18 October 2011 | Columbus, MS
Chris/ Cloudy, Windy, Rainy
Day 14 Tuesday October 18 Looking at a potentially long day again, we're up and on the trail by 6:45. The day is off to another fabulous start, with a colorful pre-sunrise sky that reflects on the glassy water of the bay we're in. Looks like another perfect day ahead of us.
We leave the beauty of the Tennessee River (also know at this point as Pickwick Lake) and start on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. It starts out looking much like the Tennessee with the addition of a lot of islands. Quickly though it becomes a narrow channel with nothing but trees lining the shoreline. For those familiar, it looks like a slightly wider Murray Canal. That does not last long either though, as things start winding around like a snake covering a hundred miles.
After a few more miles the fun starts. The first of seven locks we have to go through before getting to the next spot that we can get into. We have to wait a little while, but not too long. The bad news is that we go in with a trawler. That means off course, that we exit with him. With six more locks and ninety miles to go, you understand why the day has potential to be a long one. We may be doing it at trawler pace if each lockmaster makes us wait for him.
Ahead is another possible slow down, a barge going in our direction. And a couple more coming at us. These could really make locking up tough.
But it's our day, and after the second lock we get word from the trawler that they will be going into a marina before the third lock and we won't have to wait for them any more. Not long after that, we manage to get around the first tug in tow going in our direction without having had to wait at a lock for him. It's a lot tighter in here than anywhere else we've been to date, and the pass is close. You get a good look at barges and tugs when you go by them in the Tenn-Tom.
We make good time through all the locks, with no real waits. There is not much other traffic in the waterway and we keep good pace all day. We get to Columbus, Mississippi around 4:30. We tie up for the night at the fuel dock and fuel up. We take 386 gallons today.
It has not been as long a day as we anticipated, it just seemed it. Somewhere along the line the sky clouded up and we did not have any fly bridge time today. It rained a couple times through the day. But as luck (or whatever) would have it, it was never raining while we had to be on deck for lock ins. After all the locks we've been through I feel a little like Monty Hall, "Lets see what's behind door number one, where Carol Merrill is standing. Oh, you've won a trip for five to the next lock."
Not to go all Forrest Gump, but I've learned something over the last few days. Locks are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. And while they're not bad, when too many of them accumulate, they can be really annoying.
Tomorrow that annoyance starts at 5:45 am. We have an appointment to go through the next lock at that time. The good news, we've had an early night tonight, having had dinner on the boat; and the lock is only about 1000 yards downstream.
One last note, today I got my first floating ballard pin ride. It's not Space Mountain, but it was kind of cool.