Moreeb Dune Challenge 2020

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Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:16 pm

Imagine this, it’s the open desert night in a Liwa sabkha, you are looking down at the sabkha from a drone’s point of view high up in the sky and its pouring with heavy rain and there is no one around. Now imagine zooming into a part of the sabkha and you see one stupid dumb @$$ standing there all wet trying to hold down a mattress in one hand and a sleeping bag in the other while laughing hysterically. Yeah no doubt that this person just flipped his crazy switch and has gone coo coo.

It is said that true happiness is in the little things, like the excitement of knowing that weekend is around the corner, like listening to rains in Africa by TOTO while driving to Liwa while it is pouring heavy rain, like peeing in the middle of the vast open desert while standing on top of the dune in the pouring rain, like walking in the moonlight, like waking up to the view of a horizon filled with the dunes in the middle of nowhere with your friends and having that small cup of coffee. All these moments of enjoying the little things make our lives an amazing adventure.

Speaking of which, the adventure for Liwa always starts as soon as the drive is posted. Once the registrations were closed, everyone started planning the trip and the camp. You could feel the excitement among the members. For me this drive was all about vengeance and boy was it sweet, well sort of. The drive to Liwa was a lot more challenging than expected since I was driving in heavy rain but with crappy windscreen wipers, which kept smudging the water all over the windscreen instead of wiping it off.

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Plus the slippery roads and sometimes people driving in the speed of sound to go past me, I drove on a humble 100kmph minding my own business while enjoying the rain and listening to classics like Africa by Toto. After reaching the campsite at 12:30am I was greeted by @thursday, it was pleasant to meet him after such a long time. I was exhausted so went straight to find a good spot and setup the bed but while setting up the bed I realised how peaceful it was and how beautiful the whole landscape looked lit up in the moonlight. So I grabbed a bottle of orange juice, packet of smokes, head phones and went for a walk in no particular direction enjoying the calmness and serenity in the one of the simplest things in life like moon light, open desert, orange juice, music. Funny how the simplest things can give you the most unforgettable moments, I was walking in the open desert lit up clearly in the moon light while listening to some soothing music alone in beautiful Liwa and I am pretty sure that is one of the rare moments in life.

After some time it started to drizzle so I returned to campsite and went straight to bed, there was an amazing breeze with drizzle of rain so I fell asleep within minutes and slept like a baby. After a few hours of deep sleep I woke up at the sound of lightning and realised that I was completely wet, so I slid off the sleeping bag and got up to wear my shoes only to turn back around and realise that the sleeping bag, mattress and my mobile phone were missing. The wind had blown everything away and did I mention that I had setup the bed on top of a dune? So it’s 4am in the morning, its pitch black dark because the clouds blocked the moon, its pouring heavy rain, I am half asleep but completely wet and my stuff flew off in the dark in the wet and windy dark desert night. The first natural reaction was panic but then I realised that I am already soaking wet and don’t have my phone, I am standing in the rain so it’s already too late to do anything except finding my stuff. Luckily I had the car keys were in my pocket, so I fired up Outlaw, pointed him in the same direction as the wind and switched on every single light (thanks for the cubes @kareem.alameldin) to locate my flying friends. The first thing that caught my eye far in the distance was the reflection of my phone’s back panel, the rain had made the sand hard enough for not allowing the phone to sink and disappear in the sand making it easy to spot. But then came the hard part and that was trying to catch the mattress and the sleeping bag which were still being swept by the wind. So now I was running in the same open desert but instead of enjoying the calmness and serenity I was trying to catch the mattress and the sleeping bag while being soaking wet in the rain. Finally after catching a hold of both the runners – one of them I had to tackle down to the ground to keep it from flying away by the way. I turn back around, look at Outlaw far away in the distance blaring his lights at me and then start laughing out loud.

Remember the dumb @$$ that you pictured in the beginning of this report? It turns out he is laughing because he could have used his car to catch his flying friends.

I get back to the car and throw every thing in the boot, get in the back seat and change to fresh dry clothes since I always camp with an extra pair of clothes after which I pull out a dry sleeping bag from the boot and sleep on the back seat. The morning was one of the most beautiful mornings I have ever witnessed, cold drizzle in Liwa in the morning, it doesn’t get any more beautiful than that. After that fast forward and we go from deflating in the rain to inflating back up in the rain then driving to the new starting point while visiting Moreeb dune on the way and stopping at a petrol pump to deflate again in the rain. As the drive starts after about 10 minutes I was called up to be second lead, this was my first drive since August and it was simply the most relaxed drive I have ever been on. The weather was amazing with the clouds, the :cool breeze and the occasional drizzle while the sand was so hard that I drove about 30 minutes in 2H before someone pointed it out to me. The radio was silent as everyone was in the same relaxed state of mind and the only time we had to use our rescue tools was for a pop out and a pull for recovery.

Liwa drives are always among the best and are full of surprises every time.

See you in the sand.


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Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:10 pm

Totally forgot about this.

Firstly thanks to shamsi for letting me participate in this drive considering that i have done -5 newbie drives. The plan was to meet for under the stars bbq plus camp at liwa post the moreeb festival. I had hit the stormy roads in the morning for the jeep parade in the vicinity. After grabbing lunch and sending off some buddies from another club, i reached the destination marker and turned on my radio. Since i didnt have offroad lights i was stranded finding the path to the hidden campspot as i ran out of data to run motionX. Googlemaps is pointless off road and thus kept on asking for assistance on the radio waves. To my aid came ahmed mounir, who came to to my rescue and tagged me along to the spot. The terrain was totally tricky as the sand had turned into mud because it was pouring throughout the day. I was as blind as a bat, so had to use my driving instincts to find another route since the current path had a bad angle to it and i couldnt follow the black fortuner in the same path. After this we managed to link up with the ghosts in the shadows where almost of all the almosters had settled in a circular formation around a bonfire. I met new friends and old as we chatted the night with some cosy banter and some sweet & hot treats. Before we could get too cosy, the rain poured in making everyone scram in different directions to set up camp and call it a night. Once we hit the sack it kept on pouring cats and dogs throughout the night and i had lost sleep in between. I woke up around 7am and realised was the first one to do so followed by sorin as i was making noise around my jeep. The mobile networks was literally in airplane mode with no reception unless i climbed taller dunes to catch a signal. After an hour everyone saddled up inflated ready to hit the roads as the marshals thought it was safer to leave the current area as the sand was tricky to drive through. We then drove in a convoy paying our respects to the moreeb dune in convoy order. Once we reached our destination at hameem, the convoy was moving at faster pace than I had anticipated. Some were getting stuck as the terrain was challenging and i too had one petit incident. The dune drive was long about 4-5 hours; good times flew so past that I mesmerized each and every second of the drive before the leads car broke down. I also managed to purchase my merchandise that i was so eagerly waiting since weeks from johanna. Like they say all good things must come to an end so we ended the drive by sunset. And then i made my treacherous journey on the pitch black road back to dubai via abudhabi.

Thanks to buzayed, sorin, sam, desmond, ahmed, johanna, osman salem, hisham, hossam, manpreet, pragasan, rathica and last but not least qudrat (for getting me that extra jerry can with fuel)
HANG ON, I Wanna Try Something !!
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