Posted by: englishdubai | April 11, 2009

A Wide Open Space


I have had a really hectic last couple of weeks which has left the blog a little neglected. I thought I would be able to relax having spent the previous nine weeks on the road but two weeks in Dubai has had me busier than ever.

In a bid to get some down time, I joined the lads for an afternoon desert driving. The weather in Dubai has been a little odd over the last few weeks with huge electrical storms, then sandstorms and the occasional stunning day with clear skies. Last weekend it looked ominous with rain forecast. As we drove out the weather appeared it would hold:

Area 53 is a an area of desert situated a few kilometres past Big Red. It is famous for a number of huge sand bowls which make immense playgrounds for desert vehicles. As there had been a bit of a shower earlier in the day it has the effect of compacting the sand. The boys deflated down to 18PSI as opposed to the usual 14PSI we would deflate to in the usual soft sand when dry.

The threat of rain kept most of the casual drivers away and as a consequence the dunes were empty. We were soon enjoying the huge sand bowls with the convoy of five cars whizzing up and down the slip faces leaving once virgin sand rutted with tracks. It all looked rather dramatic.

There is a monster size sand bowl in particular that attracted us along with the usual quad bikers, dirt bikers and a dune buggy which could wheelie going down hill. It was a sight to behold and sounded like it had 1000 horses under the hood. Sadly, I was hanging on for dear life as Dunk hammered the Pathfinder around the bowl so there was little opportunity for photos.

The trip was winding down when two of the vehicles had some small incidents. Simon had a flat and Pete had his wheel come off the rim. This happened to me sometime ago so I advised as best I could:

Using the matt in the car to act as a base for jacking the Cherokee up, then using a compressor to re-inflate the tire while a couple of the lads held the wheel in place it soon snapped back on:

We were all soon back on the road  a little giddy from riding around in what seemed like a giant skate park. The hard sand and huge bowls gives simply the most sensational roller coaster like feeling. It is easy to become complacent about desert driving as we can do it whenever we want but it really is a lot of fun if you have not been out for a while.


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