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Trans Israel On Mountain Bike

Traveling Israel for 20 days in solo on mountain bike - its not that thing that I would recommend to everyone. Lets say it is not as hard as it seems. It way worse. On the other hand, if I had to participate in such an event again I would have done things differently.

Prologue

The idea to bike cross Israel, North to South, was born in 2006. For years, I wondered what my purpose in life is; I wanted to prove myself by doing something special and completely on my own. I was never interested in any sports, much less in hiking or tourism. However, first thing that came to my mind was to travel across Israel solo in search of myself.

I learned about a cross Israel hiking trail called “Israel National Trail”. The trail starts in kibbutz Dan and finishes in the city of Eilat covering a total distance of 590 miles or about 60 days of travel. I was not scared of the distance but I could not afford to leave civilization for two month. However, I was not ready to give up on myself just yet, I had a goal and I promised to myself that I will accomplish it; I was looking for a compromise and a solution to my travel time problem. After a few days of brain storming I had a solution: bike. Crossing Israel on a mountain bike would be time efficient and self reliant.

Getting ready

“Ignorance is a bliss”!

Have I known than what I know now I might have never taken up the trip. I had no idea how complicated bike touring and tourism in general are. I knew I needed a bike, but thinks like provisions, water, navigation, spare bike parts and camping gear never crossed my mind.


I borrowed a mountain bike from my brother. It was a very simple bike, Mesa Schwinn, with very basic complementation on it. I rode this bike day rides in Yoqneam area were I currently lived and I must say that I loved the ability to up hill with ease on this bike due to bike's transmission system.

I realized that to perform a multiple day ride is a little bit complected. Main consideration is the way to carry all the stuff like camping tent, food and specially water. Due to the hot weather of Israel the water resources ends fast and some times you have to carry really great amount of it. 

In March 2007 I finally managed to ride my first multiple day mountain bike travel. I rode from Carmiel, to the Sea of Galilee and back. The distance of this ride was 132km (82 miles) and the altitude gain was about 2200 meters (7200 feet). For me that was a big breakthrough for long distance mountain bike riding experience. I realized that multiple day riding is not as complicated as it seems. It was clear to me that it make no really difference if I decide to stay on trail one more night. The only things that matters are my food and water resources along with vacation days to perform additional day or two of the travel. 

In that journey my bike was overloaded with stuff, as you can see in the left picture. Most of the food back home with me and I learned that there are lot of unnecessary stuff and gear for the travel that I carried. On my way back I was planning my next multiple day ride, meaning that the journey succeed and there are things to improve for the next time.     

Before I started crossing Israel I did more multiple days rides to gain the experience. All of it I rode in the same area of Upper Galilee. Some of it I rode with my friend, his nick name is Lupus, meaning wolf in Latin language. By the time I planed to start the big journey, I bought a new mountain bike - Scott Reflex 20, a big Russian 85 litters rear rack bag, new camping tent and other new staff that I used while traveling.            

Route Planing And Navigation

There is nothing I can really tell about how I planned the route. I had no time for this task so I did it in the fastest way I could. I adapted the International Israel Trail route for the mountain bike in areas that are not suitable for bike riding. Sometimes I had no idea what is going on in some particular areas so I left it as it was. Over all planning took me about 2 hours. I drew the route and adapted it for my PDA for the navigation. Along the pocket PC I had set of 15 or so paper maps of Israel 1:50'000, that I used to fix inaccurate planed route on the trail. 

Properly planed rout will shorten the ride time due to the mistakenly taken wrong ways. Some times you have to come back and found bypass some where around. So I will highly recommend to plan your route properly. Today there are much more maps and tools to complete this task in relatively short time. If you plane to use my log be sure to verify the problematic parts of it. Some times I had to climb over the fences and you cant see it on the GPS logs. You are welcome to ask me detailed information on any part of the route in the Contact Me section of this website!        

