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Arrival in Eilat

After five days of riding – either 150, 290, or 350 miles depending on which riding group each person chose, 130 riders arrived safely in Eilat.  Below are some final reflections:

Team Mandell JCC sisters Annie and Allison pose in the Red Sea

By Lloyd and Susan Lense:

We have finished the ride. We cycled 285 miles in 5 riding sessions. The weather has been terrific. The scenery is desert and magical and clean. We have made many new friends.

Yesterday started with a trip through Makhtesh Ramon – it is a natural wonder more native to the Negev. It is not a crater or canyon but formed through the effects of water on a softer layer of the earth with subsequent collapse of the top part of the earth layers. We made some incredible descents as we progressed to sea level. We stayed overnight at the kibbutz listed above and had the opportunity to talk with students from Israel, Jordan and Palestinian areas. The kibbutz is the home of the Arava Institute which focuses on science, peace building, dialogue and agriculture.

Today we cycled near the Egyptian border, passed IDF posts and cycled through the Eilat Mountains with a fantastic view of the Gulf of Aqaba as we descended 100s of feet toward sea level. Physically we are looking quite well but our biggest growth and understanding has come from sharing this experience with and learning much from students, the crew, and fellow travelers.

There is not one great thing about the journey but an experience with many textures and realizations. The young people who support us on the trip all have an interesting narrative. Food is an important focus and appreciation in its many interpretations and preparations and sustenance.

By Jonathan and Beth Miller:

After five days of cycling and achieving our goal of riding a minimum of 300 miles, we made it safely this afternoon to Eilat. We will be posting more thorough updates shortly, however there are lots of things to get done like prepare our bikes for shipping home plus a host of celebratory festivities. Also, the Internet access is really challenging, so uploading stuff is difficult at the moment. We will try to get some pics from today uploaded onto Facebook when we are able throughout the evening.

Thank you so much to all of you for supporting us in our journey and sharing in the moments via this blog and Facebook. It has been a truly wonderful experience, much of which we haven’t even taken the time to process yet.