Motorcycle tours were always the realization of the self for me, and the bike was the physical expression of being a free man. It’s more than 45 years now that the bike is “A way of life” for me and not only a “Tool for transportation”. That is why most of the time I had at least 2 to 5 motorcycles at the same time. Some are for the road, and the others are for off-road. That is why I had more than 100 different bikes in my life. This is not about money, but about the will to fulfill my sense of destiny. My attitude was always like that: If I have for example $50k for a car and a bike, then I will buy 2 or 3 bikes for $49k and a car for $1k. I think I’ve made my point.
If I look back at my 60 years of life and try to identify the picks of happiness that I had, then I could say that the few occasions were:
A) The births of my 2 kids.
B) When I was away somewhere on the motorcycle, while the camping equipment is on.
The first time in my life, when I understood that I have this “Wandering Instinct” in me, was at the age of sweet 16, when I took my 50cc Honda CD and traveled alone for weeks. Since then and until now, I crossed like half of the world and still got another half to complete. Every time when I plan a tour, I need to take in consideration the character of the tour, the kind of the roads and the off-roads, and if I will sleep in the tent or hotels / friends / family. That is how I choose the right bike and the right equipment for that tour.
- France and central Europe: Suzuki GS 1000
- Cyprus: Honda: CB 750
- Rhodes Island: Kawasaki KX 250
- Sinai Peninsula and Egypt: Yamaha XT 600
- Greece and turkey #1: Kawasaki VN 1500 (With my partner Arik Kehat on Yamaha GTS 1000)
- Scandinavia: Yamaha XJ 900 (With my partner Arik Kehat on Yamaha GTS 1000)
- Greece and turkey #2: BMW R 1100 GS
- USA Tour #1: Kawasaki GTR 1000
- USA and Central America Tour:1 #2: Honda GL 1200
- USA Tour #3: Honda CBR 1000
- Morocco: BMW R 1200 GS
- Alps and Central Europe: BMW R 100 GS PD
- USA Tour #4: Honda GL 1500
- USA Tour #5: Kawasaki ZN 1200
- Greece and Italy: BMW R 1150 GS ADV. (With my partner Arik Kehat on BMW K 1200 LT)
- India (North): Royal Enfield 350
- USA Tour #6: BMW K 1200 LT
- And some more…..
However, the tour that had the most influence on me in the meaning of “A tour to the risky un-known” was that one to Egypt. That was actually dangerous those days because it was 1 year after the terror attack on the bus in Luxor at 1997, where 62 tourists died. The fear and the concerned for tourist’s life was in the air. At this tour, I went to look for MY PERSONAL BORDERS. I surely found them.
So, those days I had 5 bikes. I chose the Yamaha XT 600 for this tour due to the desert roads I knew I would encounter. Lots of them. On top of that, you don’t take an expensive bike to a third world country. I arranged 2 bags for 2 gallons extra gas in both sides of the tank. I didn’t know then that they will save me twice in the western desert of Egypt. I took 2 spare tires as well, tools, a jerrycan for water, a tent, sleeping bag and nunchaku (The only legal weapon you can cross borders with).
Well. One day of the tour I stopped to check the bike and the equipment on it, and then I am on my way down south to Taba. I had a visa to Egypt for me, but I didn’t have the “Carnet-de-Passages en Douanees”(CPD) document that identifies a traveler’s motor vehicle for the customs, if you want to drive a motor vehicle to Egypt and not only to Sinai. At the Egyptian border they requested $400 for a “Carnet”, In Sinai, you drive with a yellow registration number plate, and in Egypt you need a white number plate.
What ??? Do they expect me deposit $400 into the hands of a Douanees customs officer, and then hope to get it back on my way out? Am I crazy? No way. “I am going only to Sinai,” I said. So, I got a yellow Sinai plate and bye bye. I will manage somehow. I had a crazy idea that the Egyptian police / army might not know that information. I was wrong, as I have discovered later on.
