NOTES FROM THE ROAD


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Brief Stop in Paris…


A morning walk in Paris…


15 April 2018: One more flight today, but first a few moments to go walking in a favorite city. It was very strange waking up at first light as if it was still the desert, and going for a walk before the sun actually rose over the city. The vendors were just arriving to the Puces des Montrieul and it was hard to find a cafe that was open so early. Watched the sun come up over the edge of the city before heading into the 10eme …



Khartoum, Cairo, Paris…


A day of airports…


14 April 2018: A full day of flights and sharp transitions from Khartoum to Cairo, then Cairo to Paris, arriving very late at night. Tired but glad with all that was accomplished …



Back in Khartoum…


Friday afternoon Sufi ceremony…


13 April 2018: Arrived back in Khartoum to catch the Friday afternoon ceremony by one of the Sufi sects at the grave of an important leader. This seemed a fitting way to spend a final day in the city, appreciating one of the unique aspects of the cultural mix …



A Closer look at the Pyramids…


Exploring the ruins of Merotic civilization…


12 April 2018: After sleeping under the stars in the shadow of the ancient pyramids, we had a chance to explore them close up today. From there we continued into the desert to a place where temples had been constructed in the middle of “no where” before turning towards Khartoum …



Arriving to Meroe…


A first look at the ancient royal city…


11 April 2018: We made our way to the ancient royal city of Meroe, where a necropolis of pyramids stands on a hill, many with their tops “blown” off by tomb-robbers looking for gold. Today the site is protected and we will spend the night at the archaeologist camp there before exploring in detail tomorrow …



Meeting with Nomads…


Crossing the Bayuda desert…


10 April 2018: Driving across the desert again today, this time on dirt, from Karima to Atbara, and took the chance to meet with nomad families along the way, distributing some food and medicine in the process. We camped not far from Atbara, near a hill of sand and boulders and enjoyed a spectacular sunset …



Pre-historic Rock Art in a Wadi…


A wadi full of rock art…


9 April 2018: Not far from the town of Wawa we made our way to a wadi that was full of rock art. The familiar depictions of animals and daily life was similar enough in style to other Saharan rock art, even if it was not as refined as some examples we have seen. After scrambling around the rocks a bit we had another tar road segment across the desert to Karima…



Exploring the Ruins…


A walk through history…


8 April 2018: Spent the morning exploring some of the ruins around the Island before packing up to get the boat back across the Nile. There was some difficulty for the boatmen because of a shortage of gas that has plagued Sudan since January. The ferryman had even rigged up his ferry to run with two gas-powered motor boat engines instead of the usual big diesel powered one — and though the boats ran less frequently than usual, African ingenuity kept them going…



Crossing the Nile to Sai Island…


A desert island in the middle of the Nile…


7 April 2018: A long drive day north from Dongola to Abri where we got a boatman to take us on the Nile to look for crocodiles while the ferry moved the truck across to Sai island in the middle of the river. The island is a major archeological site with different excavations in different areas ranging from pre-historic times through to the Ottoman era…



Old Dongola…


Islamic-era domed tombs and ruins along the Nile…


6 April 2018: The first stop of the day was at Old Dongola, in the desert not very far from the Nile. There were a strange set of domed tombs which were the burial places for important holy men, and around them a modern cemetery of earthen mound tombs marked by circles of light and dark rocks. Beyond the cemetery was the ruins of a walled town and parts of a Christian-era church that became a mosque before it all was abandoned to the desert. From the old rampart ruins we could see the Nile just below and the desert beyond and realize how close the desert is to the river…



Heading North to Dongola…


Leaving the city for the desert…


5 April 2018: We left Khartoum heading north west via Omdurman, stopping briefly to visit with nomad camel herders on the edge of town. Taking the tar road for most of the day we made it almost as far as Dongola before taking off into some dunes to camp for the night…



Khartoum: the Confluence of the Nile…


The Blue and White Nile meet…


4 April 2018: Arrived last night in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, and set out this morning to get a general orientation to a different country and culture. One important stop was to the place where the White and Blue Niles join to form the unified Nile — the only river in the world that flows northward. It was interesting that we could actually SEE the difference in the two water sources and the exact line where they meet…


