We left the beautiful Marina at Florence, Alabama knowing we could have a long wait at Wilson lock. The lock master when we called, could not tells how long of a wait just there’s a lot of barge traffic today. We left the marina with Johnny (Anchor Down) in the lead anticipating a long wait at the lock.
After we passed under the O’Neal bridge we entered a narrow but beautiful channel it is parallel with the main river and leads to Wilson Dam. The O’Neal bridge was completed in 1939.
Wilson Dam is one of the most significant structures on the Tennessee River. The dam is 137 feet high and 4,541 feet long. The lift is the highest I have ever been in 93 ft. high. The lock was named after Woodrow Wilson the 28th president. The dam is the oldest on the river completed in 1925 and is now used if the main one is closed for repairs. The dam is architecturally intriguing. The arch forming the spillway are patterned after construction skills, dating back to the Roman Empire.
The new lock the one we used was built-in 1950 and is now the fifth largest in the U.S
We had a three and half hr wait so Anchor Down tied to the wall of the old lock and we tied next to him. I took advantage of the wait and went swimming to cool off. Liz put her feet in the water to cool off while we waited. The water felt like heaven when your hot and it’s so clean. Now were getting to the end of September and I am still swimming “sweet”.
We entered the lock, tied off, and had to wait for the Nina and Pinta. I really believe they are doing the loop with us. It’s amazing that we have been doing the loop for about two months now and still crossing path with them.
Anchor Down tied up behind us and they put the Nina and Pinta behind him. Look at how tall the walls are. This can be very intimidating especially when they close those big doors. We even had a water fall until we reached the top. In this lock the doors are lowered into the river, instead of opening. You definitely want to wait for the horn before leaving this lock or you could be missing some vital boat parts.
We found out traveling with the Nina and Pinta was nice as they take priority over barges when locking. They had the Wheeler auxiliary lock open and where waiting for them to lock through. The Nina and Pinta tied up first and we tided behind them. They look really tall and big when your that close to them.
Wheeler Dam is named for Joseph Wheeler a West Point graduate. He was a general in the Confederate Army and a leader of U.S. Volunteer in the Spanish-American War.
We spent the night at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, Alabama. We are on a side trip to Chattanooga, TN. and maybe Knoxville. Will be returning to Joe Wheeler on October 15 for a fall rendezvous, for three days. It was very hot when we arrived at Joe Wheeler and were greeted by Brenda and Jill also loopers. Brenda and her husband Robby helped us tie up. We had a nice time visiting with all of them. The lodge and grounds are beautiful and they have a swimming pool. You should all know what I did, yes went swimming while Johnny and Kent enjoyed their dock tails at the pool.