I’m having a good day. Weather is nice, had pancakes in Marquette Iowa and I’m making good miles. So good I shoot for Guttenberg Iowa 32 total miles away where I know there is an inn right on the river There is one lock located at Guttenberg and you must pass through to get to the town.
About 7 miles out I see a barge coming down river. I watch as it creeps closer mile after mile. I stop and rest on an island knowing I lost. The barge passes me there just 2 miles from the lock. The river rules are the commercial traffic has priority at the locks. I was going to have to wait.
I reach the lock and the barge is already started going through. I tie up and walk around to an observation stand and watch.
The barge is actually 3 separate barges wide and four deep pushed by a large towboat. Its so big they take it in two sections. Its pushed in, the first 2 disconnected, the rest backed out then the lock is lowered. A cable pulls the barges out and ties them to the wall. Then the next Section is pushed with the towboat and it is lowered. It barely fits. Once lowered it has to reconnect with the front barges and finally heads off down river. It is all painfull slow but efficiently done.
It takes about an hour and a half and finally around 6 pm “lock #10 this is south bound rowboat. I’d like to lock through.”