Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area, Imperial County
San Diegans have visited this remarkable stretch of desert for decades. On weekends between October and May, tens of thousands of off-road enthusiasts thunder across these barren dunes. At night, their buggies and bikes swarm like angry fireflies on Competition Hill. Families bivouac in Gordon's Well and Gray's Well, where parents gather 'round campfires to sip sour-apple martinis and flirt. A younger crowd plays not far away among the Glamis sand dunes. Wet T-shirt contests. Violence. Drugs. Desert animals caught and set ablaze.