David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
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Kayak Trip 2012
04/12  Most boring trip ever?
04/13  Muddy Pecatonica
04/14  Say Yes to Drugs
04/15  Add a little Sugar and Rock
04/16  Worst campsite ever.
04/21  Island Of Honking Geese
04/22  Hennepin Feeder Canal
04/23  Locks, sand and muck
04/28  Henry
04/30  No Current on Peoria Lake
05/01  Industry and Locks
05/02  Rain and Eagles
05/04  Half-Way on the Illinois
05/05  Medium-Rare Meatloaf
05/06  Always Pepsi-Cola
05/08  Onto the Mississippi
05/09  St. Louis
05/10  Short Day
05/12  Barge Full of Rocks
05/13  Between Green and Red
05/14  Now comes the hard part
05/15  Metropolis
05/18  Tennessee River
05/19  No Lock For You
05/20  Snakes
05/21  New Johnsonville
05/25  Day of the Mayflies
05/26  Look, Another Cliff
05/27  Rotund Sunburns
05/28  Free Heron
05/30  Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
05/31  Bay Springs Lake
06/01  Locks are for the Patient
06/02  Tombigbee
06/06  Bamboo and Palmettos
06/07  Dry in AlaBAMa
06/08  Cutting Corners
06/09  Another day on the river
06/10  Demopolis
06/15  Hardest Portage Ever
06/16  Hot Rocky Beaches
06/17  First Alligator
06/18  Last Dam
06/19  Tide
06/20  Trashy Beaches
06/21  Just paddling down Interstate 10
06/27  Salty
06/28  Intracoastal Waterway
06/29  Come Sail Away
06/30  Peddling Along
07/01  Panama City
07/07  The Gulf of Mexico
07/08  Peacocks by the Sea
07/11  No Wind
07/12  Actually Sailing
07/13  Tacking
07/14  Steinhatchee
07/19  As sudden as ever
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

No Lock For You

2012-05-19

tl;dr: I couldn't lock through Kentucky Dam, so I had to portage over. I'm now on Kentucky Lake. Lots of boats.

I paddled up to the Kentucky Dam. The website I found said to use VHF channel 16. I was then told by another boat to switch to 13. I was then told to switch to 14. Had I done no research I would have started on 14. Even then the operator didn't respond right away. He said the lock would be closed for another three hours, and then the barges would be let through. I asked for and received the best route to portage: a seventy foot climb under the watchful eyes of boatloads of fisherman, who, as usual, had plenty of advice, but no real desire to help. In fact, there was a guy fishing from the bank where I landed, and when he figured out my intentions he skedaddled. Just as I was pulling the kayak up the last few feet, a guy at the top spotted me and rushed over to help get it over the guard rail, so that was helpful. The guy then proceeded to tell me about people who had drowned on the river--all people who got too close to a dam while not wearing a life vest, things I'm careful about.

After trudging upriver for so long at barely 3 mph, I was very much ready to get on the flat water and paddle...3 mph. I spent all day paddling into the wind. It turns out it makes a difference.

There are a lot of boats on Kentucky Lake. A lot. I can say with some certainty that I've never been in the midst of so many boats. Ever. There are fishing boats, and pontoon boats, and cigar boats, and racing boats, and house boats, and jet skis, and sail boats, and yachts. The only boats I never did see were towboats, so I guess they are all still waiting for the lock. I also didn't see any kayaks, save for a little toy kayak somebody was tooling around in near a campground. But every other boat with a motor was present. They all drive up and down this lake continuously. Some idle along. Most scream past. The water is a choppy mess. And, apparently, next week it gets busy.

I must finally be getting south, because I am spotting lizards, and restaurants are back to serving Coke. Also, two girls at a beach told me they like my "canoe."

good morning Kentucky




approaching the Kentucky Dam


lock is closed


fish fed flock


fishermen below the dam


big climb ahead of me




Grand Rivers marina


boats boats boats


some beach


more boats




rocky shore





contact me at le@liverworks.com
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