Al Khatim - Far away from Home

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brett
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Dear Almosters


Thank you to @alshamsi_m and @giorgio for setting up this drive.

The drive area was true to the title “far from home” in the Al Ain – Abu Dhabi Sweihan area. With the current COVID situation a valid PCR/DPI test and vaccination is required to cross the border – so my co-pilot and I with Negative test results and full vaccination in hand, headed off to the meeting point. We crossed the border and eventually arrived at the meeting point, a little later than the others who were already assembled. We deflated and had the usual chit chat before the briefing.

As was promised by @alshamsi_m the weather was nasty ! Hot wind with sand flying in every direction !. The briefing was simple – we would drive 75km but in various terrain types within approx 3.5 Drive hrs. Sounds simple enough.

Off we headed with @alshamsi_m leading @Tomvanhouten in 2nd lead and every one else behind @James in his favorite position sweeping up the rear of the convoy. Well it wasn’t long before the radio call came “pop out” at the back, that was fixed then again “pop out” then again “pop out” we had travelled less than 6km and had 3 pop outs needless to say the time was quickly being eaten up with fixing pop outs 1.5hrs into the drive and only 6km covered.

The terrain was different to what a lot of us have encountered before – it looked easy enough ! But it was anything but easy. The sand was super soft and with out the right momentum – Too slow you were stuck all 4 wheels spinning and sinking into the sand even on level terrain, add an incline to that and bingo lots and lots of 2nd tries ! The time was ticking by and still we had not covered more than 20km !

At this point I should give a shout out to our ever present guardians – Thank you to @giorgio , @Rashidjass , @optimus @Scorpio – your patience, guidance and at time tolerance with the convoy is amazing we (well at least I) greatly appreciate everything you do for us.

So finally we are making some decent progress we reach the flat area, as we approached a farm we were greeted by a smiling and waving local farmer on a quad bike – he was moving his herd of camels – the must have been more than 100 of the beasts. They were running along the fence line at a brisk pace, it appeared they were challenging us to a race ! Then it happened the camels managed to completely split our convoy in half !. In the front half we continued with the camels to our right, they kept up the pace. The back half of the convoy had veered to the left and were now running almost parallel to the front half, eventually the camels were happy to head off away from us and the convoy reconnected.
Final Score Camels 1, Almost4x4 0, they won

After regrouping someone @AdamW suggested to @alshamsi_m lets have some fun. Well we all know what happens when the founder is presented with a statement like that ! The next 10 -15 min was amazing with some high speed climbs and arches what a rush ! But as fate would have it we had more 2nd tries and pop out, the light was fading and we headed out to the road. Only 40km of the intended track was completed, but it was still a pleasurable afternoon in the dunes.

While inflating for the long drive home we had the pleasure of a freshly cut watermelon thanks to @Rashidjass
@Tomvanhouten proved his skills are not with a knife, inflicting an injury on a particular person – who should not have had his hand there in the first place. But with the assistance of our resident medic (my co-pilot) out came the magic medical supplies and bandaids were administered.

On the long drive home I had the time to reflect on the days events – some will certainly become the stuff of campfire legends, but for now my takeaways are

- We are all in this for the experience and development of our skills. Some learn quickly, some take longer. Tolerance and Patience are also learnable skills.
- The challenges that look the easiest are sometimes the most difficult.
- Camels are pretty fast ! Not very smart !, but they are fast ! Camels 1 – Almost 4x4 convoy 0.
- It’s about the journey and camaraderie, its not a race, it is a safe learning experience.
- It is probably safer to cut the watermelon at home before the drive :nom_nom: @Tomvanhouten
- Driving even in small dunes at 20psi creates a new and interesting challenge for a newbie !

Till the next time – hopefully “closer to home”

Brett
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Until the next Adventure

Brett
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Nabeel
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Hello Offroaders....

Was an amazing afternoon with the clouds here and there, though the breeze brought in a good amount of sand with it....

