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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Monster Lock and Joe

We continue our journey from just above Pickwick Dam at Grand Harbor Marina up Pickwick Lake to Florence, AL and into Joe Wheeler Lake.  However, this requires riding the "monster" lock.  Seems this lock at Wilson Dam was constructed in 1913 with the greatest lift east of the Mississippi at 90 Ft.  Most locks lift under 50 ft. so this will be a new experience for 0 Regrets and crew. 

The photo does not do the lock justice. It is daunting when open with 90 ft. of empty chamber into which I cruise 0 Regrets to tie on a bollard and ride the current up.  The lock was constructed to navigate the Mussel Shoals due to swift waters and boulders stopping boat travel at turn of the century.  Later Wheeler Lake Dam was constructed to create the lake and help control flooding. 

Exiting the lock you encounter a wide, deep and beautiful lake, much like Kentucky Lake.  A short distance in the lake leads to Joe Wheeler State Park Marina and Lodge.  The marina is a wonderful facility and utilized by the American Great Loop Cruisers Association for their annual Rendezvous.  We just beat the crowd this year and grabbed a good slip in front of the lodge.
That would be 0 Regrets in center of the picture, somewhat dwarfed by the larger boats.  This location permitted a short walk to the lodge for good food and allowed walking our deckhands, Bella and Bailey. They needed some walking and play time after several days on the boat. 
Joseph Wheeler (September 10, 1836 – January 25, 1906) was an American military commander and politician. He has the rare distinction of serving as a general during war time for two opposing forces: first as a noted cavalry general in the Confederate States Army in the 1860s during the American Civil War, and later as a general in the United States Army during both the Spanish-American War and Philippine-American War near the turn-of-the-twentieth-century. For much of the Civil War he served as the senior cavalry general in the Army of Tennessee and fought in most of its battles in the Western Theater.
Between the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, Wheeler served multiple terms as a United States Representative from the state of Alabama.
The above monument depicts some of the accomplishments of the General and is typical of civil war monuments around the south. The history is all along the Tennessee River and is available to all boaters to enjoy.

Well, we continue on to Decatur, AL to take a cruise break for a day and await arrival of the Adm. Denise for the second week of the Tennessee River Cruise.  The cruising couple will explore the Tennessee River Gorge and a longer dockage in Chattanooga, TN.

Happy Sailing,
0 Regrets and crew

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