Hit the Sand
Most beaches limit travel to 10 or 15 miles an hour, but a brief ritual is called for prior to heading across the sand: Deflate your tires, lock the wheel hubs and shift into four-wheel drive. Light pickups and SUVs (Blazers, Explorers, Durangos and the like) perform best with about 15 pounds of pressure. Use less for really deep sugar, a little more for larger vehicles. About 20 years ago, my first buggy, an old 3/4-ton Jeep pickup truck running on 16 pounds, got bogged down to the hub caps on Chappaquiddick. I was admittedly skeptical when a native advised me to lower the pressure further, yet with all tires at 12 pounds, I easily drove out of the ruts. It was a valuable lesson. Also, keep all four tire pressures equal or you may experience traction difficulties. A recent device on the market, called Tire Buddy II, facilitates the irritating chore of deflation. Simply screw it onto the tire valve and it automatically lowers the pressure to 15 pounds (or another pressure you choose) and shuts off. The operation is simple, you don't need a pressure gauge, and you get consistent and uniform pressure. With a couple of these, you can be ready to go in a few minutes.