The Essential Goodness of Humanity

Hickman, Kentucky
September 25, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

Every day brings a new adventure and a reaffirmation of the essential goodness of humanity.

Phil drove me to Fort Defiance Park where I was able to see the confluence of the Ohio River and the Mississippi River. Then, he gave me a tour of Cairo, Illinois.

I launched at 11:30 am. Ten minutes downriver, the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers merged. Because of the increased volume of water moving down the River, I was expecting a big boost in the current and my River speed. The opposite occurred. I was really disappointed that the merger of these two great rivers slowed me down significantly.

After six hours of paddling, I started to set up my tent on a sandy bank on the Missouri side of the River. A towboat pulled up pushing a car ferry. Captain Jeremy Newsom suggested I load my canoe and gear on his ferry so he could take me across River to the town of Hickman, Kentucky where there is a restaurant. I gladly accepted this generous offer.

When we arrived in Hickman, Jeremy suggested I stay in a local church where I could get a shower and sleep inside. He drove up to the church and obtained permission for me to spend the night inside the church. Then, he drove me to a pizza restaurant and I ordered a pizza to be delivered to the church. After the pizza stop, Jeremy dropped me off at the West Hickman Baptist Church. He said he would pick me up the following morning and take me to breakfast and then back to the ferry where my canoe and gear were stored.

Ten minutes after my arrival at the church, Pastor Jason Sipes showed up and introduced himself. He showed me all of the facilities available to me, including a couch convertible into a bed, a shower, a laundry room, a stove, a fully stocked kitchen and an exercise room pictured below. Later, two church members came in and welcomed me. I took a shower, and 30 minutes later my pizza arrived.

I slept well in God’s house. Jeremy arrived the following morning and took me to a restaurant for breakfast. I was looking forward to paying for our meal, but he beat me to it. Then, he gave me a Dorena-Hickman Ferry t-shirt. He also shared apps and printed maps that will help me navigate the River.

Upon arrival back on the Missouri side of the River, where I was picked up yesterday, Jeremy gave me his expensive marine radio in case mine is lost or broken. He said he has lots of these radios. I was back on the River at 9 am.

It’s easy to get discouraged and cynical at the bad news we are bombarded with every day by the print and electronic media. This trip has convinced me that the overwhelming majority of people are kind, decent, unselfish, loving and caring and want to do the right thing for their fellow human beings.


(click on images for better resolution)

The Dorena-Hickman Ferry

Pastor Sipes and his beautiful family
My parlor
My stove & kitchen
My bedroom
My exercise room
My new friend Jeremy


16 thoughts on “The Essential Goodness of Humanity

  1. Bill your insights on this trip are amazing. Melissa and I live in a small town in Missouri your observation of the small towns losing business is correct. But you also discover that most people in small towns are hospitable. We are enjoying your journey.

    Bruce and Melissa Eckhoff

  2. I have been following your adventures for quite a few years. Thanks so much for taking time to write your posts. We can’t all travel but because you share your experiences we can have a “taste” of it. I’m so glad you have met so many wonderfully kind people. Safe travels!

  3. Glad you are seeing real RIVER PEOLPE ! Mikebudd…PS Put your life jacket on every day before you get in your kayak. And tighten the waist if you haven’t gained weight eating pizza.

  4. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you. You are such a joy & inspiration! I love your words on humanity at the end of this post… I have this to be true as well. Praying you find this incredible friendship on the rest of your trip!

  5. Bill, I’ve been following your adventures ever since my niece Martha Levin trekked with you on one of

    your Mount Everest trips several years ago.

    Those mountain trips were fascinating and wondrous.

    This journey down the Mississippi has actually pulled me along with you through all the highs and

    lows. I think it would make a wonderful book after you complete the trip. You have met such

    interesting people, given me a look into the history of an area of our country I didn’t know about

    and held me in awe of all you have done in your life. Thank you!

    thank you!

  6. Ditto what others have said here, Bill. I’m sure YOUR warm and open personality invites the generosity and friendliness of others. It IS nice to hear of the kindness of others to s stranger!

  7. Bill you have become an apostle to me. Traveling the world and seeing the wonders God has given us through Godly eyes. I too believe in the goodness of man, the beauty of nature and the gifts of God. You bring them back into focus. Thank you.

  8. Bill

    Wow such a great post. Once again great people. Travel is great but harder travel is where you really meet the best people! When I had just graduated from college my friend and I rode bikes for three months through Europe. We had long hair and beards and weren’t smelling the best but still some really great families took us in for the night for a hot shower, a meal and a bed.
    Really enjoying your trip!

  9. So many things of this world are, as you say, discouraging. It truly warms my heart to read about how blessed you are by all the good people you have met. A true balm to the spirit. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I look forward to your updates since we met you in Grafton IL. Thanks for sharing your adventures as well as your heart felt messages. Be safe!
    The Bosler family!

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