The get up and go spirit
Thursday the 13th of April, 23:00, and Tamar my wife and I are still discussing the coming festivities of my 55th. “An amazing motorcycle ride” I say “if its up to me”. Even though I usually prescribe to the notion that my birthday is other peoples problem as is there’s mine. Where? What?, asks Tamar a little alarmed, at the nering task. “Well”, I answer, “There is HW 10 that is opened for the holiday”. Never done that one supposed to be amazing. “That’s the end of world” comes the answer. well yes but it is beautiful and it is my birthday, I conclude. so it is set.
Day 1 – Zichron to Eilat 496Km
The next day, we’re getting stuff together, booking a last minute camping site, and getting the kids sorted out. So we head off. Its 11:00 when we head out and we decide to head down HW 6 the fastest shortest (toll road) straight to Arad.
The Muza restaurant our favorite, is a funky footballers place with tons of beer and great burgers. We opt for a salad and share a beer (me one taste, Tamar the rest), to keep us alive for the afternoon ride in the sun. It works and with one more stop we make it to the Yeelim Campsite at 17:00. A 80K pop to Eilat for diner and back to hit the sack (literally) but were too tired to be fussy. 496KM on the clock.
Day 2 – Eilat to Zichron 520Km
I wake up at the crack of dawn, no alarm, and manage to get in a few pictures of the Sun rising over the Moab mountains in Jordan. We love Jordan, and we love the Jordanians. Historically the promised land or the holy land sat on both sides of the Jordan river and until recent times, end of the 19th century these 2 countries were all ruled as one by the Ottoman empire. If you ever come and do a tour of both, you will find similarities in the history, the biblical stories, on both sides.
Back to our little adventure. The day begins a top one of King Solomon 3000 year old copper mines in Timna. the soil is still wet from the recent rain fall but the Super Tenre handles it with ease climbing over the mud and rocks. We fire up the coffee pot and begin what is going to be a fabulous birthday I am sure.
Eilat and the Red canyon
Tamar my beloved wife of 21 years is the adventures one of us. Consequently we are going to begin the touring part, after breakfast in Eilat, with a hike of the Red Canyon. This turns out to be a natural delight, a very short walk all of 2.5Km. Heading into what becomes a true delight to the eyes and and feet. It shouldn’t take more than an hour, says the ranger at the entrance, and it doesn’t. After climbing 4 ladders, and walking through sheer walls of red rock, climbing out and hiking. Trail is well marked and we are back in just under 48 min.
Finally after coming out of the canyon we meet a couple, who were turned away only 2 days ago when the rain had the place closed for fear of flash-floods. The chat quickly turns to bikes of course. my newly acquired friend used to ride bikes, and now, after his retirement, he wants to get back in the saddle. This couple is well traveled, but the TAMARBIKES Africa Expedition our motorcycle guided tour hit their fancy, and they take our card with eyes burning with a new excitement in them, as we hop back on and we are off still along way to ride today.
HW 10 – The lost High way of the southern border
HW10 runs between Sayarim Jct. 30Km north of Eilat on HW12, along the Israel – Egypt border theoretically right up to the Gaza Strip. Practically even in its good days it never had any civilian use north of Nitzana border crossing point. Initially, as a result of the security situation in the area, the I.D.F. limited the ride on this road to daylight and to convoys of 2 vehicles or more. Later, the army closed it off completely for civilian use.
The Israel Egypt border is a straight line running from Eilat to Gaza negotiated between Britain (Occupier of Egypt at the time) and the ottoman empire occupier of the territories know as southern Syria back in 1906. Britain occupied Israel only after 1917 when general Alenby conquers it and runs the Turks out of it. The British are the first to call it Palestine – A.i (I standing for Israel).
Back to HW 10 an amazing motorcycle ride
After this short history lesson HW 10 is a 200Km almost completely straight run through desolated yet breathtaking desert scenery with the Negev desert on one side and the Sinai desert on the other, with the
road roller-coasting, threading through long plains high mountain peaks with look-outs and military out-posts from both sides of this very quiet border. Finally, we stop for a coffee break. As we are about to sit an R1200GSA trots by. We invite him to join us and he stops and drinks with us. Again more talk about riding, motorcycle touring, kit and Itzhak, this lone rider with full camping gear, is interested in my D-Explore 4 season adventure suit. After many thousands of miles I can say it is the best on the market. As he is rides off, I promise to get him some info about it.
Ezuz and Nitzana
So its back on the road heading north again. Pushing hard towards the edge of HW 10 The Tenere for the Nitzana border post. Additionally, the neglected asphalt is challenging and rewarding at the same time. Likewise, an occasional flood from a river crossing just adds to the challenge. Soon, we arrive at the Ezuz Cafe, a local desert bar, is our final food stop before we head home. It is a surprising delight. Just before Ezuz, we are on gravel. As a result I’m singing in the helmet. This has to be the best birthday ever. Later, after a short break and a chat with another group of bikers, we are off. Finally, It’s 250Km to home, but on perfect roads, with the cruise control set to 150 KMH, it shouldn’t be long.
Home sweet home – 1016KM!!
Arriving just as the sun is setting and temperatures are dropping. it’s getting chilly since we are dressed for the desert. I see 1016 Km on the tach as I drive into the driveway. As a result, I can feel the ride in my bones, but I’m happy. Tamar is exhausted and within an hour after a quick shower and unpacking she is fast asleep. Later that night, I am still fiddling with the cameras and Dropbox. Wouldn’t swap it for any other celebration.