Arriving to Kibbutz Dan

It took me some time to figure it out how to pack the 85 liters rear rack bag. The bag with all the stuff weighed about 26 kg (57 pounds). It has 12 liters of water, food for 2 complete days of ride, camping tent, set of 15 topographic maps, couple kilos of instruments and repairing spears, sleeping bag, camping cookware and some clothes. In addition I had a Topeak handlebar bag for my documents, camera, PDA and GPS logger.  

I arrived to Kiryat Shmona by Egged bus and then I rode myself to kibbutz Dan. For the first time with heavy load on the rear rack I felt really uncomfortable. Bike hardly accelerated and controlled very difficultly. Way to kibbutz Dan took about 40 minutes. It was already late and dark.

My impressions of the ride were terrible. I could not imagine same way riding for next 3 weeks. It was clear to me that it might be too hard  to accomplish, so I said to myself: “what a wonderful world!”, "I can always turn around, catch a bus and come back home".

With those thoughts I installed camping tent, had my dinner next to the bonfire and went to sleep.   

Day 1: Dan - Sde Eliezer 

47km, 1'150m. (29 miles, 3'800 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 

I woke up at the morning, packed my stuff and rode to the kibbutz Dan to fill the water sack. On the way there I did not feel as uncomfortable as it was day before. This is the first day of my trip and by it's end I will know whether I will continue the trip or not.  

Fortunately for me the first day of the trek was pretty flat and not too technical for mountain bike ride. Some parts of the road were paved. After couple hours of the ride I noticed that I do not have my heavy bag on the rear rack! Shit! Did I forget it somewhere or what? 

The thing is I get used to the heavy load and did not feel it behind anymore. Good news for me! It gave me very confident feeling about the upcoming long three weeks of ride. 

At that stage I could say with confidence that my journey could be stopped by three main reasons: accident, broken bike, arrived in Eilat city. I hoped for the last one. I was little bit short in time on the one hand, but also I knew that it is very important not to over load myself at the first days of the trip. 

I noticed that every time I stop for rest and specially to eat, it takes me forever to repack my rear bag, so I had to figure out a way for the appropriate stuff placement inside the panniers. Sound obvious to place rarely used things in the bottom of the bag, but other consideration is the stability of the bag on the rack. The only thing that holding the bag on the rack is a stuff inside the bag. So the heavy stuff should be as low as it can and the both panniers, left and right, should be balanced as well. So the weight of the left pannier has to be the same as the right one. To many constrains, but still I figured the optimal way for my stuff inside this bag.    

In the Tel Hai settlement I found a mini market and bought some food for me to eat, although I had lots of tuna cans and other travel food. Just thought that I will have the chance to eat enough tuna fish at the upcoming journey.

At the first day of the trip I rode till the sunset and thats what I did more or less every day. When you feel that very soon gonna be dark, suddenly you understand that nearly any place is perfect for the tent, but if there is a little sun light, then every place you are looking at is just not good enough for the camping.

I stopped for the night at some abandoned military buildings. Installed my tent right inside one of the structures. It is very quiet in there. May be one or two tenders passed by but I doubt they noticed that some one is inside the building.               

Day 2: Sde Eliezer - Miron Mountain 

42km, 1'200m (26 miles, 3'950 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I woke up couple minutes before the alarm. The alarm was set to 4:50 AM. That was also the sunrise time. Packed my tent, sleeping bag and other stuff, had some food and continued my journey. 

For navigation I used scanned maps in my pocket PC with a GPS receiver which also functioned as logger. Due to the very high power consumption of PDA I could not use the GPS navigation in real time. I had to stop and power on the device each time when I wasn't sure about the way of my trail. I recharged my PDA and the GPS logger with AA batteries connected together in a case. That was the main power source for the navigation system. My camera could survive couple of days without charging in "economy mode". 

Right after Sde Eliezer I got out to the 90 highway. I knew that there will be very technical uphill ride by Dishon (Hebrew) river. River's big rocks will make the ride very unpleasant. I bought a sandwich at the gas station, and continued up the river. 

Although I had a chance for the water refill, I choose not to. The coming ride scared me a little bit, so I decided to stay with lightweight bags. 

