What a day!!! We headed out for Old Shawneetown just as fast as we could pack up. It was raining once again, of course, but we’ve already grown gills so we were ok! (just kidding) I was tired of my hat leaking, so I finally tied a plastic bag over my head to make it waterproof. I find it funny to note that this particular bag was given to us by the officer in El Dorado who pulled us over for the horses pooping in the streets. You see, they just happened to still be in my saddle bags and had more than one use! (No- these had not been used yet!)
I called the Sheriff’s office to let him know we were going to make it to the bridge that morning, and we began a texting conversation since our reception was once again sketchy.
It went something like this:
Me- “We’ll make it to the bridge around 3;30 or 4.”
Sheriff- “Where would you like the deputy to meet you?”
Me- “Well, we are coming in on El Sasser Rd. so he can meet us right there near the bridge.”
Sheriff- “El Sasser is under water- take Head Ln. instead.”
Me- “How bad? Our horses can walk through water that cars can’t drive through- 2 feet plus easy. Going around will add an extra 2 miles so another 45 minutes or so.”
Sheriff- “It’s under 6 feet plus!”
Me- “Wow- yup- that’s too deep! We’ll go around and let the deputy know when we get closer.”
We had ridden on roads that were covered in water and flooded. Cars were turning around and we just kept on-a-going! So honestly, we were expecting the part of the road closest to the river to be flooded like that. What we were shocked to find is that almost two miles inland where El Sasser and our detour met at a corner- the water was COMPLETELY covering the road! It literally looked like a boat ramp into a lake- not a road! We were slack jawed! Neither of us have ever seen such flooding in our lives.
We happily rode around- we clearly were not going to swim our horses for two miles! The deputy met us shortly before the bridge and we were utterly grateful for the time he spent to escort us across. The bridge was very narrow, older and more noisy, and had huge expansion grates that the horses really had a hard time with. Cars were honking and revving their engines by the time we got across and we were soooo glad we had that safety buffer. It was an amazing flood view up on the bridge, and we discovered the next morning that God was really looking out for every detail of our timing again. The water is rising so fast that by the next morning, our detour route was also under water, and the bridge was closed due to a barge breaking loose from the flooding and ramming the bridge! Such a small window of time and we were right where we were supposed to be just in time! Praise God for His amazing timing!
We had a wonderful warm welcome to Kentucky by Keith and Larry Lovell and their family, as well as by Bundy McLeod who became our host and quickly turned into a rest stop. We were so excited to be in a new state- we crossed Illinois in 9 days flat- even with a stop for Easter and a detour from the ferry to the bridge! Yeeeehaaaaaw!