The Pre-Start Day's

Bob Mirvis exploring Old Jaffa before the Rally
Ray Scherr and Stanley & Merle  BAUER
at the Gala before the Rally’s start

Ilene and Barbara Weller exploring Old Jaffa
before lunch in the Old Port

Ilene, my wife and co-pilot extraordinaire, arrived in Israel on Thursday night. It was a long flight and we needed some time to get over jet-lag.

I have been racing, rallying and touring cars for about 25 years and this will be the first time Ilene has come along to be my navigator. As she would say: " The cars are so small. Why would you want to sit in them for 8-10 hours a day?"

Well, she's being a very good sport. When my scheduled navigator on this event had to drop out, she volunteered. This is a non-competitive event so we don't have driving deadlines.......and I think we'll be all right, unless we make a wrong turn in the North of country and end up in Lebanon or Syria.....just kidding!

Friday is usually a half-work day as most people leave the office around noon to prepare for the Sabbath (Shabbat, in Hebrew) which begins at sundown on Friday night.

Even a 24-hour city like Tel Aviv becomes eerily quiet as Shabbat approaches; fewer people in the streets; fewer cars on the road. Most people in the country are home having dinner with their families.

Ilene and I were fortunate to be invited to a Shabbat dinner at the home of my long-time Israeli partner Michael Geiger. His wife, Sarah, an accomplished artist, always makes the most delicious dinner and has a table filled with the most interesting of guests....this time was no exception. Dinner conversation was filled with lots of questions about the inability of western democracy to compete with China; unfortunately there were few answers.

My co-pilot and wife, Ilene, inspecting
our host car Avram at the Gala
Saturday was a quiet day, but Ilene and I did find some time to visit the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. We went to see the new building honoring our friends, Paul and Herta Amir from Los Angeles. The building is fantastic.....the art a bit ordinary for my taste although some of the early Impressionists were worthy of a visit.

Sunday was Rally Registration Day......signing the forms; getting the route books, the Goodie bags and finally retrieving the car. All went well. The car seems not to have suffered from the long sea voyage. Ilene and I will be driving our 1965 Porsche 356 Cabriolet. The car is black, with a black interior and a black convertible top. I restored this car over twenty years ago, but it still looks sharp. Once out of the packing container, she started without too much difficulty. We wiped her down, put on her rally numbers (we're car #70, out of 82 cars that will be starting); fueled her up; and tucked her away in the secured garage provided by the Organizers. She will get dirty in the desert, but I think she'll get her exercise on this 1000 miles run from one end of Israel to the other. We will literally drive the length and breadth of the entire country in our 5-day excursion.

As the rally materials say: We will drive 1000 miles, visit 4 seas (The Mediterranean, the Red, the Dead and the Sea of Galilee) and wander through 3000 years of history.

Tonight, Monday, is the Gala Party to kick-off the Rally. It will be at the home of Elad Shraga, one of the founders of the Holyland1000. It is a beautiful home with an especially nice garage. Unbeknownst to me, he modeled his garage after mine. At the time we did not know each other, but he saw an article about my garage in a magazine or book and decided to use my garage as his model. He has used Jerusalem stone instead of red bricks, but the garage has the same feel and look as my garage......he also has a wonderful collection of post-war sports cars, including a lovely OSCA, to go into this garage.

I will send along some pictures of the garage and the party tonight.

Tomorrow is getaway day and we head south to Mitzpe Ramon and the Hotel Berasheet in the middle of the Negev Desert.