Along the King’s Highway

Thanks to the canyon’s steep walls, the road remained in shadow until more than an hour after dawn. I slowly rode my way up the climb, reaching the top of the canyon after climbing about 500m.

The road levelled out onto a plateau. The land here seemed to be used for arable farming, but nothing was growing at the moment – it is the dry season after all.

I joined the King’s Highway, and soon began to descend into another canyon. Though called a highway, there was still very little traffic.

At the base of the canyon was a dam. At the far side of this dam was a police station, where I filled up on water.

In what is unlikely to be a surprise, the bottom of the canyon was followed by a long climb out of it.

Looking back down

The road then levelled out again somewhat, and made its way across the top of the mountains, through various villages and towns.

Kerak castle, a Crusader stronghold

People often yelled out, greeting me with “Hello,” “Welcome to Jordan,” or “Salaam Aleikum.” There were a couple less pleasant encounters, like a couple people begging for money or the group of kids that tried to block the road and grab me, but most people were very welcoming.

I continued along for several hours, with some rolling hills trending upwards. In the late afternoon, I passed through the last town and the traffic died off as I began to ride down into yet another canyon.

This descent was significantly more gradual, and therefore much more enjoyable as I could ride along st a fast pace rather than be constantly squeezing the breaks as I ride around hairpin after hairpin. All too quickly I reached the dry riverbed, where people lived in temporary canvas dwellings, with small flocks of animals.

By now it was only an hour or so before sunset and so the climb was mostly in the shade. It was also quite gradual, with an average gradient of about 6%. It was nice not to be crawling along in my lowest gear the whole time!

As the sun set, I clambered away from the road and found a flat spot among some rocks, hidden from the road.

I didn’t have long left of the climb, so I reached the top early and started riding along flatter ground, through villages, as the kids were on their way to school. Although the vast majority of the kids are nice, there were some shouts of “fuck you” as young boys showed off to their friends, and one group tried to block me and grab me. Occasionally a kid would pick up a rock as I passed, but in such cases I would just stare at them and they never threw.

Apart from that, it was a nice morning’s cycling, as I left the King’s Highway and followed some minor roads for a while

The road was closed but the work crew gestured that I could ride there, so I had the road to myself. The workers were digging a trench in the middle of the road with pickaxes.

I rejoined the King’s Highway for a 400 metre descent. At the bottom the road was “cloased” so I took a short detour.

After climbing back up the other side of the valley, there were some incredible views out over the Dana area to the west.

I continued down to a flat stretch of sandy desert, and acquired a puncture from a small bit of metal. Thankfully there were some trees around so I could sit in the shade as I repaired it.

One last, much more gradual climb was followed by a final descent to the town of Wadi Musa. I made my way to the town centre, checked into a hotel and had a pizza.

Sept 25: 111 km

Sept 26: 91 km

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