Tag Archives: Sand Dunes

A Light in the Darkness

At the Sand Dunes there is day riding and night riding (yep, surprise surprise). I remember when I was younger I didn’t really enjoy riding at night very much. In fact, I really don’t enjoy it all that much now. It is harder to see, especially when you don’t have the best lights at night in the middle of mountains of sand. Those pesky Witches Eyes can sneak right up on you! The dunes are pretty difficult to navigate in the day so they can be even more difficult to do it with little or even no light. I remember one time we went out on a night ride. My brother, who was following us in our line, ran into trouble when his quad died, ran out of gas, or maybe he got stuck. I cant really remember. Anyways, it was at night and the only reason we found him is because he turned his headlights on as we drove by trying to look for him. I loved riding in our sand rail at night. Lets just say it has some pretty powerful lights. My dad is…..well, lest say kind of hard of seeing; so bright lights  help out a ton. We have a light bar on the top of our rail with HID lights. HID stands for High-Intensity Discharge. They make a lot of light! We have 4 big ones across the top of our sand rail and you can always seem to spot out ours because of the light it produces. Whether we are at the drags, Comp Hill or wherever, it seems that our lights are unique and a little bit brighter then everyone else (of course I might be a little bit biased).

Okay okay I know you are just dying to know what this has to do with the Gospel. Well when you are riding your way through life do you want to ride in the darkness or the light? We are going to inevitably have dark times on our sojourn here on earth. We want to see those witches eyes before we hit them. Now we shouldn’t settle for just any lights. We need the best headlights around, and there is one headlight that is the ultimate light. John 8:12 says “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Jesus Christ is the light that will light up our path. He will lead us to do good. Jesus Christ is the ultimate HID light. His light is unique and the brightest. I know that if we follow him and His light we will never be lead astray.  We will be able to make it through those dark times on our journey through the dunes of life! Watch this video, it is about different people that let the Light of Christ lead and help them out of a dark time in their lives.

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The “Ruts” of Life

Definition of a rut: A furrow or track in the ground, especially one made by the passage of a vehicle or vehicles” (dictionary.com). In the dunes there are ruts. Lots of ruts. I remember when I first started riding in the dunes I hated to follow our sand rail. Not just because every once in a while if I got to close behind it I’d get a bucket full of sand shoveled right at me, but because I did not like the ruts. Sometimes when following multiple big sand rails they can leave quite the impressions, or ruts, in the sand. I remember following on my quad and hitting those massive ruts. You follow the same general path the rails do but because you are on a quad the path is altered a bit and you usually take a slightly differnt ‘line'( I hope that makes sense). If you get stuck in one of those ruts, sometimes it literally will suck you in, you are going to go where the sand rail in front of you went whether you like it or not. The guy to the right may have gotten stuck in the wrong rut. When you go to cross one of those mammoth ruts you better hold on tight, it’ll bounce you all over and sometimes hinder your forward momentum. Trying to wheelie or get some weight of the front end always helps.On the busy weekends, such as New Years or Thanksgiving holidays there are a lot of people there. The dunes come what we call “choppy”(see the top picture). Ruts everywhere!! It is one bumpy ride, and not to fun if you’re on a quad. My family would try to get far out as possible into the dunes where the crowds had not been yet to find some smooth riding.

Now to the Gospel. Sometimes in life we can encounter some ruts; some of them are bigger then others. It might depend on who you are following, are you following the wrong person or thing? Pursuing a life of drugs and immorality can be like following a monster sand rail that leaves enormous ruts that seem impossible to get out of once you have gotten in. Sometimes you are genuinely trying to follow Jesus Christ, the best leader, and even then we can encounter some small or large ruts. What do we do? Well we can read the scriptures, go to church, or repent and “get the front end up on your quad” and wheelie over that rut. It might hinder your progress or slow you down a bit but that is okay! Keep pushing on, don’t give up!! Sometimes we might find ourselves in the busy hustle bustle of life and it seems pretty bumpy due to little ruts going every which way. Let us take a breath and slow down a bit. Maybe we need to go to a quiet place, or seek refuge from the world. Sometimes we may only be able to find inner peace. M Russell Ballard, an Apostle of the Jesus Christ has said this, “Peace—real peace, whole-souled to the very core of your being—comes only in and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ”. When speaking about the recent world disasters Coleen K. Menlove said this, “Children need to know that having faith in the Savior and following Him will help them receive peace in this troubled world.” Take heart! I know that good times are out there. Just hold on through those “choppy dunes” and soon you will find that peace you seek!

Keep Riding, Clear Dunes Await!

Click here for a great talk on Peace!

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Follow The Leader


At the Sand Dunes some people ride by themselves, but most ride in groups. Some are small, and some are big. I know when my family and our group would go to the dunes we would try to organize big rides. When we go to the dunes our camp usually makes some sort of large circle (or at least some sort of circle) with all the trailers, trucks, and vehicles. In the middle of the circle is usually where the fire and everyone meets. Now back to riding. I would always love it when the whole camp would come together to go on a ride. On some trips it could be over 20-30 rigs following one after another. At the dunes, during a ride there is one leader, and he leads the way. Then one after the other people follow behind taking the same path he takes. It kind of looks like a snake winding its way through mountains of sand. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. I would love to watch a big train of sand rails whip through the dunes one right after the other.

