Boonville, Missouri

November 30, 2023

Dear Family & Friends:

I can feel the end of the trip approaching as I close in on St. Louis, Missouri. Here is my recap of LsBenite Park to Boonville.

November 24. The paddle from LaBenite  Park to Napoleon was mixed. I started in the morning at 29 degrees and it got colder. The first two hours were tough with waves and headwinds. The last three hours were better. Last night, my tent camp at Napoleon was brutally cold. It was so cold I could not sit in my chair outside my tent. So, I was confined in the tent from 5:30 pm to 7am. I did sleep long and well.

November 25. I paddled 12 miles to Lexington.The paddling conditions were good. My friend, Bruce Eckoff, met me at the ramp with his friend, Clint, who had a large boat trailer.I stored my canoe in Clint’s garage. I am staying at a really nice B&B in Lexington owned by Carol Levy: the “17th Street Carriage House.” I had a great Mexican dinner with Bruce & his wife Melissa. The restaurant was formerly a bank which was once robbed by Jesse James.  Three to five inches of snow fell in the evening. I was so happy to be inside.

November 26. Carol fixed a wonderful bacon & egg breakfast at the B&B. Carol and Bob are really gracious hosts. Bob gave me a grand tour of Lexington and drove me to a Walmart to purchase warmer clothes. Lexington is a rich source of Civil War history, including the famous Battle of Lexington, which ended with the surrender of Union Col. James A. Mulligan on September 20, 1861.

I had dinner with Bruce & Melissa right across the street from the courthouse. They are dear friends and I love them so much.

Carol & Bob at the B&B invited me to a chili dinner at one of the premier houses in Lexington owned by George & Charlotte Stier. What a fabulous pre-Civil War home and a dinner hosted by George & Charolette.

November 27. I departed Lexington at 10am and arrived in Waverly, 21 miles downstream, at 3pm.  Paddling conditions were really good. It was 29 degrees, but I stayed warm with layers of clothes and the exercise of paddling. The forecast called for evening temperatures of 17 degrees. Robin Kaitoff, Tina Brooke and Launa Burke drove from their nearby homes to greet me. Tina, a seasoned paddler, brought her trailer and drove my canoe and me to a hotel in Carrollton where I spent the night. Tina, Launa and I enjoyed a nice dinner at the Pizza Hut.

November 28.  Tina picked me up at the hotel and transported my canoe and me back to the boat ramp at Waverly. Robin was waiting for us. I was back on the water at 8:30am. After six hours of paddling I arrived at the boat ramp at Miami. My dear friend from California, Kevin Lee, was waiting for me. He was visiting with relatives and friends in St. Louis and took the time to meet me on the River. Bill Behrns, aka “St Louis Bill,” also greeted me in Miami. St. Louis Bill and I paddled together for a couple of weeks when we were up River. He set up an enormous tent at a park near the River. Kevin, Bill and I drove into Marshall and had a nice dinner at Applebees restaurant. After dinner, Kevin returned to St. Louis and Bill and I returned to the tent. The wood burning stove kept us warm in the tent and we had a nice conversation over a glass of scotch.

November 29. St. Louis Bill, David Copeland and Aron Copeland bid me farewell at the boat ramp at Miami. I was back on the water at 8:30am. This was a beautiful day of paddling. The sun was out, the wind was mild and the current was great. I was toasty warm the whole trip. I arrived at Glasgow at 3:30pm. The 37 miles I paddled from Miami to Glasgow is the longest distance of the entire trip. St. Louis Bill greeted me at the park at Glasgow. His tent was up. His son, Jeff, and Jerico Lefort joined us. Jerico spent the night. Jerico is an experienced paddler and talented boat builder. St. Louis Bill served home-made beef stew and we had a nice conversation before retiring at 10pm.

November 30. I was back on Mighty Moe at 9am bound for Boonville, 30 miles downstream. The weather forecast called for rain all day. I arrived in Boonville at 3pm. Thank God, I escaped the rain. St. Louis Bill’s son, Jeff, picked me up at the Franklin Island Boat Ramp, just south of Boonville. He transported me to the Isle of Capri casino/hotel in Boonville.Thanks Jeff for being a good friend and River Angel.

I now have just 195 miles to reach my destination, St. Louis. Attached is a document which shows  the cities and distances remaining before I reach St. Louis. My goal is to finish my trip at the end of next week.

My B&B in Lexington

After the snow

Melissa & Bruce

Melissa & Bruce

Carol & Bob

The Battle of Lexington

Downtown Lexington

The courthouse in Lexington. A Union cannonball is lodged in the column behind the flag

Mexican restaurant, formerly a bank robbed by Jesse James

Historic homes in Lexington

Charolette, Carol, Bill & George

Monument in Lexington to honor the women who helped settle the West

Bill arriving at Miami

St. Louis Bill’s enormous tent

L to R: Robin, Tina & Launa

L to Right: David, St. Louis Bill & Aron

L to Right: Kevin, Everest Bill & St. Louis Bill

Bill, Gnomie & Jerico at Glasgow

Jerico & St. Louis Bill at Glaskow

The bridge at Boonville

Jeff and Bill at Maggie’s Bar & Grille in Boonville

The last 340 miles