SAUGATUCK, MICH. - If you are looking for one more summer adventure before the unofficial end to the season, we've got a great idea for you! The Saugatuck Dune Rides have been thrilling visitors for decades with beautiful scenery, entertaining drivers and surprising speed.
"It was faster than I expected. We came here in a Camaro and I thought that was quite a ride but this is a better ride" said one visitor. Thrilling riders since 1954, the Saugatuck Dune Rides combine education and entertainment with a lot of fast fun.
John Losey has been a driver for years. "We love to take people out, a lot of locals don't even know about this area out here, they get out there and are quite surprised that we have just a beautiful landscape of dunes out there, about 350 acres that we run around on. And we take people up, have a really good time with them, take them out across the dunes, give them some really good history and some interesting facts about the area," he explained.
"It's a living dunes situation, we run across the dunes, we get to our highest point up there. We let you get out of the vehicle at that point, you are overlooking Lake Michigan, the country side. You've got great views all around because you are about 350 feet up in the air. And we load back up and take you down into the area we call the "dead dune" area and run through that area, come back out, and run up the dune and finish the trip. It's about 40 to 45 minute tour," explained John.
And it takes a special vehicle to navigate the dunes. The crew builds these buggies themselves. "We preserved the front sheet metal off an old truck and we put it on a newer frame. Then what we do is we cut the frame, set up a drive line that can handle what we do out here. These front tires, these are actually airplane tires, we've been using these for years but we are having a hard time finding them anymore, part of the reason is they don't make that size. So on the back you'll notice they are humvee tires," he explained. They shave the tread off the tires to make them smooth. "All we need those tires for is flotation to float on top of the sand."
And there is plenty of humor along the way. "We try to make it as fun as we can for people. Most people don't realize there is a dune system that runs the full length of the Lake Michigan coastline for some 300 miles."
While John might joke about leaving you stranded...don't worry, you'll certainly live to tell about it. It's just so pretty and the history, the ride...John makes it well worth it," said another visitor.
Just because the summer is ending certainly doesn't mean the rides are. In fact John says the fall is a great time to come for a color tour. Click here for their location and hours of operation.
(© 2016 WZZM)