Suddenly, I'm hit by the realization that racing through a desert is basically the same as driving on a race track, except with a little more room. Keeping your truck in one piece means knowing what you can get away with, without killing the suspension. You're constantly shifting the weight of the vehicle—you never brake hard, but you pop off the brakes quickly right before a bump so the front bounces up, giving the suspension more space with which to work.
Sometimes you use your right foot to hold the brake while hitting the accelerator, so that you deliberately prevent the suspension from doing its job, lest you start bouncing around like a pinball.
After a brief stop for lunch, I set back off on my own with Ivan no longer there to impart his decades of wisdom on me. I’m in a Tacoma now, more or less talking to myself as I repeat everything Ivan said while I put my foot down and go flat out in a sandy path surrounded by debris on one side and trees and telephone poles on the other.