The first stop in Sinai – Nueba. I tuned the switch in my mind “On” to “sand dunes and quiet-ness. I cooked my meal on the fire at the shore of the Red Sea. I love it so much. It’s like transferring in time to another era. A few days in dreamy Nueba, and I jump on XT (That’s the name I call him) and put the head light direction south to Dahab.
In daytime, it is so calm and quit. Sun, diving, The Blue Hole (seen well from the surface of the water with a diving mask), the white sand, the blue sky. Near the Blue Hole on the beach, there are many graves of divers that were diving those 70m down to the Blue Hole, but didn’t make it out of many reasons, Most of them were accidents. Anyway, why go diving that deep when there is no hospital with Autoclave in case of diving accidents?
Night time, what a noise! All the coffee bars and restaurants are located one after the other and every one of them with different music in full volume, smell of the Hookah, weed and who knows what else. Everything here in Dahab is too commercial for me. I want to go back to the silent. Good morning Sinai and I am on XT, face south to Sharm-al-Shikh, The southern point of Sinai.
At the entrance to “Sharm”, I see a “Rent a Motorcycle” business. Here I may find someone to talk to about sneaking into Egypt without the “Carne”. Yasser, the owner of the business is a “Total Psychological Disturbed”, since after he invited me to his home for launch, He said, “Let’s see the Sunset from the top of the mountain”. I left all my loaded gear off the bike at his home, and I have noticed that he is taking his XT, driving only with his sandals, t-shirt and shorts, flying like a kite on the off-road trails, while I am trying to reach him. What a waste of a talented off-road driver.
“Yasser, I need to enter Egypt and I don’t have the Carnet”, I said to him. He is smiling, picks up his mobile and calling his friend, an angler who owns a small boat, and will sail tomorrow morning to Hurghada, the closest distance between Sharm in south Sinai and Egypt.
It’s early in the morning, I am at the small port of “Sharem”, talking to Salam the fisherman – Yasser’s friend. $40 goes to him, Borders Police, passport stamped and his 3 guys are lifting by hands the XT with all the gear up to the boat.
Diesel engine’s smoke, high sea and I have learned all there is to know about vomiting. The hardest 5 hours of my life. However, every bad thing contains something good. Monica. A Chinese student girl, who studies in Germany is on the boat with me, brings me tea and water all the time, so I will not get dry out.
Monica, an angel in a woman’s body, became to be part of the tour down to Aswan dam. Patience. Nothing is simple in Egypt. You make plans and God is laughing. By the way, 6 month later, me and Arik Kehat (My partner to some of the tours) visited Monica in Germany on the way back from Nordcap in Norway.
So, at this time we are still at the “Port of Hurghada”. I look at the exit gate, police and army are there. I do have a visa for myself but not the “Carnet” for the bike. Someone with yellow teeth approaching us and offers a B & B hotel, $4 per a night for both of us. “Ok” I said to him. “We will come with you to the hotel, only if you lead me out of this port not trough the main gate”. He smiled and exposed his yellow teeth and says: “Follow me”. Monica in his car and I follow. He leads me to the end side of the port, where the fence was damaged.
I am in Egypt. All I can do now is pray to the “God of the Motorcyclists”, hoping that the police and the army of Egypt are Miss-knowledge, concerning the info about Egypt / Sinai rules of the registration numbers: Yellow for Sinai, white for Egypt as you remember.
Morning. Monica and I are looking at her “Tourist Guide Book” for a hotel in Luxor to meet there, since the bike is loaded and I got no extra helmet for her. She took the bus to Luxor and I started driving the road down south. As I leave the city, there is an Army Barrier stopping me for documents.
“Nationality?” Asked me the officer, “Australian” I said (Because an Israeli in Egypt can be risky). “Passport” he said, “Ohh, troubles” I think to myself. I give him the Passport and he see that it is an Israeli one. “Why did you say Australian”? He gets angry. I see his neck’s vein starts swelling, and I realize that if I don’t come up right now with a creative idea, I am in a big trouble. So, I took off the helmet and explained him that “In the helmet it’s difficult to talk so Israelian / Australian sounds the same. I never said Australia” talking while I shake my jaw from side to side. Somehow he forgave me, thanks to the God of the motorcyclists. The accelerator handle is open and XT is barking. Goodbye Hurghada.