Started of my drive to meeting point early on considering the possible border delay... however the boarder crossing was easy and no rush at all... Got to the meeting point by around 1500... there were a few already present... got deflated and was all set...

Didn’t have my usual ride - xterra, since it didn’t come out of the workshop in time, had to get my LC for this drive....

Since everyone was preset early on @alshamsi_m decided to start the drive early and got a quick briefing about the area and the intended drive...

Started off and the feel of having my heavier LC kicked in instantly... Shortly into the drive and got my 1st pop out.... after got that done... in a little while another one on the same tire.... yet again after a short while another one, this time on the rear... :O_O: OMG... I am now seriously delaying the convoy.... my pressure set at 12 psi (my usual drive at 11 psi) was not suiting the low profile tire that I had on my LC....😭 and I turned out to be a serial pop outer....!!! :bouaaaaah: The convoy was getting seriously delayed with myself had to struggle with my heavier ride with several attempts at climbs and had to be assisted by @Rashidjass .... to get be out of the challenge... I miss my xterra....😭 not that LC was bad... but I had to get myself and it ready for the drive....

Somewhat in the middle of the drive we were interfered by a big convoy of camels... it then cut cross our convoy and we had a split in the convoy for sometime before we could join back to the main convoy...

Overall the track was superb but my apologize to the convoy, that the delays caused the track to be ended before the full length was completed....

Really appreciate the help, support and the special patience of the marshals, support team and the rest of the convoy for the assistance and guidance... truly invaluable.... especially when they had come right after their morning drive....! Simply inspirational....!

And not to forget the watermelon at the end of the drive was truly refreshing

Have my lessons learned, to keep the right pressure with respect to the type of tire... again goes to the fact of understanding your vehicle and how to maneuver.... tracks sometime may be deceiving... every drive give you another 100 areas for improvement and is a never ending journey....!

Thanks again @alshamsi_m @Rashidjass , @Scorpio , @optimus , @giorgio and the rest of the team memebers... All of you are simply amazing....!!!

Best regards,
Nabeel
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jeepers76
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Hello Almosters

This drive was different in all its colors. It was a warm yet very windy and cloudy day, armed with PCR test negative report me and my son set off for the meeting point.

I decided not to follow the advised path, but took the direct path to destination, which involved taking 50 km desert track along one of the walled premises. While deflating I observed @James ride appearing and also deflating, we decided to move together. Track was mostly straight with light sand on the track. However, it was very enjoyable, at time my car was going at 100km/hr.

On reaching start/ meeting point, it was refreshing to see many of the participants already there. Anyways, following initial briefing by @alshamsi_m, we set off on a 70km course. The things didn't go well from the start, the convoy had its first pop out in first 5 minutes, followed by 6 other pop outs. Hats off to support staff who managed to keep the convoy intact and moving, despite sheer hard work.

Frequent pop outs, resulted in covering 40 km in over 3 hours on comparatively easy track, and ultimately for the safety of convoy Marshal decided to cut short the drive and come out of desert before natural light fades away. It was a very good judgement call, by @alshamsi_m . However, let me say that these instances make a drive memorable one and unique.

At the end point, we inflated, had some chit chat and headed home after saying our farewells for the day.

Lesson's Learn
  • Covid test rules keep on changing, therefore having the right information is essential
  • Vehicle fitness is extremely important, and emphasized time and again on the trip instructions
  • Maintain enough distance (this is especially true for me Psmiley )
Rest Relax and Enjoy your life, looking forward to a lovely drive
Umer Jameel Shah
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Tomvanhouten
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Hello everyone,

After a very early morning wake up and a lovely passenger experience during the morning drive, I got to play second lead with @alshamsi_m in the front.
Bringing Linda into the game and the nature of the drive did require some adaptions on my end, which is a great thing to learn as well.

