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River Books, Maps & Programs by Riverlorian and Author Jerry Hay

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Presentations by Jerry Hay....

Lectures or speeches are actually not the right words for Jerry Hay's talks. They sound rather formal and structured. Jerry has a very informal approach to his presentations. He does not read material or even use notes. He is uncomfortable with a podium. He likes to be with the audience and becomes very spontaneous with his comments. One could listen to the same lecture title several times and hear different information. Humor is certainly part of his style, so that the audience will not only learn from him but be entertained. His river stories are popular with any group audience (not jut river related groups.) Listed are titles and brief descriptions of talks available by Riverlorian Jerry Hay.

Special Event..........

Painting "The New Orleans Steaming Upstream by Moonlight, 1811" by Gary R. Lucy

2011 is the bicentennial of the year that the steamboat New Orleans made history.

In 1811, Nicholas Roosevelt and his wife Lydia did what many thought impossible by successfully navigating a steamboat from Pittsburgh, down the Ohio River then the Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. This was the first steamboat to make such a trip and was an amazing journey, not only because of the navigational challenges, but many other factors.

1811 was a very strange year and Jerry talks about all the events that took place while the Roosevelts were on their journey, including the New Madrid Earthquake, a strange comet, plagues, hostile Indians, an on-board fire and much more. This river trip led to the great steamboat era that is an important part of American heritage.

Invite Jerry Hay to tell this story at your event during the 2010/2011 celebration of this incredible voyage.

Confessions of a River Rat....

"I never make the same mistake twice...I'm too busy making new ones" is a quote by Jerry Hay. He is referring to his many river adventures, or in some cases mis-adventures. Some of his stories are heartwarming, others are informative, and some are just down-right hilarious. One thing all his stories have in common is that they are true...and clean! There is no doubt that when river rats gather, the rhetoric can be very colorful, but Jerry keeps his talks rated "G" so children can also enjoy his stories. Confessions of a River Rat will give an audience a fascinating look at life on the river, its trials and tribulations, and how one river rat learned some valuable lessons. Contact Jerry for more details on having him serve as a guest speaker and have some fun at your next event.

Reading the River......

This is an informative talk for those who wish to learn about traveling rivers. Emphasis is on non-navigable rivers, those being rivers that do not have navigational aids and defined channels. One can travel safely by reading indicators that nature provides. Those include the color and movement of the water, the riverbank, the sounds, and many other things that often go unnoticed. Many people travel past the mouth of these smaller rivers and are curious about what may be there to explore, but hesitate to turn onto the uncharted stream. This is wise unless one has learned how to read the river. This skill opens up a new dimension in river travel that can be experienced safely. As with all his talks, Jerry will include stories that demonstrate the point he may be making. Although this may sound like a dry subject about technique, it is anything but that. In fact, the subject becomes very wet as he tells of lessons he has learned the hard way.

Beyond the Bridges....

This talk is for those who are interested in discovering the mysteries, adventure, and importance of our rivers. Beyond the Bridges will bring the audience into a world that is known to relatively few. Jerry will talk about river history, its people, and tell fascinating stories about the river. He will include "river royalty", speaking of the people who are well-know for their contributions to river history, development, and lore. The evolution of riverboats from canoes to the giant towboats will be discussed. The audience will be surprised by the number of words and phrases we use daily that originated from the rivers. Anyone attending this talk will look at the river differently while crossing a bridge. They may smile, while remembering one of the funny stories told by Hay. They will have a better understanding of what life was and is like Beyond the Bridges.

Where all the water comes from....

This is a subject that also has appeal to all audiences. Whether it is school-age children or adult groups, it is fascinating. Many people see water moving on a river but have little knowledge about where it all comes from and where it is going. In this talk, Hay shows and tells the audience about the drain basins and how even the tiniest stream connects us with the rest of the world. He talks about the sources of rivers and how they got their names. Emphasis is on the huge Mississippi River drain basin, which is typical of most watersheds. The audience will leave with an understanding that a river is not just a river, but part of a river system. He demonstrates his point by following the hypothetical path of a message in a bottle. As always, Jerry will include fascinating antidotes and personal experiences. This lecture is fun, informative, and will leave one with an understanding of where all that water comes...and where it goes.

Indiana's Best Kept Secrets....

