A page dedicated to the River Travelers and Loopers who pass thru the St. Louis area 

 on the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers.



River Travelers

Posted 05-31-17


John David in the front and Barry


Click pic to enlarge


Pictures of the Day.... were sent to us by Ramjet who lives aboard the "Ginny G" in Woodland Marina



Hi Bill,

It's where the "Rudder Meets The River." Meeting people living there dream is truly inspiring. How many "say" there gonna do it?


Here we have John David in the front and Barry behind. They bought a house boat and are taking her home. Their stories are as good as there spirits.


Here is a link to the history of Natchez MS. It's worth the read... click here

Also they have a page on Facebook ... click here

Story by Ramjet and Cinderella.
A new adventure awaits everyone nightly all we have to do is find it.





Reprinted from 5-30-17 Facebook post....


Natchez Explorer Mississippi River Expedition

We continue at Grafton marina. Today we accomplished boat maintenance, and cleaning. The marina loaned us a van to make the 18 mile journey to the Jerseyville, Illinois Walmart. We stocked up on food and toilet paper , as there will be few to no markets between here and Natchez, Mississippi. Tomorrow we will travel 60 miles down the Mississippi River to one hour below st Louis to a marina called Hoppies Landing or marina. No one will commit to there being gas on the river beyond Hoppies until Memphis, Tennessee, which is several hundred miles. Bought more gas cans today, but would feel better with a couple of drums of gas. I think I may be able to get gas in Hickman, Kentucky. Gas coming down is a worry...along with no marinas. We will be looking for off river anchoring spots. After Hoppies we will stop about 30 miles later at St. Geneive, Missouri to explore and maybe overnight.



River Travelers

Posted 09-12-16


Mike Malory and Dave Randolph


Click pic to enlarge





On the hook Saturday evening and watched a couple of kayakers setup camp for the night on the island. On Sunday, the two gentlemen stopped at our boat and told us about their " charity trip," length of the Mississippi, for Keycenters.org.


Hats off to Mike Malory and Dave Randolph for their efforts.

Follow them at http://www.silveroutsider.com/


Penny and Ron Say

Steel Woodland Marina





Key Development Center, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, CARF accredited, licensed substance abuse prevention and treatment provider with over 17 years' experience in the Livingston County area. KDC offers a wide range of substance abuse services, including prevention, education, outpatient treatment, screening, assessment, referral and follow-up, and dual enhanced treatment.


Check out RiverBills "River Travelers" page

Click here


Picture of the Day

Posted 07-30-16


Mississippi River Travelers

Eric, Johnny, Jason and James


click pic to enlarge

Mississippi River Kayakers


click pic to enlarge

 (L- R)  Eric, Johnny, Jason and far right is James.

And Ashley -- Phil Billy's daughter


 No larger pic available

The Thristy Thursday Night Party Crew


Pictures of The Day..... were sent to us by Mary Tiemann who hails out of Camp Carl on Wilson Road Slough




Met some kayakers Thursday night. They are venturing down the Mississippi river.


Three of them went to college together Eric, Johnny, Jason from Colorado & Chicago. James is from Minnesota who met them along the way and joined their crew.


The guys are all in the mid 20's. They had a great time talking and eating with us on Thirsty Thursday. Yes, they got some Patrico bread too! They camped the night on Enterprise beach.


We told them good places to stop along the way. Hoppies Marina for sure.


As I left the beach I told them safe travels and hope to hear from them when they complete the journey.





Check out RiverBills "River Travelers" page

Click here

Picture of the Day

Posted 07-30-16


Mississippi River Traveler

Sioned Selleck


 Click pic to enlarge



Picture of The Day..... was sent to us by Capt.Riverjon




Sioned Selleck paddling down from Lake Itasca


Capt. Riverjon




Below is Sioned's facebook post from 7-28-16 on Mississippi River Paddlers

July 28 at 7:53pm
Hey gang the boys and I have had to separate due to irreconcilable paddling styles (they are much faster and take less breaks than me) so I'm now a solo paddler on the river. Made it as far as Alton today. Little bit worried about getting through St Louis tomorrow as everyone I meet keeps telling me about the kayaker who got run over by a barge. (Rip river man). Can anyone offer any advice on getting through the town. Is the canal or over the chain of rocks route best? Is the water height even right for chain of rocks? What do you all reckon? Anywhere good to camp in the Kimmswick area? Thanks!!


