Back in early July 2006 I drove down to Scott City with the bike, then rode south — this is what I do if I’m looking for a ride with no hills. South of Scott City is what was once the great Southeast Missouri Swamp, drained in the early 20th century by the Little River Project. What remains is flat as a pancake, the Missouri Bootheel. Anyway, I rode south through Bertrand to Wilson City (formerly North Wyatt, one of the Delmo Housing villages established for displaced sharecroppers after the 1939 Sharecropper’s Strike, but that’s another story).
As I turned back to the north there, I noticed the signs saying “Cairo, 8 miles,” and I was tempted to go that way. The facts that it was about 90 degrees out and I was 40 miles from my car dissuaded me at the time. Ever since, I’ve had in the back of my mind the idea of doing a bike ride from Cape Girardeau south through Missouri to Wilson City, then across the bridge to Cairo, IL (this is where Huck and Jim got separated in the fog and missed the Ohio river on their way south), then back up the Illinois side to East Cape Girardeau, and across the Cape Girardeau bridge back home.
This year, after the success of the Advance Winter Loop, I decided to try to organize the Cairo Century. It’s actually a little longer than a century — about 105 miles — and since I didn’t want to do a whole lot of organizing with support vehicles, rest stops, etc., I thought of it as a wildcat century, like a wildcat strike. I’ve emailed the usual suspects, and several people seem to be interested. So I put up a Cairo Wildcat Century web site with information about the ride. Only about four weeks until the ride day, April 20. Email me if you’re interested.
Now all I need is somebody to design a t-shirt.