so we had a group of 7 cars, 2 Patrols (Auto, stock tyres/Rims: Y61 mine, and Y62 V8 trip Leader Will), 2 JEEP Wranglers TJ, 1 Jeep Wrangler JK (all 2 doors, lifted and larger tyres), Stock Nissan Xterra, and Modified LWB Auto Prado V6 petrol. 3 Spaniards, 1 New Zealander, 3 Brits (including me, but of Indian Origin)
Packed 3 20l jerry cans, and I rarely do this, but packed my toolbox, I drive a Patrol Y61, but something told me that it was needed.
We drove on Tarmac for roughly 380kms to 1st night campsite, which was tarmac all the way, refueled around 60 kms before at last petrol station. I was the 2nd last to arrive, and had my dinner, and consumed 2 Weiss Biers and a swig of Whiskey before we bedded down. The route was driving through the remotest desert scape of UAE, not a single track for the first 30kms to escape, 3 of the previous trip members had a bad taste in their mouth from a similar trip attempted 2 months earlier, where one member of that trip, not on this one though, turned up with a broken Auto box, on a LWB Y61 Safari patrol!
Anyhow we set off with enthusiasm, after a good night rest. Within the first 30 minutes, the prado gets bogged to the chassis on talcum powder sand, drivers is reversing for a while, then stops as he is just digging deeper. Luckily he has a winch, the only winch in the group, and I use my Patrol as an anchor. Driver mentions that his reverse is not engaging. After about an hour of trying we let the Prado return home, as their is a serious issue with the transmission, all attempts to understand what is the fault fail, therefore repair is possible. We borrow his extra fuel and escort him to the Tarmac.
Anyhow we move on, and the leader and his Y62 get stuck, and I get stuck, the JEEP vs Patrol rivalry flares into bickering.
I have a tally of perhaps 4 stucks by now, The y62 has around 4 as well, the Jeep boys are all complaining about our buses. Progress is around 6.3km/h!!!!
Now to add spice to the situation, around 10:30 the xterra driver shares his outside temperature reading, 42 C!!!!, we were expecting a max of 36 at mid day. After about 40 degrees, digging, walking in deep sand and generally doing anything other than drinking fluids (not alcohol) will make your mind Numb.
All 3 Jeep drivers are not sitting in cooled cabins, and have opened the roof or windows, which does not help. 1 very vocal and shall we say supercharged jeep driver suffers dehydration, but the leader a Y62 driver rescues him by pulling out a ORS powder pack and my chilled water bottle from my centre console! 1 for the Patrols!
So patrol driver take turns on announcing on the radio channel to drink fluids, the Spaniards are fairly new the UAE and don't stop drinking beer, maybe they didn't pack sensible fluids, ohhh but they can't as they have no space!
Anyhow we make well deserved stop of lunch, and cut the route by 50 kms....after all it is desert, and if you have seen 1 dune, you have seen most of them.
just some photos of our progress to campsite, which now turned to 15km/h as the hardest section was completed, the dunes are spread out with large flat areas, and the talcum powder section was behind us now.
As we reached the camp, the yellow Jeep driver shares that his front left control arm is broken, we all look and see that it failed at the weld and metal fatigue of the control arm bracket on the front diff tube. The damage must have been sustained on a previous trip, but this outing the metal and weld finally gave way. He mentions that he can drive, but hears the control arm rubbing against something underneath, and takes easier lines.
So we reach campsite location after cutting the route again, and setup over some beers, we are all tired and wanting food and drinks. One of the jeep drivers, Antonio brought all that is needed to make a Spanish Paella from scratch, and wow what an effort, I cook some German sausages that go well down well with everyone as a starter. Night discussion are on JEEP vs Patrol, a trip to Iran, Jeep Vs Patrol, Russian vodka, Jeep Vs Patrol, we camped near a camel spider nest and observe around 20 of the buggers, and 2 run into the fire, Jeep Vs Patrol continues, self recovery Vs towing another car etc etc.
Next morning we set off, and here is the campsite, at the top of the dune you will notice a car stuck, this is the leader and Y62 driver....a Jeep TJ goes to rescue him....and gets stuck with both cars attached to a tow rope and jeep is not able to release the tension to free the rope...I am asked to help and progress to tow both of them out.
Anyhow we move along, with out incident, and the dunes are the highest and allow for large vistas of view from this area.
We move along from Campsite, with almost no stucks, 15kms from the end, the Yellow JK wrangler gets caught in a bowl.
He digs himself a path in front, and drives out, a minute later he announces that he has no steering. We all take a look and find that the steering linkage has been caught up with the front stabiliser bar bolts. We all gather round and decide the wrangler needs steering, and no way to tow her out, so we take a look at disconnecting the stabiliser, the Jeep boys look at each other as they have no tools between them, luckily I had calculated that 3 jeeps on a trip is high probability of some repair work required and pull out my tool box.
We proceed to remove the stabiliser bar from the droplinks on both sides and free the steering. below picture is me.
I must admit that the bolts barely had any torque on them at all, and bolts that are so exposed I thought there would be some resistance from corrosion or dirt locked in, but my son's pram has more torque on the bolts than the jeep.
So we proceed out of the dunes through bowl after bowl, picking a line is very difficult for the Y62 leader as the sun is bright, and all the dune angles are not readable anymore.
Anyhow we manage to get to the track to lead us to the tarmac highway, the yellow jeep makes a stop at the police station, to get a accident report, and cautiously drives along.
This has probably claimed the most cars, and drivers of any trip and many of the trip members experience. The Jeep Vs Patrol, yes the jeeps are light and do not sink in the sand as much as a Patrol does, but Patrol's can carry tools, and enough fuel to drive through with the A/C on, and still have enough space to unload a jeeps content into.
Thanks for reading folks.