Reprinted from Facebook


Check out RiverBills "River Travelers" page

Click here


Recycled Mississippi

Posted 7-16-16




A dock-eye view of the  "Recycled Mississippi" boat at Alton Marina yesterday afternoon.  Plastic bottles for floatation and a solar panel


Plastic bottles for floatation


A small part of the Sponsor Board on the outside portion of the vessels' deck


View of the stern of the Recycled Mississippi.  25 hp outboard and rudders.  The bamboo mast is laying on the deck


Headed out for a short cruise with Channel 2 News


Dan and Ramjet of CID Marine Service

were there servicing the crew's outboard motor


RiverBill with 5 of the crew of the Recycled Mississippi

 Dan, Gary, Sebastian, Zander and Livio (no order)


A short cruise on board the "Recycle Mississippi"


RiverBills.com made a donation to help support the Recycle Mississippi expedition down the Mississippi River and Capt'n Dan placed a RiverBills sticker on the Sponsor Board.  Yah Mon


The Crew will be at the Loading Dock this afternoon between 4 and 6 with Captain Henry aboard the HMS Destiny.



Recycled Mississippi

Posted 07-14-16



click pic to enlarge



The Pictures of the Day.....  were sent to us by Capt'n Tim Crawford




Tuesday at Alton Marina Capt. Sebastian Engelhart gave Lori and Lisa a tour of Recycled Mississippi.

Capt. Tim Crawford


Picture of the Day

Posted 06-27-16


Terry Devine & Derrick Baan Australian Loopers

Mississippi River at Hoppies Marina

UMR 158


click pic to enlarge


The Picture of the Day........ was sent to us by Claudia Burris, who hails out of Hoppie's Marina in Kimmswick, Mo


Australian Loopers, Terry Devine and Derrick Baan, stopped to fuel up at Hoppies Marina in their boat "Grace Full" a 26 foot C Dory. The two "mates" of more than 40 years are fulfilling a dream of Baan's to be a looper. "30 years ago I read an article in a magazine about someone who did the loop and I promised myself that one day I'd do it, too," explains Baan, in his pronounced Australian accent.

They started on March 7, 2016, when they picked up the boat at Hontoon Island, Fla. From there they came up the Intracoastal Waterway, up the Hudson River, through the Erie Ship Canal into Lake Ontario, through the Trent Severn Waterway, through the Georgian Bay down Lake Michigan, through the Illinois River to the Mississippi River at Grafton and on to Hoppies, where they spent the night. Devine and Baan will complete their 6,000 mile trip in Jacksonville, Fla.

But this is not Baan's first long cruise. "I circumnavigated Australia last year, a 9,000-mile trip," explains Baan, a native of Brisbane, Australia. "When I got back I said I still wanted to do the Loop and Terry decided to join me. We left our wives at home!"

Baan says the experience "has been better than I could have ever anticipated, because of the people we have met along the way. So many people have adopted us, looked after us, talked to us and drunk beer with us... It's been great!"

For more information about their travels, go to


Claudia Burris

Hoppie's Marina Correspondent


Ashley Dechant Is in the News

Posted 02-27-16



Mississippi River Journeys

College Student Completes Solo Trip Down The Mississippi River........


Last summer, Ashley Dechant, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse completed a solo trip down the Mississippi River, from St. Paul, Minnesota and New Orleans on a 12 foot fishing boat.


Ashley, an art major, says that she did not catch any fish during her 74 day journey, however, she did document the lives of people she encountered during the trip, including the crew at Hoppies Marina, who took her in for 33 days.


Dechant recorded her trip by taking hundreds of photos, shooting video, and recording audio clips.  On Monday, Dechant will be presenting an hour long documentary film of the trip, followed up by a discussion, in 1400 Centennial Hall........


Click here to read more from news.uwlax.edu.  With Photos.



Picture of the Day

Posted 11-05-15


Click pic to enlarge


Sarah, Ted and Patches on the Manatee
26 Loops and Counting!

“We’ve done the loop 26 times,” say Ted and Sarah Pongracz, moments after Fern Hopkins tied up their 36’ Kadey Krogen Trawler, Manatee, at Hoppies Marina in Kimmswick, Mo., on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015. The couple, who celebrated their 20-year wedding anniversary in June, left Grafton, Ill., at 11 a.m. “after the fog lifted” and arrived at Hoppies at 4 p.m.

The Marco Island, Fla., residents spend their winters in Florida and summers on Lake St. Clair, in Harrison Township, Mich. (north of Detroit). “And we’re cruising in-between,” says Sarah, who met Ted when she was in kindergarten in Grosse Pointe, Mich.

