The author's son on a quad
  • The author's son on a quad
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I've driven past the funky Offroad Rentals place for over 20 years. Their office is in an old, brightly painted railroad boxcar, right on Hwy. 111 as you come off the 10 freeway heading into Palm Springs – a remote area known as Windy Point. It always looked fun, seeing ATVs, quads and dune buggies running up and down the hills and sand dunes.

As payback to my 12-year-old son for helping me out with a weekend of cleaning out a desert-area storage unit, I surprised him with a stop at Offroad Rentals.

We chose the quads. Anyone over the age of ten can drive one. For $40, you get 30 minutes on a fairly new quad, up on the dunes or several courses with banked corners. They provide helmets and goggles, teach you how to shift gears, and you listen to a ten-minute recorded safety lesson. The guy who recorded the lesson was hilarious; his humor makes you want to pay attention. Once out on the hill, if you show you're a responsible rider, they give you an extra ten minutes in riding time.

Even with millions of miles of desert in California, in an ever increasing eco-restrictive world, Offroad Rentals seems out of place – riding fast, up and down hills, throwing sand everywhere, making tracks in the untracked dirt. The firm is very strict about not harming plants and animals. Yet environmental wackos, not wanting any motorized use of the desert, have previously been spotted trying to place endangered species onto the property.

"We have cameras everywhere,” said one employee. They also own the land, which keeps the government from trying to shut down people having fun.

Offroad Rentals is open 365 days a year, 10 a.m. to sundown.

My wife and I have a rule: We can't go out and shop for new “big boy” toys unless we actually use one at least three times within a year. Things like jet skis, kayaks, golf clubs or a boat.

After a visit to Palm Springs' Offroad Rentals, consider it a number-one priority on my way to becoming a desert rat. The clock is now ticking with only two more visits to go, and then I can start shopping for quads.

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Comments

OBDave Dec. 29, 2010 @ 6:09 p.m.

Awesome - glad you had fun! But if that pic of your son is wearing a helmet, I'm very seriously concerned about the safety practices of this outfit. I've never heard of them, but it sounds like a great introduction to off-roading.

There are some great online resources out there for helping you find out more about off-roading (for southern California, glamisdunes.com stands out as a must-visit site). And desert toys these days are going for little more than a song.

Please, the most important thing you can take away from your little adventure is the rental group's strictness about caring for the natural flora and fauna of the desert. Yes, there really are people out there who believe desert recreation should be banned in its entirety, as are there others who haphazardly leave trash around, start fires, and mow down bushes with reckless disregard. The latter group fuels the fire of the former, and desert lovers could use some more good families setting the right example. Have fun!

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 29, 2010 @ 10:04 p.m.

I have seen that place everytime I go into Palm Springs, which was fairly often a few years ago-thanks to your recommendation I am going to try the fun out for 30 minutes-maybe even an hour!

Thanks for the write up.

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Ken Harrison Jan. 4, 2011 @ 4:50 p.m.

Yes OB Dave, he's wearing a helmet. Its required, along with goggles if one is under 18. Otherwise adults can wear sunglasses, but they recommend goggles for all. They even made him wear long pants, and provided pullover sweats for his shorts, even through there was no exhaust near his legs. But just in case he tipped it over. Safety first with this company. Thanks for your nice words. We had fun, over too soon. SurfPuppy has the right idea, pay for an hour.

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