21-Feb-2002 -- During the second week of the Ḥajj religious holiday a group of expatriates working in Riyāḍ set off on a five-day, off-road camping trip. The route entailed driving south of Riyāḍ on tar roads to Sulayyil, then heading into the Rub` al-Khāliy desert across the gravel plains of Wādī Dawassir to the sand dunes, then north-west across sand/gravel plains, and finally north along the tar road from Laylā to Riyāḍ. The distance was made up of nearly a thousand kilometres of tar road and over six hundred kilometres of off-road driving. Having contracted the degree confluence bug, we managed to visit four Confluence sites during this journey. This was our first Confluence. See 21N 46E, 21N 47E & 22N 47E.
Our three vehicle party were all adept in the ways of desert camping so that intricate planning sessions were not required apart from the route, the timings and fuel requirements. Ensuring that our vehicles were in good working order and that all our essentials were packed, we set off on our jaunt.
We journeyed south-east past the agricultural areas of al-Kharj and then south along the main road. This Confluence was very easy to reach, as it was only about seven kilometres off the main tar road. We had to overshoot the easterly turning as road works were being carried out to extend the dual carriageway. We eventually found a break in the fence and wound our way through some old circular crop fields. In the past, Saudi Arabia tried to become self sufficient in grain by offering subsidies for farmers to set up pivot irrigation schemes fed by borehole water. Inevitably the water table level dropped, leaving the countryside littered with a legacy of cleared circular fields cluttered with dilapidated pivot irrigation equipment.
We continued to the degree confluence point using our invaluable GPS navigational aids and found it on a stony plain with totally uninspiring views. We had a stretch of the legs, took our uninspiring photographs, and then set off on the next leg of our journey. This was not a degree confluence point that was worth writing home about.