Few people have explored and researched the waterways of Indiana as Jerry Hay has. When he wrote the Wabash River Guidebook and White River Guidebook, he proclaimed that Indiana's rivers are the states best kept secrets. Many are not are aware of the rich history, pristine forests, and splendid waters of Hoosier rivers. This talk focuses on the Wabash and White rivers, starting from their source to their confluence with other rivers. Even though this lecture is featured at many adult functions, it is an excellent program for school children. It is of particular interest to educations teaching fourth-grade Indiana history. Children will get a sense of the importance of the rivers to the history of the state. Hay draws illustrations and shows photos while he tells of these great natural resources that are so often overlooked. Hay once said "I have known people who traveled thousands of miles to a beautiful, remote place near water. They didn't know we have those places right here in Indiana." They are indeed Indiana"s best kept secrets.

Lewis & Clark Expedition....

Jerry Hay portrays Captain William Clark, co-commander of the Corp of Discovery. After a great deal of reading and research about this expedition, Jerry found that he related so much to the life of William Clark that he chose to portray him. This is not a lecture or talk, but a show that tells of the epic journey. Hay becomes the character and shares his thoughts and journals from the expedition. He takes listeners from his childhood in Virginia to his completion of the historic journey in 1806. Jerry prefers to dress as Clark would have during the river trip, as opposed to full dress military. He tells of the hardships, dangers, hunger, and challenges. Hay also adds the humorous things that happened. He just can't stay serious for very long, which adds to the enjoyment of the presentation. The Lewis and Clark expedition was a journey that changed American forever and Jerry Hay will bring that mission to life.

Click here to see an outline of this presentation

Jerry Hay has appeared on.....


Quote from Cruise Travel Magazine:

Jerry Hay demonstrates an unabashed passion for his subject that goes well beyond any prepared script. His love of rivers and riverboating runs deep, having explored America's rivers by raft, canoe, and powerboat. Now on the Delta Queen he shares his love of the river on voyages of American rediscovery.

AAA Magazine EnCompass
"Best, though, is Jerry Hay, Riverlorian (a.k.a. Captain William Clark), whose role is to spin yarns and share river lore and history, which he does with a sense of humor as rich as the Delta's deeply polished wood. Fidgeting with his three-corner hat, Captain William Clark describes the perils of his 4,000-mile journey westward with Meriwether Lewis, his words connecting century to century like the river beneath us connects town to town."

Henry Nowicki,  Travel writer
"Our lecturer, Jerry Hay, who is also known as a "riverlorian" has a daily talk about steamboating and the sights along the river. These get-togethers are not to be missed as they provide interesting aspects of the river cruise."

Jerry Hay, our Riverlorian on this cruise, is a real story teller and you will learn lots about steamboating and the rivers."


Quote from Amazon Books review:

"I had the pleasure of riding on the Delta Queen Steamboat last year where the author, Mr. Hay is a Riverlorian. He told the story about Gilligan Goose. I have not read the book yet but the heartwarming story was wonderful. Jerry Hay is a great storyteller so I'm sure the book will be great, as well. The incredible thing about the story is that Gilligan is a real goose and the story he told is true. I am ordering copies for myself and each of my grandchildren."


Note recieved:

"Your talks each morning added so much enjoyment to our trip.  You have a real gift for story telling and I found myself wishing that when I was growing up I had history teachers who were half as interesting as you." ---- Joan

Pittsburg Tribune-Review
"Jerry M. Hay, the steamboat company's "Riverlorian," and a river pilot in his own right, is into steamboatin' all the way, and has converted an old houseboat into the Wabash Queen -- his own steamboat. Each morning, Hay holds informal talks about steamboat history, shares river lore with passengers, and cites the source of many common expressions we use today, which had their origin in steamboatin'. Hay is an author as well, having written a delightful children's book titled "A Goose Named Gilligan" -- a story about the goose he managed to free from the mud, with great difficulty, in his native Indiana. The goose returns for visits with him every year. Soon to be released in his newest book, "Beyond The Bridges," which chronicles his travels on the rivers. It takes the reader through all aspects of river life."


Jerry Hay is available for speaking engagements. Please go to:


 Or send an email. On request, a free "Life on the River" CD will be sent to organizations, schools, libraries or other groups interested in inviting Jerry to talk. You will be able to listen to some of his stories to help decide about inviting him to your event.


Contact information:                

5916 St. MarysRoad
Floyds Knobs, IN 47119




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