Jodi and I have been planning this year’s bike tour for months now. Heck, we started last winter, when we decided that we would go to Israel. Planning has been at varying intensities, as time and interest dictated, but recently we’ve been hard at it as we decided we would be going in October. We’ve got the basis of an itinerary planned, starting way up north in the Golan Heights at Mt. Hermon, the highest point in Israel, then heading south to Lake Kinneret, aka the Sea of Galilee, then northwest to Rosh Ha-Nikra at the Lebanon border along the Mediterranean Sea, then down the coast to Haifa, the Carmel Forest, and Tel Aviv. From here we have to make the stiff climb up to Jerusalem. The idea of visiting a city that has existed for over 10,000 years is incredibly exciting.

From Jerusalem our plan is to head south into the Negev Desert, first dropping down to the Dead Sea and on to Masada, then heading back up to Mitspe Ramon on the edge of the Ramon Crater, then finally continuing south along the Egyptian border to the resort city of Eilat on the Red Sea.

We finally settled on the dates for our trip, and on the 16th we booked our flights on British Airways. Two days later I woke in the morning to read the news that a group of militants from the Gaza Strip had infiltrated Israel from the Sinai in Egypt and attacked an Israeli bus along Rt 12; the exact route we plan to cycle into Eilat.

Now I am as aware as any American — and probably more aware than most — of the complex issues and conflicts that plague the region, and I know our little vacation factors not at all when compared to the life and death issues faced by those trying to live their lives and build a future on both sides of the border fence, but I can’t help wondering why the PRC finds it necessary to ruin my holiday!

Well, we’re still planning to go to Israel, but if things don’t quiet down between now and then, we will have to cut our itinerary short and avoid traveling in southern Israel. We’ll be spending some days in Jerusalem anyway, and we’ll have plenty of time to assess the
situation before deciding whether and how far we will venture to the south.