Desert Trucks: “It’s a very addictive experience”
Deserts can be relentlessly quiet, but not when you’re strapped into a 6.2-litre, V8-powered Pro-Baja truck, flying off sandy ramps at 140kph and catching air time in Colorado’s canyon country. Driven Experiences provides expert tuition at their Emerald Desert Training Facility in Mesa County, on how to handle their customised trucks around an off-road track.
“Driving at high-speeds on the constantly changing dirt is a real challenge, as the longer you’re out there, the more holes start appearing,” says Travis Nailor, one satisfied and exhilarated customer. “It’s a battle to find the right line and hit the speed, but when you do, man, what a buzz. It’s a very addictive experience.”
A range of driving packages is available, and you can even hire out the whole place, depending on your requirements and budget. Most people stay at the nearby Gateway Canyons Resort (rooms from US$450 per night) because, frankly, this is deep in the desert and there’s nothing else for miles.
“Even experienced road racers can’t quite believe what these trucks can do,” says Andrew Hendricks, a Driven Experiences instructor. “One described it to me as like driving a Transformer on the moon. But it’s like night and day. Most rookies are scared at first, but at the end of the day you have to drag them out of the vehicle.”
What to do after the truck driving
SAIL AWAY Swap the dusty roar of the track for the crashing rapids of the Dolores River. The Gateway Resort’s Adventure Centre offers wet and wild rafting, kayaking and tubing.
FLY HIGH Fancy a change of perspective? See the awe-inspiring Colorado landscape from a helicopter or Cessna plane ride over gaping canyons and soaring mountainous terrain.
ZIP ALONG They’re about 320km away down Highway 50, but the zip lines at Salida are worth the drive: the 695ft-long Leap of Faith line and the superfast Gun Barrel span a 200ft valley.