“I bought the boat in 1987 at the Metropolitan Beach Boat Show in Michigan for $85,000,” recalls Ted, who says that his daughter Robin “fell in love with the boat, so I bought it. They call it a lot of boat for a little bit of money,” adds Ted. “They built 100 of these in Taiwan and threw away the mold. Ours is Hull number 62.”

“We didn’t realize we were going to live on it,” adds Sarah. “Back then we had a jewelry store, Pongracz Jewelers, in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., (started by Ted’s father Ed in 1930), so we would take the boat down to Florida every fall. Then we sold the store in 2001, and our house in 2004 and moved onto the boat full time.”

“We have put 130,000 miles on the boat at 6 m.p.h. for 28 years,” adds Ted, who says they have gone as far north as the entrance to the St Lawrence Seaway, in Quebec, Canada. In addition they have traveled south to the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and St. Kitts.

The couple also recalls their trip to Cuba in 1997. When they returned to the U.S. they were fined $22,500 by the U.S. Treasury Dept. for “illegally trading with the enemy” by spending American money in Cuba. “We were with my brother and we spent $15 each for us to get a Visa to get into Cuba,” explains Sarah. “That’s our government at work!” adds Ted. They were able to negotiate the fine down to $3,000.

Ted and Sarah, who travel with their 15-lb. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Patches, can’t say enough about their gracious hosts in Kimmswick, Fern and Charles Hopkins, of Hoppies Marina. “Hoppie has rescued so many people… Fern gives her daily briefings to boaters about what they should be aware of on the river, spending time to put them at ease,” explains Sarah.

In addition to being the last fuel stop on the Mississippi until Green Turtle Bay on the Tennessee River, Hoppie's Marina serves a much greater service to boaters from all over the world, according to Ted and Sarah. “Fern and Hoppie are so important to anyone doing the Loop. They have been the guardians of the river for years and we’re so glad they’re here!”


Claudia Burris

Hoppie's Marina

Kimmswick, Mo

Picture of the Day

Posted 10-21-15

Floating the River




Click pic to enlarge


RiverBills Pictures of the Day ......  were sent to us by Capt'n Bruce King



Hey Bill ,

Out Saturday Oct 17, working in the yard and caught this convoy of floaters riding the river with the bluffs near Mayestown IL. in the background. What a great day to let the current be your guide. I know the folks "on" the river are livin' the dream but also hope they realize the enjoyment they bring to everyone along their journey…..even if it's just a 5 minute break from the yard work to quietly watch them float by.

Never two days the same on the river!

Hope all is well with everyone and your enjoying the beautiful fall season.



Nicole Brennan


 Click pic to enlarge



RiverBills Picture of the Day.... Was sent to us by Captain Phillip Jost who hails out of Lake Center Marina in the boat.... August Blue




While boating today (10-12-15) we discovered 31 yr old Nicole Brennan traveling the entire length of the Mississippi River, in her 17' self-made canoe.


As any fellow boater would, we gave her food, drinks, and encouragement on her adventure.


Phillip Jost



Navy Vet, Chris Ring

Swims into St. Louis

Posted 09-22-15


Chris Ring (in the water) and Seth (in kayak) with escort swimming

the Mississippi River into St. Louis on Monday evening


Seth in the kayak and Chris Ring swimming


Chris Ring getting out of the river



Welcome to St. Louis



Chris meeting the families of fallen Vets


Chris meeting the families of fallen Vets



Gold Star Families with Chris


The kayak full of signatures of Gold Star Families.

Seth told us this is the 2nd kayak.  The first is full of signatures


Mary, Justin, RiverBill and Seth

Justin is the ground crew for the trip down the Mississippi River

Seth kayaks with Chris Ring


RiverBill, Chris Ring and Mary

Click pic to enlarge


RiverBills Pictures of the Day.... were taken Monday Evening on the St. Louis Riverfront in front of the Arch.


We missed Chris swimming through Pool 26 of the Mississippi River this past weekend, so Mary and I headed down to the St. Louis Riverfront on Monday evening to witness Chris Ring's arrival in St. Louis.  Chris and his kayak boat arrived at the arch about 5pm, escorted by two St. Louis fireboats. 


There were about 30 people awaiting his arrival, including three Gold Star Families.  Lots of flags and all the news crews.  Chris spent time visiting with each Gold Star family, looked at pictures of their fallen loved ones and embraced them all. 


Mary and I got to meet Chris and his crew.  Seth travels the river with Chris and Justin is the ground crew, driving their vehicle location to location.  They were headed to the Missouri Athletic Club for the evening and told us they would be live on Fox2 News on Tuesday morning. After the news broadcast.... back into the Mississippi River and on to the Gulf of Mexico. They hope to complete the swim in November


It was an honor to meet you Chris....