A pick up with a driver, an officer and 4 soldiers in the back are stopping me, telling me they have to companion me. What ??? I don’t want any escort or company, I am traveling alone and don’t need an organized tour, so I asked the officer “Are you afraid from me”? “No”, he said, “We are guarding you, since last year there was a terror attack against a tourist’s bus in Luxor and many died”. “Ohh ok, I know that story. Listen, attacking a bus creates news, I am only one so no news”, I am trying to convince him to leave me alone. Nothing helps. I couldn’t get reed of them. “Follow us to Luxor”. I did. “Everything is for the good” I try to make sense with myself.
So, every 50-70 miles another team replaces them. After 200 miles of mostly off-roads, we arrived to Luxor. they say “Goodbye and good luck”. “Thank you good soldiers and an officer”.
Luxor, hotel, Monica. The smile is back to my face. $1.5 for B&B. I do not open the tent for that price. XT is in the lobby for the night, otherwise I don’t take the room. That was my rule in Egypt and it worked. My muscles are trapped and I need a massage. Thank you Monica.
Morning. I cross the Nile on the ferry. A half dollar for me and for XT and we are at the “Valley of Kings”. Its appearance is nothing compared to the glorious past of Egypt. The temples and the graves remained there 5,000 years for the next generations to tell them forever about the impressive history that took place there in the distant past.
At the entry of the “Valley of the kings”, there 2 huge beautiful statues. I stop to take a picture and here are 2 “Policemen” approaching me. “Passport” they say. I am looking at them and don’t feel comfortable. They wore police officers uniforms but no police car, no radio communication. I said “No, if you want my passport let’s go to the police station, only there I will give it to you”. Now they started to play the “Good / bad policeman”. They are asking, shouting, pushing, and nothing. I had a feeling they are not police officers as they wanted me to think. After like 20 minutes of their game, they gave up and I drove away. As I always say, “In those places if you give your passport away, it might be very expensive to get it back.
I drive along the amazing valley, and here is a brand new MZ motorcycle (Produced in East Germany) standing near a pottery factory. I stopped looking for the owner of the bike and it comes out that he is the owner of the factory too. Yusuf invited me for a coffee, He is telling and showing the newspaper with a picture of him with president Mubarak, who came to thank him personally for what he did. The story was that Yusuf was a police officer when the terror attack took place there in Luxor the year before, and he chased the terrorists to the mountains and killed 3 out of 7 that were participating the attack. A brave young man.
“Let’s go to my house for lunch,” he offers. “Sure”. He drives the MZ off-road as if the Devil was chasing him. His pet is a “King Cobra” snake. After the fancy meal, his wife prepared the hookah with Hashish (Shisha as he calls it). “No thanks” I said, remembering my decision at the age of 16 that “narcotics and alcohol can never be good friends”. Looks like he never heard of the word “Danger” and he is completely mixed up in the head. On the other hand, he and his wife are wonderful hosts. Good-bye nice people.
I drive on to the Hatshepsut Temple. After an interesting experience while meditating there, I leave the temple and look around me. On the hill, I see a small “Muddy Houses Village”. I climb the narrow trail, there are like 20 houses and I choose the last one to stop there in the front yard. An old man comes out smiling. I use my Arabic to speak to him, and asking to drink coffee. In the Arabic mentality, if a guest comes and asks for a coffee, that means he respects the house and the people in it. He invited me in and I see a cross and a picture of Jesus above the door. “Coptic Christians” I think to myself. There are like 10% of the population between all the other Muslims. This old man that I thought like 75 is only 45 years old. Good Lord, what the Sun does to them! “Where are you from”? He wants to know. “Australia” I say while smiling. “So how did you get your Arabic?” he suspects. “I just came after 6 month with the Bedouins in Sinai”. I tried to convince him, He buys the story. A white lie. Sorry. It is a survival issue.
