Saturday, August 15, 2009


Aug. 14, 2009---Looking back at the fuel dock and restaurant as we left Bay Hill Marina. The dinner last night was very good, but be prepared for lessons in patience if you require diesel fuel. The pumps are slow.

This was our day to wait! The Wheeler Lock located at mile 274.9 had a split tow already started. Lock master instructed us to tie up along the wall of the auxillary lock that is not in service. Waiting 2 hours provided time for cooking and enjoying lunch. The tug was lifted with the remaining barges and the tow tied back together. As it moved out of the chamber it was a 3 x5. That is 3 barges wide by 5 barges long. The main lock chamber is 110' wide by 600' long. Wheeler dam & lock was built 1933 to 1936 with a total height 72' and total length 6342'.
This is the shortest dam on the Tennessee River. Actual lock down elevation change was 48' today. Wheeler Lake is 74 miles long.

Upon arrival at the Wilson lock there was another split tow in progress. This tow was locking down. The tug with the partial tow was waiting in the entrance to the lock. Corp of Engineers equipment was tied up along the bank near the auxillary lock. It took 2 1/2 hours for this tow to lock down, re-join and move out. While the chamber was down a pleasure craft entered and was raised to our level on Wilson Lake. This lake is 15 miles long.

Entering the lock from the upstream side does not show what things will look like as we go down.

The upstream gate on this lock moves up and down in a vertical position. "BB' noticed that is different from most locks.

This lock located at mile 259.4 was constructed in the years 1918 through 1927. It was a major project as the dam is 137' high by 4541' long. According to the internet this is the highest single lift lock east of the Rockies. The actual elevation change that we experienced today was 93'.

The downstream gate opens conventionally. It was captain Keith's turn at this lock. He is waiting for the gate to open completely and the horn to sound that tells us we can safely exit the lock. Notice it seems a little dark in the deep chamber surrounded by the tall concrete walls. We are now on Lake Pickwick which is 53 miles long.

Just 3 miles downstream from the lock is Florence Harbor Marina. Certainly glad to see our destination after taking 7 1/2 hours to travel a grand sum of 30.8 miles today. It was June 4th when we last visited Florence, AL.

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