07-Mar-2002 -- 24 North and 48 East, today that should be the visit of the last of the Confluences in the direct vicinity of the capital Riyāḍ.
We set off from Riyāḍ after we met at the eastern outskirts, that is a huge industrial area, very modern and almost new. The road leads us to al-Kharj, same way as to the confluence of 23N 47E. But this time we crossed al-Kharj in heading further to the east for some 90 kilometres.
The road leads through huge farming areas and bypasses the two biggest dairy production farms of Saudi Arabia with around 30,000 cattle on each farm. One should imagine the logistics, because there is no grass-land and all food and hay has to be produced and supplied to the location from all around the region. Furthermore water has to be pumped out of the deep ground level of fossil reservoirs.
Shortly after the farming areas we headed southwards into the northern flange of the legendary Rub` al-Khāliy desert. In that area the desert is mixed with lots of little dry valleys and changed by hills which are covered all over with sharp stones and small rocks. Since we had to cross over all this terrain it was very stressing for the cars and especially for the tires. Surprisingly none of the cars suffered a flat tire.
Finally, after criss-crossing wādīs and hills, we found the Confluence and did the photos for documentation. After that, the obligatory picnic and exploration of the surroundings for minerals and fossils. The area was not promising and so we set off again.
It is easier to find the way back than to the confluence point since sometimes various tracks are crossing the route and one can follow such a track as long as it somehow fits towards the wanted direction. So we did and ended up in a beautiful big wādī (valley) which is named Wādī Ġudayy - what a good day for us. We followed that wādī down to the farms again, and after that we took a road parallel to the one we drove up in the morning. What good luck.
Far away we saw a bright light heading toward us over a long distance. And by the time we came closer, it turned out to be a freight train in direction of Dammām, because we drove along the old railroad track leading from Riyāḍ to Dammām via al-Kharj and Hufūf. These trains are random only because the main line to Dammām takes another route through the desert. That was a nice event which we documented with photos as well.
At the outskirts of Riyāḍ, just after sunset a short rainfall welcomed us back to the city. So, that was a day for all promises.