Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dead Sea Highway

I expected a fast and flat ride to the Dead Sea during next day or two. Flat it surely was, but the headwind made it far from fast. Also, there were more check points then watering points. There is no accommodation on this part of the trip, so I had to use my bivy bag and I was very nervous about it. Not without reason. It was cold during the night both from the ground and from above, the bivy bag filled with condensation and I haven't slept more then 2 hours of the whole night - and nights are long here in winter.

One good point about it was that I just couldn't wait for the dawn to get up. And so I started early, at 7:15. I wanted to get to the turn off to Karak that day. The morning was cool but calm, without traffic and I made big progress in a few hours. Wind seemed to have turned or at least ceased. As the hours went by I realized I could get to Karak, avoiding another night of misery in the bivy bag.

I got at Karak turn off at 14:00 and made the majestic Karak climb before the dark at 17:00. I got a different hotel this time, a bit cheaper and a bit better, with hot water and functional heating. It came at the right moment as well, as I was totally drenched in sweat from the climbing effort. So much for technical clothes and wicking materials. I think I'll go back to cotton and wool.

The hotel owner offered to buy my bike after I finish the tour. Selling it for 200 EUR was an attractive idea: I already have too many bikes and I'll have to change the cranckset on this one anyway. But I am emotionaly attached to this one, so I refused the offer.
I was looking forward to the return downhill the same way. It was all to short - it lasted half an hour. The ride along the Dead Sea was exceptional. Great views, smooth road, good wind, I took it slowly savoring the good moments. I met the first touring cyclist - a Dutch doing an unusual 1-year itinerary through Europe, Middle East, Africa and back to Europe. I stopped shortly for a dip in a hot spring close to the road then proceeded to the Amman Beach where I paid entrance and overnighting on the Dead Sea beach. It was another bivy-bag night, slightly more comfortable than the first, but still miserable.

Day 7: 95km. Day 8: 155km. Day 9: 110km. Total 819km.


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