Overland Park, Missouri

November 23, 2023

Dear Family & Friends:

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all of you and your families.Here is a report on what brought me to Overland Park on Thanksgiving Day, 2023.

November 20-21:

9am. I depart from the boat ramp at Saint Joseph, Missouri on November 20 bound for Atchison, Kansas. 70% chance of rain

9-11. Light rain

11-1pm. No rain. This is my lucky day

1-7. Heavy, sustained rain

I pull out my umbrella and coast for awhile. A gust of wind rips the umbrella from my grip and tosses it in the River where it sinks before I can paddle back and retrieve it

2:30. I arrive at Atchison, cold and soaked from head to foot. I’m told by a city worker there is no camping anywhere in the city

I locate a large public bathroom facility which is heated inside. What luck! I bring all my gear in so my gear and I can dry out. The facility is on the north side of town so there are few users

9pm. I blow up my air mattress, lay out my sleeping bag and go to sleep

12:45am. Three squad cars arrive and an officer tells me to exit the facility since he is locking the door. I explain my situation and ask if I can stay inside for a few more hours until daybreak.  He says “no, I am required to lock the door at night.” I ask if they can drive me to the nearest motel in town. He answers no, because I have too much gear.  I exit the facility with all my gear. At least my clothes are now dry

2:45am. I walk into Atchison and sit in the lobby of the Holiday Inn hotel drinking coffee

5am. I walk back to the location of my canoe and wait for daylight at 7am

6am. I walk back into the city and eat at McDonald’s. I’m doing all this walking to stay warm

8:30am. I depart Atchison bound for Leavenworth

Great paddle to Leavenworth. Warm. Good current.

Nov. 22.  Yesterday, Jay Johnson picked me up at the bridge in Leavenworth, Kansas and took me to his home in Overland Park, Missouri, which is about 45 minutes from the pick-up point. Jay and his wife, Beth, prepared a wonderful dinner and I slept well. I especially enjoyed Jay’s homemade whiskey. This morning, Jay returned me to the pick-up point at Leavenworth. I was back on the river at 9:30am bound for Kaw’s Point Park, which is about 30 miles down river and is near Kansas City, Missouri. I had a fabulous paddle day with warm weather and good current. I arrived at 3:45pm. Jay picked me up there, and I spent another evening with Jay, Beth and their puppies.

Things are really looking up as far as weather. According to the forecast, with one exception, I should have a week with no rain or snow. The one exception is 1-3 inches of snow on Saturday night. Yikes! As an added bonus, it looks like I will have winds from the north (i.e., tailwinds) for the next few days.

November 23. Thanksgiving Day.  What a treat. Jay joined me on the River with his canoe. We paddled together to LaBenite Park about 20 miles downstream. It was a tough paddle day because of extremely cold weather and headwinds. But, Jay and I had a great time paddling together. I celebrated Thanksgiving Day at Jay & Beth’s home with their beautiful family.

At LaBenite Park, I am 353 miles from my destination-St. Louis..I also departed Kansas today and I am now in my last state on the Missouri River-Missouri.

We all have so much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

God is good.

Kansas City, Missouri

Bill at Kaw’s Point Park, Missouri with Kansas City in the background

Left to right:Beth, Jay & Rick

Lewis & Clark at Kaw’s Point Park

Jay paddling with me to LaBenite Park



The bridge at LaBenite Park

Thanksgiving at Jay & Beth’s home