following1.) REGISTER ON THE WEB: 2.) EMAIL US: 3.) WRITE TO: Performance Unlimited 766 Grand Ave. Hartford, WI. 53027

Upon receiving your incredibly detailed and informative 28 page Sand Blast Weekend packet, you can look through and see what you'll need to do to prepare your vehicle for the sand, as well as where all the hot spots are. A hoard of maps guide you in and out of the dunes, as well as to the numerous businesses offering Sand Blastmagnanimous discounts for Sand Blast registrants is. Everything you'll ever need to know is bundled in this one packet. Along with that is a Sand Blaststicker for your dash and windshield along with the mucho important Discount Card, which can save you up to $300 and more! Sand Blast registrants on the Wisconsin side of the Lake were treated to a discounted tour of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, featuring tons of exhibits including the highlight of touring a real World War Two submarine still in the water! This tour could be taken prior to boarding the carferry, or before driving around for those that wished to do so, which was no one.

Through the graciousness of the Lake Michigan Carferry, registrants for this yearsSand Blastevent began ferrying over on the Wednesday Midnight ferry already, as well as several more leaving Thursday and midnight that night, too. Due to Lake Michigan Carferry's incredible Sand Blast discounts, this much more affordable method of travel was much appreciated. The remainder, and main group left on Friday afternoon with twenty or so more converging on the little berg of Silver lake via the U,S. Interstate system. At around 7:00pm most registrants had arrived in the quaint little town of Silver Lake where they set out for this weekend's official headquarters, the Hide-A-Way Campground. Here registrants were treated to incredible discounts on camping, food and even water slide fun.

Sand BlastAfter checking in all Sand Blast'ers were directed to a special reserved area in the campground were  participants were shielded from the rest of the "normal" people in the campground. Cool looking rigs, trailers and motohomes were scattered everywhere. Once after everyone had set up camp and were ready to relax for the evening, all registrants were informed that the Oceana County Sheriff was waiting for them at the office. Bewildered and cautious dune goers somewhat reluctantly gathered around the stern looking Sheriff's Deputy where he politely and eagerly welcomed the Sand Blast group to Silver Lake. "All we ask is that you take it slow through town, keep it quiet and drive cautiously on the way to the dunes", said Officer Mike Herrmans. "We want you to have fun, but we need to respect the other visitors, too. " Herrmans added, "once you get into the dune, you can go nuts all you want."   After a few informational question, we all thanked him for coming upon our request and agreed to eagerly oblige his requests. In return, the large sized 4x4's attending this weekend would be given the flexible advantage of the law concerning height and tire laws of the State of Michigan. A welcome and appreciated deal to say the least. After a good night's sleep along with the annual and now come to beSand Blastexpected incredible theatrical thunder and lightning show during the night, dune goers were preparing for Saturday's events to take place.

With their detailed Sand Blast registration packet in hand, a quick look down the itinerary showed everyone to be meeting at the big hill in a half an hour, but not after a relaxing breakfast at the Lakewinds restaurant, with an incredible discount of "buy on meal and receive another for free", after flashing the waitress with your official Sand Blast discount card.  Before entering the dunes, right at the  entrance a quick stop at Dune Land Performance to pick up those last minute 4x4 parts or even fill up on some high Octane go-go juice could be had at a discount to all Sand Blast registrants.

Sand BlastThe dunes themselves were the next stop on "dune-o-mania 5" this weekend, and to our surprise there was a line of formidable dune conquering vehicles waiting to get in over a mile long! After a meager 15 minute delay, DNR officials escorted us up to another gate and allowed us access in front of the already waiting 'mile-o-cars." After passing through the gauntlet of DNR check stations and the long drive up the sandy dunes entrance ramp, the big hill, also known as 'test' hill lie overshadowing the white, pristine wind swept sands. The pureness of the ever blowing sand means no dust whatsoever. Excellent for open window or open top dune running. Gazing upon the great expanse of the wide open sands, there were 50 or so trucks perched up on top of the ominous "Test hill", almost seemingly taunting your participation on this, the biggest hill in the park. As the horsepower gods appeared to beckon for their release from under your hood it seemed almost impossible to hold you foot off the throttle any longer. With hoards of fellow Sand Blast participants rooting you on, the great hill is conquer for all there to see, well, not after a few test tries of course after all, why do you think they call it "Test Hill?"

After several trips around the 8 mile route of the park, a quick trip to town sets youSand Blastdown at the Whippy Dip outdoor Restaurant for a bite to eat and a cool ice cream treat.  Before returning to the dunes, Mac Woods Dune Rides right next door takes you into the uncharted area of the dunes, locally known as the walking dunes for a leisurely and very informative ride over the sand, and even right into the waters of Lake Michigan. Yet another discount on your ticket is enjoyed from the Sand Blast weekend. Another trip into the dunes is requested by your official Sand Blast-V schedule, where FOUR WHEELER Magazine photographers Ben Stewart and Ken Brubaker await the arrival of the Sand Blast 4-wheeling crew to capture some stunning photo's for the magazine. And, oh yes, they got some! Oh yes they did. Larry Harris from was on hand to follow up the Internet aspect of the weekend, taking dozens of digital images to post on their event section of the Internet site. Look there for a story & photo's of the event.

Sand BlastAfter a beautiful sunset cruise in the dunes and watching the sun disappear into the cool blue waters of Lake Michigan, a stop at the Silver Point General Store for some Ice Cream and a bite to eat was in order. And don't forget that Sand Blast discount card, they gave a bunch of discounts, too!  For those having too much fun in the dunes, a much needed visit to the town of  Hart and the NAPA store for some parts or even West Side Auto for some welding or repairs was in the plans. Discounts were given to Sand Blast'ers here as well. Once retreating to the seclusion of the peaceful campground setting, once again ol' mom nature treated everyone to an early morning show in her thunderous amphitheater. But low and behold, Sunday proved to be yet another picturesque day in the sun with nary a cloud in the sky. Warm temps and cool winds soothed the atmosphere while hundreds and hundreds of vehicles filled the dunescape, ranging   from a modified golf cart(!) to all-out monster trucks. Yes indeed, it was a lot of fun.

Sunday afternoon seen the weekend's participants exchanging phone numbers andSamurai vowing to stay in contact with their new found friends and hugs being traded in return. An awful lot of vehicles seen some major usage here but with smiles on their owners faces a mile wide. What a weekend! It has been estimated that this year's Sand Blast participants spent a total of $14,443.00 on this single weekend at area businesses. With this year's Sand Blast placed firmly into the history books, next year's 1999 Sand Blast-VI is already being planned, although the registrations will be limited, because Performance Unlimited has a big surprise in store, but they can only let the participants in on it! For more information see;


To register for this year's Sand Blast-VI, do one of the following1.) REGISTER ON THE WEB: 2.) EMAIL US: 3.) WRITE TO: Performance Unlimited 766 Grand Ave. Hartford, WI. 53027

08/11/10 15:31



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