Days 163 164
Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville AL - Florence Harbor Marina, Florence AL
- Start 9:50 AM
- End 6:40 PM
- Underway 6:00 Hours
- Distance 18 miles
- Total Miles on Trip 3190
- Av Speed 5.5 knots
- Locks 2
- Weather Sunny , 56 Degrees, Wind 2 Knts NNE
What a long day. Our original plan was to leave Joe Wheeler State Park at 8:30 and make our way to Wilson Lock to be there by noon. We knew we would have to wait for hours at the lock, but better to be there if there was an opening for us to get through, then sitting at the dock. Also Friday night the lockmaster told us there was a rocketship locking through at noon, and we wanted to see it. He thought there was a good chance we would lock through after it, but he would not be working so he could not promise.
Mother Nature had other plans for us. At 8:00 the fog was so thick we could not see across the marina. Plan B was to go out to breakfast and wait for the fog to lift. We ended up leaving at 9:50 with 7 other boats.
The captain of "Aroura" supposedly called the Wilson Lock and was told that there would not be a delay locking through. I had been checking the online queue and thought there were two tows waiting in addition to the "Rocketship". I would have called the Wilson lock to confirm what Aroura told us but the lockmasters only want one boat from each group calling the locks.
We got right through the Joe Wheeler Lock, and then "Aroura" called the Wilson Lock on the radio, and was told that it would be several hours before we could get in the lock. The lockmaster did say we could tie up to the lock wall by the auxiliary lock that was not being used. This made it easier for us, and kept us out of the way of the tows.
Even with the fog delay we were able to see the Rocketship go through the lock. I assume they got held up in the same fog we did. The RocketShip is a unique cargo ship used to transport rockets from United Launch Alliance's (ULA's) 1.6 million square foot production facility in Decatur, AL. Unfortunately it is an enclosed cargo ship and we could not see what it was carrying but it was fun to watch it go into the lock.
We did lock through after the Rocketship, but we did not get into the lock until 5:30pm. The Wilson lock is the highest single lift lock east of the Rocky Mountains, and lowered us 95 feet in about 40 minutes. We pulled out of the lock as the sun was setting. While we were glad to be out of the lock, we had to pull into the Florence Marina in the dark.
The highlight of Florence this time, was baking a Pecan Pie, and making homemade pizza for dinner. (We REALLY need to eat on the boat more often)
We spent two nights in Florence and tomorrow we will be leaving the Tennessee River and entering the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (Tenn-Tom Waterway) to start our 450 mile trip to Mobile Bay.