Riding Along the Forbidden Road

Highway 10 is an expressway in the South District of Israel. It is one of the longest roads in Israel, extending for nearly the entire border of Israel with Egypt from the Gaza Strip in the north to Sayarim junction in the south. Under a military security advisory, its entire 113-mile length is almost permanently off-limits to civilian traffic. 

In 2011,  the highway was shut down and declared forbidden. The percentage of dangerous encounters and casualties during this time of high alert was ferociously growing to be a risk too bold for both states. Only during two high holidays out of the year is this road granted access by civilians; Sukkot and Channukah.

December 29th, 2016 (Channukah), my good friend and colleague, Ms. Hila Fenlon invited myself and several others to ride motorcycles along Rt. 10 from 'Mashabei Sade', follow along Egypt, all the way to Eilat. 10 hours of riding motorcycles, with great friends, amazing views and the photographs to die for that very seldom are witnessed. Very few Israelis have experienced this breathtaking opportunity themselves. 

Lucky for us the sun was shining, clear skies and no-one but the open road and the sound of a roaring Italian engine, and in Hila's case, a M.V. Agusta, Brutale Roadster 800 R.R. This bewildering experience and its views will forever be a mind-blowing rendezvous that will last a life time. 

Along the way, down the windy and gently raised, rocky plateaus; where very few feet have stepped cautiously to the edge of major overlooks, I scrambled to find a few rocks and gathered up some dirt as a memorable token. Every place I have ever visited throughout my travels, I have collected a handful of soil and marked its coordinates on the vile. It's my way of displaying the trophy engaged experience that has moved me. 

During this trip, I'd like to thank 'FujiFilm X Series US' for supporting this project. 

All photographs were shot with FujiFilm, FujiFilm Xpro2. 

 The shadows crept across the bikes in the beginning of our journey that morning. 

The shadows crept across the bikes in the beginning of our journey that morning. 

Hila Fenlon and her son, Jimmy Fenlon, stand near the warning signs posted all over the entrance of Rt. 10, stating "going beyond this point is entering at your own risk". 

 Jimmy Fenlon, resting for a moment, as we prepare lunch underneath a previously mapped out designated area. 

Passing through this valley of gently raised plateaus was breathtaking within itself. 

The curve of the extended hemisphere is all your eyes can follow for miles into the distant haze. 

We stopped to catch our breaths from the windy beating our bodies senseless to appreciate and inhale the remarkable views. 

Ms. Hila Fenlon herself and I, making memories, standing on the edge of the plateaus. 

The air is so silent; for a split second, I thought I was alone. And enjoyed it. 

Hila's beast: M.V. Agusta, Brutale Roadster 800 R.R. 

At the second to last rest stop before we take off again with the crew. I stayed behind a little longer to soak in this magnificent moment. Silence. Solitude. I felt at peace. I took one last breathe with my fellow rider, Omri,  and we fastened our helmets and road off into the sunset. 

Along the route, I noticed a barb-wire fence. I asked the locals what it was for exactly and how long it had been there. It wasn't a landmark I had been familiar with along Egypt and Israeli border. The fence was built to keep the immigrants from wandering into Israel. Over the past decade, thousands of refugees had crossed the border into Israel from their homeland in hopes of starting a new life. 

"In recent years there has been a sharp increase in the number of African migrants trying to cross into Israel. Some are able to stay and find short-term work, but very few get the official refugee status they seek and which some of them do deserve. Many come from Sudan, including Darfur, others come from Eritrea and elsewhere in Africa There are Christians and Muslims but their arrival has brought a sharp debate in Israel, a country built in large part on the wave of Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust in Europe" (McCarthy).(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/11/israel-fence-egypt) 

 

 

Fence along Egypt and Israel, 30 km from Eilat. 

The woman of the hour, Ms. Hila Fenlon via M.V. Agusta, Brutale Roadster 800 R.R.  

Omri and Jimmy stop and converse for a bit, while I catch the light behind them as the sun sets along the border. 

About 20 minutes before we arrived in Eilat, a local biker had a flat. When we stopped to assist him, apparently a bullet had hit his tire. The bullet was fired several days before and had finally hit a target. We all started to sarcastically laugh in this ironic event; " it's the sixth day old war. The shot was fired and it finally hit its destination". Israel is one of the few places in the world where a stray bullet hits a bike tire and no one calls the cops. They just all sit back and laugh with an unsurprised facial expression. 

This trip was one for the books; a check mark off of my bucket list of to do's and truly a phenomenal experience to undergo with an amazing group of adventurous daredevils.