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Old 04-25-2012, 09:09 PM   #46
Crisis management
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Thanks for the pictures, I worked on Kibbutz Amir to the east of Kiryat Shmona during 1980 /81 and have fond memories of the land, it's great to see the changes in the countryside.
Certainly looks different from when I was there, we used to sit on the front steps and watch the artillery & tracer rounds in the Golan every evening.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:50 AM   #47
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All my trips to Isreal, I was never able to rent a motorcycle. I could rent a cage, even found a place to rent a scooter. But never could rent a bike. I would like to get back there some day. Seeing those places, no matter your religious beliefs, is a real thrill. And Isreal has some of the best food and wine in the world. Enjoy your time there. If you find a place to rent a bike, post it. Maybe I can get back there for that instead of work.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:56 AM   #48
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Upper Galilee ride

Today, I rode across the Hula Valley and into the Galilee Hills to the North of Safat, which is known as the town where "Kabbalah" was intensely studied. The day started off very cloudy and about 65 F with a moderate wind in the Golan.



Golan Heights as seen from the Hula Valley



I traveled through the Hula Valley, which looks like this from the Galilee side. A large agricultural area.




In the Hula Valley, I stopped by the Jordan River and watched dozens of students doing a float down that famous river






I proceeded up into the hills of the Galilee and stopped for a shot facing S/E




I traveled through the scenic farmland of the Galilee. You'll notice the dense pine forest next to the farm. These "forests" were mostly planted by the Jewish National Fund many years ago, to reforest Israel. From history, we know that the various conquerors of Israel, denuded the land, for buildings, siege engines, etc. Many parts of the Galilee are now heavily wooded.



Israeli farmland in the foreground, Lebanese hills in the background



At a historical spot, I noticed this ambulance donated by a Huntington Beach, California couple. I used to work in Orange County, California. Funny to see this on the other side of the world.



I decided to do a little dirt road riding in an area called "Wadi Dishon". A Wadi is a canyon.



The Wadi followed this stream



This was my route






More to follow, shortly!
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:28 AM   #49
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More of the Wadi Dishon

It is much easier to wax poetic, with a Gin and Tonic in hand! Cheers! Now where were we... Ah yes, the Wadi Dishon, a rocky canyon that separates the Hills of the Upper Galilee.



Interesting rock formations at the upper entrance to the Wadi



This outcropping reminded me of an ancient Fortress



A closer view reveals some interesting caves and beautiful colors



Another view of the Wadi's stream



Well, I wondered if the stream crossings ahead were going to be class "A" rapids, as the sign promised. But it must have been put up by an overzealous Park Ranger as we will see...



A minor obstacle for the weTEN was this shallow, but slippery ford. No rapids!




I was taken aback by this "street sign" in the middle of nowhere. It was a whole lot nicer than most of the signs I saw in Tel Aviv!



As I headed for the highway, these Cattle stood on the dirt road, refusing to move. I cautiously went around them, nice bossy!



Back up on the tarmac, the road climbs steeply, as it parallels the Wadi Dishon. Here is the Wadi dirt road I was on, far below. The intersecting canyons are the ones pointed out by the sign in the photo, above.



The country is so small, that the farmland is precious, so it runs right up to the Wadi cliffs.



On the way home through the Hula Valley, most of the roads traversing the valley floor are lined by old Eucalyptus trees that provide a wind break from blowing topsoil, and blessed shade, since the Hula Valley sits below sea level and gets very warm.





Thanks for dropping by! Ride safe.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:58 AM   #50
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Windmills and a Nature Park

I didn't stray too far from home for this ride, but it was an interesting ride. The Golan Heights is one of the highest areas of Israel. Because of the altitude and a perpetual breeze, the Heights stays much cooler than the rest of the country. The breeze is put to good use here. There are several windmills generating electricity. Seen from afar, they don't look all that big... until you get close.



Here on this ridge, are some of the windmills. They produce enough electricity each day for 4,000 homes!




The windmills are so big that as you approach the ridge on a dirt road, you here a loud "whoosh, whoosh" as if a huge bird is overflying you. I could even hear the sound above my weeTEN's exhaust and engine noise. The blades were rotating, but the camera caught them as if they were still.



This is the trail that leads up to the windmills. I stopped for some refreshment, since it was a warm day, 80 F.



