I should have known the adventure was coming when I ended up in Cairo unexpectedly.
But let me back up a bit.
I spent this weekend at a martial arts seminar just outside Kansas City, Missouri. The seminar itself was great. The travel around it was an absolute adventure – and I mean that in the best possible sense. I spent fourteen hours on Friday making a nine and a half hour drive. Because it was that kind of day.
The first part of the trip passed rather uneventfully, if slowly. I found myself growing even more bored than I usually do when driving long distances by myself. Spotify did little to dull the tedium.
But my trip was not to stay boring!
Somewhere around Paducah, Kentucky, Google Maps informed me that I-57 north had become completely closed due to an accident. For those who care to check a map, this would’ve been between the intersection with I-24 at Pulley’s Mill and the intersection with I-64 at Mount Vernon, both in southern Illinois. By this point, the road closure would’ve been about an hour away – so likely to still be closed by the time I got there.
In its helpful wisdom, Google suggested an alternate route, basically running some lesser highways and a couple of back roads through southern Illinois over to I-55 north, instead.
I should’ve seen the folly of this plan when I ended up in Cairo. That’s KAY-roh, Illinois, not KY-roh, Egypt, for those who have never been there. I’ve been through several times. And let me just say this… if you’ve read the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman, then his description is pretty much spot on. The place is weird. Weird enough to end up in a Gaiman novel.
But my adventures only began in Cairo. Nothing of actual consequence this time actually happened there. Things didn’t get interesting until Thebes, just down the river (I am not making this up; this entire area is actually sometimes referred to as “Little Egypt.”)
At this point I was driving along Illinois 3. Google Maps wanted me to get to the bridge on Illinois 146 so that I could cross the Mississippi River.
What Google didn’t know, apparently, is that there’s been a lot of recent flooding of the Mississippi river. The bridge was fine. But the stretch of Illinois 3 Google insisted that I follow to get to the bridge…
Yes, I had been rerouted to avoid a closed road, only to run into a closed road. Irony. Lovely.
I tried several times to move far enough away from the closure for Google to route me around it. The problem was… Little Egypt is kind of, well, Bum F– Egypt (BFE). Go figure.
The very nice Sheriff guarding the closed road finally had to give me directions. I literally drove down one-and-a-half lane gravel farm roads, 10 miles out of the the way, dodging tractors bailing hay on the road, oncoming traffic (also people trying to route around the road closure, but in the other direction), and irate stares from the local farmers. Also, the car in front of me kicked up so much dust that I couldn’t see a thing – including the car in front of me.
Actually, it really was good times. I had a blast. Sometimes life is more fun when it doesn’t go according to plan.
Tomorrow: details of the seminar itself, which was also great.