These kind of area's can be a real challenge and I guess that we have had a few thrown at our feet.
Not to mention, our new pop-out master was inaugurated and the endless support of the people in that section of the convoy. All in all, good to have this kind of drives where people are being reminded to be sharp and in good condition once you decide to go into the desert.

It was around 7pm when the curtain fell and indeed I nearly caused it to end into misery…. Still very much sorry for loosing control with the watermelon.

Thank you to everyone and let’s go for the next one!

Tom
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nidal78
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Hello ALMOST4X4 family
Another drive another experience, this is my first drive out of Dubia and Sharjah borders so I was very excited to discover many new areas that mentioned by Abu Salim in the briefing in the meeting point, briefing was quick and we get in business directly, I was at the back of the convoy with James sweeping but things didn’t go good with me in the beginning, I got a call on the radio from James tilling me that my flag is going to broke and while I’m going down from a slope I lose my concentration looking at my broken flag in the mirror and guess what I had a pop out 🥵 it was really annoying to have this on that easy slope 😖
I call it on the radio and our great guardians Rashid, Scorpio and ovais came for help and we fix the pop out as fast as we can👍
After that everything went good for me but not for the others we had around 5 pop outs in around 6 km some 2nd tries a racing camels attack 😄all of this causes a big delay in our driving plan so our leader Shamsi decided not to complete the drive for our safety due the sunlight fades and we got off the sand in swihan after driving around 41km from al khatim.
For me the big lesson I learned from this drive is never ever lose your concentration on sand because it can cause a trouble you can avoid it
Finally I would like to thank everyone in this lovely drive specially our beloved founder Abu Salim for organizing this lovely drive and for the amazing support team Rashidjass,Scorpio,Giorgio,Ovais,optimus and Tom for all their efforts and big thank to James for all he did helping me fixing my flag🙏🏻
Drive safe everyone and see you on sand soon
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alshamsi_m
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Hello Everyone

Cross country tracks are between 110 - 160 km for the fun drives and our track was just half of it 73 km. As mentioned in the trip intro that our trip course was designed for people with no experience to drive for a whole day. But since 2018 the area in the first part has changed totally, the area was full of bushes and soft sand which made it quite challenging for some members.

The interesting part of the drive which was not in the drive design was racing with camels which were funny but our marshals took the second half of the convoy to safety and no animals were hurt in the process .

The last part of the drive was the area where we did One Tyre in Air and the members loved it, So get ready because I'm bringing you back there :yarr:

Before I close my report I would like to thank @giorgio & @Scorpio for jumping to help Also @Rashidjass & @optimus who came from the morning drive to give extra support. Without you guys I wouldn't even finish the first 10 km so hat off cool .

Until next time stay safe and see you in the Eid drive

Cheers
Shamsi
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Scorpio
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Hello Everyone,

It is one of the least visited areas by off-roaders and not many know about it as @alshamsi_m mentioned in the briefing. I was expecting it to be a good drive but it turned out to be a memorable one from the beginning thumbsup

The drive was both fun & challenging and provided many learning opportunities for the newbies. Bu Salem had plans for the 70km+ but as we couldn’t cover it all therefore, I feel Bu Salem will take us back there soon again to cover the entire track this time :yarr: and to take newbies to naqra :in_love:.

The drive was full of pop-outs, 2nd/3rd, more tries but I think whoever attended this drive learnt a lot and this learning will surely help them in their off-roading journey.

Thanks to @Rashidjass, @giorgio and @optimus for the great support :yuush:.

Hope to see you on the sand soon.

Cheers
SCORPIO
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optimus
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Hi Everyone!

Drive : khatim - far away from home.
Organizer : @alshamsi_m
Area : Khatim-Sweihan-nahil

I was not sure whether I would register for this afternoon drive or not. Had already registered for the morning intermediate. I was confused between my mind and heart! My mind was saying that common you would be tired after the morning drive but my heart was convincing me to get the registration done before it’s closed so you could enjoy the full day in the desert with buddies!

