Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tenney Lock, Madison

I had been planning on a vacation recap post this weekend to sum up the events of this week, and I still plan on doing that, but today's bike ride destination deserves a post of its own.  I had actually hoped to do this trip yesterday but my back was acting up again so today I made it happen and I'm very glad I did.  It was a beautiful day out, and my timing was accidental but worked out to be pretty fortunate.

As I've noted before, bike rides are fun, but I find them easier to get out and do with a destination in mind rather than aimlessly riding.  I'd probably like aimlessly riding if I didn't usually have other things to do, though.  Tuesday I decided I wanted to ride my bike to the only lock in Madison, or anywhere else in Wisconsin as far as I know, on the Yahara River that crosses the isthmus and connects lakes Mendota and Monona.  I'm sure I'll know if there are more locks in Wisconsin soon.  There would figure to be a few on rivers that meet up with one of our Great Lakes, on Superior or Michigan.

20170914_114821See, I've been watching a lot of narrow boat videos on the canal system over in the UK on YouTube recently, and have even subscribed to a few channels.  Notably; CruisingTheCut, Journey with Jono, Countryhouse Gent, among several others.  My interest actually started with those tiny house videos, which led me to find the narrow boat videos, starting with Great Canal Journeys, the show with Tim and Pru, two elderly English thespians, and following their adventures on different boats and canals.  (I'd love to link to all I mentioned but that takes time and you may copy and paste into YouTube, if you're interested.)

20170914_114857I've always known about the lock here in Madison, I just never had a need or interest before now.  I do know it was under repairs earlier this year, is all, but I do not ever remember visiting before.  Riding my bike there sounded like a good plan, I thought.  I purposely have not looked up anything about the lock other than the bike paths to get there as I wanted to see it for the first time upon my arrival.  I didn't take a lot of pictures on my bike ride there, but I those I got were pretty good so I'll post a bunch here, as I'm sure you've seen by now.

Just after I arrived the lockmaster was letting himself in.  He welcomed me and said he was just opening it up so stick around if I want to see it in action, so of course I did!  The Tenney Lock is nothing like I see in the canal videos from England, but they are very much newer, fewer (being only one) and fully automated.  I told him about watching those videos and he was fully informed on the history of canals and lock usage, from the early Chinese and Greeks to the newer but still very old English and German canals.  The railway made those canal systems obsolete for commercial use.  These days they seem to be much more for pleasure, and I can see the appeal.  I told the friendly, even jovial lockmaster that this must be a great job to have.  He came in close, grabbed me by the arm and told me he couldn't imagine a better retirement job, and I could sense his glee!

Above is the second video I took, it was of several older females out on kayaks going through the locks.  I skipped a portion for timeliness, but there is a longer, almost 5 minute video after the break of the first group through the lock today, start to finish.  Plus all pictures full size from above and more from the breakwater out on the lake past the locks.

All that, after the break!













delcatto said...

If you like canals and the boats I can recommend 'Narrow Dog to Carcassonne' by Terry darlington. He and his wife took a canal narrow boat over the channel to France, The whole book is a joy to read. I have taken boats up and down the Thames for holidays but ordinary cruisers for hire for a weeks holiday at a time. Great fun and such a leisurely way to see the world. I like that lock.

Scoakat said...

I've added it to my Amazon list.
I've always loved boats and water, thankfully we have lots of each in this area. The canal system has been very interesting to me and fun to discover through YouTube.

Scoakat said...

By the way, a cursory search revealed many locks in Wisconsin, there are 17 on the Fox River alone!