|Sunrise in Golconda.|
|This section of the Cumberland isn't all that scenic.|
All those white dots in the water? Dead fish.
|Sunrise in Golconda.|
|This section of the Cumberland isn't all that scenic.|
All those white dots in the water? Dead fish.
Hopefully today was last of the long days. But we do have 2 locks to get through tomorrow, one of which is known for it's tow traffic. Fingers crossed. Otherwise, we're only 55 miles from Green Turtle Bay. (Sounds like a cake walk compared to the last 3.)
Absolutely clear all day. No fog. Only one lock, which was opening as we arrived. In fact the only excitement to the day was the finale, docking here in Golconda.
|So to avoid the "Beverly Hillbillies on the Ohio",|
I did this. Not bad, for some dish towels and tape.
|This is a bollard. It's inset in the lock|
wall. You tie a line onto it to keep from
drifting while the chamber is filling
or draining. It then floats. You can see our line
on the lower pin. It stands over 6
feet tall -- they are big and sturdy.
You'd think the dockmaster would have mentioned "Oh, and they're dredging as we speak." We didn't get that surprise until we made the turn into the marina. Turns out, options 2 was blocked by the dredge pipes, and the dredge, itself, was between us and the fuel dock. Phone calls were made, negotiations took place, and we were told they'd stop dredging and come by. It looks all smooth in the video, but it was nice and slow in real time.
Needless to say, we're on the fuel dock.
Total lock count: 46
We started out in a pea soup. Between AIS and radar we weren't worried much about traffic. Tows are lit like Christmas trees and the occasional bass boat tends to stay out of the channel. But errant log were and always are an issue. So we moved a little slower until we were sure the fog had lifted.
Two locks were traversed today. Both were a little slow. The first only had the big chamber working, the other was just really busy so we had to wait for the small chamber to lock down a small tow. The 2 locks added another hour to the day.
|They were unloading this barged. I don't know |
what the contents were, but the dust flumes made
it look like there was a fire. You can see the stuff
on the banks. So... talcum?
Total lock count: 45
Our weather apps all warned of rain, but it never happened. It was a little overcast most of the day, clearing to hazy, then sunny. But hot! Temps in the high 80s and low 90s. When we woke at 6 am it was 80 degrees.
|The Derby dock. Perfect for now.|
Wouldn't want to be here for a tornado, tho.
We passed a LOT of upbound tows in the first 2 or 3 hours. Then we were alone for a long while, having the river mostly to ourselves. We don't often play music since we want to be able to hear anyone hailing us, but today we did.
Russ put eyes in a couple of new lines. He'll swap them out for our current ones once we're off the Ohio River. They are getting stiff and a little frayed. They're sized larger than they need to be for our boat, so we're not in any risk. They are, however, tough to handle.
|Most all the towns on the river have a |
marker post indicating past floods.
Here, the most recent was 2018,
as high as Russ's elbow.
It's longer than most, about 100 feet. But it's tucked between a large cement landing and some old cells. So you have to approach it directly, then spin to get onto it. Sadly, it took us a couple of attempts. The cement landing mucked with the current enough that inQuest didn't behave they way I thought she should. But we did get it done.
|From the helm looking out at the "landing."|
Total lock count: 43
|Pizza from Parlour, Jeffersonville. And a salad.|
|inQuest is on the right, in the city marina.|
The day started off a bit dense. Lots of fog. We ran on instruments for quite a ways, AIS and radar, and kept an eye out for logs and trees in the water. A while ago we bought some "night time" glasses for the RV; very yellow lenses. They help tremendously in foggy conditions.
By the time we got to the only lock of the day, the fog had lifted. The small chamber was broken so we had to wait for the big one, which was being loaded from below as we approached. The lock master said it would be an hour or so. I stood station by the cells while Russ made us 2nd breakfast, some soft boiled eggs.
|Sunset in Louiville.|
Every pool's table can vary. And at times the water is so high it fills, or even overflows, the chambers. In which case they close the locks. But the bollards float, and no one wants them to pop out of their notches and float downstream, or even land on the lock's decks. So they have stoppers on them, a massive bar across the top that keeps them from getting too high. We like do call it "ringing the bell", like the game in fairs when you hit the peg hard enough. In this case the bell had been rung, the bollard was pegged due to the high waters. We just didn't notice it. Trust me, we will now. We tied back up and rode without any more drama.
|Sailboat, pulled by a tiny boat|
Yesterday, while docked in Rising Sun and watching Mac fly his seaplane, we saw a sailboat coming down the river. That is noticeable since there are very few sailboats around these parts. As it came closer we realized it was being towed by a very small boat. They passed us, continuing down river. The sail boat looked pretty nice, but it appeared that it's engine just didn't work. The towing boat, however, looked woeful for the task.