But you know what, sometimes the heart knows things, your mind could never explain! I registered for the drive! :))) & guess what i am going to remember this drive for a long time! Ha ha ha!

Myself, Giorgio, Rashid and Scorpio drove together to the meeting point! soon after Bu Salem arrived!

Since almost all the drivers were ready so the leader and our organizer wasted no more time...
Briefing : Everyone is here, we have enough support, the drive is around 73 kms. We would end the drive possibly in Nahel. Let’s drive!

I was floating around. It was only few kms, we hadn’t yet entered the proper desert, part of the convoy was still in the gatch road when a driver called on the radio that he got a pop out! I was not sure about the popout, I thought could be a puncture or blow out because highly unlikely a popout would occur on a straight road!

We attended the rescue and I realized that it was because of hard landing on the side after comming down from a small arch.

Thereafter the rescue team attended and fixed 3 more popouts in a span of 6 kms!

Most of the time lost was in the first section due to above stated reasons and I would also blame the herd of camels 😂 , they splitted the convoy into 2. Good time was lost to reconnect!

After finishing around 60% of the track sun has slowly started to set so Bu Salem decided to call it a day before it was going to be dark!

Even though every drive you got to learn something new! But this drive was one of those challenging drives! I am sure many lessons were learned that would help our dear newbies in shaping even more their off-roading skills!

Thank you to our founder @alshamsi_m for exploring such areas and leading us through them! in love in love

Thanks again to my band of brothers
@Rashidjass
@Scorpio
@giorgio

You guys are super awesome! thumbsup thumbsup


Until next time!
Optimus
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James
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Another super Almost 4x4 event…. A nice peaceful drive to the meeting point, even with the hold up at the PCR check point… all resolved thanks to a very understanding officer.

To the meeting point down the dirt road, met @jeepers76 half way down, full speed ahead and the gates opened for us…. Then to meet, quick chat, nice to see the sand peeps, @brett, thanks for the offer of coffee, then to the take your positions with @nidal78 in the big ol girl at the back and then boom, the first pop out, which then became the name of the game.

All good with the support, a couple of second tries in the convoy but overall, it was a brilliant event. A phenomenal lead @alshamsi_m so a big thanks to also find the untouched part of the desert, at some point we got disconnected by the camels who decided to race us so no contest there, a great lead from @Rashidjass to get us back to the convoy… great support from @giorgio, @Scorpio, @optimus and @Tomvanhouten as a great second lead.

At one point as the sun was setting, and the radio chatter of finishing at midnight, I could just imagine us driving into the night so took off the light protectors only to find a fantastic sunset as we inflated. A real surprise with the watermelon and subsequent medical support that great. And a big thank you to all that made the effort to get to the meeting point and be part of the experience and chit chat, all very worthwhile.

Have a safe and happy holiday and look forward to the next meeting.
AdamW
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Hello Allmosters,

Another great afternoon on the sand, with a tricky track prepared by @Alshamsi_m thumbsup
When I reached to the meeting point I found that weather was exactly as promised - hot , windy and with sand flying everywhere. melt
After very short briefing the fun begun... and suddenly stopped because of first pop-out. At this moment I think nobody predicted that this will be a pop-out day!
The area looked easy, but the small dunes with hard ground at the end are tricky - you have to stay focused all the time.
In the middle of the way we had a small race with camels - plenty of camels! Those creatures are really fast!
The last part of the drive was short due the lack of daylight, but gave me the most fun! (there is a gossip that I asked for it.. Did I? grin

Conclusions:
1. Always keep the distance.
2. Always stay focused - even small dunes on almost flat area can be tricky.


Support team was full busy that day and made a great work. Hats off to @Rashidjass @Giorgio , @Optimus and @Scorpio .
Thanks to all for a drive and @Rashidjass for a cold watermelon at the end :D

Enjoy your holidays and see you on the sand!
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