Absolutely as I expected the Dishon river trail was very difficult to ride with the loaded bike that I had. Couple of times I felt from my bike and got hit by the bike's frame. Finally I've got to the end of the trail and came out to the paved road with little traffic. 

Well, the water is over. Next point for water refill is next to the Miron mountain. I left my bike near a tree, and by waving an empty bottle to the passing cars, I tried to stop some one who could borrow some water for me. 

Fortunately for me within 20 minutes or so I had enough water to continue.

At the first stage of my travel I tried my best to keep my route on trails and pass by the paved roads. But unfortunately I could not found such a way that time, and at the end I had to ride on the paved road until the top of Miron mountain. Furthermore I spent couple of hours in searching the off road trails and come to conclusion that those searches are not justified. Next time when I am not sure about the off road, the paved road is the way to go. 

At the top of Miron mountain I figured out that only water source is the military base of the Israel Air Force. Its already been dark and I stopped for the night.      

Day 3: Miron Mountain - Arbel Mountain 

51km, 900m (32 miles, 2'950 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
At the morning with the sunrise I came to the base's gate and asked for a water refill. The soldier girl at the base kindly filled my bottles with 4.5 litters of fresh cool water. I put the water in my rear bag and continued my journey to the Arbel mountain. 

Arbel mountain is about 180m height above the sea level, but the sea of Galilee that is next to that mountain, is about 200 meters under the sea level. Sea of Galilee is one of the deepest places in the world. But meanwhile I have to go down the Miron mountain. 

Sometimes I had to go by foot and carry the bag on my shoulders due to the very big rock stairs on the way. It does take lots of time and energy to carry the 25kg bag and 17kg bike. On the way down I had very unpleasant time due to the plenty of big rocks all over the road. 

At some point of my way, in order to escape those unpleasant rocks, I turned left to another road that seemed to me a little bit better. That was a very dramatic mistake of that day. I found myself at abandoned road that had no way to get out from there and thus I had to go through dry thorny bushes. It took me some time and nerves to get out to the paved road.

After being scratched by bushes I enjoyed the smooth ride on the paved rode. The only one thing that really bothers me about riding paved roads in Israel till today is the traffic. Israeli drivers do not really consider bike riders as part of the general traffic. Nor those drivers realize how dangerous they are when passing by such riders. 

The up hill ride to the Arbel mountain was not as easy as I thought it will be. Couple of times I had to carry the bike and the bag by foot. When I get there I looked for the spot to place my tent. It was already late and dark when I started installing the tent. The wind was so strong so I barley managed holding it. In order to keep it in place I tied the tent to my bike with a rope. I was so tired I didn't even want to waist any time for a dinner. Just packed my self to the sleeping bag and fell asleep.  

Day 4: Arbel Mountain - Horvat Ulam

46km, 1'050m (28 miles, 3'450 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
Next day I entered some settlement to fill my water bottles. I noticed that the water close to the sea of Galilee area is very poor quality. Avoid refilling the water in gas stations. Much better to get fresh one from supermarkets. So that is what I did. I bough 9 liters pack of water each time I was low on water reserve. 

When passed by the Tiberias city I entered some place to have a meal and to charge my camera. Then on the way out near the Jarden reserve I found a water tap. For a hour and half I took a shower and washed all my stuff. As regards to hygiene, there is a noticeable problem. There is almost nowhere to take a proper shower.  This problem I solved by using wet wipes. This is not as good as freshing shower after the long ride in hot weather of Israel, but that is pretty good as well when there is no really something else to do.        

If the name Horvat Ulam does not say to you much, it is o.k. I do not know where is that nether. What I do know, is that I stopped under some tree in the middle of nowhere and now, three years after the journey, I decided to write some story about it, and Horvat Ulam is what I found in Google Maps next to the place I camped. 

This evening I really enjoyed the view of the Tavor mountain at the sunset. I did not realize then that Tavor mountain is on my route tomorrow.  