Picture of the Day

Posted 07-21-15


Leaves Hoppie's Marina!

Mississippi River at Kimswick, Mo

UMR 158


Click pic to enlarge


The Pictures of the Day.... were sent to us by Claudia Burris who hails out of Hoppies Marina in Kimmswick, Mo......


Hi Bill,

It was a sad day when we at Hoppies Marina had to bid farewell to the lovely Ashley Dechant! She is definitely part of our family now. She's on her way to New Orleans and we hope to hear from her along the way. Ashley is documenting her trip from St. Paul Minnesota to New Orleans as part of a school project. She hopes to continue her studies at a graduate school in the St. Louis area!


Good luck Ashley and keep in touch!

Claudia Burris
Hoppies Marina



RiverBill says...  Good luck Ashley.  Safe Journeys


Picture of the Day

Posted 6-16-15


Ashley Dechant

Traveling from St. Paul, Minnesota to  New Orleans in a 12 foot fishing boat


Hoppies Marina

Mississippi River at Kimswick, Mo

UMR 158

Reposted from Facebook.. Photo by Claudia Ruth


The Picture of the Day.... was sent to us by Ramjet who hails out of Woodland Marina in the Ginger G


Ashley completed her next leg!


Photo taken off of Facebook.
Taken by Claudia Ruth.



RiverBill says... Ashley is traveling he length of the Mississippi River in her jon boat


Picture of the Day

Posted 06-13-15


Ashley Dechant

Traveling from St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans in a 12 foot fishing boat


Woodland Marina

Mississippi River at St. Charles Mo

UMR 222.2

Ashley arriving at Woodland Marina


Christa and Ashley at Graton Harbor

click pic to enlarge


The Pictures of the Day.... were sent to us by Capt'n Greg Sadowski and Christa Leone who both hail out of Woodland Marina....



It's a couple of pictures of Ashley, who is traveling the length of the Mississippi River in her jon boat.  Greg has been talking to her by phone and she made it to Woodland Marina on Thursday evening.  Later on they cruised over to Grafton Harbor in Ricky Phillips houseboat.


RiverBill says... Safe Travelers Ashley !


Added Sun at 5:00AM

Greg Sadwoski reported that

She (Ashley) is planning to leave Woodland today.(Sat 6-13-15)
I may see her passing through Alton in a few hours?
She might make Hoppies tonight.



Picture of the Day

Posted 9-25-2013


Henk Van Der Klock's

Party at the Boathouse

The RiverBills Girls.....Sherri, Jill and Emily

 with RiverBill and Henk


Gifts for Henk

It's a RiverBIlls Sticker for his journey


And a RiverBills Pirate T



Henk and Friends




Wednesday night

at the Delmar Loop


The Duck Room                            Chuck Berry Bronze

 at BlueBerry Hill                                                                 

click pic to enlarge 



The Pictures of the Day.... are of Henk Van Der Klok's party last night at the Boathouse.  Henk is a Dutch Filmmaker and adventurer who is traveling down the Mississippi River from it's source to the sea. Last night we had a party for him at the boat house.....


Henk is headed further down river on Wednesday morning to Alton, St. Louis Riverfront, Hoppies Marina and beyond !


Good Luck Henk

Have a Safe Journey

From everyone at RiverBills

So glad we got to meet you !



Picture of the Day

Posted 09-23-13


Henk Van Der Klok

Dutch Filmmaker and Adventurer

is in Pool 26


In Kayak on Dardenne Slough



In North Shore Marina


at Sundowners Sunday evening

click pic to enlarge 



The Pictures of the Day.... are of Henk Van Der Klok


The picture above was taken at Sundowner's last night.  henk is enjoying a beverage and some eats with (L-R) RiverBill, Mary and Carl Tiemann and Pat and Phyllis Renner.


Henk is kayaking down the Mississippi River from it's source to the sea. He is in Pool 26 right now.  He told us he will be at the Boathouse today editing some of his film.  Drop by and say hello !


Henk told me during our many conversations that one of the next things he wants to do this year, while in the US, is hike the Appalachian trail.

I said, "Henk !. You can't do that during the winter."

He looked me straight in the eye and said... "Bill..... You can do anything you want."


A few Henk facts

~ Single

~ No Children (that he knows about)

~ Served in the Netherlands Marine Corps

~ Turning 28 years old on Friday

~ Henk's parents don't understand why he is doing his adventure travels.

~ Drinks Bud Light

~ Spent Sunday afternoon with the Anchor Yankers crew on their Island.