PREVIOUS NOTES FROM THE ROAD >


THIS MONTH:

Sahara scouting continues in Sudan, focused on the northern part of the country in a loop around the Nile to Khartoum — the place where the White and Blue Niles meet. This journey will offer a unique opportunity delve into archaeology and the preservation of ancient sites while exploring the desert and getting to know some of the communities in the region…


COMING UP SOON:

Teaching navigational skills and talking about international overlanding at the second annual Wheelers Overland Adventure, May 17-20 at Anthracite Offroad Adventure Area (AOAA) in eastern Pennsylvania. The four-day overland camping and wheeling event is sponsored by Quadratec and Offroad Consulting, and brings together a diverse group of overlanders for trail runs, skills instruction, and networking opportunities in a festival atmosphere with onsite camping and optional activities the whole family can enjoy…


Participating in the Jeep Invasion and the 8th annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, June 8-10, in Butler, PA. The Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival is a tribute event to the original jeep, the history behind it, the people who created it, and its birthplace, Butler Pennsylvania. The event provides Jeep enthusiasts with on and off-road experiences that embrace the vehicle’s past and the lifestyle it now fosters. The family-friendly event is held at Coopers Lake Campground, about an hour north of Pittsburgh, PA every year with on-site off-road trails, a Jeep “playground” obstacle course, Jeep History exhibit, huge vendor area with 150+ companies and more…


Heading to DC Dirt Camp for a chance to learn how to ride the trails on two-wheels in July. DC Dirt Camp is a Dirt Bike School sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation offering training at two locations outside Washington, DC, to prepare riders to hit the trails on small displacement, off-road bikes, as well as larger street-legal, dual sport and adventure bikes…


Participating in the Ladies Offroad Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, 2-5 August 2018. The Ladies Offroad Convention is an action-packed, interactive 4-day weekend educating, motivating, and guiding for ladies involved in all aspects of the offroad world. Presented by Charlene Bower and the Ladies Offroad Network, the event creates a space to learn more about offroad activities and share experiences with like-minded women from around the country…


Trail Guiding at the 10th annual Topless for Tatas Charity Wheeling event at Rausch Creek off-road park 11-13 August. TFT brings together off-roaders from all over to raise awareness about Breast Cancer and raise funds for the American Cancer Society. The annual event raises over $30,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation each year …


MEROE

Meroë is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile near Shendi, approximately 200 kilometers north-east of Khartoum. This city was the capital of the Kingdom of Kush for from 800 BC to 350 AD. The Kushitic Kingdom of Meroë was centered in the modern region of Butana, bounded by the Nile, the Atbarah and the Blue Nile. The city was given the name Meroë by the Persian king, Cambyses, in honor of his sister who was called by that name. Meroë was the base of a flourishing kingdom whose wealth was centered around a strong iron industry, as well as international trade involving India and China. At the time, iron was one of the most important metals and Meroitic metalworkers were among the best in the world. Meroë also exported textiles and jewelry. At its peak, the rulers of Meroë controlled the Nile Valley north to south, over a straight-line distance of more than 1,000 km (620 mi). Today, the site of the city of Meroë is marked by more than two hundred pyramids, many of which are in ruins. The archaeolgical sites were brought to the knowledge of Europeans in 1821 by the French mineralogist Frédéric Cailliaud (1787–1869), who published an illustrated in-folio describing the ruins. Small scale excavations started in 1834, led by Giuseppe Ferlini who is best known for having raided and vandalized several of the pyramids. An adventurer in search of treasure, Ferlini had heard the local workers talk about a legend regarding 40 ardeb of gold. In his effort to find it, he began to demolish the pyramids. At Wad ban Naqa, he leveled the pyramid N6 of the kandake Amanishakheto starting from the top, and finally found her treasure composed of dozens of gold and silver jewelry pieces. Overall, he is considered responsible for the destruction of over 40 pyramids…