On one occasion my friend, my little brother, and myself (a small group) were going on a ride. I was leading out and we were cruising along. Well at one point my friend right behind me decided to take another line, or path, then the one I chose. Well he went off a little ledge right down into what we call a ‘Witch’s Eye’. It is kind of like a trap in the dunes, an indent or small random hole, and sometimes, they are hard to see unless you have experience at leading in the dunes (not anyone can lead, most people can follow). My friend, who at that time did not have as much experience at the dunes as I, thought his path would be better. It was not. He hit a wall of sand, threw himself over the handle bars and pretty much knocked himself loopy (he was wearing a helmet of course). But other than that he as fine.

So what does this have to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? In life we can have many different leaders. Our parents can be great leaders to us. They have much more experience and wisdom than us. We should follow their counsel 0r other people who have spent more time in the “Dunes” of life than ourselves. They probably know where those ‘Witch’s Eyes’ of life are hidden. Now we shouldn’t follow just anyone older than us. When the blind lead the blind both are likely to fall into a ditch (Matt 5:14). Let us choose carefully who we choose to follow. Often times we should be the leader, and lead our friends in doing what is right. We can follow Prophets, both modern and ancient ones. They represent someone who knows the way. Of course we can, and should, always follow the ultimate leader, that is Jesus Christ himself. He has set the way, He invites all to “Come follow me”(Matt 16:24). If ever we get lost in the dunes of life, let us look to our savior; He knows the way home. I know if we follow Him with full purpose of heart we will be never led astray.

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Preparation, Dont Forget Your Helmet!!

When it comes to getting ready to go to the dunes there is a lot that goes into it. Usually me and my family try to split the load or responsibility to make it go faster and easier. “Don’t forget the jack” my dad might  say. “Hey, remember to throw in the extra set of Lug Nuts”  my brother will chime in. There are lots of things to remember; flags, gas, food, water, paddle tires, extra parts, helmets, goggles, GPS, camping permit, electric impact wrench, other tools, air compressor, sleeping bags, cots, and etc. I think that almost every time we went we forgot something, it was bound to happen. Hopefully we did not  forget something that was very important. Once, or maybe twice, I forgot my helmet. I regretted that one. I ended up having to use an extra one we had (I sure was happy someone was prepared for my forgetfulness). If I forgot my goggles it was the worst. There is nothing worse then trying to make due with a terrible pair of goggles that wont stop half the sand. It was about 4 1/2 hours there; so getting there and then turning around to come home to get what we forgot was out of the question. Overall, make sure to be prepared when you get to the dunes, something will always come up.

Now to apply it to the Gospel. Preparation is key. After all, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet god (Alma 34:32). We can prepare for all kinds of things. We can prepare now to answer when a friend asks us if we want to try a drug. Answer that question now with a resounding “NO!”. We can prepare for the future. Get our life in order; get out of debt, start a food storage, build family relationships, and many other things. There are countless stories in the Bible and Book of Mormon about being prepared. I love the story of the Jaradites in the Book of Mormon and how the Lord commands those people to prepare to cross the sea. (Click here to Read the whole story, it is great.) When I forgot to bring my helmet my chance of getting hurt drastically increased. When one forgets their paddle tires at home they are going to get stuck all the time. If something breaks down and you don’t have your tools then your are going nowheres. So it is with life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ can offer you protectection (like a helmet), help give you propulsion in a sticky situation (like paddle tires), help us see clear when the sand storms of life are blowing all about us (like Goggles), and help repair spiritual damage through the atonement (like the proper parts and tools). We just need to be prepared, and put in our effort, then all of these blessings can be ours.

Preparation leads to blessings. One quote that I really like goes like this, “when the time for performance is at hand, the time for preparation is over”. Let us not find ourselves in the middle of the sand dunes with no Helmet. Let us not be found at the hour of performance and our preparation is little. When we are prepared, we shall not fear!

 

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Sand Dunes……..


Maybe it’s because my time serving as a missionary is winding down and I have been thinking about activities I miss, or maybe it is because it is just plain fun. Either way I have been thinking about the beautiful Sand Dunes of South Eastern California. To some, the dunes might look more like a barren waste land, but not to me. First off, to anyone who has never been to the Imperial Sand Dunes nestled in the corner of south-eastern California just outside Arizona and just off of the Mexican Border (in fact many of the dunes run over and into Mexico) I would recommend going. They are the best. It is one of my favorite hobbies. I’m not sure how long ago my family started going to the dunes. My dad and his family and friends went way back in the day, the days of three-wheelers and Volkswagen Buggies. I remember when we (me and my siblings) started though. It was pretty new to us, we had recently built a new sand rail and wanted to give it a try. Well lets just say from that first trip till now it has been a family hobby and things have progressed and enlarged.

For those who may not be too familiar with the Sand Dunes people go there to ride just about any kind of motorized vehicle. Quads and dirt bikes are probably the most popular. But there are a lot of sand rails, side-by-sides (Ranger, Razors, Rhinos etc), souped up golf carts, Tricked out jeeps, and any thing else that can go “vroom”. Sometimes it can get pretty busy, especially on big weekends like Thanksgiving and New Years. There are advantages and disadvantages to it being busy verse not busy.  Now it has been over two years since I have been to the dunes since I started my service as a full-time missionary for the church. I miss it at times, more so in the winter, but it is worth it to give that up for two years. The other day I had an idea of relating The Sand Dunes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Brilliant! I have decided to break it up into multiple posts because that way I won’t overrun anyone and I can keep it concise. So stay tuned, some posts will soon follow!

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