Fast forward to the lock today. As we entered the lockmaster chatted with Russ, telling him there would be a small delay since we were waiting for a sailboat.
|OMG! Sailboat with little boat rafted to him.|
We got in late (for us), around 5:30 pm. The delay at the lock, waiting for the tow then the sailboat to get in, cost us over an hour. We were tired. We ate some dinner, we took a walk, and we went to a nearby brewery. A nice evening. We went to bed around 9 only to be woken up by fireworks around 9:45, which we came up to the sky lounge to watch.
... and in they came. That poor sailboat, rafted to his underpowered motor aid, passed us in the dark of night and headed to the other marina. I felt so bad for them. THAT's a long day.
Total lock count: 42
|Sunrise today. A tow is headed up river.|
|Just because I thought that sunrise was so cool...|
Just past the Portsmouth is the Shawnee State Park. We stayed there on the way up with the intention of fueling up. However the depths were too low for us to get to the pump, which added to our frustrations later about not getting diesel. However, the river is high now. We called them and confirmed, yep, they got both depth and fuel. We stopped and tanked up.
|Hazy days of summer.|
The rest of the day was pretty dull. We were on the water for a long time again, but making really good progress. Decided we needed to eat some meal on the boat, so stopping in Augusta, a place we'd already explored, made sense.
|Augusta, right from the boat.|
Total Lock Count: 40
When we came up I had an entry saying we stayed in Portsmouth. Technically, we were close, staying in a state park, but it was too far to get to town. This private boat club is right outside the town walls. The flood walls here are known for their murals. They are some of the best we've seen, but pictures didn't do it justice. Google them!
Long day, nearly 9 hours. But the water and air were pleasant, and there was just a little haze which kept the temps down.
|The day started a little foggy, turning into hazy.|
There's a lock out there, somewhere.
Got through 2 locks today. The first of which was easy except for the entry light. We approached the lock in the fog, so we could just make out the red light and slowed. Typically that mean the doors are shut. When we got there, the fog lifted a bit, and we clearly saw the doors open and waiting. Yep. I rolled my eyes.
The second, however, was a near bummer. As we got within 3 miles of the lock, our typical distance to hail them, a tow wanting to be locked up (Bruce D) hailed them. We could tell by our AIS that another tow, Fritz (still the best boat name), was already in the chamber (which would be the BIG one). The lockmaster asked how big Bruce was, and it was settled he could fit in the small chamber. DRAT!!!! Knowing that meant we'd have to wait for him to come up before we could lock down we immediately hailed the lockmaster in case the chamber happened to be on our side already. Alas, he told us it would be a while.
|This is a mixed message. The first lock|
had the doors open, but if you look
to the left the red light is on.
In the fog as we approached, we only saw the light.
Fritz had made it up and was coming out of his chamber. Meanwhile, Bruce D wasn't anywhere near the chamber. Tows move very slowly getting into and out of the lock. Watching the AIS and Bruce's painfully slow entrance, the lockmaster hailed us again. No tows needed to go down anytime soon so he offered to lock us through in the big chamber.
|Russ is pushing off a tree. These were coming|
down the river all night in Point Pleasant.
We finally moved the boat around 9 pm behind the
dock and onto the wall to avoid being rammed with
trees all night long.
So we only had a half hour delay or so. We got in and docked without any other issues.
Total lock count: 40
This comes with a price, however. We're rocketing because the water is high. In places, as far as we can tell, 4 -5 feet higher than when we were here 2 weeks ago. What's odd is, yes, we had a couple days of rain, but not all day long. It's amazing how the water accumulates in the river. No wonder the big floods are so remembered.
So, all the problems we had a week ago where "we can't get to a wall due to lack of depth" are now "we can't get to the wall because it's underwater." Go figure.
We did put in a longer day, to be honest. Nearly 8 hours. When we docked last night in Parkersburg we noticed the ferry's exit strategy and then used it ourselves. Hey, learn from the professionals, I say. Spin hard, keeping the nose on the wall (well, we have a fender there) and pull the stern away, then back out until you can finish the turn down river. It worked well.
|Pomeroy, when we came 2 weeks ago. Note the water line.|
|Pomeroy as we went by today.|
|Us and Chasin' 80 on the town wall of Point Pleasant.|
First time in a while we shared a dock with anyone!
