Day 163 … Sat, Sept 30, 2017 … 27.8 miles; 6:15 hours … with 3 hour wait at Lock 52
Lock 53 Wall to Paducah, KY
As we were on the land side lock wall and the other 3 Loopers were on the opposite lock wall, no communication was had about leaving this am.
We rose early, for us, about 6. Did the fast version of our morning routine and once we saw someone else readying to leave, I quickly got Cally to shore for morning business. Back at the boat we were ready to shove off within the group. This was a new record for us ... off by 7:10 am. Wow!
We are all headed to the new town docks at Paducah, KY, but must negotiate one of the notoriously slow locks on our way.
Luck was on our side! By the time we arrived at the pool there were 2 other Loopers there waiting. The lock master quickly informed us 2 tows had to go in front and lock thru, then it would be our turn. So, we all put our anchors down to wait. Not a bad wait, as the weather was nice with comfortable temps. It was 3 hours before those 2 tows went through and we got through.
The lock master was true to his word and called in the PC's, pleasure crafts, after the second tow.
Unusual, we all floated in the chamber as it came up 10'. Normally you tie to the wall.
The group that went ahead last night tied to the wall to lock thru ... but, it was pitch dark except for the lock lights when they went through. Anyway, somehow, everyone one wanted to go into the lock last, we thought we were going in second to last; basically following the order we arrived at the lock. But no one was moving forward, Rip pulled us in first. This meant we had the lock water fill current pushing us. The wind was blowing us to starboard and our boat backs to starboard... making it hard on Rip to keep the boat centered in the chamber and by the 300' marker (as we were told to be beside by the lockmaster). Rip did an AMAZING job! A very short learning curve to feel out the current and wind; then he had it down pat. I was by the stern with a long boat hook, just in case.
Then down to the new docks at Paducah. And the docks are full with just enough room for us, with the help of Firestorm directing the dock hands to slide one boat back to make more room. Firestorm clued us in we wanted to be on the inside of the docks for less rocking by the waves of passing tows. Plus Firestorm talked with the dockhands to explain, Lab Partners needed on the dock and not rafted, if space became on issue. The dockhand has a Lab and was on our side. Being the first in the lock meant we were first at the dock, a short 3.5 miles away, so into the spot Firestorm set up for us and lots of Looper hands to help get us in. Good thing, as the 2 dockhands were not well trained (only open 9 days) and not understanding what we needed. Firestorm and One Eye Dog helped and taught the dock hands a thing or two at the same time. They were eager to learn.
A long Day and we are caught up to our buddies ... time for docktails on GP!!
Even Abby (aboard One Eye Dog) enjoyed docktails!
It was Riverfest / BBQ fest just at the top of the hill ... carnival atmosphere with 40+ booths for food. I brought the Captain back ribs for dinner, per his request.
However, all was not perfect ... 2 local go fast boats came in late and docked at the fuel dock; then commenced to party and play loud music. Didn't ask if we wanted to hear it ... but hear it we did until well after we went to bed.