Yesterday was about grindingly trudging uphill. Today was gloriously rolling along the Golan Heights and coasting for miles on the way down to Yam Kinneret.

We were the only guests at the motel we stayed in last night, and the proprietress cooked breakfast for us this morning. She also gave me some aloe vera lotion to soothe my sunburned face. We left there a bit after 9:00am, and did a bit more climbing heading towards the town of Nimrod and our turn south onto Hwy 98. Along the way we had a view down onto Nimrod Fortress, where we had stopped to explore yesterday.

Once on 98 we headed south along Ha Golan; the Golan Heights. The terrains was quite beautiful, and the road had a few rollers but was much more down than up for us. While passing through the Druze town of Mas’ada I spotted a store open that looked like we would find some snack foods there, so we stopped. The woman behind the counter did not speak English, but I managed to ask in mime whether she had any sun screen, and to my complete surprise — surprise because none of the people we saw in town were exposing much if any skin — she did! I was thrilled that I managed to get some sunscreen, because otherwise I would have been in agony by the end of today.

Along one of the long, gentle downhills we passed a large group of cyclists heading uphill in the opposite direction. I was very happy to be headed the way we were! A bit further on we passed a Syrian tank destroyed in the 1973 war, and I even spotted the rusty tail of a bomb sticking out of the dirt alongside the road. Again today in many places there were warning about mines, and we also saw old bunkers from the war. From a view-point a couple of kilometers north of En Ziwan we could see the fence that marks the UN Demilitarized Zone between Israel and Syria, and a bit later we passed the entrance to a UN camp.
We thoroughly enjoyed  the Golan Heights, but eventually we turned southwest onto Hwy 87 and coasted over 30km down to the northeast coast of Yam Kinneret / The Sea of Galilee. Tonight we are staying at the Karei Desch Guest House, which is in/near Tabgha. It is a beautiful hostel located on the shore of Yam Kinneret, and we spent a bit of time swimming and sitting on the beach in the shade of a tarp.
Our plan was to stay here both tonight and tomorrow night. That way we could leave our panniers here and circumnavigate the Lake on our unladen bikes tomorrow. Tomorrow is the Eve of Yom Kippur, so staying here would ensure we could get dinner even after most businesses close for the holiday tomorrow afternoon. Then on Saturday (Yom Kippur) we could ride Hwy 89 west towards the Mediterranean with no traffic on the roads. But we were informed that they are fully reserved for tomorrow so unless they get a cancellation by tomorrow morning, that plan isn’t going to work. That is one of the risks we run by not planning every day of our trips ahead of time, but we enjoy being able to change plans as we go. We have worked out a couple of tentative alternatives, so we will just wait and see what happens.
Paul asked about the weather. The weather has been wonderful. It has been in the 80’s during the day, and the high 60’s overnight. The air is dry and if you are sitting in the shade it feels about as perfect as it could be. But the sun is surprisingly strong, and it feels very hot when laboring slowly uphill. The sun rises and sets very quickly; there isn’t much of a twilight. The sun is up about 5:30am, and sets at 5:30pm. We have to stay cognizant of that and make sure we reach a destination by about 5pm so as not to get caught out on the road after dark.
I will upload pictures this evening and post a link when I do.
That’s all for now. We are waiting for dinner, which is in about an hour, at 7pm.
Allen & Jodi