Friday, June 15, 107 k

Alarm at 5:10 and snacks in the room as breakfast. Once again an inefficient start; I'm moving at 6:35 am.

At 7:55 am I see a sign "Sharm 95 km". Since I've been riding for almost an hour and a half I'm going to say that Sharm must be 110 k, not the 85 k that the Lonely Planet map says. Oh, well…

7:55 - 95 km
8:20 - 90 km
8:38 - 85 km
9:10 - stop for tea with Bedouin at the top of the climb
9:35 - bicycling again
9:37 - 80 km
9:45 - 75 km
9:57 - 70 km
11:01 - 50 km
11:20 - 40 km
11:54 - 30 km
12:32 - 20 km

As usual, the last 20 k takes time-extra stops for directions and all that. I stop for liquids, and chug a 1.5-liter Fanta.

Approaching Sharm, I get directions to the SuperJet bus stop. A few wrong turns later I find it and learn that there is 4:30 pm bus. I pay 70 Egyptian Pounds, plus 10 Egyptian Pounds for my bicycle (about $14 total). Now I have to find a way to chill for 2+ hours and ideally rinse the day's ride off of me before sitting on a bus for who knows how many hours. I bicycle around looking for a beer and/or cheap hotel (LP didn't mention any, and I don't see any.)

No luck finding the beer either. Riding back towards the bus kiosk, I see a complex on my right - the Delta Sharm Resort, or something like that, and I go there, searching for a place to relax and clean up. There's a security gate, but I'm allowed on the grounds. I find a pool bar, get a bit of flak about the loaded bicycle, but ignore them - Hell - I'm here to spend money! I have a beer, order food, then duck under the outdoor shower, and jump in the pool. Cooled off and somewhat cleaner, I'm ready for the bus ride.

Back at the bus shack, I go to the kiosk next door to buy a water for the trip. I'm quoted a tourist-price, and refuse to pay it. Maybe it's good that this trip is wrapping up.

The bus ride gets to the center of Cairo after 11pm. I had been advised to get out at the second stop and I do. It's a very small stop, just a sign, really, but there's a taxi driver close by, looking for fares. I point out my destination on the Lonely Planet Central Cairo map and we head to Hotel Luna, bike hanging out of the trunk. I get out of the cab, attach the baggage to the bike, guide the bike through crowds to get to the hotel entrance, squeeze the bike into a very small elevator, go up to the fifth floor and learn that the hotel is full. I'm beat, and out of my league. Perhaps they can tell. After a few moments they agree to contact another hotel and I'm escorted a few blocks away. There I take a room in a place that is OK, the Richmond Hotel. The ride is over. Tomorrow I will focus on obtaining a bicycle box. Once that is accomplished, then I'll play tourist. The ride really is over.

The last day of the ride.
I came across only one business during the ride: a tent serving chai and warm sodas.
Hot and dry, but nice-looking terrain.
Finally - a picture that seems to capture the essense of the ride. Today, day 42, I handed my camera to a stranger and got the picture I had wanted.
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