|My situation: note, not a stuck as didn’t need to be snatched or winched!|
|First slipface of the day – the little dot at the top left is me!!|
Why do we want to undertake driving that even locals consider “risky”? It’s partly the challenge and to keep our skills at their best and it’s also a great feeling to be out in the early morning light knowing that the spectacular views are all yours. We are better navigators/trip planners because we test our skills in this way; you see it’s not all about driving.
|The beautiful dunes of the Liwa Crescent|
|sand changing colour as the sun rises|
|Unusual event : the FJ casting a long shadow to the west|
|Extremely rare event: Xazu casting a long shadow to the west|
We hit the blacktop just after 8.30am, and were back in the hotel in time for our breakfast…
…followed by a day chilling by the pool – in 45C heat!
Day 5: Long and interesting way home
I wrote in my blog Planning for Autumn and Winter in Liwa about the route which takes you parallel to the Saudi border then northwards to Al Ain via Al Wagan. We went this way and have an update on the state of the gatch section. The gatch has seen little or no maintenance since we last drove that route 9 months ago.
|There is a gatch track under this lot!|
There are four short almost impassable sections, of no more than 500 metres each, but if you approach from the Al Ain side and can’t get through then you will have to backtrack and make a 250km detour to reach Himeem. I would suggest that the first time you drive this you approach from the Himeem side, that way if it’s too bad then you only have to backtrack about 40kms.
|I’m captivated by the red sand|
|and also by the shadows cast by clouds|
It’s worth doing this drive just for the beautiful red dunes – the windblown sand that settles in nooks and crannies is much redder than the Al Ain sand.
|Click on this one to enlarge – at the right hand side you will see two roads/fences in the distance, the furthest away one is the Saudi border|
|this is not a mirage, there really is a blacktop which starts in the “middle of nowhere”|
Once we hit the blacktop we had an easy run back up to Al Ain; the roads were almost deserted since it was the first day of Eid.
Our favourite drive of the 5 days was the “yellow tanker” drive, as it’s not a difficult drive though it has some lovely huge dunes and some tricky places so you need to keep on your toes. It’s also sand driving with no sabkah, until 15kms from the end when it’s gatch all the way though there’s nothing stopping you driving on the dunes alongside, as we did whenever possible.
The best driving achievement of the week was the drive in the crescent; we worked as a team to find a good route which was challenging but still well within the capabilities of our cars.
As a footnote, the abandoned yellow tanker has intrigued me since I first saw it back in January. I’ve contacted a US truck expert and he tells me it’s an Oshkosh R series from the late 1960s/early 1970s, and he is interested in more photos of Oshkosh trucks in the UAE.
I’m sure there must be more of them permanently parked in the desert, so who’s up for a scouting trip?