Rollin’ On The River

Missouri River Road Trip

Three Forks, MT to W. Alton, MO; Aug 1 – Sep 12, 2016

(To see a Trip Itinerary, visit TripItin)


What the heck are you doing? (sometimes with incredulity, sometimes with sarcasm, sometimes with ‘doing’ replaced by ‘thinking’ :-))   Well, I’m taking off on a 45-day exploration adventure on the Missouri River (by car) from Three Forks, MT (the official source of the River) to its confluence with the Mississippi near West Alton (near St. Louis and St. Charles), MO.    For more information, see MoRiverTrip.

Why are you doing this?   Back in Jan 2015, I learned of the existence of a book by Gayle Harper of Springfield (Road Trip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi River), who had just completed such a trip on the Mississippi.  I was instantly grabbed, and knew I wanted to do a similar trip on the Missouri.

Earlier this spring, I was lucky enough to meet Gayle and interview her on my AfterMath Adventures radio show. What a marvelous gal, and what an incredible adventure! I highly recommend her book, which is excellent! (For information on Gayle and her book, visit Gayle’sWebsite.)

Are you really floating the River?  NO, NO, NO.  This seems to be a common misconception, despite the “Rollin'” title, and even, I discovered, from some of my hosts!   I’m traveling and exploring by car, and staying in cities all along the River.  (More below).

Who (what group?) are you going with?  In some sense, I’m going with ALL OF YOU!  But, physically, I’m going it alone!! (Pat is excited about the trip, too, and supporting me 100%, but doesn’t really feel like a 7 week trip at this point, and doesn’t want to interfere with my book-writing efforts either.)

What’s the general plan?  The general plan is to go very roughly 100 miles every 2 days, though there are exceptions to each number. (I’ll end up in a couple dozen places – see below).  Along the way, I’ll be taking pictures (no surprise!), exploring, visiting with locals, finding new historic sights, etc.  And I’ll be sharing those will all of us -roughly weekly – as I go.

What do you mean ‘hosts’?  I’m working with a VARIETY of folks as I’ve set up the logistics for this trip.  MANY of these folks are Chambers of Commerce and/or Convention Bureaus in the cities where I’m staying.  Many of them (not all) are also providing me lodging, and almost all are excited to work with me to set up great opportunities for the visit:  sights, sites, people to visit with, etc.  

Did you say book?  Maybe.  As I go, and as I take part in the activities described above, I’ll be recording everything in my ‘journal’.  My hope is that a book may come of this, but if so, that would simply be icing on the cake.  The working title is Rollin’ On The River: Sights, Sites, and Stories Along the Missouri River, and a couple of publishers are ‘interested’.  We’ll see what develops – and of course, I’ll keep you posted.  🙂

What states/cities will you visit?  Before I began preparing for this adventure, I would have FLUNKED a geography quiz on where the River goes!! (It actually begins by flowing NORTH!) Briefly, I’ll be going through 7 states (Montana, North & South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri), and will get to visit 4 state capitals in those states (Helena, MT; Bismarck, ND; Pierre, SD; and Jefferson City, MO) – all 4 are ‘on’ the River!  For the almost-final complete itinerary of the trip, see TripItinerary. 

Are you re-doing Lewis and Clark in reverse?  Technically, the answer is no.  At the start, I made the conscious decision NOT to make this a “Lewis & Clark” trip.  On the other hand, how can one NOT be near the Missouri River for 45 days without seeing ALL KINDS of historical sights related to that greatest of exploration adventures in our country’s history?!  So there will likely be MANY Lewis and Clark ‘sightings’ (and perhaps a whole section in the book?).

Are you speaking to groups?  Mostly, no, though I’m willing.  I AM speaking to a Rotary Club in Yankton, SD (they even changed their meeting day!), and Three Forks (my take-off point) is hosting a community ‘Meet & Greet’ for me.

When do you leave?  Two answers:  I’ll leave Three Forks, MT and officially start ‘downriver’ on  Jul 31 (one day earlier than originally advertised.)  On the other hand, I need to get out there, and I want to take time to explore a little as I go, too (I’ll follow the river north pretty closely from Kansas City to Chamberlin, SD before I head west across the badlands toward Montana).  So, I’ll be leaving Branson Friday – July 22.  I plan to reach Three Forks on Wed, July 27, in time to spend time there, as well, before I set out on Sunday, 7/31.

What will these ‘blogs’ look like?  I’m not sure yet, and I’d welcome feedback ANY time. They WON’T look like today’s PREVIEW – there’ll be more pictures, but I’ll be experimenting with different formats and schedules.  Stay tuned, and enjoy (and send feedback if you have it).

May I invite others to join with us?  Absolutely!!  Please do!  If you want to invite others, simply refer them to the AfterMath website (, where they can sign up, or e-mail me their names and e-mails (after securing their permissions, please).  I’d LOVE to have the company.  🙂