Departed Camp Arifjan for the 30-minute escorted mini bus ride to the Kuwait International Airport. As much as we have enjoyed the Kuwaiti experience, we are ready for the next stop. We have no idea who we are going to see, what the conditions will be or how many troops we will meet. But we are ready.
As we leave our quarters at 3 a.m., the temperature has dropped and the wind is gusting to what must be 40 mph. Dust storm! We have heard about them and seen videos of roiling black clouds obliterating the sun. It never seemed real until now.
We come to the main gate to leave Camp Arifjan and are told the highway is blacked out. We will be delayed for at least an hour for a possible break in the storm. We immediately begin to think about the implications of missing our flight. We could possibly lose the rest of the trip.
Fate is on our side. After only a few minutes and an appeal to the main security center, we are told there is a break and we can proceed. Off we go. The conditions seemed OK, so what’s the big deal?
By the time we reach the airport, the bus is being buffeted by the wind and visibility is terrible. Will the flights be delayed? Again we’re in luck. We clear immigration without a hitch, except Ryan Klesko lost his visa and has to go through a special line.
We make a few suggestions about the “special” treatment we hope he receives.
Pleasant surprise, the Kuwaitis are very efficient and forgiving. Ryan sails through with no drama, and we make our departure. (Did I mention the Kuwaitis waive all visa expenses for Americans? They appreciated our friendship in Operation Desert Storm.)
At 6:30 a.m., we land to change planes and have a 4-hour layover. Then on to our next destination, a camp in southwest Asia.
We land at the airport at 6:30 p.m. to friendly people, beautiful grounds with acres of oil palms (or date palms, I can’t tell the difference). On the way to camp we see an emerging city in the desert where there were nothing but Bedouin tents 30 years ago. The rest of the scenery is desolate, aside from a few goats, cattle and an amazing number of camels. There were a few olive trees that looked barely alive. Nothing is green without irrigation. It’s just rocky, sandy hills as far as the eye can see.
Upon our arrival, we had time to catch a little shuteye after not having much for the past 48 hours.
That evening we headed to the mess hall for some great food. Our troops are well looked after.
We then went to the Rec Center for a poker game, where I lost my a** to a couple of friendly reservists from Maine. I was the first to retreat to our quarters.
The next morning, I was somewhat encouraged to learn the reservists proceeded to fleece our entire group.
Maybe I am not that bad a poker player after all.
Click here to read more about the Outdoor Legends Tour on NWTF Spokesman Michael Waddell’s blog.