The weather continues to scupper most of our plans at the moment. Just when you think it has turned out nice again, something unexpected causes an ‘ooh!’ and an ‘ah!’ and we have to reschedule.
” I know, let’s go to the desert and watch the sun go down”. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It probably was a good idea, especially by the person who thought of it. It turned out to be a nightmare. Down in the middle of nowhere is a vast desert. We’ve been there before but decided to head for a different spot. It’s only a three hour drive away so off we went with barbecue and sleeping bags at the ready. The plan was to watch the sun go down, have a cook-up and sleep in the back of the mighty Ford where there’s more than enough space for three.
Touching 38 degrees C and quite picturesque – things started to go annoyingly wrong.
If you’re familiar with desert driving, as we now are, it is imperative to deflate your vehicle tyres to, say 10 or 12 psi. That’s pretty much running on flat tyres. This gives a greater surface area for the tyres to tread when negotiating the more difficult dunes and powdery sand. The downside of this is, you have to re-inflate your tyres before road driving and this takes some time with a small, ‘carry in the boot’ air compressor. It seemed like a good idea at the time – if we could get away without deflating the tyres then we could save a lot of time and trouble inflating later. Now, remember the bit about tyre deflation being imperative? Immediately we got stuck in the soft sand dunes and was soon in upto our chassis, which is never, ever good. Time to deflate the tyres and hope. Luckily it worked with a bit of digging and some low ratio gear work. We went for a spin around the dunes before parking up. A trek across the dunes led us to our viewing area for the forthcoming sunset.
We sat and we waited.
As the sun edged closer and closer to the horizon, a strange occurrence began. A solar wind joined us and it steadily got stronger and stronger.
Then all hell let loose and a sand storm blasted us. It was uncomfortable and, at times, downright painful. Being sand-blasted is never recommended.
The picture’s isn’t out of focus. The wind is whipping up the sand and believe me, it gets everywhere. Our long walk to see the sunset took even longer to return to the car, the dunes are huge and the storm was biting into exposed skin. You’re suddenly aware that your ears are full of sand and every sweaty area is coated in the fine, desert grains.
Cooking out was now out of the question so, with a three hour drive ahead of us, having had nothing to eat thus far, tyres still to inflate, we made the decision to head for home. Staying any longer and we ran the risk of being buried in our vehicle under a newly formed sand dune.
Once on firmer ground a rummage in the luggage revealed the air compressor, which duly failed on the first attempt. It failed on the second attempt and every attempt thereafter. We sat there in a sand-storm, flat tyres and no useful air compressor. By now, the sun had gone down and it was pitch black. At times like this you kinda wished you had checked the torch batteries so you would have more than a dull, yellow glow emitting from what was once a proud, useful police torch. It was time to swear. A lot. In the most bizarre incident to date, a wandering Bedouin type recognised the good lady wife (now that’s downright freaky) and gave assistance from his Land Cruiser. He had a big compressor and told a most interesting story of how he had met the teacher previously, who had come in his car once, apparently. I asked no further questions. At the time, as he was inflating my tyres with his macho tyre inflater, my poor excuse for a compressor managed to dislodge the sand that was preventing the airtight seal in the pipeline and began to work. Personally, I would never have asked for any assistance – being a bloke – so I made a point of topping up the tyres he had already inflated. It’s a man thing you understand. In the bible-black darkness of the desert, we headed for home – tired, hungry, and weather-beaten.
Still, we can laugh about it now, can’t we?
Ha, ha, ha, bloody ha!
Did we see the sunset? Of course we did and that made it all worthwhile in the end.
Or did it…?
As soon as the weather breaks, we head North where, currently, there are stories of coastal pirates, gun fights and Iranian smugglers. Well, what could possibly go wrong there then?
Wish us luck.
The brave and the foolhardy.