Oct 28 Day 34 Lockin’ and Dockin’

Today we were on a mission to pick up our Washington State voting ballots Alex sent us from Tacoma. Sounds simple, but there was a lot to do. Our marina last night was conveniently located within a stone’s throw of our first lock so we could call from the dock to find out when we might get through. At the same time, someone else on the dock had an AISIS (or something like that) system which tells you who’s on the water so you know where the barges and other ASIS carrying vessels are. Turns out we’re one of the few boats without this electronic gizmo. Anyway, bottom line is we were well informed about the lock traffic and able to pull into the channel to conveniently make our first lock down.

Waiting for the first lock of the day.

BTW….we were easily able to see other boats heading downriver ahead of the lock without the ASIS, but the system is pretty cool and I understand would become progressively more helpful as the barge traffic increases and the river begins to wind a bit more. It’s very useful for boats that are less maneuverable than ours to avoid “pucker-up” moments as you around a bend and confront a big barge heading the other way. As for us….we’re using our eyes (and of course our image stabilizing binos!).

We are now into the heart of a pack of boats heading downriver. We had three locks to clear within about 30 miles and the group basically moved en masse through each lock.

Here we are with 9 others. See that boat third down on the left. That’s our sister boat. See how small our boats are compared to others?
These walls look pretty big when you’re on the first pin!

The lock masters have the dual responsibility of moving water traffic and managing “pool depths” so they like to consolidate river traffic when possible to avoid moving too much water thereby lowering upriver pool depth beyond certain targets. It’s unbelievable it costs $6/time to cross the Narrows Bridge while there is this entire managed river infrastructure you can use for FREE!

That’s our route downriver before the drop. For northwesterners, that land to the right has something to do with Weyerhauser….a little taste of home!

Although there were 10 boats in the first and second lock, two guesses on who was first out and first to arrive at the next one! These big boys might have nice salons, but they cannot catch us on the water.

B has gotten into “tagging” the lock pins(!).

We left the pack after the second lock to go into a little marina to get our mail. We had to get through 2’ of water to get off channel and into Aberdeen marina.

Holy moly….how many channel markers can you see? There aren’t any big boys headed this way I’ll tell you that!

Couldn’t even find it and the guy at the marina didn’t speak English. Whoa, this was deep banjo country with a Pakastani flair! Honestly, once we were there I had to use sign language to communicate we wanted some eggs.

We had our first serving of boiled (bawled) peanuts at that picnic bench while waiting for the mail.

We’d forwarded the mail to the marina (without contacting them first) and they’d refused to accept the delivery, but maybe they hadn’t understood(!). The absolutely AMAZING thing is the local post office held it and then called B (she’d included her cell number on the forwarding info) to let her know it was there. Once we arrived, B called the post office and the guy came down and personally delivered the stuff! I’m one of the first to generally complain about gov’t operations, but that was unbelievable and great! Well done Aberdeen, MS post office!

Postal worker Ken (or Keyahn as they say here) making our mail delivery. Ballots…and a dog rug…seriously? a dog rug!?

Mail in hand we headed back into the channel to clear our last lock for the day. We very nearly couldn’t make it back into the river as there was some inconsistency about the channel to and from the marina so we sort of navigated by braille with the out drive tilted up. The bow nudged the bottom at one point, but we made it with a little patience. Did I say we were comparatively fast? Despite our detour and all that waiting around, we still passed half the boats we’d previously locked down with in the channel downriver from the last lock. Now we’re in Columbus Marina for a few days.

3 thoughts on “Oct 28 Day 34 Lockin’ and Dockin’”

  1. Amazing adventures, you guys! I love reading about you every day! I still don’t quite grasp the map though, so could you say where you guys are heading?

    I am reading Rick Bragg’s book, My Southern Journey, True Stories from the Heart of the South. He wrote All Over But The Shouting many years ago. But his stories are mostly a collection of articles he has published in magazines like Southern Living over the years. I think you would enjoy it!

    So, you didn’t say what you thought of the Boiled Peanuts. When I was growing up, my Uncle Grier had a Country Store at the crossroads of Highway 52 and 301 South in Effingham, SC.

    He kept the Big Pots going with Boiled Peanuts going all the time. Back then, you could get a big ladle dipped out for a quarter. But my Aunt Dorothy wouldn’t let us eat them. (She was an RN). She made her own, and they were delicious. She would give us a boxful, and Mama would freeze them. I still buy them often, but not so much in the gas stations. I like to find the fruit and vegetable stands along the road and buy a big bag! (Now about $2.50). Fresh tomatoes, peaches, and fresh grown watermelon! All staple Southern foods, along with barbecue, collards, and colored butter beans.

    Tonight, I ate fresh local oysters with jalapeño cornbread. They were pulled from the North River 3 days ago. Life just doesn’t get much better!

    You are both excellent writers! Thank you for sharing your journey! J


    1. LOVED the ‘bawled’ peanuts…but I bet your aunts were even yummier! I ‘ll look at that book…gotta finish the one I’m working on (at a snail’s pace..thought I’d be reading way more than I am.) Loved hearing YOUR southern stories tho! thx for writing xo


  2. I was wondering when you were going to fill out your ballots, if you wait a few more days things may change again, let’s hope they call the whole thing off and start over.

    Love this post.


    Sent from my iPad



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