Embrace America's Rivers

River Stories, History and Navigation...

Beyond The Bridges

Beyond The Bridges takes the reader through all aspects of river life. From canoes to steamboats, from river history to river lore. It is both a great reference book for those who wish to do their own river boating and has entertaining chapters about the author's own mishaps and adventures. Jerry Hay began is river adventures on the Wabash River in Indiana and has since traveled and made river maps on many rivers by canoe, kayak, steamboats, powerboats and even towboats. Millions of people cross bridges each day with no idea of the adventure, power, and magic that a river offers. After reading this book, one will look at the rivers differently while glancing over the guard rail at the waterways below. He or she will know what it is really like.......Beyond The Bridges.


Dear Mr. Hay,

            I just finished your book "Beyond the Bridges" and I was not ready for it to end! When I ordered your book I had no idea I was going to learn so much about so many kinds of boats and enjoy the many experiences you had on so many rivers, it was simply great reading! You have an unusual talent in relating your experiences as you traveled on so many of the beautiful waterways. It can't be easy to write a book and I want to thank you for taking the time to put everything down in such a wonderful book.


Laurene Knedlick

Castro Valley, California

Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed your book "Beyond the Bridges" --- it made us really want to explore the Wabash someday, and the tales of your life as riverlorian on the "Delta Queen"  were insightful and often really made me laugh, especially when I read about passenger's goofy questions.  The butterfly incident was singular for the stupidity of the honchos who booked that cruise.  What a story.  From the beginning of the book where you described your boyhood river trip, through the great Gilligan the goose tales and the towboat journey, we were riveted.  Great job!!
Kathy and Dave Para
Booneville, MO


The following is a quote from editor Barbara Huffman, upon receiving the manuscript. Quote is from a forum in Steamboats.org:

"Jerry Hay, riverlorian on the DELTA QUEEN, recently asked me to edit his latest book, and I got started on that yesterday. It is a guaranteed "good read". Very interesting and funny!"


Barbara also wrote to following to Jerry Hay:

"Your writing is even, the story within each chapter moves ahead, I've laughed out loud over many of your stories (the hillbillies at the dock, for instance), LOVED the chapter on Gilligan Goose! "Anatomy of a River" chapter is presented clearly so that even a novice to the rivers can understand it -- maybe for the first time in their lives.  Moreover, you present some beautiful conclusions in that chapter, and kept it fresh for a veteran researcher and writer like me, and I thank you for that."


Review by Franz Neumeier, Journalist in Munich Germany:

"Are you planning to go on your first river cruise on a steamboat? This is the book you have to read! You're an experienced river cruiser? Read it! Author Jerry M. Hay has spent more than 40 years on the rivers. He travelled the Mississippi river in a canoe. He explored the Wabash and White rivers for publishing river guide books. Jerry tried out nearly every kind of watercraft. And he spent a couple of years as a river historian abord the paddlewheel steamboats Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen and American Queen. In this book Jerry does not only share his funny river stories we have listened to on the steamboats over and over always longing for more. Learn more about Gilligan Goose who became famous in a children's book. Did you ever see a Boeing 727 in a river? What kind of important delivery did the John Deere tractor make during high water? The book also provides loads of valuable information about the history of travelling on the rivers from flatboats to modern towboats, about reading the rivers, about river navigation, about the anatomy of a river or about the language of the rivers. Jerry M. Hay's favorite quote is, "I don't make the same mistake twice. I'm too busy making new ones." This book is definitely not one of his mistakes but a wonderful resource of information combined with some of the funniest river stories."


Sadie Stevens of St. Louis Previewed the book and wrote:

"The book is "Beyond" entertaining and fabulous. The way you bring the reader in, right there, right now - and you accomplished this without using all those dull, useless "flowery" words that many authors seem to think are necessary."

Copy Editor, Elaine Durham wrote:

"I have greatly enjoyed working on your manuscript. In fact, it has inspired me to consider taking my two children to see some of the towns you praise. I've never been brave enough to take a trip with them, so I consider you pretty persuasive."

Previewed by author, Barbara L. Hameister:
"I enjoyed the opportunity to be able to preview some of Jerry M. Hay's book "Beyond the Bridges". I found it to be literate, yet personal; informative, but not just a collection of specific facts about the river. The conversational style immediately pulls the reader in, and the personal stories leave one smiling with empathy."

Previewed by river historian, Dan Back:
"The opening chapters brought visions of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as the author described his early adventures on the river. I found myself longing for adventures of my own. The reader immediately feels the author's love of the rivers and his desire to share his passion with others. His many exploits help the reader understand the romance of the rivers. The author shares his in-depth knowledge of the rivers from both a practical and historical perspective. This is the first book that I have seen that summarizes the information at a level that would be of interest to the general public. It is obvious that the author is experienced at presenting information about the rivers to people outside the river community."

Chapter List

Chapter 01...Boy in a Jonboat

The adventures of a boy on his first river boating journey, with a surprise ending.

Chapter 02...Wabash 500

Three men set out on a riverboat to do what had never been done before. 

Chapter 03...Wabash Queen

The author's paddlewheel vessel, featuring the trials and tribulations of building it. 

Chapter 04...Reading The River

The river offers many signs for an alert boater, sometimes even giving up her secrets.

Chapter 05...River Guide Books

Jerry Hay describes challenges of making river maps writing his well-known guide books. 

Chapter 06...Gilligan Goose

True stories of a lovable goose who became an icon on the river.

Chapter 07...Rescue From a Dock

Most people think about rescue being from the river but this story has a different twist.

Chapter 08...Great Duck Race

This story could be titled "Best made plans gone wrong" about 10,000 runaway rubber ducks.

Chapter 09...Anatomy of a River

Where all that water comes from. How it is controlled. Where it is going....and more.

Chapter 10...Language of the Rivers

From sayings like "fiddlin around" to useful terminology, the language of rivers is unique.

Chapter 11...Nine Days on a Towboat

The author rides on a towboat to experience the life, work, and humor of working boats. 

Chapter 12...Navigable River Know-How

When cruising the big rivers it is wise to know procedures, (learn from the author's mistakes).

Chapter 13...Bizarre River Experiences

Airplane in the river........Gift from the Indians. Two amazing stories by the author. 

Chapter 14...Evolution of Riverboats

From flatboats to modern towboats. Learn how they started, developed, and changed.

Chapter 15...Restless River

An on-going drama about the Mississippi River trying to change course and efforts to stop it.

Chapter 16...Steamboat Passengers

Humorous moments and interesting people the author encountered on the steamboats.

Chapter 17...Ghost of Mary Greene

Some are convinced she is still on the Delta Queen. Read about her and decide for yourself.

Chapter 18...River Royalty

History lesson about the people who made their mark on the rivers.

Chapter 19...Top Ten River Towns

The authors favorite river towns and why

Chapter 20...Canoeing Misadventures

"I never make the same mistake twice, I'm too busy making new ones", quote from author.

Chapter 21...Grand Excursion 2004

The story about the largest river event in 150 years, and the author was part of it.

Chapter 22...Potpourri

This chapter includes some interesting short stories about the rivers and adventures. 

Chapter 23...Wit, Wisdom and Prose

Author's favorite quotes (a few of his own) and river poetry.


Complete listing of all words and terminology used on the river

Beyond the Bridges is now out of print. It is available in Ebook form. Click the "buy now" button to be directed to payment of $7.00 and instructions on downloading to your computer, tablet, or smart phone.