We arranged our half day trip through the guys at our haveli. We left at 2:00pm in a jeep and made two stops before the camel ride.
The first was at some royal tombs and the second was at a deserted Brahman village. The story goes that the Prime Minister wanted to marry a Brahmin girl but it was not allowed because he was of a lower caste. He tried everything to get them to change their minds but they refused.
As Prime Minister, he raised taxes and prices for goods and made life miserable for the town. So much so that one night the whole town just up and left. The town is mostly just crumpled buildings now but there is a temple and two homes that you can walk through.
Camel treks can be arranged anywhere from 1/2 day - 3 weeks. I think many people go in groups overnight or maybe for up to three days and visit small desert villages. There are a couple popular places where everyone likes to go because of the sand dunes: Sam and Khuri. Luckily our camel ride was not planned for either of these places because tourist bus after tourist bus passed us on their way to one of those places.
We stopped at one of the tent hotels and started our ride from there, just the four of us, the guide and his young son. We had two camels, named Frodo and Sam (named by Alanna and Craig - wonder what books they are reading?). Craig and I went on one and Michael and Alanna on the other. We walked past one little village where the people didn't even have huts, just little fences roped together to stake their claim to a little piece of earth.
The camel ride was an hour through the desert to some nice sand dunes. There were only a handful of tourists here and there on the dunes. The kids ran up and down the dunes and some gypsy ladies with their babies came and sang for us - for one reason only of course - money. And who shows up next but a guy with a bag full of chips and beer. We shooed them away so we could enjoy watching the camels, the dunes and the sunset.
On the way back Alanna and Craig rode together. I went with Michael and this time I got to ride in the front with the stirrups - it was way more comfortable. We got to run quite a bit on the way back and it was so much fun - the kids loved it and giggled the whole time.