We packed our bags and said goodbye to Ramot. Today, we were told, was for recovery mode. Well, after yesterday’s grueling ride, that prospect was welcome and it was almost real but for the ill famed ” garbage Hill” apparently nested right in the middle of the ride. The name alone spelled trouble: Jim and I train on a hill by that nickname in NY and that is where we lost Jeff when he fell and broke his hip. This here hill was some other sort of catastrophe. Not longer than a couple of miles but steep with passages at 10,11 or even 12 %, the hill was an annoying experience made unplaisant by the heat and the wind carrying that very fowl smell characteristic of decaying refuses which constituted the hips of men made mounts the road was serpenting through. As If that was not bad enough, we had to deal with flies and bugs and the worse yet: a road surface filled with crater like potholes, pretty much graveled and cracked by the constant up and down traffic of huge garbage trucks shuttling up and down the slopes. However all that misery was redeemed at the top by a most beautiful view of the Jordan river valley, the Kineret Lake and the mountains of the Golan in the background. Wonderful parting vista. A last look at the point in the horizon where Israel, Jordan and Syria met geographically.
The rest of the ride was pleasant enough and at the end we managed to meet for the first time all the other groups of cyclists for the first time since the start of the trip in an atmosphere of giddiness inside of a welcoming kibbutz. We then boarded our respective buses and drove down to Jerusalem through the West Bank while our Near 600 Bike’s we’re transported to what would be tomorrow final departure location. Logistic nightmare for the mechanical team.
In Jerusalem I reunited with Susan. She was in town since morning and fresh enough from a pleasant trip to actually have toured to Yad VaShen and the Western wall. We were thrilled to be together finally and later after dinner with the riders at the hotel, Jim, Sue and I attended the ceremonies presented by the organizers.