Week 5 - Completed the First Leg

Updated: Aug 22, 2018

Sharing the lock with the "small " tug, the Sir Larry J

Greetings to all!

We have completed the first leg of our Loop, having traveled 622 miles from St Paul, MN to St Charles, MO since June 17th. This has taken us through 22 locks, with the commercial traffic causing us delays of some times 2 hours or more.

So, let's talk about how these locks work and what's different from the ones on the Columbia River. The idea is the same: to facilitate commercial traffic going up and down the river, by providing an "elevator" to either lower the tugs as they go "downhill " or towards the ocean or "uphill" towards the head of navigation.

The difference is in the amount of height gained or lost. When we were on the Columbia, sometimes it would be over 100 feet difference . Here, the smallest we have experienced is 6 inches (yes, inches) and the largest has been about 10 feet. A lot of that has to do with that flood that we have been chasing down the river. Later on, it will be in feet, but, so far not what we were used to.

View from lock wall as doors are closing on large tug and barges

We are getting pretty skilled at this and several times we have been able to float free and not tie up at all. That's a tribute to Lenny's boat handling. The lock masters are usually very friendly and we get asked 2 questions: Are you really from Portland Oregon? How far are you going?

This week's pictures show what it's like to be in a lock with a "small" tug boat, and what it looks like from the lock wall as the doors are closing on a large tug with 15 barges.

In our next phase, we will join up with the main Loopers at Alton, Illinois, and begin the trek up the Ohio River.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We love you all, too.


Louise and Lenny

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