07 December 2010

The Trip Up North - Part 1

A few months ago we decided with friends that we'd like to take a road trip to visit a smaller town in the north part of the country. Partly for fun and partly to visit and encourage some co-workers.

So Friday morning was go time! Go time was supposed to be Thursday morning, but my boy's high fever on Wednesday night pushed us back a day. The one day delay to get my boy healthy was no problem and we loaded up and hit the road.

Our friends had an early setback due to a wedding tent being set up directly behind their vehicle overnight while they were sleeping. Hey... it happens! So we stopped to have a cup of tea with a tea lady while we waited for them to clear the road and make their way to the rendezvous!

9:15 Killing time at the tea lady. I love sitting at the tea lady.

9:36 Met up at the rendezvous.

10:00 Already out of the city... into the Sahara! I haven't been this far out of the city (and still in the same country) since 2007!

10:12 Already made it through checkpoints #1 and #2.

This was the fastest we had ever driven this vehicle. 100km/h is 62 mp/h. We were flying! And the car wasn't really rattling. That was a great sign!

10:14 First camel spotting!

I love my life.

10:15 Surround sound stereo system. Or not. Playing? Celine Dion's Christmas album. She the only one who sings loud enough to hear over the vehicle. Ha!

She sings "These are special times..."

Very true!

10:30 Pit Stop #1. (Hey... babies have to eat!)

Me and my wee desert babes.

10:50 Back on the road after attempting to get approximately fourteen thousand flies out of the car.

10:53 Checkpoint #3. No problems here.

11:12 Back on the road and onto checkpoint #4. Our German friends went first and talked us through. It's always good to send Germans in the front when going through checkpoints! If I wrote a travel guide I'd put this tip in there.

11:15 Irrigation spotting. What exactly are they trying to irrigate? Not sure.

11:16 Look! The container says "Cosco" and they are building a huge building in the background. Any chance they misspelled "Costco" and we're about to have a warehouse shopping experience here in this country? I can almost feel the four pound bags of chocolate chips in my hands already...

11:24 Shrubs. Lots of shrubs.

11:27 Man herding goats amongst shrubs.

11:27 H reading. He's so serious you'd think he was reading "The Grapes of Wrath."

Is that a serious book?

I don't actually even know.

11:27 N sleeping.

11:29 My boy tells me "Mama... my bewwy huwts." Uh oh. I immediately snatched the book away. I didn't want to take the chance that the reading was making him carsick!

11:33 Watermelon, anyone? Mike said "I'd say they may have a problem getting their produce to market from out here."

Um. Yeah. I agree.

11:40 Kilometer marker 109. Marking a trip by kilometers makes it feel like it's going so much faster than marking it by miles. Always go this route if given the choice!

11:41 Camel alert!

11:44 There are a few too many busted tires by the side of the road for comfort. And not a single Goodyear Tire store to be found. Lord have mercy.

11:51 Desert mosque.

12:00 My boy snoozing. With his arms behind his head. Again.

12:08 Landscape change. Definitely looking more deserty now! And we passed through checkpoint #5 where no person could be found.

12:15 Wanting a shade tree for lunch. Our chances are not looking good.

12:16 Are those pyramids? Not sure!

12:25 Possibly passed through checkpoint #6. Hard to tell.

12:37 Baby girl is not happy. Trust me.

12:39 Still looking for shade for lunch.

12:43 No shade. Stopped anyway.

12:45 But we made our own mini-shade. Aren't we clever?

12:50 Lunchtime!!!

Boiled egg, cucumber, and imported German salami sandwich. Delicious!!

Happy kids.

Sweet N had her own gourmet dish. No salami for her though. Bummer for her. Lucky for Mikey... who had seconds.

He was so proud that he could get his own drink of water!

There were even special birthday cupcakes AND a candle! Most impressive! Is this a formal dinner or a desert picnic?! Beats me!!

And delicious! Happy birthday to me (and to Silke, who is exactly one day older!)

