'You never stop learning' has got to be the theme of this Newbie drive, expertly led once again by the inestimable Srikumar. You never stop learning because every time you step into the desert in your vehicle there will be a new challenge that you did not face before - and no matter you have been to Pink Rock before, this drive will be a new challenge.
And we had a refusal even before we got moving. Freddie (who had graciously given up his seat to his better half) had to leave us early - hope the little one is feeling better.
Once we got moving, after a detailed briefing as we had three new, newbies ... our first challenge (and the gift of watching a new technical recovery) quite early on was delivered when the 4x4 bit of Rizwanm2's Mitsubishi unexpectedly converted to a 2x4 and dug itself majestically into the top of a dune.
It's not until you see a car that looks every inch the capable off roader digging itself into the sand and unable to move that you realise just how unforgiving the terrain can be - and why all the lessons we learn need to be taken, stored away and hopefully recalled for use in the future.
It was to be the only recovery of the day.
Newbie or not, knowing that the vehicle is doing what it should cannot be taken for granted: Note to self - check those levels before you leave like it says in the briefing [and which, had it not been for the fact that the car had just come back from a service, I might have forgotten to do.]
Under way again, with my Wranglerette at the wheel initially, it was impossible not to feel gratitude for the newbie learning sessions of previous weeks. The guidance granted in previous weeks as we graduated from Newbie to Fewbie offers a little more (but hopefully not too much) confidence in driving the terrain [more on that later] and more importantly, a start to reading the sand much better: Important, with Wranglerette at the wheel feeling the same trepidation to press the 'loud' pedal as we had felt a few rides ago.
'You never stop learning'. In most skills I have learned, there has been a simple theme. Keep going back to the basics and learn them once again, and again. There's always room for improvement, better understanding, gaining valuable experience. At the risk of upsetting readers, any one who thinks that just because they have 'graduated' to a higher level in anything, that returning to the basics is boring, is missing the point. The basics are the foundation on which all our skills develop and build. That's what gives us the confidence and capability to experiment.
On our drive through the dunes, once again patiently and expertly led by Srikumar, ably supported by AKR, experienced its fair share of refusals, guided or otherwise. Gijo and Lucky, both looked to be having great fun and Jeepie had the privelege of sitting at the side of Rahimdad watching all the action all the way up to the drive up Pink Rock.
After taking a brief moment to watch the fun and games, it was our turn to conquer the hill. We all made it up on the first time of asking, Jeepie taking the wheel and banishing the memory of her Newbie attempt when the car was underpowered.
Then it was up to Rahimdad to guide us to the shade where we had the chance to refresh and review the day. Again, a special mention for Rahimdad who not only gave up the opportunity of an intermediate drive to support the Newbies, and managed to complete an emergency Aloo Paratha run so that the intermediate run would not go hungry (truth is, no-one is actually interested in driving - we are all just using the drive as an excuse to eat Rahimdad's Aloo Paratha at the end), he also gave us all valuable feedback on how we can get more and more out of the experience and enjoyment of driving off road.
As mentioned, confidence without skill mormally ends badly. 'You never stop learning' and just the little bit of learning gained in our initial drives allowed me to push the boundaries just a little further. Perhaps a tiny bit too enthusiasitcally from time to time but always using the valuable lessons aready learned and applying those rules time and time again.
Practice does not make perfect, the sand is too fickle a dame for that to be the case, but it does mean you learn to avoid trouble from time to time.
Thank you once again the Carnity for giving us the opportunity to join in this amazing family, and this forum to share the experiences.