Sunday, July 20, 2014

These Lock People are Driving Me Mad!

Captain's Log: 20 July, 2014; Hour: 0740

So much for the all-nighter. We traveled all night from Nickajack Lake through Chattanooga all the way to Watts Bar Lock only to be told by the lock guy that it would be at least 3 hours before we could lock through. At least. Probably more like 5 hours.

I know I'm new to this locking business but I have to say as a citizen this is absolutely outrageous. I called the lock master on the phone to plead our case. He says he's locking through a ton of barges later this morning. I told him all he had to do was shoot us through before all this madness started. He's says regulations won't allow him to do that. Well, the frickin' regulations need to be changed. We have lost at least a day due to waiting on barges at locks. An hour here, three hours there, four hours there. And now we've traveled all night for absolutely nothing! We would've been much better off to stay at a marina overnight and leave this morning. There's no way we make Knoxville by nightfall so we'll have to stop again before we get there and stay overnight.

Oh, and it's been an hour and a half since we first talked to the lock guy and nothing has happened. Nothing has locked through. Here we sit with the nearest marina on our side 3 hours back the way we came. All we can do is anchor and wait. Our tax dollars at work.


  1. Margaret and I went to Granville, TN with Nashville Yacht Club in 2011. Since it isn't used often, an appointment must be made with the Old Hickory lockmaster 24 hours in advance if you expect to lock through the Cordell Hull Lock and Dam. When we arrived, the lockmaster hadn't shown up. He eventually made it but he was new and the doors wouldn't close for him. Seven of us floated patiently while he called in for reinforcements. After four hours in the lock (must be some sort of record) we locked through and fortunately arrived just in time for the evening cocktail party. Try to relax and enjoy, Phil... You're almost done!

  2. It can get very tiresome waiting for locks. I was stuck at Cheatham County lock once for six hours in a heavy rain waiting for several break-down tow lockage's. Folks ask how long does it take to go from x to y on the river? The polite answer is about z hours or days. But the real answer is however long it takes. Enjoy the experience. You may never do it again. Thank you for posting your adventure. It has been a pleasure keeping up with your progress. John

  3. I'd better include a bottle of jackie D in the package. Seems you will need it brother Phil. Too bad we cannot have a welcoming party once you get too your permanent home port. I know seeing those of us who admire you so much would enjoy being dockside when you pull in too homeport. I know protocol and all that. But you got too wonder if Lamar Alexander maybe hindering your journey. He is the river lock master when it came too the TN rivers for funding them at the federal level. But I hear a cool benginmen gets you through the locks quickly. Just say'n ... Jimmy Shelbyville.

  4. calm down uncle phil you could be like me and just got thru working 14 hours on concrete floor breathing saw dust and toxic fumes wow what a life that kinda puts things in perspective dont it ?