Close to the windmills, I found this Army access road. It had a National Park sign on it, so I figured it was o.k. to use.




The "Tel" or hill you see is a Nature Park that is home to many different kinds of indigenous oak trees, that look similar to the kinds growing in Central California, along the coast, (think Paso Robles, Cal.).



These horses were close to the Park entrance




The park entrance. I wondered if the horses knew not to pick flowers?



A few poppies left.




More beauty during this gorgeous Spring






Thanks for dropping by, ride safe!
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:03 AM   #51
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The Hospitaller Fortress- Belvoir

Today I rode across the Golan and down to the Jordan Valley for a tour of the 12th Century Crusader Fortress, called "Belvoir." In 1168, the Hospitaller Knights built the Belvoir Fortress on 3 acres of hilltop that commanded a view of the Jordan Valley to the Kinneret. The hilltop had been the site of the Jewish town of Kokhav (Star) prior to the Crusades. The fortress sported two story high "Barbicans" or towers on all corners of the outer wall, and an inner keep that measured 130ftx130ft. A very unusual feature, for the Middle East, was a huge moat that was 32ft. deep and 65ft. wide. The Muslim armies of Saladin were never able to penetrate the Belvoir fortress, even after they conquered Acre and Jerusalem in 1187. Saladin's armies beseiged the fortress for 2 years. In 1189,knowing that all their compatriots had been killed or left for Europe, the Hospitallers acquiesced, and gave up the Fortress. They were allowed to march North, unmolested, never to return to the Holyland. In the 1220s, the Muslim ruler ordered the Fortress destroyed, so it could not be used by the Europeans, again.

So let's go inside and take a look.



On the road up to Belvoir


The Belvoir Fortress looking at the S/W corner. The stairway in the corner led to the old draw bridge which spanned the moat.



Fortress diagram



Moat with modern day Ped bridge. Note the depth and width.





Water tight walls. Note the seam.



One of the towers or Barbican that fortified the outer walls



An Archer's slit. Notice that the dark Basalt rocks were used for hardening any areas of attack, while the softer, light colored, limestone was used anytime they could as it was easier to "fashion."



This is what the enemy saw of the Archer's slit, on the outer wall. The slit is in-between the two very square stones in the middle of the wall.



A view of the Jordan Valley from the Eastern walls of the Fortress




A close up of the valley floor- The hills in the background are modern day Jordan.



The masonry work is impressive



AND intricate




To be continued...
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:16 AM   #52
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Great report, thanks
Have you been to Masada?
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:39 AM   #53
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Masada is wonderful

Dual, Yes I've been to Masada, but only once, on a family outing. I'll ride there again, as part of this day rides report, AFTER the summer! I haven't been to South Africa, but it is on my list, so maybe we can tip a beer. If you come again to Israel, please come by the Golan and I'll buy you one of the best red ales, in the world, at the Golan Brewery! Thanks for looking in.
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:00 AM   #54
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Belvoir, continued

So, onto the inner areas of the Fortress...



One of the most important rooms, the kitchen!






The dining hall functioned as the center of the fortress's social network



Smoke hole and detail of the dining hall's ceiling



Water Cistern



Magnificent arches still standing



Beautiful walls




Some of the animals that the Hospitallers hunted are the very common Wild Boars. I've seen several on the road. They are very large and I know people that have ruined their cars, hitting one. Here is what their tusks look like:



A small garden outside the Fortress wall



Cactus blooms




Riding out of the Fortress



Below the Fortress, on the North side, was the requisite Olive grove



Along the way, I saw these guys jumping off the Eastern face of the Golan Heights, taking flight over the Kinneret




The Sea of Galilee is below the para-sailer in the background



This hooded Crow was making a "racket" while I was using the bank machine, nearby. The crows in the States are all black. I wonder if the crows here wear a grey "mantle" because they fed the Prophet Elijah while he was fleeing from Jezebel.




