Test Hill is among the tallest piles of sand at West Michigan’s Silver Lake Sand Dunes. For 20 minutes, I sit in my Roush Ford F-150 SC, looking at it and contemplating whether I should attempt a run up the monster hill. While numerous trucks make it to the top as I play spectator, many don’t and have to reverse back down in shame.
Admittedly, I’m a newbie when it comes to driving on sand. Paved racetracks are my comfort zone, but the urge to conquer Test Hill overwhelms any doubts I have, compelling me to jump out of the truck to take a few more pounds of air out of the already deflated tires for more grip. Power isn’t going to be a problem with the Roush’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8, but hitting the hill at high speed doesn’t seem to be the ticket to a successful run.
Instead, beginning the climb with just the right amount of momentum and gradually feeding in more power as you get higher seems to be the best strategy to prevent the truck from digging into the sand and getting stuck. With the truck’s four-wheel-drive system in 4-Low and 10 pounds of pressure in the tires, I stomp on the throttle and shoot towards the base of the hill.
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