Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
The riders had another early start. They made their way through the desert road leading to Toshka then to Abu Simbel. The weather was hot and the ride was long. Mid-day, the team stopped for some off-road activities and to have a taste of the desert. They took their scooters off-road and challenged the little engines in the sand.
After playtime, they continued onwards until they have reached Toshka, where they saw the Sheikh Zayed Canal that brings water into the heart of the Eastern Egyptian desert for land reclamation.
As they were back on the road, and after a while, the team members could suddenly see the “Welcome to Abu Simbel” sign, and were extremely happy to reach the end. They halted their scooters and had a moment of celebration. They had done it!
The team reached the Abu Simbel Temples. There they were greeted by the mayor of the city, Mr. Asaad Abd El Mageed and were given a tour of the complex.
It was explained to them how these huge structures were saved and moved in the sixties from their original location to make room for Lake Nasser. After finishing their tour of the temples, the adventurers took a historical photograph in front of Abu Simbel, marking the end of their Cross Egypt Challenge’s journey.
The riders covered a total of 2000 km. They started from the very north of Egypt; the city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt. They travelled all the way to the eastern border of Egypt to the resort city of Taba. They moved through Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada to make it to Abu Simbel which is only 50 km from the southern border of Egypt with the Sudan.
Friday, October 21st, 2011
The team set out early in the morning for Aswan. They took another agricultural road which was described by one of the team members as the best road they were on. He said “This road samples all of Egypt; you can see the Nile River, agricultural lands, deserts and mountains along the way. You can see villages along the Nile and others under large mountains. You can see temples, railroads and new construction; you can simply see Egypt as you pass through this road”.
On this road, the scooter-riders had several stops. They visited the Kom Ombo Temple which is dedicated to the crocodile God Sobek, God of fertility. They also had a stop for Friday prayers at a small Nubian village called Daboud. After prayers the riders met with the Nubian villagers and took photographs with them. Along their journey they stopped at some date and sugar cane fields and enjoyed the villagers’ hospitality, who offered them all kinds of dates.
The team finally reached Aswan and headed straight to the High Dam and Lake Nasser that extends for 500 km, were they stopped for a quick tour.
At night the team members gathered at the hotel to plan the logistics of their 9th and final day, as they had a 280 km journey to the temple of Abu Simbel and on the road from Aswan to Abu Simbel was only one gas station that has only diesel fuel and not petrol used to run their scooters. The scooters as well as the reserve tanks that the team carries can only run the scooters for 220 km, and so they had to look for extra tanks to carry the extra fuel needed. An extra reserve tank was found and so they were ready to go.
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Day seven has arrived, and the adventurers set out just after sunrise for a very long day ahead. They had to cross about 280 km from Hurghada to Luxor, and the journey proved to be a difficult one due to road construction.
As the team passed through the city of Qena, they took the agricultural road from Qena to Luxor and enjoyed a much needed change in scenery. They feasted their eyes on the fertile green fields to their left and right.
The team was given a tour of the vast temple where they visited the Great Hypostyle Hall, the Sacred Lake, and made their seven turns around the Sacred Scarab for good luck. The Cross Egypt Challenge team was also given a special permission for a photo-shoot on their scooters in front of the Karnak Temple. The riders then rode to Luxor’s west bank where they visited the beautiful temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The riders mingled and took photographs with tourists and locals who had heard about the Cross Egypt Challenge from newspapers and television.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
The team had planned a free day for day six. They did some sight-seeing in the city of Hurghada and went to the Governorate building, where they were met by the Red Sea Governor Major General Mahmoud Assem and another press conference was held. They were then awarded the Shield of the Red Sea Governorate as a token of appreciation for their efforts. There was time for some interviews with local and national radio and some television stations.
The team continued with their tour of Hurghada, stopping for some photographs and for souvenir shopping. They even made a stop at a local coffee shop, or “Qahwa” in local Egyptian language, to get a real taste of Egyptian tradition and Egyptian tea.
