Home » Blog » Fun fact: The McNary Lock and Dam lifts and lowers boats an average of 75 feet.

Fun fact: The McNary Lock and Dam lifts and lowers boats an average of 75 feet.

Oct. 15, Day 23IMG_7837 IMG_7844

“We’ll be there in thirty minutes,” Rachael said into her phone. I twisted around and squinted at the dam, which looked deceptively close.

She hung up. “The lock operator says he can see us from his tower; he doesn’t think we can make it there in half an hour.”

The sun was setting behind the dam and the lockmaster said he’d let us through if we got there before dark. The deadline was important because (1) there weren’t really any places to camp on this side of the dam, and (2) we were somewhat limited in the times we could go through the locks due to our many-times-mentioned lack of motor. So. Challenge accepted, I thought, and we scooted off toward the dam.

An hour, a seventy-five-foot drop, and several new friends later, we sped out of the locks into the sunset. The marine deputy later told us he clocked us at 8 mph, about twice our usual cruising speed. The Umatilla marina campground had free heated showers. We were motivated.

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