Motorcycle Adventure Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes

Sometimes on long trips, we find ourselves at the right place at the wrong time. Just very recently on this trip, I visited the Marcos Presidential Center during their lunch break. Luckily, it was not a wasted effort because I still got access to the Marcos Mausoleum which is the highlight of that tourist spot.

sandunes_sandboarding

On this next stop, access was not an issue, the heat is. In the desert, 12 noon, full motorcycle gear!!

Paoay is not only known for the picturesque and colossal San Agustin Church but a few other tourist spots. In fact, a new popular adventure destination has been getting attention since last year. About 7 kilometers from the Paoay Church is a 100 square km long strip of nothing but sand. 

There are sign boards along the way, finding it is easy.

There are sign boards along the way, finding it is easy.

The sand dunes stretches in the east from Curimao, Paoay through Laoag.

The sand dunes stretches in the east from Curimao, Paoay through Laoag.

So what can you do will all the vast emptiness of nothing but sand dunes? Wet sand in the beach is perfect for sunbathing or building sand castles because it is wet and compact. On the contrary, the sand here is very dry and loose. This made it perfect for sand boarding. It is basically gliding down a dune on a board. It is best to do it standing up with your feet strapped to the board but beginners can try the sitting position at first.

Here's actress Solenn Heussaff on the board. Photo credits to the original owner

Here’s actress Solenn Heussaff on the board. Photo credits to the original owner.

I was just following the sign boards and I ended up in Culili Point that starts with a steep uphill climb on that loose powdery sand. I have rode on sand on several instances but it was on a beach and for only a few meters. Dry sand is very loose and the street tires I have on just cuts into it and buries the tires even deeper. Knobby tires at least has those “teeth” for much better traction. Off-road 4X4 jeeps have wider tires that distributes its weight over a larger area.

knobby tires versus what I have

knobby tires versus what I have.

jump-off point for the 4X4 and sand boarding adventure

jump-off point for the 4X4 and sand boarding adventure

THIS is the right vehicle for this terrain.

THIS is the right vehicle for this terrain.

No one was foolish enough to stay out on the blazing sun so even the jump-off point camp was.. (pun intended) deserted. I sat there on the motorcycle at the top of a hill looking at the barren land trying to talk myself out of going farther. It was very peaceful, beautiful, hot, uncomfortable, and scary.

sandunes_view

panorama of the landscape with a closeup of a sand dune that’s easily 10-15 feet high.

It really would be a problem if I ride into that and later on realize that it’s too much and I get stuck but that blue sea beyond all the sand was like a guarantee that a trip to the end would be worthwhile. So, the heck with it.. Lezgow!

When it's not rocky and bumpy, it is loose and shaky.

When it’s not rocky and bumpy, it is loose and shaky.

The once single track from the jump-off point branches out into different directions indicated only by tire tracks and some flag markers. I really have no idea where the tracks lead. I’m trying to figure it out as I go along. Finally, the hot, humid wind turned cooler and cooler. Then, the beach!

What's better than a beach at the end of a desert.

What’s better than a beach at the end of a desert.

cool down time

cool down time

I stayed for a while at a small nipa hut by the beach as I enjoy the view and re-hydrate. I’m gonna need that when I make the return trip which is over a kilometer ride.

The terrain may not be in our favor but she's putting up with all of it quite well.

The terrain may not be in our favor but she’s putting up with all of it quite well.

The return trip was both difficult and easy. It was difficult trying to remember which way I used because there’s no distinct landmarks to go by. On the other hand,  I have gotten fairly used to the all the wobbling and fish-tailing that I think I have figured it out. I don’t have a picture but I was doing something like:

LOL! I'm wasn't riding anything like this. I just wish I can. Photo credit to Ronnie Renner.

LOL! I’m wasn’t riding anything like this. I just wish I can. Photo credit to Ronnie Renner.

TIPS on how to ride a motorcycle in the sand:
1) Go (a little) faster. If an airplane doesn’t go fast enough, it would have a hard time flying because it doesn’t produce enough lift. Driving slow only gives your tires more time to sink into the sand.
2) If the rear tire of your motorcycle gets stuck, lean the motorcycle to one side then hit the throttle. Keeping the motorcycle in an upright position only makes the tire dig deeper into the sand. Leaning it helps the side wall of the tire gets more traction at the same time filling the hole.
3) Steer more with your hips. The front tire gives you little control. Shifting your weight is a more effective way to control the bike.

CONQUERED!!

CONQUERED!!

I may not have done any of the activities tourists get to enjoy on these sand dunes but I still had a blast! Plus, I got off cheap. A quick internet search showed that a 4×4 adventure ride costs about P1500 for 5 pax and if you include an hour of sand boarding, it is an additional P1000.  It’s best to go here early morning or late afternoon. There is another site for this sand dunes adventures in Laoag which we will get to on the next stop.

Advertisements

About Dom de la Torre

The rider is a 20-something Filipino that rides a Honda Wave 125cc underbone. He knows little about motorcycles yet loves the experience going places on two wheels. Rider Ako is a motorcycle-slash-travel blog. The rider not only shares to you travel destinations and what to see there but also the experience of getting there. You will read about the thrills and adventure when he rides solo, the romance of riding in tandem, the camaraderie riding with a group, the excitement participating in events, and anything that he thinks you might find interesting.When he's broke and the fuel's empty, he will share stories about motorcycling how he sees it through his helmet visor.
This entry was posted in Long Ride, Rides, Solo Ride and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Motorcycle Adventure Ride in La Paz Sand Dunes

  1. Whoa. I’ve tried sandboarding at the sand dunes, but I can’t imagine driving over the terrain on a scooter. Cool trip! 🙂

    • It was a little unsafe but I had so much fun skidding all over the place. I even conceded to the possibility of a couple of wipeouts but I guess I didn’t try hard enough. I would love to go back at a more appropriate time of the day:p

  2. I did the same crazy thing! Same street tire, same high noon. LOL!
    I even got stuck at the middle of nowhere. haven’t blog it though 🙂 This post made me remember that experience!

    By the way if this is in Paoay, this should be the Suba Sand Dunes since La Paz SD in in Laoag 🙂

    • Hi Edmar! You’re probably right. There wasn’t anything there to verify where I was so I just had to rely on Google Maps. Next time magdadala na ako ng plywood para mag-try ng sand boarding :p

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s