Throw-Back Thursday: “If You Don’t Mine, It Don’t Matter”

There is sand in the Sinai Desert. Lots of sand. There is wind in the Sinai Desert. Lots of wind. There are landmines in the Sinai Desert. Lots of landmines, some dating back to the ’56 war. Most of them are still functional.

When wind and sand collide, the sand moves. In waves. The sand does not respect manmade things. Manmade things such as roads or landmarks, or mine fields. Sand does not care if it inconveniences you. Or puts your life in danger. Sand has no conscience and actually does not give two shits about you or me, or anyone or anything.

Sand is just sand.

These truths about sand were to become blatantly obvious to me one day back in 1978. I was driving my Chevy Van Passenger Vehicle to the Suez Canal to rendezvous with a similar R&R vehicle coming from Cairo. My vehicle was loaded with ten passengers, all very happy to be headed out on R&R. It was my simple job to get them to the rendezvous point so they could take the little boat across the canal, climb into the other van and head on to Cairo and their scheduled flights back to The Real World.

From SFM Base Camp to Suez is about thirty klicks.


SFM Base Camp Located Between
The Giddi and Mitla Passes

Travel time on average, an hour and change, depending on how long the Egyptians wanted to detain me at the check points along the way. I always brought along some packs of Marlboros to provide them when they insisted on ‘baksheesh’. No big deal. I could afford the bribe. Hell, in our little BX (Base Exchange) cigarettes were three bucks a carton.

This particular day back in ’78 was a day after a particularly savage sand storm. The roads to Suez are passable most days. And safe. Off-roading is not safe.

Stay on the pavement.

I can compare it to the line from Apocalypse Now: “Never get out of the boat.”

As I drew closer and closer to the canal the roads began to get more and more difficult to discern. Now mind you, I had made the canal run many, many times, but I am a guy who can get lost in his own hometown of Honey Grove Texas, Population 1800. This is a small town, not too many ways to get lost, unless you are real creative. I am real creative.

I came to a point whereby I just could no longer make out the paved road. I took a turn in the general direction of the canal, hoping to pick up the road again after a few minutes. As I was bumping along I noticed one of those landmine signs:


So did my passengers.

They freaked. I suppose this could be considered a normal reaction. They all started jabbering at once. I invited them to shut the hell up, and then I calmly backed the fuck out of the mine field, carefully retracing my inbound route.

Once I got back to the spot where I had obviously taken a wrong turn, I took the other turn and eventually made it to Suez. Picked up the inbound passengers and didn’t even have any shit to clean up in my vehicle, but I think at least one of my passengers had shit his pants.

Now all I had to do was make it back to Base Camp without any more drama. I gave it fifty-fifty.


Home, Safe Home

More to come on SFM

Here is a related post.

And another “Hello Minefield In The Sand”

And one more here

Thank You For Your Visit.

Comments always welcomed.

14 thoughts on “Throw-Back Thursday: “If You Don’t Mine, It Don’t Matter”

  1. You are such a masterful story teller. I love your metaphors and voice. This is indeed a scary story. Glad you lived to tell it !

  2. That is some scary sandstorm shitstorm, Lance. I am impressed you were able to keep cool and backtrack the heck out of there.

  3. In Deed and in spirit.
    Thank you, Friend.
    Thank you for stopping by.
    Thank you for commenting
    Thank you for making me smile.
    All is very much..

  4. Uh…
    Thanks Sandra.
    But you are mistook:
    I am simple
    I love your comment, by the way, and I love that you took the time…

  5. You have a way with words, friend. A natural storyteller, you are. I get lost easily too. My husband likes to say I could get lost in our backya…wait, you said that too! Ha! We must be related!


  6. This post proves the exact opposite of your own comment, Lance. You’re no simpleton. Terrifying story. A good read though! Cheers

  7. Oh, I understand Heathen’s comment! I am with him. You stand a better chance at surviving a run in with his list than with sand storms and land minds! The later don’t give a damn one way or another!

  8. I guess I really am a simple mother-fucker (truth be told).
    I am beginning to understand your comment, but my brain often only hits on three cylinders.

  9. Uh…Heathen…
    Ya kinda lost me here…
    Lemme ponder for a mite (yes, mites are people too)

    Great comment, (even though it obviously flew over my head)

    I never know what to expect from you (or me, for that matter) but, it is always good.
    Cheers my Friend,

  10. I’d much rather take my chances with bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, and various other potentially lethal hazards that have a fuck to give about whether or not they survive our encounters!

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