Visitor # 20389 since 27.DEC.2002
If you'd like to post a trip announcement here, let me know.
The park consists of the most extensive coast dunes in California.
All vehicles in the OHV area are required to be equipped with an 8' whip with an orange or red flag with a minimum size of 6" x 12". Flags are available locally at stores near the OHV area, however, I chose to make my own.
Here's how I did it. I have a fireplace at home and burn a lot of wood in the winter for heat. I ended up buying a chimney cleaning brush and have several sections of fiberglass extension rod that I don't need for cleaning my chimney. These are 4' sections with threaded ends to allow easy assembly. I just drilled a suitable hole in the diamond-plate decking on my front bumper and attached the pole to that.
We had a fairly good group of (mainly Toyota) 4x4s meet for a weekend at the beach. Among the attendees were:
Our group arrived after dark Friday after battling the weekend traffic getting out of the Bay Area. We contacted the group at the creek crossing by CB as we dropped into town. After airing down, we crossed the creek and headed out to camp on the Sand Highway. After setting up camp, we headed out for some night wheeling, first-timers climbing in with veterans. Right off the bat, we had to dig and pull out a full-sized pickup stuck in a hole right above camp. After some outrageous drops down dune faces, some "bowling" and hill climbing, we returned to camp around midnight. Several of us hit the sack while the rest returned for a few more hours of fun.
The next morning dawned with clear skies. Some of the group headed into town for breakfast. The rest of us went out to play in the sand. There was a lot of discussion about what air pressure to run in ones tires. Some of the Pismo veterans suggested 10 PSI so that's what I tried. By the time I got a pressure I liked, I was running 10 PSI total (2.5 in each tire, gotta love that new digital tire gauge I picked up the day before - reads to 1 psi in 1/2 psi increments).
At 2.5 pounds, the sidewalls on the Swampers were just starting to wrinkle. I found I could crawl up hills that others needed momentum to get up (at least my Marlin gears were good for some fun in the sand). In the lowest gear, you could get out of the truck and watch it climb in the sand. Here, I'm trying to hold the truck back and its pushing me through the sand. ANother fun trick was to put your foot in front of a tire and let it roll over your foot.
Only place I had problems were on the tall, steep dunes where lots of momentum and tire speed were required. I found my engine stalling in low-3rd, although once I was able to speed shift into 2nd and pull over the top of the dune. It stayed clear the whole time we were there, although the wind really picked up in the afternoon. Nearly got stuck in one deep hole, had the front and rear bumpers buried and it took about 10 back and forths to get turned enough to drive out.
I plan on returning and trying out my 33x9.50 BFG M/Ts on the sand for a comparison. I imagine they will not float as good, but they may have less drag and allow higher tire speeds to let me get up the taller dunes.
Here are some basic sand-driving techniques:
[Last updated: 29.June.2018]