It was raining Friday afternoon when I arrived in Marion Illinois, and the rain continued through the night. The 2013 spring in southern Illinois had been wet; wet enough to raise the Mississippi River and its tributaries to flood stage.
Steve Meredith, RUSA #8511, and I started the Little Egyptian 400 km brevet at 06:00 Saturday – in the rain. The first stop was at mile 38 in Dongola, IL. At a Dollar General store Steve purchased a second pair of gloves to wear, while I found another pair of wool blend socks. I had a dry pair of pure wool socks packed deep in my bag, but I wanted to save them for our night riding.
Although the rain had eased by the time we reached the information control in McClure, Steve, riding ahead of me, discovered that the next section of the route was flooded due to Friday night’s rain. A local resident informed him that the area had received perhaps 3” of rain in the past 24 hours, on top of the saturated soil. She told Steve that we could get around the flooded road by riding along the levee. The road proved to be slightly challenging due its coarse gravel surface, but Steve and I navigated our way across the levee to State Highway 3 and on to the next control at Olive Branch.