Day 5: Horvat Ulam - Haifa

83km, 1'500m ( 51 miles, 4'920 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I should call this day "The chase". That was one of my longest and hardest days in the journey. By the end of that day I has to be in Haifa. 

Mount Tavor (575m) and the church on it's peak were the first attraction on my way to Haifa. The road to the church was very steep, some times my slope meter got over 18%. Some tourists hiked up hill while I rode there, and lots of taxis passed me up and down the road. The serpentine road was so steep and narrow that no tourist bus could make it up there. 

I explored the area, had my lunch, and continued on my way to Haifa. 

In the arab setlement, Ein Mahil I bough some fruits, and in the arab settlement Mash'had I was pretty sure that the settlers are going to kill me. 

Angry faces from everywhere looked at me from all over the places saying in their mind "You are not welcome here!". I did my best to get my ass out of there but it took me some time to navigate myself out of the village. I felt like I just escaped some enemy country. I could not feel in any way that I am in some safe place, nor in  Israel.

These thought were inside of my head till the very first moment that I saw an Israeli settlement. Right away I felt safer, like I just had successfully escaped to my country from the enemy's. 

That day I got to Haifa around 9 pm. Was already dark. The next day I bought new brake pads for my bike and had some rest.  

Day 7: Haifa - Bat Shlomo

59km , 1'150m (36 miles, 3'750 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I've started my riding day not too early at the morning from the Carmel mount uphill. On my way to the Shokef mount I entered to the marked route of Israeli National Trail. That one cost me a lot of time and nerves. Although that wasn't my first time at Carmel mountains, I never rode it to the Shokef's side. Now I know that there is much easer way to uphill it than going it through the bushes with only one thing that you can carry at a time: bike or the rear bag. 

I met three girls, which hiked the Israel National Trail for some time. I would say they are very brave girls when thinking of the last Arab settlement I visited two days ago.

I rode 10 kilometers extra to take some food in some fast food restaurant in Arab village Fureidis, for the evening and for tomorrow's lunch. 

This thing with the food and water is much more flexible when traveling on mountain bike. To add additional 15 kilometers in order to get some food and water, will take about a hour. In case of foot traveling those additional kilometers can take more then 5 hours while hiking with heavy backpacks and that is pretty much half of a day.             

Day 8: Bat Shlomo - Sha'ar Efraim

 71km , 500m (44 miles, 1'650 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
This day was kind of special for me due to the riding along the sea shore. That is not as fun as it seems, bike wheels are rotating very difficult in the dry sand. To overcame this problem I rode my bike as close as it was possible while not touching the salt water. Salt water can damage the metal parts of the bike so it very good idea to have the bike washed from the salt at the nearest gas station. 

As it was before I had no idea where will I stop for the night, but this time was different. I never been to those place in Israel. The landscape is flat and not really attracting for the mountain bikers. Another thing that I noticed is that every settlement that I passed was Arab settlement. As I said the landscape is flat and thus nowhere to hide with my tent and I really didn't want to see any visitors that night. 

Next day I was supposed to be at my brother's place in Alfey Menashe. But it is about half day ride and it is already late and I have to camp somewhere. In the worst case I could call to my brother and to ask him to pick me up.

Fortunately I found an Israeli village Sha'ar Efraim where I found a good place to camp and safely spend the night.         

Day 9: Sha'ar Efraim - Alfei Menashe

 46km , 750m (28 miles, 2'450 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I woke up very early and packed myself fast. When I rode out through the gates, the gate guard was very surprised to see me going out of the field section. The reason I woke up early is the fact that I had to go through Arab settlement again. From the big size of village Taibe I clearly understand that as earlier I will pass this place as it safer for me. Let hit it while it sleeps. 

I was right. I have not seen any one outside at this hour. Right after I passed the village I entered very large dump. The smell of dead flesh was everywhere. Disgusting place. In fact those dumps are next to each and every Arab settlement that I passed. Seems that they are never taking it out.

From that point I had very depressing feel. the Israel is very beautiful but only if you do not look at Arab settlements and it's surrounding. This is indeed very disappointing. 

