During the night 4 other boats joined us (making 6) on the Joliet wall, around 9 pm. We tried to organize an early departure, but no one really wanted to talk about that given their long day. I don't blame anyone a bit -- we, too, were tired. When we got up around 5 am we wondered if it were rude to just knock on doors and let everyone know we were leaving. We decided our engines would do the trick.
We peeled off the wall around 6 am, just as twilight lit up the river. A tow was going our way so we waited for him to pass, then got behind him. After calling the lock ahead he told us we was ready to take us down. We passed the tow and headed right into the lock, green lights waiting for us. At that moment we were hailed on the radio that 4 of the boats on the wall hustled up and were following us in (apparently, engines are an effective alarm clock). The lockmaster held the lock, and we all locked down together.
|We moved right to left, around the cell. |
That gap is 60 feet. Or so they told me.
The second lock of the day was Dresden. A bunch of barges (9) were in the lock coming up. These locks are too small to hold the barges AND the tow boat, to the barges had to be hauled out of the lock by wench while it's tow boat waiting to lock though. After the chamber was emptied, we were to go in.
The lockmaster gave us the go ahead. But the space between the barge and the cell looked pretty narrow. As I approached it the lockmaster hailed us, saying "THE OTHER SIDE!" We turned and went between the cell and the lock wall, which wasn't much wider, but made for an interesting obstacle course run. The other boats followed, all of us with raised eyebrows ("they want us to do what?!") Everyone made it in without any bumping or damage, and down we went.
We were there for 4 hours.