Bedouin camps, date farms and sand dunes

I traveled out into the desert again this weekend to continue the search for the perfect dune. The sand boarding, despite not having the proper gear, is going pretty well. We are still using the old skateboard and waxing it with candles as we haven’t yet decided what would be the best gear.  It is looking like an old snowboard may be the solution. Our biggest problem currently is too much friction. We make good progress until the wax wears off. No matter what we do, we bog down at almost exactly the same spot every time. The board just stops sliding. So, more surface area, slicker surface and bindings to allow for better control and carving may just do the trick! So you have an idea of what looking for a dune consists of, it is literally a visual recon using google earth to look around the desert for wrinkles. Upon finding one, we program the latitude and longitude into the satellite navigation and drive to the spot.
This is a satellite image of the dune we drove to this weekend. The blue dot is us making progress along the route and the dune is the wrinkle at 12 o’clock in the photo. The ripples around it are all of the smaller dunes surrounding the big one. As you can see, there isn’t much else out there!
This is the turn off into the desert from the main road.
First sighting of the dune
Getting closer
The hike in
The summit from part way up
These are the little dunes that look like ripples on the satellite photos
Living the adventure sport dream out here…sort of…I think the nature of female attire is frustratingly limiting when it comes to sport. I feel empathy towards the women who spend their entire life this way.
So the next set of photos are random shots as we headed out to the outskirts of Riyadh. Every day is an adventure here.  The roads are a zoo and the bedouins set up camp wherever they please along side the roads. Additionally, people pull huge trucks over loaded with goods and sell stuff so this makes everything even more clustered.  It is entertaining just driving around. I see an accident, no kidding, close to once a day.  Some more serious than others but there is usually at least a fender bender. The camps are pretty amazing. They just choose a spot and set up camp. There are huge tents and strings of lights, plus pens for the camels. Apparently the tents have rugs and cushions inside and are quite comfy. My goal is to get inside one at some point. I have been told that they are very friendly people if you happen to bump into them but I can’t see myself walking into one of these camps. Some of the establishments out in the desert are more likely as I can get close. I keep hoping to see someone outside and then I will wander over to take photos and say hi.
This is a soccer stadium that is all tented. It is pretty cool architecture and the games are good…but…I won’t be watching one…the lady factor comes into play again…
This is not uncommon to see on the roads.
photo 2 (14)
Riyadh trucks make Sanford and Son’s look empty!!!
If it fits, it goes! I am waiting for the opportunity to see how they load these guys. I’ve only ever seen them already in the truck. Not the mechanics behind the operation.
Yup, sheep
Camel Camp 023
Including people. It was about 111 degrees and these guys are in full suits. No joy for them
The next photos are some of the side of the road sales opportunities.  You will see what a zoo it can be.  Lots of hay and what appear to be building supplies are sold this way. Plus bundled firewood.
Camel Camp 021 Camel Camp 020 Camel Camp 022
Bundles of firewood
And yet another guy selling wood

The next photos I love. They are of much more established camps out in the desert. They have lovely architecture and also beautiful tents.

This is the gate to one of the camps
Camel Camp 039
Camel Camp 040
Tent
Camel Camp 041
Camp from a distance so you can see the size of it
Camel Camp 084
This is a shot of an entire camp. You can see the tents in the distance, some trucks and the camels laying down in the foreground. They push the sand up around the edges to serve as a flood block when it rains.
Camel Camp 078
This was where a camp used to be, you can see the pushed up earth
Following are photos of buildings that I liked. I have absolutely no idea why they are out there and don’t look as if anyone has used them in a while but I found them appealing.

Camel Camp 050 Camel Camp 051 Camel Camp 090
The sand was blowing so this is hard to see but the land changes from red sand to brown, rocky earth at this escarpment. I haven’t often see landscapes have a line of demarcation like this. There is generally a more gradual change. It reminds me of cliffs with water at the bottom. Similar dramatic difference
Camel Camp 115
Camel and date farm
Camel Camp 114
Camel Camp 117
Date palms to the right
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From a distance to include the whole farm in the photo. They are pretty big. And I want to know how they water the date palms out there.
Camel Camp 136
This thing has water pouring out of it, no idea from where it comes. Maybe underground springs?
Camel Camp 138
This is another one, I didn’t see camels here, only date palms
Camel Camp 139
I love these tall buildings. They make them square and round. I’m sure they have a purpose…I’m still finding people to ask these questions of
Camel Camp 140 Camel Camp 141 Camel Camp 142
Another one of the tall ones.  The holes don’t really look like windows. They appear to be relief cuts in the side of the building but not all the way through the thickness.

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