By the early evening I arrived to my brother's place at Alfey Menashe. 

Day 10: Relax and maintains.

I took my bike to the Scott cycle shop at Hashmonaim st. in Tel Aviv. The bike was about two month old and they had to make a first free maintain to it. I told them that I am currently in a middle of Israel crossing and I need them to check the bike for possible problems. At the first place they did not want to accept the fact that I need bike maintained right away. The best time they could make it ready is tomorrow evening. I did not accept it and on my way back from the shop they stopped me and said that they will do it as I asked and this is very not acceptable and they make me a huge favor. 

I picked up my bike the same day after "the maintain". I asked them to fix the transmission and the brake systems. What they did is put some cheap grease on the chain and as result it collected all the dust and made even worst. They did not tell me that braking pads are nearly dead. I realized that myself only couple days after. The transmission system stayed the same, no change. 

It was a first free inspection by Scott shop where I bought the bike even that I bought it in Haifa's Scott shop. The service I got is below the worst. The only thing they honestly gave to me is a "huge favor" but nothing more.

Day 11: Alfei Menashe - Nahshonim Interchange

 26km , 100m (16 miles, 300 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I know what you think. You think: "Nahshonim Interchange???".

I had about two hours to get somewhere from Alfei Menashe, find good place for the tent and spend the night there. I just could not find a place good enough to camp till I got myself to the night darkness. As I noticed earlier, as darker it gets, as more suitable places for camping is around you. So I installed my tent right close to the unpaved road and the nearest place to me on the map was the Nahshonim Interchange.   

Day 12: Nahshonim Interchange - Tsuba 

 76km , 1'600m (47 miles, 5'250 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
The cheapest way to replenish water is by getting to a gas station and to buy 6 bottles pack of water. That is 9 kg to add to the current gear weight. For some 9kg is the weight of their mountain bike, but for me now it is only the weight of water reserve. 

Moreover, that day is mostly going uphill while getting closer to the Jerusalem city.

On my way to Tsuba I entered to the dark and realized that I am so tired that I simply can not make the uphill. Muslim settlement from the left side of the road made me worried. I did not switch on any lights and made my best to be quiet. 

Fortunately for me I found a spot in the bushes for my tent. Camped there. During the night I heard Muslim praying with distorted amplified sound in about 200 meters from my tent. 

At the morning I packed the tent, had some breakfast and continued the uphill to the Tsuba.           

Day 13: Tsuba - Serigim (Li On)

 61km , 1'200m (38 miles, 3'950 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
Jerusalem surrounding mountains and forests are very beautiful. I enjoyed the view of the railway and trains passing by in the forest. With the beautiful views came difficult landscapes for my loaded mountain bike ride. More over I experienced a very new feeling. 

I was aware of the fact that tuna fish from the cans and dry soups can not supply all the needed vitamins for my body. In order to balance this need I consumed multivitamins in about triple dose from the recommended daily amount for the regular consumer. The regular consumer is not riding 60km every day thus that recommendation might be not good enough for me.  I made for myself a test for the vitamin shortage: 

Imagine an orange in front of you. If you are not really hungry for it, you are OK, don't take any multivitamin pills, if you would like to eat it, take one multivitamin pill, and if you are willing it very much, take two or three pills. 

Disclaimer: I did not verified this technique with any dietologist, and thus cannot recommend it to you. If you using this method, you do it on your own risk. 

I rode very hard that day and in some moment I noticed a few things that came to me  together. First, I was really hungry. My stomach is empty I felt very weak and I had no power to pedal as I normally could. Second, I cannot eat the food that I have. I feel like this food will not provide any energy to me. It will stuck in me and will not satisfy my  hunger. And the third thing is that I really don't care of nothing. But really nothing. I could fell exhausted from my bike and die lying on the road and it seems to be no problem for me.   

I'm not getting what is going on with me and I have to concentrate very hard to get the idea that something is wrong. I did not knew why is it happening to me. I did not know what to do. And I did not want to do nothing really. 

