The Desert Playground

Yesterday, we were all ready for something that would be extreme and memorable.  We kicked around several ideas, but all agreed that riding dune buggies across the open desert was perfect.  We found a service, Sun Buggy Las Vegas, that even shuttled us from the timeshare right out to their shop where we got geared up and instructed.  After a 6 minute license class we were ready for the sand.  What the training seemed to come down to was, be careful it can be dangerous.

When we got to the course made up of thousands of acres of desert, our guide, Ryan, gave us the quick and dirty: the cars are governed to 35-40 mph, follow his tracks, don’t pass, drop off the dunes at a 45 degree angle, ride up the dunes full throttle, and for God’s sake keep your arms inside the vehicle.  Shockingly, we broke every rule…

…and suffered the consequences: flat tires and buggies stuck on the dunes.  The buggies would hit so hard off some of the dunes that the front end would scoop up the sand like a shovel and throw at both the driver and passenger.

By the end,  we were covered in dust and sand.  It was in our shoes, pockets, eyes, mouths, everywhere.  However, the consensus was that it was awesome!  All we could have asked for next time is even more speed!

On the way back to the hotel, the shuttle driver mentioned that we should check out the buffet at the M Casino, which he considered the best.  And that’s exactly where we headed after getting showered up.  Scott and Laurie surprised us on their last night and treated the group to M’s top-notch buffet.  Stuffed, all there was left to do was play some video poker.  Sadly, at the end of the night we said goodbye to Scott and Laurie.  Sad to see them go and for the reminder that the end of the week is drawing near.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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17 Responses to The Desert Playground

  1. Cousin Mike says:

    That looks so cool! Mario rode dune buggies on his trip to daibi and it was really cool to hear him talk about it. Woke up late this AM (4:30am), so I’m a bit rushed, but wanted to share a link to the YNN story they did on Karmen…

  2. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    Awesome Bret! Yes Mario has some great photos from Dunes in the desert in Dubai and had a lot of memories doing it! Glad you got the same experience!

  3. Donald & Laurie Fox says:

    Adding dune buggies to our list of things to do. Thank you for the awesome video!

  4. Aaron says:

    The dune buggies look like a TON of fun!!! Wish I could have been there! You are starting to look WAY too comfortable at the video poker machines! John sent me one with you kicked back elevating your leg and gambling away, CLASSIC! I would post it in this comment if I could figure out how. I think it’s time for you to get out of Vegas!

  5. Debbie says:

    WELL! Hell yeah SAND Road Warriors!

    And I love me some Linkin Park, so the music was awesome for the soundtrack. I was getting juiced just sitting here watching that. I’m going to Vegas in July (yeah, July!) and thought that might be fun. But not sooo much with the temps in July. I envy you and it looked like so much fun. On one note–I figured out which pic was of Bret and Shannon by her ring in her fist pump 🙂

    Glad you liked the shirt Bret! I’m making another stop there next week–anything you’re needing/wanting? LOL!

    I will be in Santa Monica February 28 – March 2nd on a FOX conference..any chance in the world you’ll be in the area? I would LOVE LOVE to see you! Course by then, you could be trying to pull that trailer up the slopes of Pike’s Peak.

    LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Keep riding in the right direction!!

    P.S. Gotta know..sand in the undies, too?? LOL!