BAYUDA DESERT

The Bayuda Desert in the eastern region of the Sahara, spans approximately 100,000 square kilometers of Sudan. North of Omdurman and south of Korti, the Bayuda is embraced by the great bend of the Nile in the north, east and south, making it possible to drive a straight line from the Nile to the Nile. It is delimited by the Wadi Muqaddam on the west, and divided by the Wadi Abu Dom which runs north to south separating the eastern Bayuda Volcanic Field from the western ochre-coloured sand-sheets scattered with rocky outcrop. The Bayuda Desert Route was used throughout the Meroitic civilization, serving as a lifeline connecting the northern and southern districts of the Kingdom of Kush, with Napata and Meroe as the termini. Today the Bayuda Desert remains home to the Bisharin and other nomadic pastoralists…


SAI ISLAND

Sai Island, one of the largest islands in the Middle Nile, is located between the second and third cataracts and is around 160km south-west of Wadi Halfa. The Island has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic, with evidence across the island for Neolithic, Pre-Kerman, Kerman, New Kingdom, Napatan, Meroitic, Post-Meroitic, Medieval and Islamic occupation. Sai is seen as a genuine open-air Sudanese history museum, with well-conserved site’s from prehistory to independence, including several centuries of Egyptian colonization. Most prominent on the island is the ruins of the fortified city overlooking the Nile, set up by the Egyptian monarchs who founded the New Kingdom (1500-1000 BC). The archeological sites there are currently being studied in a joint project between Sudan and France, that is focused on periods which remain largely undocumented…


KUSHITE CIVILIZATION

The ancient Nubian Kingdom of Kush was located at the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile and the Atbarah River in Sudan and South Sudan. Established after the Late Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt, the Kushite kingdom was centered at Napata during its early phase. The Kushites invaded Egypt in the 8th century BC, and the monarchs of Kush were also the pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt until they were expelled by the Neo-Assyrian Empire under the rule of Esarhaddon a century later. During classical antiquity, the Kushite imperial capital was located at Meroë. The Meroitic kingdom persisted until the 4th century AD, when it weakened and disintegrated due to internal rebellion. The seat was eventually captured and burnt to the ground by the Kingdom of Aksum. The Kushites buried their monarchs along with all their courtiers in mass graves. Archaeologists refer to these practices as the “Pan-grave culture”. This was given its name due to the way in which the remains are buried. They would dig a pit and put stones around them in a circle. Kushites also built burial mounds and pyramids, and shared some of the same gods worshiped in Egypt, especially Ammon and Isis…


THE CONFLUENCE OF THE NILE

The Nile River, which flows north for 6,853 kilometers (4,258 miles), is commonly regarded as the longest river in the world (thought some sources say the Amazon River is longer). It is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan. It has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the Nile itself while the Blue Nile is the source of most of the water and silt. The Confluence of the Nile refers to the place where the Blue and White Niles meet and join to form a single mighty river. Known locally as Al Mogran, it is one of Africa’s geographical highlights. From the east the fast and narrow Blue Nile stretches to Ethiopia while from the south the wide and lazy White Nile comes from Lake Victoria. The two Niles have different colors on account of the silts they carry, and it is possible to clearly see the streams flow next to each other before mixing…



Khartoum
84°
dust
humidity: 45%
wind: 14mph SSW
H 105 • L 84
100°
Tue
104°
Wed
105°
Thu
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Nesconset | Paris | Cairo | Khartoum



MORE NOTES FROM THE ROAD:
29 March – 3 April – Egypt
22-28 March – Paris
16-21 March – Paris
1-15 March – New York
February – Coal Country
January – Vegas to Glamis Roadtrip
December – East Coast Roadtrip
16-30 November – Paris
1-15 November – Florida
October – Rausch Creek
18-30 September – Kyrgyzstan
1-17 September – Rebelle U
15-31 August – Arizona
8-14 August – TFT9
1-7 August – Serbia
July – NY and Serbia
June – NY and Paris
May – Wheelers Overland
22-30 April – Algeria
15-21 April – Algeria
8-14 April – Algeria
1-7 April – AOAA
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