Two more locks done.
Total lock count: 38
... but if I had to nitpick ...
We hoped to spend a couple of days in Marietta again. We really enjoyed that town, and while there we thought we'd get another top off on fuel to take us the rest of the way down the Ohio. However, the boat club yacht that we used last time (recall, we ordered a fuel truck to deliver the diesel) put a boat in the spot we'd need. Moreover, we really wanted to go eat again at 740 Social which had the most amazing Buffalo Cauliflower Wings. But they were closed Sunday and Monday. We took that as a sign that we weren't meant to repeat things we'd already done. We needed to pump out, so we got that accomplished then continued down river to Parkersburg.
|Parkersburg has a flood wall. |
Note the flood marks.
We did get hailed by another tow captain who liked the looks of our boat. That's the third or fourth time on this trip. Russ thinks it's because inQuest's profile is a little tow-boat like, and they seem to like that aesthetic.
Total Lock Count: 36
|Looking back up the Ohio from where we came.|
|This floated by while we were on the wall.|
You can't tell but it's a tree. Submerged.
Armed with this knowledge we made a point of stopping here on the way back. Someone had mentioned great pizza here (thank you, Kim King), which was an enticing lure, but we opted for the Dos Hermanos Mexican restaurant which over looked the river. They had Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo. Not the best we've had (the winner is still Owensboro, which I'm looking forward to having again), but very good. They had a covered patio outdoors which allowed us to watch the storms go by.
|Great patio at Dos Hermanos|
Our only adventure of the day was at moment one, when the port engine would NOT start. Russ checked the battery; nope, not the problem. Then he checked the starter relay. This happened on Cat-n-Dogs once, and on the very same engine. He jumped it, it started. He even has a replacement relay which he installed in the evening.
|Storms comin' and goin'|
Total lock count: 35
After much changing of minds -- whether we should explore the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers or not -- we opted for not. We really want time to explore the Tennessee River, and we're concerned the weeks spent up here would mean not enough time down there. So. Back down the Ohio we went.
|I can barely see where we're going.|
While the weather was great when we left thunderstorm plagued the day. We managed to get through the first 3 locks without dealing with rain. Recall those were the odd "use your own ropes" locks. All of them went perfectly, doors open or opening as we approached.
The fourth lock of the day, New Cumberland, had a downbound tow waiting (The Olivia Rose... what a great name). We were told after they got locked through they'd flip the lock for us. Right about that time the weather took a bad turn, with winds kicking up into the mid-20 mph, lightning, and rain. I heaved a sigh... nothing like standing station but to do it in a deluge was not my idea of fun.
|Tied in front of the Olivia Rose.|
If you look you'll see two men huddled
under the covers of the barge to stay dry.
Olivia Rose slowly made it's way into the chamber, and we followed, keeping a safe distance behind. The weather worsened. I could no longer see the lock. I could see the lights on the Rose and some lights on one of the lock walls. I was thankful they let us follow the tow in largely because I wouldn't really know where the heck we were.
|On the wall, Russ is talking to some kayakers|
who came down from Pittsburgh too.
For whatever reason I failed to recall I was slowly making my way past a massive engine. Suddenly inQuest lurched to the right. Russ called, "Go faster!" I didn't see the churn the tow was giving off and it nearly pushed us into the starboard wall. We managed, no damage, we really didn't even get that close, but it was a stark reminder of how powerful those boats are. And just a little scary.
We aim for our favorite pin, #4. We count them out as we enter the chamber, and there are 6 in total. The Rose is on the port wall, and take up most of it, so we're on the starboard. As we approached the pin, however, Russ realize there was no bollard there. We move forward to the next bollard, but THIS chamber only has 5 pins, and that last one is really close to the doors. Russ notices that the one right in front of the Rose is available. So we take it.
Otherwise, the lock went smooth as silk and the weather passed. We had another 15 miles to go or so before our destination, the town wall in Wellsburg.
Total Lock Count: 33
|Pittsburgh, as seen from the top of the Duquesne Incline.|
The Incline is a funicular car that goes up a very steep hill.
|Up the hill you go, as the other car comes down. |
The 2 cars are connected, pulling each other up.
|Russ and I have electric scooters.|
Brie and Harsh rented Spins. Great way to see Pittsburgh.
|The Point is where the water fountain is, and|
marks the location of Fort Pitt.
This river is the Allegheny.
inQuest is just in the pic, on the far left.
|Pittsburgh, and the Monongahelia River.|
|On the wall.|