In Cali, especially So Cal, there is no way to ride off road and avoid sand. We even get silty soft sand in our mountains. The top soil gets dry and ground up and turns powery and sandy. Drought years are worse for sand, but there is always sand. Our legal riding areas are somewhat limited as there is SO much privately owned land. The public lands usually roll up to harder packed hills, but almost always run down into lower sandy sections.
If you can not learn to deal with sand you have 2 options in So Cal....buy an RT and stay outta the dirt, or stop riding all together....I guess there is also the Starbucks only option...not me though. Sand it is....power and speed up, weight back, but not ridiculously back you still need control, and relax so that the front can wander a bit. You need to "guide" the front in the direction you want to go, but let it wander and track through the sand. DO NOT try to muscle the front end through the sand, it WILL dig and plow that way. Just my $0.02 from 42 years of So Cal sand from Glamis to Pismo, Octotillo Wells to Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs, from Cleveland Nat Forest to Kennedy Meadow and more.