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When a helicopter lands in front of you

Rodger

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This week, along with @Dave2000, we went for a short off-roading break in the Tabernas desert just running familiar trails. But a few weeks ago the area suffered from torrential rains so we knew that the topography would have changed considerably however that is part of the attraction of the area. The rain in the mountains becomes a powerful and devastating force as it rushes down and turns 100+ yard wide dry river beds into raging torrents that move gravel, rocks both large and small, create sink holes and tear bushes and trees from the banks.
It was raining on the day we arrived so we made camp, drank tea and caught up (as you do!) but the second day dawned with a cloudless sky, The first trail we chose had to be aborted after several miles as the rains had undermined it too much and after walking it for a further mile decided that to attempt it would cause more damage which , of course, is not our intention. So we climbed out of that valley and drove the short way to another trail but as we dropped down the access path to the main trail we were stopped as it was currently being used as a film set. We parked and wandered through the undergrowth for a quick nosey and then went to another trail. This, in the past, was not difficult starting with a thirty foot climb out of a DRB and then very straight forward but a great place for lunch under the overhanging rock from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, except the access route was no longer there! Dave and I worked out an access route over the rocks but I had never done rock crawling however, after I managed to remember to select low range(!), I have now.
After lunch we went to another trail most of which is on higher ground except for the river crossing. The rains had taken their toll with the wash outs being bigger, several sink holes and the section that crosses a steep slope was even more steep. This was tricky for Dave as he has the RTT, ladders, HL jack, two jerry cans (luckily empty), spare wheel and a solar panel on his roof rack so this potentially makes the 80 top heavy but he also places water, spares and other heavy kit low down and his 80 is on stock suspension but he made it across without mishap although a lifted 80 with a similarly loaded roof may not have been as lucky. There was much more wash out in the damp river bed so we had to pick a different route across.
The sun shone for our third and final day and we decided that we would run the big DRB with the aim of accessing a small, very beautiful valley we know for lunch. In this valley the only tracks we have ever seen have been made by vehicles that we have taken there. So we started down the much-changed DRB - this is the river that takes all the waters coming from the surrounding hills/mountains and is nearly a kilometre wide in parts with the narrowest points being over 100 yards. After a couple of hours of picking our way along the DRB I noticed Dave had stopped and was checking his tyres and then I heard a clicking noise and then Corinne spotted a low flying helicopter which passed us, no problem. We started again and he turned and was obviously shaping up to land which ha did about fifty yards ahead of us, so we stopped and out climbed a Guardia Civil Officer. Strapping his gun on he then walked towards us. [The Guardia Civil was created by Franco and not disbanded when Spain became a democracy and they appear when you least expect them!]. After a very civil conversation where we explained we had obtained permission from the Tabernas town hall several years ago (only full 4x4s are allowed to run the trails - no cross-overs or SUVs) he explained that with the danger of flash floods they required us to leave the DRB. The nearest exit route was about four kilometres downstream and is about 100 yards before the concealed entry to the valley! We opted to take the exit but then he had the gun!!!
A short drive saw us into another, much smaller, river bed; one which leads to a trail that climbs onto the hill tops and virtually back to the campsite about 3 hours away.
A very enjoyable few days, although it may be a while before we find out if the GC are going to fine us (they are a law unto themselves and this is Spain).

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The filmset
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Dave on the start of the rock climb
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On our way back down
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We could be in trouble!

Regards,
Rodger
 

clivehorridge

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Sounds like a very interesting trip Rodger, with plenty of events forcing you too take/try new routes and tracks.

Those white objects look a bit like wind turbine nose-cones...

Your Guardia Civil don't mess about do they? Anywhere else, like here, they’d be given an old beat-up buggy or SUV to patrol in:lol:
 

stumog

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EU grant Clive.

Sounds like a fun outing can wait to get down that way
 

Rodger

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They could have been wind turbine nose cones but planted and made to look like abandoned rocket noses. Some of the kit had Cyrillic lettering on it so may be another planet scene. The production company have worked with many of the famous film directors.

The GC get all the kit - plus Patrols or 120s for road use in country areas (cars in towns) - but helicopters are used a lot round here for fire spotting/fighting, ambulances, etc.. and each village has a helipad.

I should have said that a part of the big DRB runs beside a motorway so undoubtedly that is why we were spotted as all the motorways in Spain are camera-ed and that section does get undermined by the raging waters.

The desert changes all the time which is why we keep going back there.

Regards,

Rodger
 

Rodger

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Not necessarily Stu as the GC got the pick of the kit and the biggest budgets long before Spain joined the EU. They are a powerful lobby and have retained their power even though they no longer have a specific role. We have local police, city police, traffic police, secret police and the GC fill in the other bits and turn up every where.

When I first visited Spain in the late 60s the GC had all the kit and all the power as they were Franco's private army. Then they use to ride around on motorcycle combinations with machine guns mounted on the sidecars and to this day they still hold the power of confiscation of your vehicle, arrest (without just cause) and instant fines although tourists are treated with respect but living here one needs to be aware.

Regards,

Rodger
 

Dave 2000

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As I continually get the message 'Landcruiser.net is not responding due to long running scripts' when visiting this site I cannot be as active as I would like to be.

Anyway, after ill health stopped our summer trip this was the first chance I have had to get out, and Roger and Corrine are always ready to go somewhere....anywhere. Just the three days but work (me) and social commitments (R & C) stopped us staying longer.

The GC turning up was a surprise, I thought the 80 had a tyre issue.....again, don't go there those that know! But as you gathered from Rodgers post it was the helicopter, fingers crossed they will not issue a fine, a friend in the local police said it would be unusual but it will be awhile before we know.

Anyway, thank to Rodger and Corrine for the break, I needed it.

regards

Dave
 
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