Thursday, September 25, 2008

OKC Expedition - Going Through the Locks

With every expedition, there have been new experiences or factors that the rowers hadn't yet dealt with.

On the Buffalo Bayou in Houston, it was getting clearance from the Coast Guard to pass through a "security zone".

On the Hudson River in New York, we faced the challenges of navigating a river that flows backwards as it is affected by the tides of the Atlantic.

In Oklahoma City, Chris and I got to add another adventure to our list of things we'd experienced on a gondola: locks.

One of the spillway/lock facilities on the Oklahoma River.

Locks aren't nearly as challenging as, say, rowing against strong wind and tide. I'm sure there are many things more perilous than passing through locks, but anyone who has done so can tell you that it's a weird feeling to pass through one for the first time.

Rivers throughout the world are dotted with locks. Chances are good that at least one gondolier reading this has traversed a lock or two on their gondola.

In the past, I'd gone through locks as a passenger in a punt in Denver (see Venice on the Creek, and on a cruise ship through the Panama Canal.

This was my first opportunity to do so as the operator of the vessel.

The locks on the Oklahoma River were designed and built to accommodate sixty-foot tourboats, so we had a little extra room to move around inside.
We entered the lock and watched the gates close.
I must admit, I was disappointed when the gate make a loud slamming noise when it closed, in fact it made no sound at all.

Entering the lock chamber.

Once in the chamber, the water was drained in order to bring us down to the next level.
Being on a boat in a lock is it is drained, reminded me of the "Tidy Bowl Man" commercials when I was a kid.

Exiting the lock chamber.

I was surprised how quickly the locks operated in Oklahoma City.

The fill/drain time clocked in at around 2 ½ minutes.
I think we waited longer for the gates to open and close.

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