I left the house at 8 a.m. and loaded my Honda CBR250R with a tankbag and a small 10-liter Kriega pack that fit nicely on the pillion seat. This was a solo trip. I wanted to escape from the city for a few days, and a ride through the Negev desert to the Red Sea was just what I needed.
I started on Route 6, one of the few toll roads in Israel. Route 6 goes through farmland in the center of the country, and it eventually reaches the suburbs of Beersheva, the major desert city. After taking the exit to Route 40, the directions are easy: Keep going south. Route 40 passes several military bases, lots of industries, and Bedouin villages. Watch for camels!
I continued onward to Mitzpe Ramon for lunch, gas, and a stop at the visitors center. There is an excellent shawarma shop and the vegan cafe Mauna, which has the best coffee in town. I had shawarma, the Middle Eastern sandwich of sliced meat in a pita, while a few elderly French tourists chatted with me about their trip, how much they loved traveling in Israel, and the motorcycles they used to have. There is something about traveling solo by motorcycle that seems to make it easier for others to approach you for conversation.