1:55 After a short trip with my boy behind the rocks to take care of business we were on our way.

2:01 On the road again. Things are all starting to look the same.

2:08 Big dune. A.K.A. Big pile of sand.

2:08 Empty billboard. Apparently there isn't a high demand for large advertising campaigns in the middle of the desert.

2:08 Another desert mosque.

2:08 Another donkey cart.

2:08 Another African tree. Wait!... where was this tree when we needed lunch shade!

2:09 Man riding donkey from nowhere to nowhere. I wonder what that is like?

2:20 Ginormous load of something headed for the capital. I wonder what it is?

2:31 Something written in Arabic on the dune. I wonder what it says?

2:31 A funny face from my boy. I wonder what he's thinking?

2:39 Checkpoint #7. I wonder why no one even seems to see us?

2:42 Are those sand mogules? I wonder what they're for?

2:45. I need some answers.

2:46 There are no answers.

2:47 Moving on.

2:43 Fueling up at the gas station that came out of nowhere. One bonus here is that the pumps flipped off when the tanks were full instead of spewing gas everywhere instead. Cool, huh? They have such great innovations here in the middle of the desert.

2:48 Checkpoint #8. We just drove around the stop sign.

2:50. A CROSSROADS! We haven't seen one of these since we left the city hours ago.

2:54 Lots of trees. We must be near the Nile!

3:11 Kilometer marker 335. 150 more kilometers to go!

3:19 Date palms. The local livelihood.

3:47 My boy.

3:48 Peek-

a-boo! Did you know that three year olds still think peek-a-boo is fun? Well, they do.

3:57 Animal carcass #36. Yes. We've been counting. Just be glad you can't really see anything in this picture.

4:00 Yikes!!! Camels in the road after a blind turn.

4:00 Camels butts as they walk away from the loud honking cars.

4:01 I pinched myself. Is this happening?

4:02 Mikey and I began a discussion about camels and roads and wondered how many people do you think it takes to drag a dead camel (or 12) out from the middle of the road?

We may never know.

Let's hope we never know.

4:15 Gates.


*looking around*

Um, I don't see anything, do you?


4:16 Scanning the horizon for a McDonalds. Could have really used a McDonalds dollar sundae.

4:22 The guidebook told us that these large mounds cover the remains of dinosaurs.

Cool, huh? This one looks to me like it's shaped like a triceratops.

Just kidding people. There are no dinosaur skeltons here!!

Are you even paying attention?

Where are your heads?

Is this post too long for you?


It is kinda long.

But so was the road trip.

So there.

4:27 Pit stop. In a place that actually looks like it was made for pit stops. Cool.

N loved it! She thought the sand was particlarly tasty. She's becoming a connoisseur, you know.

4:59 Back on the road. Only 20 km to go!

5:02 Checkpoint #9. The men were praying. We were waved through.

5:05 A traffic light! No bother that it wasn't working. This must be the town we've been waiting for! Hang a right!

5:06 First impressions: This is no small dusty town we were expecting. It's clean and green (ish).

5:09 Police pull over. That took absolutely no time at all. Christian asked directions. Then back on road.

5:14 We ask directions again. And my boy said "Why Mamamama? Why Mamamamama" fifteen thousand bazillion times. In a row. Without breathing. In a loud voice.

5:15 I started to loose my mind.

It's a good thing we're almost there.

At least I think we're almost there.

Jesus?... Can we please be almost there?

5:24 We are! We are! This little turnoff was the last one.

5:25 Pulling into our place for the next three days.

We made it!


  1. This was a great post! Reminded me in so many ways of desert trips that I went on, on the west side of the continent! I couldn't believe how similar it looks! I also remember how Loooooooonnnngggg those drives could be. Can't wait for the next installment!

  2. Suzanne,
    I have to admit that I cracked up so hard that I started crying when I read about the dinosaur mounds. I also thought that the part about the overstaffed museum was hilarious too.
    Love, Wendy Kiser


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