Yesterday we went though the Lockport Lock in Illinois. Since our first lock was so easy, we didn't expect this one to be any different. But what we didn't know is that this lock had a 40' drop and the first was only a few feet. The lockmaster assigned us in the very back (which we learned is the worst place to be), and as the water emptied, the water from the river above started coming back in as a waterfall behind us. Apparently one of the valves was not functioning to full capacity which created an extremely strong current and made it near impossible for us to hold ourselves and our boat off the wall. We were completely exhausted after about 30-40 minutes of fending off the wall with boat hooks. We had picked up 3 large fenders at the marina in Chicago and man were we thankful that we did because they saved our boat here!! The waterfall also created a very heavy mist that totally drenched us, Dustin's phone, our electronics, and just about every inch of our boat since we had windows open and screens up. After this experience, I started questioning how we were going to make it through 24 more of these or if I even wanted to, but thankfully, this was not a typical experience and the next 3 after have been very uneventful and we are even starting to get a routine down.
Some of the locks require boats to raft off to one another so we've been able to meet several Great Loop couples this way. Only 21 more locks to go over the next few months!! I am having a serious celebration when we get through the last one!!