Hermann, Missouri

December 5, 2023

Dear Family & Friends:

December 1. Jerico picked me up at the casino/hotel and transported me to the Franklin Island Ramp. The 25 mile paddle from Boonville to Coopers Landing was frigid cold under dark, overcast skies and drizzly weather. I made good time and arrived at Cooper’s Landing in less than five hours.  I am staying in a warm and comfy cabin arranged by Steve Schnarr. Steve is the Director of Missouri River Relief, an organization devoted to promoting the exploration, enjoyment, restoration, and care of the Missouri River. He is a true River Angel. Steve brought me dinner at the cabin and we had a nice conversation. I hope tomorrow is warmer.

December 2. Another frigid, cold, overcast, misty winter day on Mighty Mo. Steve Schnarr saw me off at Coopers Landing at 8:30am. I made good time to Jefferson City, the Capital of Missouri, arriving at the boat ramp at 2pm. Jeff Behrns greeted me at the boat ramp. Andy Besselman and his son, Jonah, transported my canoe and me to the Doubletree Motel in Jefferson City.  I was fortunate to be in Jefferson City on the day of the annual Christmas Parade. Pop Quiz: how many Missouri River through-paddlers have attended the Jefferson City Christmas Parade while paddling to St. Louis?

December 3. Andy picked me up at the Doubletree and drove me back to the Jefferson City boat ramp. I was on the water at 9:30am. This was a great day of paddling. The sun was out, the current was strong and the water was glassy calm. I arrived in Chamois at 2:30pm. I paddled 27 miles in just 5 hours. Kelly and Kenny Johns greeted me at the boat ramp with a trailer. We drove to their beautiful home on the outskirts of Chamois. Kelly prepared a wonderful dinner. After dinner,  we watched White Christmas, a Christmas classic. Despite the all-clear weather forecast, the dark clouds returned in the night and it rained.

December 4. I paddled to Hermann. It was another cold, cloudy and wintry day on the River. Hermann was settled by German immigrants in 1837. Hermann has been consistently voted the prettiest small town in Missouri  Hermann is also the heart and soul of Missouri Wine Country. The wineries in and around Hermann sell nearly 200,000 gallons of wine a year, about one-third of the statewide total. Between 1865-1870, Hermann was the number 1 wine producer in the United States. That’s when California started producing wines. Gary Leabman greeted me at the boat ramp and transported my canoe and me to the beautiful home he and Marsha Nyberg own in Hermann. Their home is on a hill overlooking the City and the Missouri River. Gary gave me a tour of the City and we visited the Black Shire Distillery where I purchased a bottle of Missouri wine. Marsha prepared a wonderful dinner for Gary, two friends who live in Hermann (Gary Johnson and John Cowan)  and me.

Today, I  reached another milestone on the River. When I started paddling the Missouri River in May, I had 2,341 miles ahead of me. Now, I have just 96 miles left to complete my journey.

December 5. Today was a bone-chilling cold winter day..I decided to take a “zero” day to explore Hermann. My day started with a walking tour of Hermann led by Marsha, followed by a much-needed haircut. Gary and I visited the Stone Hill Winery where I purchased some red wine and desert wine. We finished the day with a wonderful German dinner at the Tin Mill restaurant. We then returned home to watch “A Christmas Vintage” (aptly filmed in Hermann). Thanks Gary and Marsha for being such gracious hosts.

Tomorrow, I paddle to New Haven, just 16 miles down river. In New Haven, I will receive my purple hat and become a professional glassblower. More on that in my next post.

Coopers Landing

Coopers Landing

My cabin at Coopers Landing

Departing Coopers Landing

Steve Schnarr

The bridge at Jefferson City

Andy & Jonah

The courthouse in Jefferson City

Annual Christmas Parade


Back on the Mighty Mo


Kelly & Kenny in Chamois

Arriving in Hermann

Gary & Marsha

Catholic Church


Santa on his motor sled

The courthouse

The historic Fire Department

Tin Mill German restaurant

Dinner at the Tin Mill