Getting There

My first memory of considering a trip to Israel was sometime in the early 1970's. We were members of the First Baptist Church in Lake Charles, LA and the pastor, Hugh Van Eaton, used to take groups from the church to the Holy Land.

Two decades later, I'm working at a theatre in Pennsylvania and being housed in the spare bedroom of a widow. She had been a caregiver for her disabled husband in the last few years of his life and when he passed away, her children got her a cruise as a reward for her sacrifice. Another decade later, as my mother labored to care for my disabled father, a trip to Israel returned to my mind as something that might be a nice victory lap for her when my father passed away. 16 years after his stroke, my father passed away in April of 2010, and, curiously, one of the first things to pop into mind was that now my mother and I could go to Israel.

In 2008, a friend who had just been on an Israel trip had suggested the agency that booked her trip - Noseworthy Travel. However, they had nothing in the time frame I needed, so I spoke to the mother of another friend, who just happened to be the secretary of a church in the city where I was going to school. The secretary suggested contacting John Setterlund, a retired pastor who had lived in Israel and who regularly lead trips there. His November trip didn't fit into my schedule, but he suggested contacting L&L Travel in Champaign, IL. Lisa suggested looking at some of the guided tours from Globus. After looking through the packages and discussing further, my mother and I decided on TG 522 - a 9-day trip through Israel. The cost for the tour and airfare was $9,066, and cash expenses pushed the total cost up to around $10,000. Effectively, my frugal father was paying for it through his estate, and I'm not sure whether he would be delighted or horrified.

The trip to Israel was fairly straightforward, but the fact that both my mother and I lived in slightly remote locations, coupled with my distaste for air travel and some seasonal flooding made the trip a bit more complicated than it might have been for many other Americans. My trip to meet her in Louisiana involved a city bus to the downtown Champaign, IL bus terminal, a Greyhound bus to St. Louis, Amtrak to Longview, TX, and another Greyhound to Ruston, LA, where she picked me up at the bus stop.

The trip to Israel involved driving to Shreveport, taking a regional jet to Atlanta (Delta 5540) and then taking an international flight to Tel Aviv (Delta 152). Aside from the normal indignities and discomforts of contemporary air travel, the process was surprisingly crisis-free. On the ATL-TLV leg of the trip, we scored a bulkhead seat right behind business class, which gave us a very pleasant amount of legroom.

05/01/1966 12:00:00
Mom, dad and me
10/04/2005 11:30:46
First Baptist Church, Lake Charles, LA
05/17/2011 13:33:26
Waiting for the bus
05/17/2011 13:37:36
05/17/2011 14:46:20
Greyhound to STL
05/17/2011 16:20:44
Meal stop in Decatur
05/17/2011 16:12:00
Arrest in Decatur
05/17/2011 18:56:24
St. Louis
05/17/2011 19:11:38
Old Union Station
05/17/2011 19:23:16
05/17/2011 19:38:36
Old Union Station
05/17/2011 19:48:20
The Arch
05/17/2011 20:18:12
Waiting for Amtrak
05/17/2011 20:36:26
Boarding the Texas Eagle
05/17/2011 20:36:58
Boarding the Texas Eagle
05/18/2011 04:11:08
Little Rock
05/18/2011 04:15:00
Little Rock
05/18/2011 06:51:18
05/18/2011 06:51:10
05/18/2011 06:52:36
05/18/2011 06:52:48
05/18/2011 06:53:22
05/18/2011 07:26:18
Mainline and passing siding
05/18/2011 09:17:18
Longview, TX
05/18/2011 09:20:08
Thruways bus to Houston
05/18/2011 09:21:14
New tank cars
05/18/2011 09:21:24
05/18/2011 09:21:28
The Texas Eagle
05/18/2011 09:29:38
Superliner shrine
05/18/2011 09:29:56
Superliner shrine
05/18/2011 09:52:26
Telephone booth
05/18/2011 09:53:16
Longview train station
05/18/2011 09:55:08
Longview junction historical marker
05/18/2011 09:59:46
05/18/2011 10:11:18
Longview Greyhound station
05/18/2011 10:21:24
Longview Transit
05/18/2011 12:48:08
Shreveport Greyhound station
05/18/2011 12:48:30
Shreveport Greyhound station
05/18/2011 12:55:48
05/18/2011 13:17:16
Shreveport Greyhound station
05/18/2011 14:08:44
Waiting on a transfer
05/18/2011 15:54:14
Arriving in Ruston, LA
05/20/2011 09:30:54
Mom's house
05/20/2011 09:59:30
05/20/2011 11:27:56
Dropoff in Shreveport
05/20/2011 11:33:12
Shreveport airport
05/20/2011 12:38:04
Lunch - Cracker Barrel
05/20/2011 13:27:34
Long term parking
05/20/2011 13:57:26
Terminal corridor
05/20/2011 14:16:52
05/20/2011 14:16:58
05/20/2011 14:18:52
CRJ 200
05/20/2011 14:18:58
Waiting to board
05/20/2011 14:56:02
Loading luggage
05/20/2011 16:18:18
Hartsfield International, Atlanta
05/20/2011 16:52:46
05/20/2011 18:03:38
05/20/2011 18:38:52
05/20/2011 18:39:14
05/20/2011 18:39:36
Additional security
05/21/2011 14:39:16
Long-ass flight
05/21/2011 14:47:42
In-flight navigation display
05/21/2011 15:37:28
05/21/2011 17:08:46
Lots of bulkhead legroom
05/21/2011 17:15:40
05/21/2011 17:22:10
Ben Gurion Airport
05/21/2011 17:22:24
05/21/2011 17:33:02
05/21/2011 17:36:26
Corridor to baggage claim
05/21/2011 17:36:34
Note the echo of the Jerusalem Wall
05/21/2011 17:49:34
Baggage claim
05/21/2011 18:12:34
Cab to Tel Aviv

Next: Tel Aviv