It’s 2.30 PM and want to go, while out of the back room comes Badra, their daughter. 21 years in age, good English, a student in Luxor University. We are talking and talking, when all of a sudden I feel that the Sun if falling. I looked at my watch, 7.30 PM. Wow, time flies. Last ferry that is crossing the Nile to Luxor is at 8 PM. I have to run. Badra is asking me to stay as a guest. “I have nothing here with me,” I explain. Tears of an insult to their hospitality are dropping. I promise to come back after I will be back from Asuan. OK, agreed.
Thoughts of sin are crossing my mind. I told her family that I am from Australia and in the middle of a tour. She will probably expect me to take her out of the village to the wide world. Australia sound like a good place to be, and I am in a deep trouble with my conscience. Does surviving justify white lies? Well, yes and no. depends on the situation I assume. I do console myself that in this case it does.
The morning after, Monica takes the bus to Asuan, so we’ll meet there. As I am leaving Aswan, I get again a military escort in front of me. 160 miles (like 250 KM) of funny roads to Aswan.
Aswan dam, the biggest ecological disaster for the Nile’s fertile crescent. This wrong adventure changed the life of the people, and the animals of the land and the sea. The first goal of this tour been accomplished.
Monica and I are back to the city. She wants to climb back north on a Nile’s Felucca (A sailboat) up to Luxor. 3 days of sailing and nights camps at the stations on the way.
Hugs and kisses, “Will we ever meet again”? I think to myself. What I didn’t know at the time was that we definitely will. That was on the way back from the Scandinavian tour 6 month later in Germany. So, thank you for 3 wonderful days “Little China Girl”. Only when we travel, we may face those wonderful meetings with people. Ahhh……
Back to Luxor. I have a promise to keep. Badra. I buy a few presents for Badra’s wonderful family, and heading back to the Valley of Kings, climbing again the trail to their muddy house on the hill, which is near the Hatshepsut Temple. A long table full of food and people dressed nicely are having my reception. I was sure that someone has a birthday or an “Engagement Party”. “What is this happiness for”? I ask. That is for me. I am the king of the naivest as that was for my “engagement” with Badra.
They are sitting me down beside her older sister and her brother-in-law. Drams and music. Her brother-in-law advises me to put some money on the tray when she brings the coffee. “No problem” I said to him, “But why”? “Don’t you know our Traditional custom asking for the girl’s hand? If she takes the money, it’s a Yes and she will marry you. “Ohh” I am in trouble all right. Trapped all the way”. What do I do not to hurt her? “I need an earthquake to swallow me right now”. A huge big fat dilemma.
It’s 7.30 PM and I need to go. Last ferry is at 8 PM. Badra is crying. So we decided on a compromise. She has another year to finish her B.A and I need to finish my tour. So the plan was that I will call her sister’s house (who is living in Luxor) every Friday at 5 PM local time, and within a year we will meet again here. I felt suffocation. I know that it is not going to happened. Travels contains good and bad experiences. I never called.
“Badra, I hope you are happily married today,” I pray to the “God of the bikers”.
My nose is pointing north through the western desert. I feel like a drunk, but not out of Alcohol or similar. An army barrier, “What are they doing in the middle of the desert”? For God’s sake. “Nationality” says the officer. This one has an extremely bad face. “Israel” I say. I do not take a risk this time. Maybe the God of the ‘bikers’ is sleeping now.
“Israel”? I see that his face gets red. “Well, Israel / Egypt peace process is not too successful” I think to myself. The soldiers are surrounding me, and start cursing and kicking. The officer has my passport. “Here is a situation,” I say to myself. I get off the bike and approaching him. “I want my passport back,” I shout at him. “You can’t control your solders”. He sees the developing problem and gives it back, while shouting at his solders to keep away. I jump on the bike and accelerate away, thinking that they could have me killed and bury me in the sand. No one could ever find me even if they searched for a 1000 years. “I was looking for that, wasn’t I”?
Riding in the Desert off-road. Warm wind. From time to time trucks pass by, some asphalt here and there, and in every mile there is the road sign “Do not overtake”. Why ??? I only see a car or a truck once in an hour or so. Those sighs are funny. Who will overtake whom?
