- The Deserts of Israel By Bike

2014-02-19 09:50:20
Israel Desert Riding - Photo by Mike HopkinsArticle by Sarah Leishman and Mike Hopkins from
This is part 2 of Mike Hopkins and Sarah Leishman's adventure to Israel in November 2013. You can brush up on the first two days of their trip in Part 1 HERE.

Ancient hand carved Reservoirs.

We had already had our minds blown. We rode the Sugar Trail from Jerusalem to Jericho on the first day on our bikes and finished the day off with a few Gold Stars (local beer - not bad!) at a gas station outside of Jericho. We then headed along the highway to the Dead Sea for the night. When we arrived at our ridiculously pimp hotel (aptly named "Herod's") on the Dead Sea, it was dark out and our whole crew was savagely exhausted. The heat, the distance and the jet lag had taken a toll on us all and we were told that we would be leaving the Dead Sea in the morning at 8am. We'd have to check out the sea "on our own" and I basically decided I was going to skip it altogether...until I woke up the next morning.

Hopkins opts for an early morning float in the Dead Sea. Ilan Sachim photo.
  Hopkins opts for an early morning float in the Dead Sea. Ilan Sachim photo.

Mike and I had been exchanging the simple philosophy since we arrived in Jerusalem three days prior of "you might as well: when are you going to be here next?" (aka: YOLO). When we found ourselves at the Western (Wailing) Wall on our first day, I used that mantra to talk him into entering the men's side of the Wall to touch it - because that's what people travel the world to do, in very simple terms. Our tourist, non-denominational eyes found the place really intimidating upon our arrival. He did it and came back to say "Ok I went up and touched it. Did you?" I hadn't, even after bullying Mike into it. I got up to the Wall on the super-crowded women's side that day, saw people in tears, praying and speaking in hushed tones and I backed away quickly. I didn't get it. I didn't want to be rude and I was afraid of accidentally offending someone (classic Canadian - sorry for being so awesome). I missed my chance to do something every traveler does when they get to the Western Wall in Jerusalem - after all, when was I going to be there next? This was my one and only 'miss' while in Israel, however, and I forced myself, my cut up leg from a rookie crash the day prior and my tired body out of bed at 6:30 a.m. to go float in the Dead Sea. My leg stung like hell, but as I flailed and floated around in the lowest place on the planet, I took the time to appreciate how much the experience ruled. I was almost sad to leave before I realized what was ahead of us.
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