Then suddenly I realized that this thing must be stopped. I opened the map, and found the nearest village to my current location. I rode to Nativ Ha Lamed Hei. When I entered to a supermarket I felt like I must get lots of sweet thing. Cookies, candies, juice nuts in honey etc. In fact I bought so many things that I had to eat and drink some of it instantly due to the shortage of free space in the bag. 

Sweet candies and honey got in to me fast. I rode to the nearest gas station and bought a pack of water. I never threw away the empty bottles after I drink the water from it, and thus I know that I always have a place in the bag for the water bottles. 

About half hour after supermarket visit,  I felt like I am riding monster with infinite power. Suddenly I noticed how beautiful places that are around me. Was getting dark and I found a very good place to place my tent spend the night. The dinner that night was amazing. My mood is back to normal and the issue of the strange feeling that I had was solved: must eat regular tasty food at least from time to time, the multivitamin thing is simply not enough. 

Day 14: Serigim (Li On) - Meitar 

 73km , 1'250m (45 miles, 4'100 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
The landscape got easer to ride by bike. The altitude changed slowly and the speed of my bike was very fast while the pedaling was easy. The dinner from yesterday evening with meet and vegetables were just in place. I felt like this is the first time I am really enjoying the life. Absolutely opposite feeling from these that I had yesterday.

Suddenly I notice of a strange annoying metal sound coming from the rear of my bike. I checked all the bolts but it seems is fine. After I double checked it, I found out that two right legs of my rear rack are broken. I kept going till I found some trees and stopped under the trees in the shadow. 

Not too far from me two Arabs took care of a tractor. And one of them, the younger, came over. He did not speak Hebrew or English so I could not even ask him how he is doing. He looked at my broken rack said something and walked away. He looked very friendly and I felt strange that he did not say goodbye to me.

Suddenly while I tried to connect the broken legs to the base of a rack with some broken spring and a plastic strips, that boy came to me with a plier and piece of thick wire. This Arab boy fixed my rack and gave me the rest of the wire in case other legs gonna broke. I thanked him a lot and said to him that he saved my journey. 

I will use this wire few days after, but now I'm continuing my ride to Eilat.

Couple hours after the broken rack I hear the metal sound from my brakes. Here we are. The front brake pads are gone. I installed a new pair that i got in Haifa, and contacted my friend and ask him for a help. 

Fortunately for me, a group of riders going to ride Arad - Dead Sea route within couple of days and they gonna come up with something for me.            

Day 15: Meitar - Arad

 54km , 900m (33 miles, 3'100 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I woke up with view on the territories of Palestine. It does not look very attractive. The same day the forests and trees suddenly swapped by a sand, rocks and the desert.   

Today I am arriving to Arad city and I will spend some time there, because tomorrow morning a group of riders is going to be here and the will bring be a brake pads for my bike. To make the time spending more useful I charged my camera battery and had a good meal in a local Mall. 

When it became late, I rode myself out of the city about 300 meters and camped there for the night. 

Day 16: Arad - Tsin River

 58km , 1'000m (36 miles, 3'250 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I woke up relatively late. Today I will meet the riding group from north of the country and they gonna bring me spare parts to fix my brakes. Before the desert ride I bought 9 liter pack of water. From now on I had 9 liters water for the use and 3 liters of it as an emergency water store.  

First few kilometers I rode along with the group and I noticed how slow I ride relatively to the light weight bikes. The ragged desert's roads were unpleasing to ride. Those roads surface reminded me a washboard. The only type of mountain bike that suit this road is a full suspension mountain bikes.

As a result of the washboard surface I started to feel that my bottom constantly absorbing strikes from the saddle. Each day was more painful than one before.

The Tsin river was filled with water. It is pretty oddly to see a water in the desert. Although the color of it was yellow and it was pretty stinky, the view of the river was absolutely amazing. Most likely the water coming from some factory waists.  

