Monday, June 4, 2012


The 500Jerk family passed through the Tennessee River's Fort Loudoun lock during a recent marathon boat ride from Knoxville to Kingston.  Going through a river lock is both fascinating and a bit unnerving.  The Fort Loudoun dam is an enormous and seemingly solid structure.  BUT.  That's an awful lot of water held in place on the upriver side.  Really, when you're up that close to a dam, it's best to hope the engineers were paying attention and not think too much about the mechanical details. 

Strangely, there's no fee for using the Fort Loudoun lock. You just sidle up the family pontoon boat to a wall at the top of the lock, yank an unobtrusive chain, and wait for the magic to happen.

The lock doors slooooowly open to a full chamber. 
Then close to the river above.  No turning back now.
The chamber drains behind the enormous doors.  After initially marveling at the lock,
the kids get kind of bored and ham it up. 
That's a whole lot of displaced water.

Then, the doors on the opposing end start to open to the lower portion of the river.
I love these gigantic industrial doors.  I want them in my living room.
And you head out and away from the lock.  With all due speed.

Pretty cool, hunh? And no fatalities!  Bless you, dorky engineering-types, I'm glad you paid attention to all the dam details.

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