Hope you enjoyed the tour of Belvoir. See you soon!
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:03 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMax View Post
Dual, Yes I've been to Masada, but only once, on a family outing. I'll ride there again, as part of this day rides report, AFTER the summer! I haven't been to South Africa, but it is on my list, so maybe we can tip a beer. If you come again to Israel, please come by the Golan and I'll buy you one of the best red ales, in the world, at the Golan Brewery! Thanks for looking in.
Never been to Israel, just learnt about Masada in History, find it interesting
You'le be most welcome to visit us when in South Africa
We stay in Hermanus, Western Cape
A beautiful piece on earth indeed
We've got some nice ice cold beers available
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:58 PM   #56
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till now i was ok with not visiting for 2 years...
PYYPP!


have room to for another bike
199? XTZ750, 199? Honda XRV750 or 1989 Suzuki DR750
will need help finding one




this way when ur kid visit he can go ride with u....
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:42 AM   #57
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I love see your R/R
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:25 PM   #58
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Pilgrimage to Jerusalem- Shavuot 2013

I know it has been awhile since I last posted, but I haven't had much time to take day trips.

This trip was to celebrate the festival of Shavuot in Jerusalem on 15May13. The Festival commemorates the giving of the ten commandments on Mt. Sinai. As you will see, thousands of Jews come for the festival to the Western Wall at the temple mount, in Jerusalem. It is a religious, national holiday that has been celebrated since King Solomon built the First Temple in 832 BCE. A nearly 3,000 year tradition of making a trip to the temple for the festival.


To start off, a clue as to why I have not been posting trips, lately:

We're building our house in the Ramat Golan! A busy time, as anyone who has taken on the project of homebuilding knows:




Near the Syrian border road heading South toward the Sea of Galilee:


Motor Cops leaving a cafe on 1200GS BMWs:


The Jordan Valley Rd. that runs along the Jordan River between Israel and Jordan:



Cool "Wadi" cut from Winter rains:


Close up:


Caves in the hills of Samaria. This reminds me of the size of cave that David and Saul were documented using in the Bible:



A hill used for Signal fires to relay the sighting of the new moon, which begins the Jewish months:



Getting close:



Except for the hoodie, baseball cap, and jeans, not much has changed in shepherding over the last 2,000 years:



The Northern edge of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth, can be seen just before the road turns to go up to Jerusalem:



Roadside attractions on the way to Jerusalem. I was wondering if the camel was considering swallowing one of the toddlers instead of giving them a ride!




I cannot imagine how difficult the ascent to Jerusalem was for Pilgrims just 100 years ago, let alone 2,000 years ago. The hills here are steep and rocky.
The modern roads make it easy:



Made it to my hotel, within walking distance to the Old City of Jerusalem that is still "protected" by ancient walls separating it from the modern parts of the City. I stayed in the "Russian Quarter" which housed the British Mandate CID Police Division during the 30's and 40's:



Looking out from my hotel room balcony toward Jaffa Street:


Orthodox man on the trolley:


Quarter moon over Jerusalem:


Russian pub below the hotel:





More to come!
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:26 AM   #59
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Pilgrimage to Jerusalem- Shavuot 2013

So I got some rest for the traditional long night of Bible study and walking to the Western wall in the wee hours to be there just as dawn breaks for the Jewish morning prayers.

I left the hotel at 0400 hrs. and walked with a friendly young Speech Therapist from Jerusalem, who spoke very good English!


We arrived at the Western Wall, below the temple mount and found a big crowd, but I still made it up to the Western Wall for a brief time:



As dawn broke, it became even more crowded:



And then during the prayers, it was standing room only:



After the prayers I walked back to the hotel through the Jewish Quarter:

Hurva Synagogue:



Old City streets (usually packed with people)


Beautiful colors with the Jerusalem Stone walls:


Battlements at the David citadel:


Old City wall several feet thick and 30 ft. high:


The cops use these bikes as quick response units. Two cops ride on them, heavily armed, and they can quickly get through the narrow old city streets for emergencies. I think it is a Kawasaki 500 model:


I traveled home through the hills of Samaria and the view of the Jordan Valley was gorgeous (looking toward Jordan from Israel):


Nice, twisty roads:



The other side of the signal fire peak:



My constant companions on this trip- the Shepherds:


Do you know why only the lambs are painted with red stripes?



Sunset in the desert:




Thanks for taking a look at the Holyland! I hope to get more day trips posted in the coming months. SHALOM!
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:53 AM   #60
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Thanks

For taking the time out of your busy schedule for this update! Hope to make it to Israel someday soon. So much history in a small space.
Mazel tov on the new home!
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