Trip Report :
Thank you everyone who was on the final convoy list and making it in time, for a slightly far away starting point than the usual drives every week. We deflated hearing the music from animals and birds waking up in the farms around Behzad Ranch. It was a beautiful cool morning and the countryside atmosphere was refreshing , while we had a socially distanced debrief and chat. It was great to see all drivers enthusiasm of what was coming.
We headed quickly towards our first play area which this area filled with bowls had to offer. The wired shape of dunes made my task of leading a bit tricky as sometimes I totally missed reading a super soft pocket which was literally invisible. Owing to this the first stuck of the day was myself and had to be pulled out so that all were driving again quickly. More on this master rescuer of the day as you read along.
We were at the first set of huge dunes exactly at sunrise .The red sand with the sunrise was a visual delight, and the music of cars revving while climbing was magical. Everyone of you did extremely well on the steep climbs we did and perfectly exited out .We played as much and then off to the next area. We had to negotiate a bit of technical dunes some of which were literally soft sand traps , and yet again everyone drove well except few refusals which was fantastic.
As we came to the nest set of huge bowl, it was quite amazing to see how everyone of you were eager to get on with the climb. We did take turns on our first attempt here considering some of you were doing your first Fewbie plus and hence to make sure all was safe this was done. On the next round we all did the climbs and exit in unison which was a treat to watch. With the mood set for more we started heading to our next area of play and this needed us to climb in and out of some tricky bowls, some of which were tight with churned up sand. While doing this , we started to have the first of the few incidents which were lined up ahead. Two pop outs at same time on two different cars meant we would be stopping for a bit of time until things were set right. As one of the car with a pop out was on top of a smallish bowl, fixing it was very tricky as there was hardly any space to get it horizontal for lifting it on a floor jack. We did fix it though in as quick a time as possible considering safety of all involved in the process. Thanks to @Jeandre Bezuidenhout for coming out with a innovative idea to tie a strap and ratchet to lock the tire and inflate , which indeed fixed the pop out.
We then climbed down the bowl and went to the next car and fixed the pop out in record time as @Anish S and @Islam Soliman had already made everything ready which was great to see. This team work is what brings all of us back every week , inspite of all the difficulties we faced on this day. The tire that was fixed was still leaking air , and had to be undone by deflating fully and cleaning it again, which fixed it. Just to make sure all was set in place we drove the car for a while and then set again towards out next set.
As we drove along this patch somewhere behind Shabiyat in Sharjah we all encountered some really technical terrain which bought the best out of everyone of us, not just in terms of driving but also in terms of patience, team work, exercise and some decisions I had to make considering the safety of all. Many of us including myself were crested, stuck in soft patch and had many refusals here which slowed the pace of the drive considerably.
Finally as I started heading towards the exit, and following a path which was as easy as possible we had our situation where one car was literally wedged in a pocket with no space to maneuver and no space for any other car to pull it out quickly. I had to make a decision that we all took turns to shovel as much as possible, and with some great wiggling under controlled RPM by @Anish S we could get the cars nose down from where it was safe enough to pull the car from the front. @Jeandre Bezuidenhout with his Rubicon was kept busy rescuing literally every one on the drive, and he tugged this one out to perfection ( videos in the recoveries topic by @Mohamed Seidam. We came across two cars with a broken Upper control arm and the drive getting clunky for them. We offered help to get them out but , after checking with their mechanic who advised not to move the car and fix it there. I hope they did not wait for too long as it was not very far from exit. Just to convey to you all this car had the best of suspension and gadgets, with some top brand. What it goes to say is that anything and everything can break in the desert with the kind of abuse our cars are put to with off-roading.Please get them checked regularly and do some basic check ups by yourself which will save you a lot of hassle in the middle of the desert.
All these situations meant that we extended out intended exit by close to 2 hours exiting after an action packed day. We all learnt some great recoveries here, got out of some refusals which otherwise seemed impossible, got stuck in baby dunes and most importantly we all came out safely to exit on tarmac.
@Jeandre Bezuidenhout was 2nd lead and defacto lead as everyone of you followed his track. He was our master rescuer of the day. Some great advises, help and assistance whenever needed. Loved your enthusiasm and energy. Thank you for all the tugs from difficult situations and great to have you on the drive buddy.
@Ashok chaturvedi drove well, and did very well on the climbs and bowls. Some refusals managed very well by following instructions given by the CF/Sweep. You have a great attitude to learn and improve which is really a blessing to have, and I am sure you will get better with each drive. Well done sir
@Piotr Kolodziej was enjoying his FJC and driving really well even in technical terrain. Hardly any issues and refusals which was great to see . Well done
@Mohamed Seidam managed his X really well, driving with a lot of caution and great communication on radio. Your enthusiasm to learn and record some of the recoveries in difficult situations is really appreciated. Thanks for some great videos and pictures.
@Anish S was our Center Forward and was kept busy for a long time considering the amount of situations we were in. Fantastic to see how you have literally mastered driving a Pajero , and getting out a wedged car to slide down soft sand by controlled gas and steering was simply amazing. You did spend a lot of energy there and I hope you had some good rest post drive. Thank you buddy , and having your copilot @Veedooshee who is always filled with enthusiasm is awesome.
@Nizam Deen drove well in the play areas and in technical terrains too. I feel for you that even after changing your tires to AT, you still have the issue with pop outs. I wonder you can try setting different pressures from 15 PSI and go down each drive until you find that sweet spot where in you can drive safely without any pop outs. Having said that we all have been through that and you will get that PSI setting sooner than later.Well driven my friend
@David Ortells managed his FJC well against all the challenges this terrain threw at him. Hardly any issues, perfect in and out of bowls and some great control on larger bowls showed bow well you are driving. Fantastico!
@Jorge Stepniak Felippe with his wrangler SWB was as nimble as it gets in tight spots, even on churned up sand being at the end of the convoy. Your calm demeanor is a blessing to have on any drive.Well done buddy.
@Islam Soliman was our sweep and in charge of keeping the whole convoy together. He was great acknowledging on radio and encouraging drivers out of tight spots. Always a team man, when it comes to fixing pop outs or getting out of some tricky situation. Thank you for all the help habibi.
I literally feel the aches in my body after a action packed Saturday morning, but for all the learning and experience it offered it feels worthwhile. I really appreciate the whole team to stand by each other in some testing circumstances. Thank you once again for all the help @Jeandre Bezuidenhout, @Anish S and @Islam Soliman.
Enjoy your short week at work and see you sometime soon on the sand again.