I found a spot to camp in safe place. I had to be safe from passing jeeps. In few hundreds meters from me, one jeep was stuck in the water when I went to sleep.         

Day 17: Tsin River - Sapir

 56km , 900m (35 miles, 2'950 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
With great difficulty I got out from the Tsin river. With a brunch of reed tore the nipple on the front rear. I had to exchange the tube to a new one. 

Additionally to a washboard roads some parts of it were filled with gravel. It made the journey even more difficult. After a few hours of ride the chain broken and I had to repair it by taking out one of the chain sections. 

Almost instantly I heard a metal ring. The third leg of my rear rack was broken. Once again I thanked the Arab boy for the spare wire that he gave to me.

Few kilometers before the 90 road to Eilat I stopped for the sleep. That night was amazing. There was no moon and no clouds. The stars were so bright and beautiful, one can never see such a spectacular sky while in the city or somewhere nearby the city. 

Day 18: Sapir - near Tsukim  (Bildad)

 71km, 650m (44 miles, 2'150 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
As soon as I got myself on the 90 road, I noticed a big sign of McDonald's. I was very happy and started to pedal even faster to get there and buy my juicy hamburger, or two. Or may be even three.

Unfortunately it was closed. I came there too early and I should wait 2 hours of morning freshness. I could not afford this waiting, so I bought water refill and kept the course to the Sapir village. I found a mini-market and bought some food there. 

Road which was marked as Israel National Trail was absolutely boring, but I knew, that I will visit a Barak Canyon very soon and this one will be beautiful. 

After the canyon I rode couple of hours till the darkness and stopped for the night. As it was yesterday the place was absolutely amazing.   

Day 19: Tsukim  (Bildad) - Be'er Ora (Campsite)

 83km, 750m (51 miles, 2'450 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
I was too lazy to take a look at the map when crossed some road. That cost me about 7 km of ragged road. I felt exhausted. tomorrow I will be in Eilat, but today I still have to ride a long distances. 

Some part of that day I rode on 40 road. Before turning it to 12 road, I stopped on the Shizafon junction and asked for the 9 liter water pack. The seller said that they sell only per bottle and each bottle cost 8 shekels. I ended up filling bottles with water in rest room. The water was disgusting and I hoped that I will not have to drink it. In the worst case I will use it for soups and tea.

The way from Shizafon junction was very difficult. I'm not sure that it has to do something with the gravel or washboard pavement. May be thats is me. I am tired indeed and I move very slow. 

I meet someone on a car that gave me 3 liters of a fresh water and that made me very happy. Once again I surprised how little I needed in order to be happy.

After few hours I finally got to the top of the mount Basemet (700m). The view from the mount was absolutely spectacular. I forgot about all the pain and hunger. It was amazing. I stand quietly and enjoyed the view. Sunset made the view even more beautiful. 

For me Eilat Mountains are the most beautiful place in Israel. And before you disagree with me, I suggest you to visit it from the inside.

Day 20: Be'er Ora - Eilat

 27km, 250m (17 miles, 800 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 
Was clear to me that the way to Eilat is not too long. I had a feeling like I already  finished my great journey. More or less that is the way it was. I felt over trained, exhausted and at the same time satisfied of the whole journey. It was special, strong feeling. 

After few hours I stopped next to the sign which directed to the Eilat city. The altitude is 200m. The exact altitude at which I have started the journey 20 days ago which means that I am going to go down the hill 200 meters which I never climbed. 



Overall journey conclusions

 1'030km, 16'800m (640 miles, 55'100 feet)  Google Maps  Altitude Profile Download GPX 

The journey was successfully completed. I learn a lot about Israel and specially about myself at this long solo ride. Landscape changed dramatically for all the way from Dan to Eilat. Israel is very beautiful country. The only thing that ruined the beauty of Israel are the huge dumps next to each and every Arab settlement on my way all over the country. 

The most beautiful area for me at this journey was the Eilat Mountains, especially at sunsets and sunrises. 


Those 20 days of journey was the most interesting period of my life! 

Slideshow of the Trans Israel Journey

      





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