BEST PLACES T O AT V I N G R E AT E R PA L M SPRINGS: The rugged and rocky terrain of the region makes the Greater Palm Springs area an ideal location for ATV’ing.
Pulling up to an eclectic graveyard of recycled art and funky signs, I’m surrounded by a landscape of white sand hills scattered with tires. Within minutes, I’m chatting with Steven Harris, the owner of Off Road Rentals—though if you ask him, he would deny most claims to the throne. A hippie type that spends half his time in Mexico and the other half playing outdoors in the California sun, Harris is all about having a good time and having others join him. After realizing he wanted to spend his life sharing this sense of adventure with others, he opened up Off Road Rentals in 1984. Originally he had a small squad of four to five ATVs, but this number has since grown to an impressive fleet of 50 plus. 98 | LOCALE MAGAZINE
arris’ hearty laugh is contagious as he cracks a joke about his recycled art— his sculpture garden of friends who keep the area populated in the off-season. He then notes that this place is teeming with people on Saturdays and Sundays. “On holidays, forget about it,” says Harris. “The course will have upwards of 40 to 50 people at a single time!”
one could easily overlook: a collection of helmets, a bespectacled oil can man, a rustic stagecoach sitting in front of the RV, a hand-painted map of Southern California. These little aspects of Steven’s personality are manifested throughout the property to give the dunes a bit of character other than the rubber-tire obstacles courses snaking throughout the area.
A guy with spiky blonde hair, dark sunglasses and a Star Wars shirt rolls up. “Hey, I’m Matt! And N OT E : Harris directs me to the nearest market, today there’s a special going for pretty girls,” If you have a about a mile away, where I could grab a he jokes. I can already tell the staff is big on large group, coffee while he prepares for the day. The area humor and operates like one giant family. He call ahead is rather desolate, just a stretch of freeway ushers me and our photographer, George, into and you can with tumbleweeds blowing around, but it’s a cave of ATVs to watch an instructional video. and reserve peaceful and I’m excited for what the day has Matt then shows us around the property, the place for in store. If you’re a first-timer like I was, I’d pointing out an old caboose and the mechanic your group suggest wearing long pants (I sported a pair of shop where the staff maintains the ATVs, a knee high boots which are great for preventing plethora of spare parts strewn about haphazardly. sand from getting into shoes). If you have long hair, Prior to getting fitted for our helmets, Matt provides I’d highly recommend tying it back. Helmets and each of us with a less-than-fashionable shower cap to protective goggles are provided, but you’re more than wear underneath which, while not the cutest desert welcome to wear your own sunnies! look, calmed my inner germaphobe. Matt points to a couple of ATVs sitting under a hangar and asks, “You I park once more, this time studying the sculptures ready?” I look over to George, my eyes sort of bugging more closely and paying attention to the colorful way out as the sudden reality of speeding across the sand Harris has decorated the lot, full of little details that