29-Nov-2002 -- Some lucky employees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are given a compulsory break at the end of the holy month of Ramaḍān. I was one of them, but was unable to find any others that had stayed in the Kingdom and who were interested in a long trek through the desert. Therefore, I decided to visit the south-west region of Saudi Arabia on conventional tarmac roads rather than across the desert. So, my son, Sean, and I embarked on a six-day journey of nearly three thousand kilometres which was routed to visit the region’s sights as well as take us past as many confluence points as possible (see also 19N 45E, 18N 44E, 18N 43E, 19N 43E, 21N 43E, 22N 42E, 24N 43E).
We left Riyāḍ at a leisurely time on Thursday 28th November 2002. The familiar towns of al-Kharj, Laylā and al-Sulayyil came and went. The road was long, but was made bearable by listening to "The Hobbit" on audio tapes.
After more than seven hours driving we left the road and found a suitable camp site about five kilometres off the road. The area was littered with round sandstone stones ranging in size from marble size to cricket ball size. These did not seem to have been shaped by tumbling as they occurred individually or in clusters. Strange?
After a windy night we broke camp and headed for our first Confluence. This looked very achievable on the map, but you can never tell until you get into the area. As it turned out, it was not as simple as I had hoped because of the many fences surrounding vast sandy areas that were obviously productive arable fields in the past. We found a way along a fence, which took us within a kilometre of our destination. Then, we had a stroke of luck, as we found a break in the fence and were able to drive right up to the confluence point. It was positioned on an undulating plain in very soft sand. As with so many of the confluence points in Saudi Arabia, the views were plain to say the least.
Continued at 19N 45E.