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On The Trail!with Larry Harris


Performance Unlimited

5th Annual 4 x 4 Weekend

Silverlake Sand Dunes, Michigan


In addition to the ever changing dune topography some of the allure of this event is in its organization. Performance Unlimited of Hartford Wisconsin started planning Sand Blast V a year in advance of its scheduled date. Working with local businesses like Hide-A-Way Campground they assured this event would be a success. Randy Thomas even had the foresight to invite the local police force to address participants on lift laws and other concerns related to our off-road hobby. Officer Mike Herrmans from Oceana County Sheriff Department made the trip to the Hide-A-Way Campground office where a crowed had gathered in anticipation of his visit. "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"

Officially Organized events can not be held at the Silver Lake Dunes so Sand Blast is more of a rendezvous of 4x4 enthusiast. Sand Blast is open to all vehicles of all types. Trucks ranging from stock rental Jeeps to a modified Samurai were spotted charging up the wind blown dunes. Absent this year were some of the high horse power trucks from the PYT (Pound Your Truck) club from Wisconsin. As with any event things happen that are quite unanticipated. Sand Blast V was no exception. A number of PYT club members were able to participate in this years Top Truck Challenge. Pointless to say the course was very demanding and took its toll on the trucks. The PYT club was not to be conquered, they showed up at the dunes in their daily drivers. The esprit de corps displayed by this club is incomparable. If you are located in Wisconsin and are looking for a club visit Http:// You will not be disappointed!

Sand Blast V had over 85 vehicles in attendance with Clubs from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even California. After making the transit across Lake Michigan aboard the Car Ferry from Manitowoc to Ludington participants from the west made the short trip south on US 31 to Silver Lake Sand Dunes Recreational Area. While setting up camp sites at the Hide-A-Way friends both new and old were being aquatinted and preparing for the fun in the sun weekend.

There were a few high horse power trucks that were able to make this years event, we found them Saturday morning around wake up time. After the short-lived extremely loud seemingly annual thunder storm we were thoroughly awakened by a deeper tone as these trucks were starting engines in anticipation of a day on the dunes. After breakfast there was a rendezvous at the first obstacle of the day "Test Hill" This hill is at the entrance of the park. It can be seen from anywhere in the park. Test Hill has earned its namesake, this giant sand hill is seriously steep and it is a long way to the peak. Nearly all vehicles get a running start at the hill allowing momentum to carry them to the crown. Not Jeff Umsted. Sitting in his Samurai he starts at the foot of the hill and proceeds to crawl up the highest elevation in the recreational area.

The flyer stated "This is the ultimate 4x4 Fun and Sun weekend for the entire family!" The flyer was right, it was a Blast. Sand Blast Weekend is in its 5th year and it continues to be a must attend 4x4 adventure.

08/11/10 15:31


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