Days 3 and 4: Quiet Time

Friday was a short day of riding for me. We decided that I needed to not be in the saddle too much, and we rode the tandem from Mashabe Sade to Sde Boker. We stopped at Ben Gurion’s tomb, where Yoni, one of our guides, gave a very impassioned speech about Israel’s first PM. My impression throughout the trip is that Yoni wears his patriotism more on his sleeve than most of the other guides.

We went from the tomb to a local bike shop, where a bunch of the riders, including Derek, switched to mountain biking, descending into the Zin Valley. I followed the riders in one of the support Jeeps, chatting with the driver, Nahumi, about the local aquifer, his family, and, of course, Israeli politics. He seems to think that the West Bank settlers are reasonable people who will do the right thing when presented with a fair compromise on their situation. I wasn’t quite able to determine the basis for this assessment. One hopes he is right.

At the bottom, we came to a short hiking trail with, unaccountably considering the heat and dryness of the environment, puddles all over it. Shortly, we came to a sheltered spot with a spring-fed pool, Ein Akev. Our guide immediately jumped in, with no indication that the pool was anything but comfortable. Then the first rider jumped in. And then the swearing started. Apparently, the pool was actually quite cold. As each person jumped into the deep spot from a rock ledge, a new stream of profanity came out. It was quite entertaining to listen to. With all the rocks and the very slippery exit from the pool, I decided not to go in, but that meant I got to take a lot of pictures. No video, though. The profanity may have embarrassed one or two of the participants.

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Back up the hill, we get on the bus to Mitspe Ramon and Shabbat.

Go read Derek’s blog entry for Shabbat. I don’t have much to say, except that I had a good day of rest, healing, and recharging.