As I look back upon the ride to the monastary of Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi, I have to ask myself if I wasn’t engaging in a bit of self-flagellation. It was certainly painful, if it didn’t exactly bring me closer to God. It started out well enough. I got up good and early and had to awaken the hotel manager to let me out the metal cage. I got on the road at about 4:45am, taking the main road out of Homs. I ended up on the highway for a bit, but exited and pulled a bit of a sketchy maneuver, turning around and going against traffic (I thought it was a two-way road). Soon enough, however, my intended road appeared parellel to the ramp I was on, and I rode this frontage road the remainder of the way to an-Nebek. In most places, it was simply the old Homs-Damascus highway, and it crossed back and forth across the highway every so often, almost always at surface level, with no under- or overpass. There were a number of stretches where it was right next to the highway, which gave me the peace of mind of not having to worry about being run over, while I still had to deal with the consistent engine noise. For the most part, however, the road was a good distance from the highway, and, as was the case the day before, was largely used only by the occassional motorcyclist or over-laden produce truck. I’m not sure why, but I got a particular kick out of one stretch of the road that went through the middle of a wide valley, with the northbound and southbound lanes of the highway on either side of the valley.