Change of Plans

Costa Mesa, Ca.
October 1, 2020

Dear Family & Friends:

Covid-19 has changed everything. I have cancelled my plan to walk the Camino de Santiago next month. The United States and Spain have been hit hard by the virus, and Spain is not allowing flights into the country from the United States. I will complete this pilgrimage in the Fall of 2021.

My plan for the Spring of 2021 is to through-paddle the Missouri River in my beloved “*livelikedan” and “Ollie Power” canoe.

My trip will start at the source of the River in the Rocky Mountains near Three Forks, Montana and will end at the terminus of the River just north of St. Louis, where it merges with the Mississippi River. The Missouri River spans 2,341 miles and runs through seven states-Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. When I reach St. Louis, I may continue down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico, although I already paddled this span of the Mississippi in 2019.

The Missouri River is the longest river in the United States. The Missouri played a major role in the exploration and expansion of the American West. Following the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson charged Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with responsibility to find a waterway that would connect the east with the west, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Thus began the Army Corps of Discovery, aka “The Lewis & Clark Expedition.” The Lewis & Clark Expedition began on May 14, 1804 and proceeded up the Missouri River from St. Louis to its headwaters in Montana. From there, the Army Corps of Discovery crossed the Rocky Mountains and proceeded to the Pacific Ocean via the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers.

The Missouri River is far more remote and scenic than the Mississippi River. This will leave me alone for long stretches, accompanied only by my wit, wisdom and thoughts. It will also require careful planning because there will be precious few cities along the River for rest and resupply.

The Missouri River is more difficult and dangerous than the Mississippi River because of the swift current, wing dams, whitewater rapids, dams, reservoirs, lakes, lengthy portages and wild and unpredictable weather. I will not fear this difficulty and danger because, as always, I will have God as my navigator, rudder and protector.

I look forward to retracing the steps of the Lewis & Clark Expedition in reverse. I hope I meet as many nice people along the Missouri River as I met while paddling down the Mighty Mississippi.



21 thoughts on “Change of Plans

  1. Bill, your and your inspirational words are appreciated in these challenging times. Best wishes with your upcoming Missouri River adventure. k;-)

  2. Bill, you don’t know me, but I love your posts. Thanks for keeping a healthy perspective on all of your adventures. You realize that the Creator of the universe also wants to be our friend, guide and Savior. Thanks also for not just focusing on your accomplishments (which are impressive), but you stay grounded, focusing on the acts of kindness by the many wonderful people in the world. God speed on this next adventure, and I will look forward to your posts.

  3. Looking forward for your new adventure we learn so much from your trips feels like we are all right with you. Yes 2020 has not been a great year except for Your new great granddaughter to love She is so precious and beautiful Can’t wait for 2021 to get here and we can get back to normal ❤️

  4. Bill,
    Another monumental “once in a lifetime” accomplishment to check off. No doubt you will come back with more great stories / experiences. We will, however, miss you while you are gone (especially Ollie)!!!

  5. Greetings , Bill. Your solar charger(s) will be extremely handy for the long, lonely stretches of the river. Once again, we look forward to your regular river posts and encounter stories.


  6. Bill, good luck on your next adventure. Be safe and don’t be afraid to call it quits. Remember, no mountain (or river) is worth your life.

  7. Life has changed for all or us. Hope we can adapt. Good luck on you next river adventure!
    I will be checking your progress.

  8. Wow! I thought after the mighty MS you might have had enough paddling for a lifetime, but it sounds like it just whetted your appetite! It would be wonderful for the new friends that you made along the Mississippi if you would continue down to the Gulf, (I have found new places to take you in Vicksburg), but that would be a mighty long trip. Regardless, be smart; be safe! Jill Upton

  9. Bill,
    A regular follower, an admirer of your adventures; I will be looking forward to this one! Perhaps the travels of the boat below, though powered, may assist in your planning. It follows much on the Missouri River on their trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific. An excellent read!
    “River-Horse: The Logbook of a Boat Across America”  
    Paddle safe.
    Mel Tubbs

  10. Bill,
    I recognize that Ollie Power is really something and together with LiveLikeDan got you down the Big Muddy is fine order. The part I worry about on the this one is the “Bill” power … so you might consider adding Yamaha Power for a extra boost.
    Stay safe and keep us all up to day on this great adventure.

  11. Bill

    I was waiting to see what was next and once again you have exceeded my expectations! I remember years ago learning about Lewis and Clark and it was a crazy hard undertaking. Hopefully you will glide along with God and be safe.
    I admire your love of adventure!

    Mark Priest

  12. Bill.
    My wife I have followed your adventures for years. She is a C-6 quadriplegic and in a electric wheelchair full time. Her injury was 25 years ago. You will be paddling through her home town of Lexington Mo. I your schedule works out we would like to meet you there and perhaps buy you a meal.

    Bruce and Melissa Eckhoff

  13. This will be another great journey and an inspiration to all of us who love to read about your adventures! Thank you for always sharing the details of your trips with us. You will be in many prayers as you explore the Missouri River!

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