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Nothing Like a Quiet Ride Over the Dunes - Whoa!!!

     It rained and blew and chilled all week, so on Saturday morning we threw our jackets in the truck and headed out to join our son in the warm dry desert, a hundred miles away. At the Gordon’s Well exit we turned right, drove across the bridge and down into the sand, smack into the middle of a hundred thousand motorhomes, dune buggies and desert bikes. Our instructions were to turn left at the T-shirt vendors’ stands and head due north toward the red balloon. We’d run into his motorhome about a hundred yards before the balloon.

     Due north was taken. Three scraggly bushes stared us down. On either side of them, dozens of trails went off in every direction - northeast around clumps of motorhomes, northwest between low desert shrubs and whoosh! past motorbikes flying over dips. We kept our eye always on the red balloon and finally arrived about a hundred yards in front of it. Scattered motorhomes filled the area between us and the balloon. Not one of them looked familiar.

     Not to worry. We had our emergency gear with us. We whipped out our cell phones and called our son. Somehow he answered from wherever he was on the dunes. He told us to stay put – he’d call our grandson, who was also out on the dunes but closer to camp, and tell him to come find us.

     Okay. Sounds like a plan. We found a level spot on the sand and parked. A guy drove by in a camper, backed up, and asked if we were looking for someone. We said yes and he busted up laughing. “Good luck!” He waved merrily as he drove off.

     A half hour later, we pulled out the emergency gear again. “Where exactly are you?” our son asked. “We’re in the middle of a whole bunch of motorhomes with a red balloon flying over them.” That didn’t seem to help. We had to call him again, fifteen minutes later.

     We finally met our grandson back at the T-shirt vendors’ stands and from there he led us to the motorhome. Then he was off again, to deliver a set of spark plugs to our son and his buddy, whose desert bike had stopped dead, three miles from camp.

     Typical fun day on the dunes, I hear. While they were out there trying to resuscitate what turned out to be a burnt-out engine, we sat in the sun under a cloudless sky and visited with our granddaughter. My kind of fun day on the dunes…

     ’Bout three hours later our son and his buddy arrived in camp – the buddy’s bike in the back of a rusted-out, busted-out little pickup truck, courtesy of two really Good Samaritans.

     It was getting late by then, and my better half and I were ready to head home but somehow we got talked into going for a spin in our son’s new, custom-made, five-seater buggy.

     First you gotta get in the thing. There aren’t any doors – you have to clamber over the side. We strapped ourselves in and started off rather faster than I expected. I told my son not to go too fast over the bumps - because of my better half’s bad back, you know. I don’t think he heard me. I started to tell him again.

     Ohmigosh! That’s straight up! We’re going straight up! What’s on top! I can’t see! I Forget my better half’s back. I’m worried for my life. All of our lives!

     Well, there was something on top. More sand. A level surface. With – uh-oh! a steep drop-off. Oh no! We’re going down it! No-o-o-! Yes. We made it. Whew! - and headed straight back up and…

     It was a great ride, but I’ll tell you, that ride home on the freeway was absolutely delicious.

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