Just to the south of Primm sits the Ivanpah Dry Lake. It is thirteen square miles and almost entirely in California. The dry lake bed, which has a flat, smooth surface, is a stark beautiful contrast to the jagged mountain ridges on its east and west flanks. After heavy rains in 2004 and 2005, the lake filled with water, but it's usually bone dry with a smooth surface.
The lake is a popular place for land sailing and kite buggying. Land sailing, also known as sand yachting or land yachting, is using the wind to power a wheeled vehicle through the use of a sail. Vehicles typically use three wheels and function much like a sailboat.
Land sailing is a racing sport and competitions are held. On March 26, 2007, a wind powered vehicle called the Greenbird, clocked a speed of 126.1 miles per hour at Ivanpah Dry Lake, setting a new world land record.
Similar to land sailing, kite buggying involves the use of a three wheeled vehicle powered by the wind. The vehicles are typically single seat and use a traction kite for power. The traction kites appear similar to those used by kite surfers. Kite buggies can reach high speeds and safety helmets are commonly worn. Skilled drivers can reach seventy miles per hour on their kite buggies.
Ivanpah Dry Lake was the host of the 2004 and 2005 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Grand Challenge, which is a research organization of the United States Department of Defense.
DARPA awards cash prizes to driverless vehicles capable of completing a rugged off–road course within a limited amount of time. The goal is to incentivize technological innovation and its use for national security. In 2005, Stanford University's team won the competition, bringing home the two million dollar first place prize for their efforts.