We first saw the endless rolling sand dunes of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico almost 25 years ago. We had been on a sort of four-wheeling, camping and occasionally drinking expedition around the Sea of Cortez with the great four-wheeler Rick Russell of Sidekick Off Road. In our wanderings, we had come upon an abandoned railroad station surrounded by sand. We climbed to the roof like Ozymandias, and there, to the east, were waves and waves of the biggest, longest sand dunes we’d ever seen, rolling like a beige and red mud-colored ocean over the horizon and, for all we knew, splashing off the edge of the Earth. It was like "Lawrence of Arabia" or "The English Patient" or something.
For millions of years, the Colorado River took all the sand and sediment it could scrape and drain from what became the western United States and poured it into the northern end of the Gulf of California. It all turned into beaches on the eastern side of the Sea of Cortez. The wind blew across the beaches from the west. The dunes formed.
“Man, it’d be tough to get lost out there,” we’d thought.
Twenty-five years later, “out there” was exactly where racers Darren Skilton and Scott Whitney decided to hold their Sonora Rally. This was the event’s third year. “Four days of hardcore off-road rally in Mexico’s beautiful Sonora Desert,” is how they describe it.