When it comes to endings, I often feel deflated. When it comes to accomplishments, my feelings soar. I am happy to report that we completed the 10 locks that were part of our route from Demopolis to Florence, Alabama on the Tomten Waterway!
The Wilkins lock is special not just because it was the last one for us to go through, but it was also the tallest. It lifts or lowers its occupants about 8o feet.
On Sunday morning, we rose with the sun, as the blue moon set across the river from the Midway marina. We celebrated Easter with greetings from our fellow boaters, one even said “He is risen!” and I replied, “He is risen indeed!” I took pictures around the marina, and then we ate our decorated Easter eggs, coffee cake and drank coffee, while deciding if we should leave with one of the other boats to lock through the last three locks together. As timing would have it, we and they were ready to leave at the same time.
It helps the lockmasters out, when local boaters go through in a small group, so as to keep the lock from having to be emptied and filled so often. As we approached lock number eight, our confidence was high that we could secure our boat on the first try. Even with the audience of another boater, which can throw off your rhythm. We arrived just as the lock was letting out a tow pushing a load of scrap metal down river.
We secured the boat, and the lock filled and we made it up without a hitch. We repeated the same success at the ninth lock. (These three locks were in a 18 mile stretch, so we’d go 5-8 miles and it was time to do our thing again.) The other boat led the way. And we secured our lines and held on for our ride up the lock.
It was five miles between the last two locks, so we drove the boat at top speed to zoom up to the last one. The gates were open and the lockmaster was ready for us. Our wake followed us in a little bit, so we were tossed a little, as we drove up to the wall to secure to the floating bollard. We were a little mesmerized by the 8o feet walls, and had to take two tries to get secure. (We did realize in lock number 8 that we could add a third fender to keep the back of the boat from banging into the wall. We added that between locks 8 and 9. That way when the swirling water tried to push us up against the lock wall, I didn’t have to worry as much about holding the boat off.) Sometimes it takes several times to learn the nuances of a skill.
We thanked the lockmaster, and said good-bye to the other boaters. (They were headed to Florence, AL that day, another 80 miles north.) As we made it to the top of the lock and out into the area called Bay Springs Lake, we sighed a relief that we had completed our task for the day. We spent the rest of the day enjoying the balmy spring weather, while relaxing at a nearby park and beach area. At dinner Les toasted us, for “completing ten locks.” Here’s some photos from inside the last lock.
Today we travelled 80 miles to complete the trip on the river.
I’ll share some other musings and photos from the trip tomorrow.
P.S. I didn’t forget about the giveaway, I’m trying to coordinate with Dawn’s announcement. If you comment on today’s blog post, I’ll add you name to the drawing to win one on my books! (Defining Moments: Overflowing with Words.)