The hunger is annoying me. I drive through a forgotten village somewhere in the Western Desert. I drive on the main road, and see a bike with only one person on it. Usually there are at least 5. One is In the front on the gas tank, which is the youngest son, than the driver, the middle son, the mother and the bigger son is closing the list in the back. That one I see now is alone. Poor man, doesn’t he have a family? Friends? Someone to ride with?
Here is a restaurant. I stop. People are looking at me like at an alien. Falafel, eggplant salad, vegetables, broad bean, bottle of water, tea and baklawa, all comes to $0.75. I gave the waiter $2, he almost fainted. He was shaking and bowed so deep, that he almost hit the floor with his forward. Wonderful people.
The desert calls me. “Come”. I tighten and oil the drive chain, oil checkup, fill up the gas and accelerate. The bike is coughing. The gas is in a quality of goat’s urine. Hours on hours of driving on rocky roads. I am full of thoughts, Miss my kids. XT stopped. “What do you want?” I get off and shout at him. I keep away and look at him, trying to understand why he stopped.
“Why did you stop my friend”? I am looking at him like 10 minutes and do not get it. A group of eagles starts to do circles above. I am under pressure now. It’s the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden, I look at the gas tank faucet. “I am out of gas,” I say to myself. I forgot the initial movement when “No gas” position is taking place, and it’s to turn the faucet to the “Reserve position”. “God of the bikers”, I was so deep in my thoughts.
I look above at the circle of eagles and shout at them, “Not this time you’re ugly chickens”. The leader of the group gets angry, “He called us ugly chickens”, says the “Screaming eagle” and organize the group to dive on me. I am jumping on XT and draw 8 in the send. I am out of here.
Twice during this tour, I was out of the gas in the middle of “Nowhere”, and both times the extra gas tank bags on the side saved me from getting stuck.
Traveling sand dune covered the road. I get off and climb on it to see what is out there in the other side. I drive back to collect some speed and fly over the dune. Once, Alan Katz, my favorite bike globetrotter told me that in cases like that, “What you don’t see doesn’t exist”. This is the extract of “Off-road riding”.
The sun kisses the dunes. Time to open the tent and set up the fire. I check the environment for snakes or scorpions and arrange myself. The zippers of the tent must be close in all times. Soup, rice, tea, a smile and good night dreams. “The journey is the purpose of everything”. Here you need to bring yourself with all of your navigations skills, improvision ability, quick decisions making, being connected to the nature. The pleasure of the simple things that life has to offer. “The smallest amount of money buys the biggest pleasures,” I think to myself.
This is my 3rd week in Egypt, and soon I will arrive to Cairo. I want to see the “Pyramids” in Giza and the “Sphinx”, as well as the “The Egyptian Museum”.
Good morning “Western Desert”. I decide to drive a longer way today, like 400 miles (650 km) to El-Minya, direction Cairo. El-Minya is the village where the terrorists of the “Luxor tourist’s bus attack” came from. Camping fire, hot herbal tea and I am on my way. What I didn’t know at the time, was that this is going to be THE day of the tour. After all, just to remind you, I went there to look for my personal borders. Well, I did find them that day.
The day was extremely hot. I drank like crazy and the road was so negative to me. Damned desert. Will it ever end? I am alone on those roads, so have to be careful. I started to drive at 8.30 AM and it’s noon now. 200 miles are behind me, most of it was off-road. It’s squeezing me.
It’s 7PM. Darkness of the dessert is lightened by the stars. Diamonds dots. A military checkpoint is stopping me. “Passport”. They knew I have to come since the last barrier staff told them and they were expecting me. Those solders were really taking great care and felt responsible for the tourists. I don’t remember when I was so extremely tired, beside in my army service. I wanted to cross the Nile on the bridge to El-Minya to look for a hotel after this crazy day, but they didn’t let me. “Why”? I ask the officer. “This village is too dangerous for tourists,” he explains. “It makes sense” I think to myself. “You have to drive another 100 miles to Beni Suef” He says.
“What ??? It’s dark and I am tired to the bones, driving for 11 hours and doing 350 miles, the headlight of the bike is not good for desert night drive on unpaved roads. Let me sleep here in my tent and in the morning I will continue” I was trying to talk to the officer’s heart.