  6. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    Hi Bret and Shan,
    Sorry to have not written anything in awhile – we follow your blog everyday and read all the posts and comments – so know we’re still checking in all the time and are keeping up with all your adventures even if we can’t always post. You’re always in our thoughts and hearts.
    Riding those dune buggies looked so fun and I had to laugh when I read Sissy’s comment/question – “sand in the undies”? cause I was wondering that too! 🙂 Glad you have been having such a great time with your wonderful crew of friends – what an incredibly special group! Glad you all managed to not get in to too much trouble with the fireworks in Death Valley! 🙂
    We’re being teased by some great pre-Spring weather here today. It’s 54 outside with breaks of sun, the snow is melting quickly and the birds are singing! Tomorrow may even approach 60 degrees!!!!!!!! Alas, our Spring fling ends Sat. when the temperature is supposed to plunge back to the low 30’s and snow flurries are predicted. Boo hoo! I’m headed out for a walk soon to enjoy it while I can!
    Met your Mom and Aunt Judy last night for dinner and a girls’ night out. It was great to get together and we never seem to run out of things to talk about. We had lots to catch up on so you can only imagine all the gabbing that was going on at our table!
    Keep riding in that good direction and know our love, thoughts and prayers are following you every mile. Big hugs to you both from both of us!
    Aunt Sharon

  7. Thomas says:

    Looks like fun! Headed to Hoover Dam? I regret not checking it out when I was in Vegas a while back.

  8. Marianne Borrelli says:

    It looks like a ton of fun! I like Spooky Canyon and Zion National Park as well out there. Fred and I love the Black Jack Tables but I’m too cheap and leave when I’m ahead! At least one of us has some sense!!!! HAve Fun and keep Riding in that Good Direction.

  9. Aunt Bo says:

    Wild wild west is all I can say. the dune buggies looked way too much fun!

    I am not much of a gambler…I would far prefer to spend my money on more important things like UGG boots and clothes and jewelry…the nessities of life. Mark Sr is the” gambler” of the should talk to him for some tips!!!

    I have been to Vegas twice( both times without the “Gambler “) won $$$$. Only because I stop when I am ahead. I am no fun…I know!!! I only play the slots too. I am too scared to do anything else.

    But, I do love Vegas…for short period of times. There is so much energy there.

    Keep up the good ride and today is my best day.

  10. Elisa says:

    That looked like a lot of fun! Would definitely add to my list if things to do :). Keep on having a great time and sharing the great memories with us.

  11. Cousin Jeff says:


  12. Loretta says:

    The video of the dune buggies was great! Looked like so much fun!!! Accompanying music was good too.

    Looks like you were riding in EVERY direction! 😉

  13. Jason Borgus says:

    Though you don’t know me, several of my ex-Navy Nuke buddies know you and have been sharing your story with me. Since then I have been following your adventures on this blog. I am a fellow New Yorker from the Southern Tier, Nunda actually and have spent a fair time at both Swain and Stony Brook along with several other places that I am sure that you are familiar with. The reason I am writing you and telling you all of this is that a friend I went to high school with lives in Las Vegas with her husband and I told her about your story and asked her if there was anything that she could do to show you some of Vegas and assist you in making today your best day. She has said that she would love too, but unfortunately, seeing as how we have never met you, neither of us has any way to contact you. You can find either us on FB, my name is above and hers is Susie Wilcox. Or you can email me at I may have to strengthen my spam filters after posting this, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I hope to hear from you soon and keep riding in that good direction!

    Jason Borgus

  14. Cousin Mike says:

    Well, who says I can’t stay up late? 3am and still ticking! Indoor sectionals were Thursday night, so after I got Karmen home and tucked into bed at 12:30am, I’ve decided to just stay up (assuming I won’t fall asleep between now and when my alarm goes off at 5am). Proud dad bragging alert–Karmen won the shot put (only her 3rd time ever doing it, but she put up the # 3 throw in all of section five) and won the pole vault!
    Ok, because I love Brett. and I love Bill Murray. and the “Don’t Blog Angry” comment reminded me of Ground Hog Day, here is a little diddy…’

  15. John Walden says:

    Hi Bret,
    It’s great to see you are having fun. If you are back in the Rochester area in the warmer weather, I have a 24′ party barge which is great for cruising on the Canal or the Finger Lakes. Let me know if you are interested and we could set something up.

  16. Marissa Siciliano says:

    You both took some fantastic pictures! What a great new camera…awesome shots! I’m glad to read of all your adventures…everything that you and Shannon are doing sounds like a lot fun. Enjoy and keep traveling!

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