We entered our first lock yesterday and having been through several on other trips this was also a good experience. Unlike all the other locks we have gone through, these locks have floating bollards. You just throw your line around the bollard and it goes up a rail as you rise. These locks are faily large because they are used for commercial barge traffic. So we are like little rubber ducks in a tub. We passed a few working barges on our way up the river. Yes, the Tennessee actually flows north, so even though we are heading south we are going up river. Besides the barges being "towed" there were also barges being used as they were mining sand and gravel from the river bed. I used towed in quotes because one would think of towing as being pulled, but the barges are being pushed by tugs. It is amazing to see one tug pushing as many as 6 barges two wide. I installed AIS on the boat before we left. This is equipment that allows me to identify the tugs well in advance of seeing them. I can call them on the radio by name and ask them how they would like me to maneuver around them. They are friendly and courteous and very appreciative that we respect their lack of maneuverability.
Below are some pictures taken along the way
They do expect high water along the river. This height is typical of many of the houses along the way.