“Not possible” he answers. I felt broken. I went a side for a while in the darkness, away from the fire and the solders. Sitting on the sand, asking myself “What the hell am I doing here”? That was my breaking point. I started to cry like a baby. I was so low and desperate just thinking about doing another 100 miles on dark desert roads alone, no communication, and no traffic. Life can be sucks too. “I just found the border in me I was looking for “, I thought to myself.
After about 20 minutes, a solder approaching me and ask if he can do something to help me. “Please boil water on the fire,” I ask him. I pour the hot water into the “Thai soup bowl”, bringing back my lost soul. I felt like “Popeye the Sailor” after a can of spinach. I got up and thanked everyone. The officer said, “At the next barrier in Beni Suef, They are waiting for you and will lead you to a hotel”.
I left those nice solders at 8.30 PM, driving very carefully due to that place, which was like a “Lonely planet section on earth”. Close to midnight, I have arrived to “Beni Suef” and to the warm welcome of the next barrier. They were leading me to the city, a fancy hotel, $4 for B & B. Yes, after a day like that I deserve a good one.
A problem. There are 40 stairs from the parking to the Lobby level, and you know I don’t leave my bike at the street. I approach the reception and tell them that I am willing to take a room, but only if they let me bring the bike to the lobby hall. The guy is smiling and say, “If you can drive it upstairs, you are welcome”.
I bring my gear load to the room, jump on XT and drive away like 100 yards in front of the stairs. I make some noise with the engine, feeling like Evil Knievel for a moment. People are gathering both sides and create an open trail for me. XT climbs the stairs like nothing, they make noise clapping their hands. Free circus, piece of a cake.
I amusing myself with the thought about how I should work back home like 3 month per a year, and come live here with Badra for the rest of it. Oooffff…
A warm wind hitting my face. Cairo is at the horizon. I enter the city. Wow, what is that noise and very active horns after like a month mostly in deserts areas? The roadways feels like Russian roulette. What an extreme change. I feel mental pressure in my head. “This is mad-ness,” I am thinking. I hurried to Giza for the pyramids and the sphinx.
I visit the site and take some pictures. What a huge and very impressive size of this “Pharaoh Khafre Pyramid”. 150 M high (480 feet). The only survivor of the “7 Wonders of the ancient world”. I do it fast and speed away, back to the silence of the desert, riding north towards Alexandria. I intend to drive up north to the Mediterranean Sea, and then east to Rafah, the border gate with Israel.
Just a moment. Things are not as simple as I thought. I know I entered Egypt with on a fishing boat, without the “Carne de Passage”. My registration plate is good only for Sinai, so how do I come from the Egyptian side, when I am supposed to be in Sinai? Well, I have nothing much to do but to trust the “God of the motorcyclists”. I am driving through out of Alexandria, Port Said, El-Arish then Rafah to the border with Israel.
It is 5 PM and here is the Border station. A small buffet made of metal sheets, taxis, gate and a “Customs clerk” is asking for my passport, while at the same time he walks around the bike to see the registration number plat. I smell troubles. “How did you get in here”? He screams at me. I see his Carotid pumps and his face are getting red. “Where is your Carne de passage”? He shouts at me. We both know that I can’t have the yellow number of Sinai and the Carne from Egypt at the same time.
I recognize the developing problem and say to him.
– “Carne de passage? What is it? No body talked to me about that”.
– “Didn’t they tell you in Taba to pay that? You are paying now or I arrest you”.
– “Really? I didn’t pay on my way in and you expect me to pay on my way out”?
“I want to talk to the officer in charge”. I shouted at him back.
“Hmmm…” He showed some softness I think, and took me to the commander of the border station. He spoke Arabic to him, which I understand and speak fluently myself, but they didn’t know that. The customs officer talks bad about me and riled him up with his loud voice. The commander gets crazy too. I started to talk English with him, so he asked the custom’s man to leave and continue with his work out there.
