Our original plan for today wa s to ride to Neot Semadar and stay in one of their guest rooms tonight, but yesterday we talked a bit about riding all the way to Eilat instead. I even emailed Ilan inEilat and told him that we might be showing up a day early, though I didn’t really think we would do so. With this in mind we hoped to get an early start this morning, since it is dark by 5pm or so. I was quite frustrated that breakfast wasn’t served until about 7:45, but we rushed through breakfast a bit and were on the road by 8:15. Jodi still wasn’t feeling that great and we more or less put aside the idea of riding to Eilat today.

From Mitspe Ramon 40 descends into Maktesh Ramon (Ramon Crater) via some tightly stacked switchbacks which were quite spectacular to ride. Then we mostly rode through the Maktesh on easy grades with just a couple of ups that required some strong effort. We found ourselves at Neot Semadar about 12:30, and were very surprised as we pulled in to spot two fully loaded touring bikes outside. The bikes belonged to a French couple that had been on the road for 5 months already, and were headed to Jordan and on to Africa. Quite an amazing bike tour!

We had a wonderful lunch at the organic restaurant run my the folks from the kibbutz; Jodi had lasagna and I had a couple of stuffed peppers, all accompanied by glass after glass of water. Jodi said she was feeling better after eating, and we decided to try to make Eilat after all. We had about 3 1/2 hours of good light left and 65 kilometers to go so it was a bit of a challenge, but as it turned out it was a relatively easy and fun ride. There was one uphill left, then we descended steeply to Hwy 90, where we turned south for the run to Eilat. 90 was a steady stream of buses, trucks, and cars, but the road was almost a constant gentle downhill and we had a good tailwind. We made two stops for refreshments and cranked down the road at top speed, often doing 40 – 50 km/h.  The only negative was the very narrow shoulders. I did have one exciting moment when a truck in the oncoming lane decided to pass another truck and in doing so took most of the shoulder I was on as well.  It was quite intimidating to see him coming at me at 90km/h, and I barely managed to stay on the road. Jodi was well behind me and saw the whole thing unfold. She turned off on to the soft shoulder to avoid the whole thing.

After riding 152km (about 95 miles), we arrive in Eilat and found our way to the home of our Warmshowers host, where we have had a snack and a shower, and spent some time chatting and drinking beer. Soon dinner will be ready. A fun and pleasant end to a great day. It is both satisfying and sad that our cycling in Israel is complete.

Our flight back home isn’t until Thursday morning, so we have a few days to enjoy Eilat and figure out how to get ourselves and the bikes back to the airport.