We typically do rocks, mud, and dirt. Once or twice a year, we like to shift gears and try beach driving. At Assateague Island National Seashore we have a chance to do sand. It about three hours from the DC metro area and just south of Ocean City in the town of Berlin, MD. This is the barrier island with the wild ponies. https://www.nps.gov/asis/planyourvisit/hours.htm. Three rigs were able to make the trip.
- Mike O’Grady (Treasurer) – 2001 Nissan Xterra,
- Alex and Amber Hinson – 2007 Jeep JKU Rubicon in Red Rock,
- Chase and Lorena Brown – 2014 Jeep JKU Sport.
The ride through the eastern shore is quite straightforward and very beautiful. The ranger station is located at 38°11’29”N, 75°09’30”W. We went to the National Park. There are also Maryland and Virginia State Parks with different rules and access. One thing to keep in mind, the park does not have day passes, only annual passes, which cost $90.
After airing down, most of us were at about 15-18 PSI for the sand. We headed onto the beach. Mike led the way. Sand does take a little getting used to. Similar to snow, but a little more left and right slide in the steering.
The weather was mid-fifties and a little windy. There were a few others out, but not many, so we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. We had a good straight run down the beach for 12 miles until we reached the VA line, which is fenced and posted and looks like a Normandy beachhead.
At the VA border we circled the 4×4’s and settled down to a fine picnic lunch. After lunch many of the group explored an abandon house that had been destroyed by a storm years earlier.
On the way back we did a little exploring down a couple of tracks that took us off the beach in into the wetlands. Quite nice, especially the second side track with plenty of wild life. We saw plenty of ponies, as well as, the little reminders they left to let us that they were there.
We were all comfortable with sand driving by that point. We still had two hours before we had to head back, so we took a fast run up to the VA line again and back. It was great fun. We weaved back and forth across the different consistencies of sand. From the very dry to the very wet. Each with its own ~18in. ledge. The Nor’easters had created moguls in the sand about every 50 yards. The combination of popping up and down over the different sand layers and bouncing over the moguls make for a fantastic ride.
It was a great trip. A very manageable and fun day trip to the beach.
Trail report courtesy of Mike O’Grady. Pictures courtesy of Alex Hinson, Chase & Lorena.