Posted by: englishdubai | November 5, 2007

Desert Recovery

The weather has taken a fantastic turn in Dubai now with the days reaching about 35c and a very pleasant 28c in the evening. This has now opened up the desert for a little bit of dune bashing and we made our first trip this weekend to the old favourite “Fossil Rock” scene of my maiden off road adventure just over a year ago.

Over the summer I had picked up a couple more accessories to my recovery kit

1. A couple of high quality shackles – making it much quicker to attach the tow ropes
2. A high quality tow rope
3. A “Super Max Air” type compressor – we timed it re-inflating one of the Hummer tires from 14PSI to 30PSI in about 80 seconds which was excellent

All of which got used on our first trip out. I thought I might pre-empt the stuck the hummer was going to make by poking a little fun at myself and making a small modification to my spare tyre cover:

However as the trip proceeded it was not the Hummer to get stuck – quite the opposite in fact.

We had a couple of first timers with us and myself and Duncan gave the safety driver briefing beforehand. Duncan led the trip which saw taking in some nice dunes to begin with, however it was not long before Celia in her shiny new Wrangler got stuck. I was some distance away – but we could easily see plumes of sand billowing into the air. This was perhaps a sign that it might take some time to get them out – and when they came back – the wrangler had gotten a nice two tone body colour:

As it was Celia’s first time in the sand I let Matt drive the Hummer and I jumped into the Wrangler to provide a little tuition and to re-instil some confidence back into her.

After some quick instructions about how to safely descend a dune and advice when to get on the power, Celia was into the swing of it. She went from “I think this is terrifying” to “I really enjoyed that” by the end of the day. I was pleased, as I remember clearly that having a good co-driver to offer advice and also scream in sympathy is a valuable learning aid.

I really like the Hummer as a day to day car – off road on rocks and dirt trails it is fantastic. However I have always longed for more power under the hood as instant on power can really help out in the dunes. On this trip we had along a big Durango with a huge 5.7 litre HEMI engine. I was keen to see how it would get on. Sadly on this day it did not fare to well getting in two serious stucks, complicated by the fact we could locate no rear recovery point.

On both occasions we had to perform up hill tows which was not ideal and involved a lot of digging of sand and numerous attempts at towing. At one point we had about six guys scrumming down behind the Durango to get some momentum into the tow.

The last stuck for the Durango initially had Duncan using the Pathfinder to drag it out – however a gut-sickening wrenching noise came from his car. He then called in the Hummer to help in the recovery – firstly because we had no idea what the noise was and secondly the weight of a bigger car would help.

I spun the Hummer around and two sharp jerks later the Durango was free from the sand. Here we are setting up the tow:

Sadly this day we did not make it down to Fossil Rock as after the recoveries and a late lunch the light was failing. So instead we had some fun on the dunes. Rupert got a great shot of Duncan and Matt getting some serious air:

Again a really fun day – sure we might not have made it over to Fossil Rock, or driven as many dunes as we all might have liked. We still enjoyed a fun day out, teamed together in recovering the vehicles and a number of us enjoyed fruity cocktails later that night at the Roof Top Terrace bar at the Royal Mirage. It offers an amazing vista of the Palm Jumeriah where we re-told our desert tales and whiled away another balmy evening in Dubai.


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