David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
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

Locks are for the Patient


tl;dr: I locked once and portaged three times, because locks are just too frustrating.

It rained much of the night, and by morning there was a strong northwest wind that had the water downright inconvenient.

I paddled an hour to the Jamie Whitten Lock and Dam. I pulled the small craft rope, because nobody was answering the radio. It turns out I'm supposed to be on channel 16 after all. After entering the lock and not hearing anything, I turned around and almost left with the intention to portage. About that time the lockmaster stuck his head over the side. It took forever to get through that lock, but the portage would have been worse. That dam holds back eighty feet of water, and the lower side of the dam is all shear cut stone.

When I was approaching the Montgomery Lock and Dam, I decided to radio in way ahead of time so I wouldn't have to wait. It turns out they were ready for me. I was given instructions to switch to channel 12 and come on in, and then...nothing. I waited for ten minutes, making occasional queries on the radio. Eventually I turned around, exited the lock, and portaged. Zenith of patience am I. This portage was actually quite easy. Just as I was almost down to the water the radio fired up again because the lockmaster couldn't see me. Apparently they have "radio problems." I apologized for troubling them and went on my way.

At the John Rankin and Fulton Locks I didn't even bother with the radio. I had reviewed them earlier on my map and so just portaged straight away. Portaging is a lot faster if it's practical. I don't like dragging over all those big rocks, though. And I keep expecting to scare up a snake.

I sat under the bridge in Fulton, MS for a bit trying to decide if I was going to walk to the local Walmart, which was about a mile away. I didn't necessarily need anything. But I really wanted that General Tso Chicken they always stock. I decided against it. It seemed I'd be stopping the next day, anyway.

approaching Jamie Whitten Lock and Dam

bullfrog in the lock

eighty foot drop

portaged over Montgomery Lock and Dam


great big turtle

Fulton Lock and Dam

not safe for armadillos either

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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