Tuesday —- Ohio River to the Cumberland River

September 14th, 2010 john Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Day: 455   Miles Today: 49   Locks Today:  02   Total Miles:  5386   Total Locks: 146

It was a beautiful sunrise.  I woke up early and told the lockmaster that all the pleasure boats had agreed to be ready by 7:00 a.m.  We were hoping upon hope that he would find a way to let us go through because there were still over 20 barge groups waiting.  This lock has two chambers, the main chamber and an old smaller, auxiliary chamber.  The commercial traffic will go through either one but most of the tows prefer the larger chamber because they do not have to break down their tows as much. 

The lock master called and told us to get ready.  He was locking up a towboat and we would be next in the auxiliary lock.

We all up anchored and moved over into position to enter.  At 0800 we were all tied in the lock.  We were very lucky.

Then up the Ohio we went, a string of four boats.  We passed the mouth of the Tennessee River.  We had called the Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee and they were backlogged as expected, so we continued straight for another 20 miles and turned into the Cumberland River.  At this point in the geography, the two rivers run parallel and are very close together, forming the “Land Between the Lakes” region in Kentucky.

Turning onto the Cumberland put us into a very narrow river with a lot of down current and we were fighting upstream.  Our speed made good was about 7.2 mph.  I felt like I was driving an Armadillo.  The river wound back and forth and was pretty clean without debris.

Then at mile 3 of the river we came around a sharp turn and there was a towboat with all of its barges.  It was stuck hard aground.  It must have tried to take the sharp turn too close and was aground and could not get off.  One boat at at time we decided to try to get around it very slowly. Of course I had the deepest draft at 5 feet. I will enclose a lot of pictures but they can’t relate the anxiety of making the pass. 

We went around the front of the towboat, keeping our boat within a couple of feet of the barge, reading the depth meter all the way.  Then at the far corner of the tow we had to turn ninety degrees to the left so as not to hit the bank and go up along the side of the tow.

Wow, was it a good feeling being safely around. 

Twenty more miles and we were in Barkley Lock.  Again we had good fortune, they opened up just as well pulled up and in.  This lock is one of the Federal locks that are used on the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Tombigbee systems.  They are very big, and have floating bollards that you pull up to and tie.  This system is much better then having to handle the lock lines.  It was a 57 foot rise and we were amazed at how fast it was and how smooth.  It was just like being on an elevator. 

The lock opens up into beautiful Barkley Lake.  And then within a mile was Green Turtle Bay Marina.  It is very large and very modern.  We safely tied up.  It was great to have the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers behind us.  We are now on our home waters.

Nine of us loopers went out to eat at Patti’s 1980s Settlement Restaurant in the local village of Grand Rivers.  They sent out a van to pick us up and drive us back.  It was a good night out with good friends.  Patti’s is famous for their two inch thick pork chops.  Again, very good!

Afterwards we came back to the marina and grouped for a drink at the marina gazebo.

We are still on track to arrive back at our home marina Aqua Harbour on Sunday afternoon somewhere between 3 and 6 in the afternoon.  Bring the beer and cigars!!!!!

(I guess I may have to wait to hear what the mechanic says.  We could be delayed for parts.)

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