In our May issue, we started out on our 2,300-mile trip across the Sahara Desert in Egypt. Also known as the Western Desert, the Great Sand Sea is a desolate patch of the Middle East where water is almost as scarce as the inhabitants. About the only humans around nowadays are smugglers from Sudan and nefarious agitators from Libya—and of course crazy guys like us.
We had set out on a mission to retrace the LRDG (Long Range Desert Group) of WWII fame in historically accurate jeeps. Seven middle-aged men and a few locals guides and protective forces had taken on the dream of visiting the haunts and hollows of the rugged British team. It had not been done since the 1940s, and we didn’t know if it could be done even now. The overall trip covered 2,300 miles, and we were now embarking on the 1,500 miles of pure off-road adventure, most of which would be sand dunes, sand plains, sand in your food, sand in your eyes, sand in... well, everywhere.
The original LRDG members scouted routes and buried secret fuel caches in the sand. They also had an airfield in the middle of the dunes, while we would be carrying a ton of fuel with us in the support Iveco 7-ton truck. In addition to our two jeeps, two Land Cruiser wagons would carry the guide, cook, and crew, while the Tourist Police followed along in a Toyota Land Cruiser with their own cast of characters. While parts of this trip had been done previously in and around the Gilf el Kiber and other historical areas, our exit strategy would take us through the transverse dunes up the 26th parallel, something heretofore not attempted.
This month, follow along as we hit the dirt with a loose band of disparate individuals, with the common goal of surviving the desert sand.