ATV’ing Through the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, CA

At about 4:45 a.m. I woke up and headed to Los Angeles so I could tow a Polaris RZR XP 1000 with a new 2019 Chevy Silverado RST from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California to the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu.

As I walked in, my first thought was, “Wow, are we really about to tow ATV’s with these massive trucks?” Considering I have never towed before, it seemed like a daunting task. Although, I was excited for the new experience.

chevy silverado
The Barker Hangar.

As mentioned, I was bit intimidated by the size of the truck at first, the heavy load behind me, and of course, learning how to tow on Los Angeles freeways. Although, once I got comfortable, it was loads of fun. The truck had so much power that it didn’t feel like I was towing anything – until I had to switch lanes.

Fast forward and I’m at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, learning how to drive an ATV. Shortly after buckling up, one of the guides from the rental company Zero1 said, “You are free to go as fast as you want, just as long as it’s okay with your passenger.” I looked toward my passenger and without having to ask, he said, “Go crazy.”

Needless to say, I did just that. After coasting up a steep dirt trail, I looked down at the first drop and started to feel like I was sitting in a roller coaster – with a mix of fear and excitement. I punched the gas pedal as hard as I could, as I scouted a little jump ahead.

With enough speed, it looked like it would be possible to launch a couple feet in the air – so I floored it and ended up getting a solid 3 inches off the ground (although, it felt like I got three feet off the ground … so lets just say I did).

Polaris RZR XP 1000
Even though it was my first time, and at times there cliffs by our side … I felt in control and ready for more.

Realizing that I may have gone a little too crazy for my passenger, I looked up and he gave me knuckles before saying, “Hit it with more speed next time.”

With a little social reassurance and an adrenaline rush up there with the highest I’ve ever felt, I instantly fell in love with ATV’ing.

Before this experience, I never thought about trying it … now I’m hooked.

I always thought that it looked fun, but I wasn’t about to make the effort to go out and actually try it. Mostly because I never thought it would be as much fun as it actually was.

As an avid snowboarder and surfer, I thought that part of the adrenaline rush that comes along with adventure sports was being in control of your balance and testing your reflexes. So to think that driving a 4-wheel vehicle would give me the same rush, seemed unlikely.

(I’ve never been so wrong in my life.)

atving malibu
Tight turns, dry dirt, good times …

Driving a vehicle that, if mishandled, could tip over (or on a trail that, if miscalculated, would result in driving off a cliff) were thoughts that were passing through my head, but I couldn’t pay attention to because if I lost focus, the odds of one of those things actually happening would increase.

I highly recommend ATV’ing if you haven’t done it already.

All Photos by J. Emilio Flores.

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