Later that night the riders chilled at the famous Little Buddha to enjoy Hurghada’s night life.
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
The scheduled ferry ride from Sharm El Sheikh to Hurghada has been cancelled due to the ferries being non-operational at that time, so instead the team took a flight to Hurghada while a truck was hired to transport the scooters to their destination by land. The scooters have been loaded on the truck the night before and were properly fastened for the road.
The team took their plane in the morning of the 18th and arrived at Hurghada shortly after. They enjoyed a relaxing day at the beach, soaked up the Egyptian sun and played some water sports. By evening, their scooters had already arrived safely.
Monday, October 17th, 2011
Due to the long route taken the previous day, day four included a short journey from Dahab to Sharm El Sheikh. The team took it easy and went sight-seeing in the city of Dahab, took a stroll on the Dahab boardwalk and did some souvenir shopping, then got on the road nearing midday.
Unfortunately, during the ride from Dahab to Sharm Elsheikh, one of the riders, Mona Elmadany, encountered some rocks on a sharp curve on the road and had an accident.
The ambulance arrived almost immediately (in about 7 minutes) and transported her to a hospital in Dahab. She suffered several cuts and bruises and so was transferred to Sharm El Sheikh International Hospital. She was held back due to her injuries, and wouldn’t be able to complete the challenge. For this reason her fellow team members decided to dedicate the rest of the journey in her honor.
After making sure Mona was ok, the rest of the team continued their journey to Sharm Elsheikh where they were greeted by Major General Khaled Fouda, the Governor of South Sinai, who held an official celebration for the team. The governor has been notified that one of the team members had suffered an accident and was in hospital in Sharm El Sheikh, so later that evening the governor paid Mona a visit at the hospital and gave her roses and some words of encouragement.
Sunday, October 16th, 2011
With over 430 km, the third day was originally supposed to be the longest of the journey. The team got up early in the morning for breakfast and at 8 a.m. they were set for their eight hour ride from Suez to Dahab passing through Taba. They have been surrounded by beautiful scenery along the way, and so have made several stops to take photos, enjoy Egypt’s magnificent natural wonders and have some rest.
From Suez the riders took the 1.63 km long Ahmed Hamdy tunnel, which is an automobile tunnel that connects Africa to the Sinai Peninsula from under the Suez Canal. The team reached Taba by sunset where they took some photographs at the Egyptian-Israeli border. At this point, the team had been running behind schedule. And their journey from Taba to Dahab was dark and dangerous. For this reason they stopped several times on the way. Their planned eight hour journey took them about fourteen hours to complete. By the time they reached Dahab, everyone was pleased that they have made it safely and they can finally rest.
Saturday, October 15th, 2011
Early Saturday morning the team returned to the Pyramids of Giza for their photo shoots at the Giza Plateau.
After spending two hours, the riders were back on the road. They rode through Cairo’s traffic visiting famous landmarks as Kasr el Nile bridge, where the team stood for a moment of silence in remembrance of the martyrs of January 25th revolution, then the world’s famous Tahrir Square, which was the heart of the recent Egyptian revolution, and finally Abdeen Square, where Cairo Governor welcomed them and held an official reception and a press conference to the team.
The team then rode through through the historical parts of Islamic Cairo where they passed by Saladin’s Citadel of Cairo and its surrounding ancient aqua duct “Magra-Al Oyoun” before heading on their way to the last stop of the second day, Suez city on the way to the eastern Egyptian borders at Taba.
Friday, October 14th, 2011
The long awaited Cross Egypt Challenge has finally taken off from Alexandria on Friday, October 14th. The Cross Egypt Challenge team gathered Friday morning in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to bid farewell to their families, friends, and fans. There was a huge gathering on the Corniche where cameras flashed and people cheered as the riders hit the open road.
The team started their 1700 km journey right on schedule. Their first stop was at the Pyramids of Giza where a press conference was hold with the scenic back-drop of the sun setting on the Pyramids and Sphinx.