Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to go to Doha, Qatar to watch the first MotoGP round and test out Michelin's new Pilot Power RS street tire. Due to some dealer meetings and track obligations, we had several days in between the race and tire test, which meant it was time for me to try and work as much as I could at night so I could explore during the day.

As soon as my friends found out about my trip, they told me it didn't count unless I played in some sand dunes, saw a camel, and drove a supercar. When I found out we were going to Dubai for a day, I started looking into ways to make it happen because I love a good challenge.

Burj Khalifa
Dubai from the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.Sean MacDonald

Luckily, the internet is a wonderful place, and I had several messages in my Instagram inbox once I started posting pictures and stories from Doha. One of those connected me with a guy named Ryan Blair who ran an off-road tour company outside of Dubai, and the other was for a service that rented supercars. I promise, my life is rarely this lucky.

We met Ryan in the parking lot of a soccer stadium at 8am with only a few hours before we needed to be back in the city, dressed in nothing more than jeans and t-shirts. If Ryan's red hair wasn't the first tip that he wasn't a local, his thick Scottish accent cemented that he must have an interesting story. When asked how he ended up here, taking us out on a tour of the desert, he said "I came here to for two weeks to race motocross and ended up staying five years. It's the best riding I've ever seen, if you like the desert that is."

Side by side
The SRG Enduro Tour vehicle options are raaaaad.Sean MacDonald

When given the choice between bikes and side-by-sides, I opted for a cage given that I've had a propensity to toss myself down sand dunes lately, and that we had superbikes to ride at Qatar the next day.

I'd considered bringing a dirt helmet from home, but thought that might jinx my chances of getting to ride in the dirt, so Ryan gave us loaner helmets and a three-minute overview of the Can-Am Maverick 1000R Turbos we'd be riding. We were chasing his Husqvarna FE 500 into the dunes by 8:30. I regretted my decision to forgo a bike by 8:45.

Camels
A flock of camels.Sean MacDonald

It rained in Dubai for several days before we'd arrived, which meant the sand was now hard enough to provide a ton of traction, but soft enough to allow for slip when desired. In other words, it was perfect. Something that Ryan never ceased to show off as he wheelied every straight and threw little whips over every jump.

The Can-Am Mavericks are perfectly suited for dune duty. There's plenty of power for when the sand gets soft, ample suspension for the little whoops, and they handle predictably enough that my only struggles really came when Ryan hit some huge jump or we passed roaming camels and I forgot to pay attention to where I was going.

We stopped at a large fenced-in area with what looked like huge batting cages in the distance. "Those are the falcon pens for some prince. The one on the left has a bird in it he bought for like $1.3 million or something."

Did I mention that this place was awesome? On top of the fancy palaces and arena sized bird cages, the land is available for all to use pretty much however they please. It does mean that weird buildings or power lines will ruin the idea that you're completely in nature, but being able to ride anywhere is really cool.

We paused to drink water while Ryan further cemented that he was at home in the dunes by hucking 50 foot jumps off dunes. Then we realized that it was already time to head back.

On the way back, we came across a pack of camels, including three adult camels and five or six babies. We gave them some distance so as not to spook the new ones, and Ryan fed and pet one of them until my camera spooked them (vlog coming soon once I learn how to edit video).

Ryan Blair
Sometimes you just gotta stop and pet the camels.Sean MacDonald

When we got back to Ryan's truck, I noticed he'd left all his spare gear in the bed of the truck and I asked about if he was worried it would ever get stolen. "Dude, they chop people's hands off for stealing here—I leave my bikes and gear in the truck overnight."

Once back at SRG Enduro Tours, Ryan's shop, we saw a fleet of new Husky 500's as well as their fabrication shop, where the local elite have their 1,000 hp sand rails and dune buggies built. The company offers a variety of services, the best of which are only accessible to people with bank accounts far larger than I'll ever see.

However, their most popular services is a four hour dirt tour through the desert which includes the bike, gear, and one of them as a guide. It'll will run you about $250. They also do a two hour tour for beginners, which is more of an instruction on how to ride. If you want more, they do full day, three-day, and five-day tours that cross the entire desert and hit pretty much every kind of riding environment. For you racers, they also do a lot of training with Dakar riders and other desert racers who need a guide or a tuneup.

This trip to Qatar and Dubai was maybe one of the best I've ever been on, and my two hours in the desert was easily one of the highlights. The people and food were absolutely incredible, and the riding was unbelievable. If you're thinking about traveling somewhere foreign to do some riding and you're even interested in doing it off-road, I can't recommend going to Dubai and riding with Ryan and his crew at SRG Enduro Tours strongly enough.

Sean MacDonald
Tourists doing tourist stuff.Ryan Blair

Sadly, the dude with the Ferrari stood us up so I was only able to hit two of my three goals for the trip, but that's just more reason to go back again.

Burj Khalifa
Dubai is like Las Vegas, but on steroids.Sean MacDonald