We are now at his office alone. A calm conversation is going on, he told me he was working at the Embassy of Egypt in Holland, and I told him I was working at the Consulate of Israel in Marseille, France. Slowly but surely, we were getting friendly. Then he offers the only solution for that complicated situation. “You came in from Taba, you will exit out from Taba”.
“What ??? This is a circle of 1000 km (650 miles). West to Suez canal, and then east to Taba, and then north to Ashkelon which is 20 Km from here? Wow. I asked for that, didn’t I?
He calls the custom’s officer, pressuring him to give up the “Carne” issue, and to let me exit trough Taba. The bad man said, “Or he pays the “Carne” or I arrest him. He can’t cross the border with a yellow plate from Sinai instead of the white one of Egypt”. The head officer talked him again to give up, since I demanded to see the Israeli officer representative from the other side, and that could have lead to a diplomatic incident.
I asked the bad man, “I understand now that the “Carne” is for a guarantee to make sure I don’t sell the bike in Egypt and drive it out of the country than, at the border, you refund the fee money, right” ?
“Yes” he said.
“So what’s the point of giving you the money now, so you can refund it back right away? The bike is here so I can’t sell it in Egypt”.
It looked like he was going to shoot me with his gun. After a few minutes, I could see the change in his face. He understood that there is no use doing this action, what so ever. It was not easy, but it went through at the end of their argument. Thanks.
So I am out of the station to the freezing desert weather of April, open my tent after a warm tea from the metal kiosk.
5 AM, I woke up completely wet due to the strong rain. All my clothes are wet, I didn’t expect that. I collect everything and jump on XT.
5.30 AM. I swore to myself “Tonight I will sleep in my bed”. Just a small problem, I am 850 miles (1,350 KM) away from home. I want to break my USA record driving from New York to Miami. “Strange decision” I say to myself. However, “Enough is enough”. I am heading in the direction of the Suez canal. My cordora suite, the helmet and the boots are wet. I never froze like that before in my life. I shout in the helmet to the God of the motorcyclists for some sun. Only at 1 PM, my body’s temperature balanced and the clothes were dry.
The Suez canal is at the horizon. The canal water is lower than the send line so it looks like the ships are sailing on the sand. An amazing illusion. I point my face north east to Taba. 1 mile before I arrive Taba’s border cross, I stop.
It is 4.30 PM. I did 500 miles (800 KM) to get here from the morning. I repack everything on the bike just to make sure no one hid any drugs to cause me trouble. Clean. I approach the Egyptian border reception with some fears. Maybe the bad custom’s man from Rafa’s border called and told them about me being there, and they will take revenge at me for the lies I told them, “No Egypt, only Sinai”, because I didn’t want to pay the “Carne $400 fee”. Telling you the truth, I did not want to pay since I have heard stories, and didn’t believe I will get the refund back on my way out. Here they are holding me waiting for an hour, hoping will leave without taking the $40 deposit I made for the insurance fee. I knew, I saw it coming.
I am at the Israeli side. Eilat. A call to the kids and my family, telling them I am OK and back. Meal, coffee, I oil the chain and jump on XT. 6 PM, 550 KM (350 miles) ahead of me to get back home. From the Egyptian border down south, up to the Northern border with Lebanon, where I live.
It’s Friday night and I am home, still at the parking spot. 1,350 km from 5.30 AM to 1.30 AM. I broke my previous record in USA, of 1,220 KM (800 Miles) from New York to Miami FL. I was that tiered, that I could not un-pack the bike. I crawled home and fell asleep with my clothes and boots still on.
The day after, my friends the bikers came to visit, and found me on the bed with my clothes on, and woke me up at 1.30 PM. It took me like 15 minutes to come back to my senses and to realize where I am. Then I told them the story I just told you.
What a tour:
I wanted to find my personal borders, and I did.
I wanted to visit an Arabic country as an Israeli, and I did.
I wanted to break my long distance record, and I did.
I wanted to get over with my fear of being alone in the desert, and here I am.
Thanks to the :God of the Motorcyclists” who supported me on my journey.
As I always say: “If you sit at home, nothing happens”.
Next destination – Morocco, my father’s land.
Moreover, pls. remember, “The purpose of the journey – is everything”.