Joe Wheeler State Park to Florence AL, Mile 4030 to 4080, Day 215

October 21

The Wilson Lock closure made this short jaunt a more interesting adventure. We left the dock at 11am and travelled with Gettin’ Looped, Don’t Think Twice, and Happy Hours from Joe Wheeler State Park – the site of the Fall Looper Rendezvous. Transiting the lock at Joe Wheeler went quickly, as did the short trip down the Wilson Lake to the Wilson Lock. Because of repair work, the Lock was officially only open from 6pm to 6am. Since we were travelling on Saturday, though, we had hopes to go through while there was still daylight.

The group arrived about 1:30 or so, and there was no place available to tie up at the Lock. The water at the dam-end of the lake was very deep – 80 feet – so anchoring was problematic. We travelled a lot of extra miles waiting…but at least we only had to wait about 2 ½ hours or so – the work for the day was completed (at least within the Lock) by a little before 4….so we cleared the Lock and were in Florence by about 5, with plenty of light to get into the marina easily.

The yellow and black ‘breadcrumbs’ are part of our track while waiting for the Wilson Lock. The inset are vessels within the Florence Harbor Marina.

The massive doors on the Wilson Lock beginning to open. Wilson has a drop/lift of about 95 feet – the max we’ll encounter on our Loop. It’s also on the National Historic Register.

Try this for some perspective – that’s a heron perched on one of the ‘squares’ of the lock doors! Compare this shot to the upper one….

We grabbed the courtesy car at the Marina, and headed out to dinner – one last good meal out before beginning the rural Tenn-Tom!

Mileage Today: 43.3 nautical

Trip Duration: 6.3 hours (moving time)

Loop Miles: 4079.9 miles

Estimated Loop Completion: 75.6%

Segments Completed: Okeechobee Waterway, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, North Atlantic Ocean, Hudson River, Erie Canal, Oswego Canal, Lake Ontario, Trent Severn Waterway, Georgian Bay, North Channel, Lake Michigan, Illinois River, Mississippi River, Ohio River

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