~ He told us everyone one the river has treated him very good.

~ Henk is headed down river on Wednesday morning

~ Next Stop Alton


Anyone up to padding down river with Henk on Wednesday morning ?



Meet and Greet Party for Henk is at the Boathouse on Tuesday evening... party starts at 6:00PM. 


RiverBill says.... Henk is one heck of a down to earth, interesting guy !

Check out Henk's website


Henk and Lori at Sundowners


Henk going Asian Carp Fishing

last night after Sundowners

Picture of the Day






Click on pic to enlarge

DrifterRadio at Port Charles Marina


The Pictures of the Day  ..... were sent in by Capt'n Mike Densmore, who hails out of Two Branch Marina in the cruiser... Whats Next..... and Mary Beth Tiemann who hails out of Woodland Marina in the cruiser... Krystal Lady



Check them out on-line



"Driftin Ol Miss"

 Picture of the Day

Posted 08-26-2008


"HMR C. Bernadette Able"


"Lady Tampa Bay"


click on pic to enlarge


River Picture of the Day.......... was sent to us by Captain Greg Sadowski and crew. 




"HMR C. Bernadette Able" , Riverbill's picture of the day Aug. 17, meets
"Lady Tampa Bay", Riverbill's picture of the day Aug. 23, to share
Stories, Dinner, and River History...
photo by Teresa from the Camanche, IA, Library Pier
pictured left to right, Ian, Hanna, Ernie, Phil, & Greg
not pictured, Lindsey & Buddy
Web-Cam view from Lock 15, the same day.. by Tom Stolze


Captain Greg Sadowski




RiverBill's received another e-mail a bit later:


Correction ... Buddy is in the picture. Can you find him?

Picture of the Day

Posted 08-13-2013


in the

Along The Mississippi

 Click pic to enlarge


Picture of the Day.... was sent to us by Linda Lochmann.



Saw on your site this weekend about this lady going down the river. We were out and saw her so grabbed a few pictures.

Wishing her the best and safe journey's!

Ross and Linda Lochmann


RiverBill says.... Linda wrote that this picture was taken on the Illinois side of the Mississippi RIver near the lower end of Dardenne Slough.


Picture of the Day

Posted 7-29-2009


DuroBoat Loopers Gals




The River Pictures of the Day ..... are from Larry at Duroboat.



Recently 2 young girls passed by your area of the river. They are on the Great Loop.
6000 miles in a small aluminum 16 ft boat.

Attached picture is Elizabeth McPhail in the Alton Marina. It was taken about June 11. Second pic is same girl at the arch a day later.

Their blog at the boating life website recounts their daily activity as they came down the Illinois and then the Mississippi.  Click here for more info on the girl's trip




Picture of the Day

Posted 08-17-2008



HMR C. Bernadette Able

click on pic to enlarge


River Picture of the Day.......... was sent  to us by Rebecca Cate, who hails out of Debuque, Iowa !  The HMR C. Bernadette Able is coming our way.




HMR C. Bernadette Able is coming your way. This home made raft was built by two young ladies from the East Coast. It took them 3 months to build. Lindsey and Hannah are on their way now down the Mississippi River . They began in Clearwater , MN mid-June and are somewhere south of Dubuque , IA now. Their destination is New Orleans . I just happened to catch site of them August 11 on my evening walk with my camera.


Rebecca Cate
Dubuque, IA



RiverBill says...Thanks Rebecca for the e-mail and for sharing your pictures.  Hope we get to see them pass through this area.


Picture of the Day

Posted 3-13-2006


Another RiverBill




Our River Picture and Story of the Day .... was sent in by Captain Greg Sadowski, out of Woodland Marina.  It is a good story about another River Bill.  


Greg wrote in his e-mail: 



   I took this picture in September of 2004, That's Before I met River Bill !!  

   Taken by the gas dock at Mud Island Marina - Memphis, Tennessee.  Mark Krull, Dolph Kraus, and I were on our way to Miami on the "Miami Magic".   This boater was on his way to Key West from Minnesota, and this was not his first time making the trip. (Different Boats).  He told us that he went by the name "River Bill".  Bill had lost an outboard motor in the Alton pool, hitting a large submerged log.  Grafton is where he replaced it with the one you see in the picture. 

   He rescued this puppy on its way to the dog pound, to become a river dog. This was just a few days earlier in the town of Caruthersville, MO.  I asked, What's the dog's name. He didn't have one yet. I suggested "Skipper".  He liked it and said That'll be his name.

True Story,

Greg Sadowski

Anyone out there have more info on this other River Bill? I'd like to hear about it


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