Just how did Charlie Walls get the nickname “Tumbleweed”? “I got the name because I just about hit every tumbleweed out there,” the Cold Springs, Nev., native said, laughing. By “out there,” he means the Nevada desert. By “hit,” he means by way of dune buggies. Walls puts pedal to metal as an official tour guide/”dunie” for SunBuggy Fun Rentals—an attractions company that lets drivers get behind the wheel of off-road vehicles for some desert-driving fun.

“When people first come up to the site, I give them instructions on how to operate the buggy—how to turn it on, how to drive it, how to operate it and then I do the do’s and don’ts of the dunes,” Walls said. “Then I take them on a guided tour.” Walls himself couldn’t feel more comfortable and confident riding out in the desert. The self-proclaimed desert rat not only grew up in this type of landscape, but also served in the Marines for 12 years and was in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, where both countries have similar desert surroundings.

“I never really drove these type of vehicles before I started working here,” said Walls, who joined SunBuggy about two months ago. “But being a Marine instilled the confidence in me, and by my third day working I was already doing tours.”

While Walls is loving his career at SunBuggy, his ultimate goal, he said, is to be a personal trainer and open his own gym. But for now, he loves “coming back from a tour and seeing the customers and they’re all covered in dust and they’re just grinning ear to ear—that really does make it all great. I just love seeing people happy.”

SunBuggy Swag

Whether you decide to kick up dust through the Valley of Fire or participate in a nighttime desert chase, take a piece of your SunBuggy Fun Rentals adventure home with you by purchasing some of the company’s retail offerings. There are goggles, face masks, visors, hats, gloves and various types of T-shirts, starting at $15. You can also request that Walls takes you on your own adventure—just ask for him!