On the move again

Dana and the boys encountered this little guy early this morning.  Dark and distance yield grainy photos, but he’s pretty cute anyway so we’re leading with him.

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Benny spotted him mid-poop but didn’t skip a push.  Now that’s some focus right there.

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We’ve said it many times.  The key to the Loop, in a word, is flexibility.  The plan this morning was to leave at 7-ish.  Sail through 2 locks and get back to Florence before noon.  Plenty of time.  Yeah it was gloomy and all, but nothing unworkable.  Just to make sure, however, Magic Jeanne called the Wheeler lockmaster, who broke the bad news.

Math quiz question of the day:  If a tow (named Tom Freeman) pushing 15 barges (that can’t fit at one time in a 600’ x 110’ chamber) leaves the Wheeler Lock at 8:25 traveling downstream at 4 knots, what time do 8 trawlers traveling at 7.5 knots need to leave Joe Wheeler State Park in order to reach the entrance of Wilson Lock—16 miles further downstream—just as the chamber refills after the last barge goes through?  Answer: It doesn’t matter.  Doug probably will miss the Tennessee – Alabama game no matter what.  Grrr.  At least we got in a bit more sleep.

At 10, we all met on the dock.   By the group’s collective analysis of that math question, we decided that noon was the best answer.  Dana took off to the laundry, roughly a quarter of a mile across the marina.  Doug began prepping for departure.  Which basically meant sitting on the couch watching College Football Gameday.

Knock, knock.  Here’s Magic Jeanne.  Jeanne just heard that a southbound tow is heading towards our lock.  WTF?  If we leave RIGHT NOW we can beat it in, then wait  between the locks for Tom Freeman to clear.  Dana, grab the wet clothes that just entered the washer!  Doug, get off your butt, disconnect shore power, and set the lines for quick release!  Don’t walk, run!

We made it through the Wheeler Lock just fine, but the Tom Freeman had first dibs on the Wilson Lock.  So we slowed to 4 knots.  Then we sat.  For 2 hours.  Fortunately for Dana, the scenery was gorgeous along the lake.  Doug was distracted by the football train wreck he was watching on the iPad.  Obviously time poorly spent.

The Wilson Lock from this direction drops nearly 100 feet.  The time lapse effort was weak coming up, and going down wasn’t worth the effort.  Peterborough and Kirkfield were the only locks worth videotaping going down.  Wilson was pretty massive, however, despite our general crankiness about how long it took to get in it.

img_5854We pulled in to Florence at 5:30.  That’s a helluva day just to go 18 or so miles.  Kind of like that time we we spent 5 hours going from Trent Port to Frankfort when we could have walked it in half that time.   But the boys were troopers.  Not a hint of an accident.

Because it was late when we arrived we passed on the chance to see Helen Keller’s house a second time and instead had a great time chatting with Katrina, who found us through Dana’s stepmother Grandma Linda.   Florence Harbor welcomed us back with fireworks off our bow.  We weenied out and watched from our heated pilothouse.  It’s dang cold here.

The big news of the day didn’t even involve us.  Our travel buddies on Second Wave crossed their wake in Orange Beach.  Congratulations Brent and Karen!

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Blessedly we have no locks tomorrow when we start down Yellow Creek.  Yellow Creek should not be confused with Yellow River, which is in China.  That one is not part of the Loop.

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