Read the first part here.
Will I make it to Jebel Hafeet in time Challenge:
So picking up from where I left.
I am off from my place at 5:00AM. Now there are mentions of couple of roads, which I will get you all familiar with
E11 – SHZ road (Connecting all the emirates except Al-Ain, I guess)
E311 – Old Emirates road (“ “ )
E66 – Dubai – Al Ain road
The speed limit of E311 is same as E66, 120 kmph throughout. Speed of E11 varies from 100 to 120 kmph depending on the area. There is an effective tolerance of 20 kmph on the speed limits which make it 140 kmph (add 20 to the speed limit). Except from Sharjah and Ajman, all the other places I believe follow this. Sharjah and Ajman limits are 10 kmph at times and you never know when you will get flashed. That said, I need to check my speeding fines which I will do after this post 😀
My house is near the E311 which connects to Dubai and from there I can take the E66 towards Al-Ain. After reaching Al-Ain I had to find out how to reach the mountains. I will be glad to get some help from my mobile GPS.
In a while I am on E311 and then top gear, right foot half down 140 kmph it is and golfey floating towards Dubai. I cover the first 25kms in less than 10 mins and then the border of Dubai happens. It’s only 5:20AM in the morning and Dubai is already Dubai. At 5:15AM in the morning, on a Christmas day you see slowly moving traffic and you are like JESUS CHRIST! I took around 15 mins to cover another 10 kms from the border of Dubai. I hate National paints, not the paints but the area near national paints. For some reason every car drops dead there. Grrrr!
In a bit, 140 again. The distance between 2 speed cams is 3-4 kms. There are people who do 200 in between that stretch. I am not doing that, not because golfey can’t, but purely for the fear of speeding fines. I don’t want to make a financially secure govt more financially secure. I float at 140 in the 3rd lane. 1st lane belongs to people who do much more than speed limit and 2nd lane to people more than speed limit while 3rd belongs to exactly the speed limit if you ask me. So I reach E66 in a bit and then it is all peace. A straight road till Al-Ain at 140kmph. I stick to the limit and choosing the 2nd lane of the 3 lanes I hammer away to Al-Ain. The road is empty, it’s still dark.
[An important note about the infrastructure. Its amazing. I dare say that no part of this world would have such beautiful roads (except Sharjah, Ajman which are villages). Period. The govt has taken troubles in building parking spots so that much needed break can be taken from a tiring drive. There are toilets in every tourist place, well maintained. I am glad to say that the govt has constructed every required facility for the citizen and other people residing here. Don’t how much we appreciate it.]
After traveling for around 40-kms, I park my car in the designated parking area. Just to give me and him the much needed rest. I check my camera to see how much more the battery would last and I am convinced that it won’t last much more. Luck is one terrible bitch. After clicking couple of shots of my car, I resume my journey. I think it’s already quarter past 6 AM. I am way behind schedule; the sun light would show up anytime from now. Will I be able to catch up? The chances look meager.
I keep my right foot planted where 140 is and hope that Al-Ain shows up soon. Are you kidding? Hope wouldn’t help much here. In a while though, I am tempted again. This time by the clouds to get out and click a picture. The flow will be interrupted but never mind; I get out and take a couple of pics before I start again.
A bit later I see the sun rays have started ascending horizontally in an angle. Meanwhile my GPS in the mobile is screwed up. It is showing me the same spot and I don’t know which exit to take to move towards Jebel Hafeet. All this happens while driving. I don’t think there is much scope for this challenge left. I keep an eye for a signboard indicating Jebel Hafeet and I come across one. Tadadada…!!! I take the correct exit to Jebel Hafeet but just to get lost at a roundabout. I asked a guy standing next and he indicates the direction. I am off towards that direction. There are sign boards sometimes and rest of the other times, you are expected to go straight meaning that there is no sign-board.
I get lost again at a roundabout very near to Jebel Hafeet. I think it happened for a good reason, for I came across a restaurant and got a chance to pee, reliving myself and marching towards Jebel Hafeet again with full vigor. By then sun had shown up quite a bit and in a while I am at the bottom of the mountains ready to climb.
The race tracks on the upward journey transformed me into Aryton Senna (read stupid) and I started blasting golfey at 80 kmph average. The loads of torque available was a great advantage and golfey would do the hills in 4th gear with occasional 3rd gear. I saw old Honda Accords struggling and running out of breath but golfey was a mean machine guzzling up liters of petrol. I see a while later and the level of fuel has dropped by a bar. I mean 13 liters for 12 kms, whaaaat? Am I driving a veyron? He is proving to be a prodigal son. I park at the first stop to click pics.
Ok, time for some pics 😀
Later on I am cautious with the whole giving beans thingy and I drive slow and then the needle stayed upright where it was expected to be but the damage was already done I believe. I click pics and I drive up, again I click pics. By then my cam has started to show warning lights and I used my mobile for the photography purpose mostly.
Here is golfey again in style. I am so obese-ly obsessed.
Finally after driving a lot uphill, I am at the top. It’s spine chilling cold and will I have my warm clothes with me? No, of course not. Remember, I am a bad planner!!! The only way to face the spine chilling cold was an ice cream, so an ice cream it was followed by a strong tea.
All these things happen and I walk with my cam clicking pics. The shutter finally gave up due to low battery and then it was my mobile. After spending around 30 mins, I plan back the downhill travel. I didn’t want to stay uphill and bore myself. Not to forget that, out of all the things I have namely camera, mobile and car I am the only one who speaks to them and none of them speaks back. So the best thing after exploring the top was to move out to the next destination.
Now during a downhill travel on a motorcycle, what will an average Indian guy do? Any guesses. I will put my bike in neutral and let G force do the duty and I would dare to not switch my bike on to save petrol. I did nothing different here also. Golfey’s engine was fired up but neutral and rolling downwards, with my leg supporting the brakes from time to time. I hope I saved some fuel there. But mind you this trick requires some prior practice and experience. Since you are not in a gear, you have no control over the vehicle which is very risky. I did a couple of overtakes too using the G-force power but since the traffic was less, it was nothing dangerous. Or I was really lucky. Whichever way you would like to take it!!!
I saw a resort/lodge for anyone who wishes to stay there,
Mercure Grande Hotel, just on the second hair pin bend downhill, Jebel Hafeet.
If you want a peaceful retreat for the weekend, think no further.
From there I visit the green mubazara. As far as the challenge went, I lost miserably. The sun rays were all over by the time I was there. Though I tasted failure again, it was a sweet failure. The one which didn’t let me feel that I lost.
Saved some pics for the last, here they are.