Kentucky River Trip...
Note: Ray did this trip in 2004. Unfortunately in 2007, the Kentucky River Authority abandoned operation of the lower four locks on the Kentucky River. This means that anyone wanting to explore this river in a powerboat must put in and take out at a ramps between each dam. For those who can do that, the Kentucky River is beautiful enough to make it worth while. Paddlers can easily run the entire river by portaging the dams. Update: The Kentucky River Authority reopened the lower four locks in 2015.
The next morning I cleared Lock #4 with no problem (photo is the dam adjacent to the lock) and found myself back at the ramp where I had started the morning before. As I loaded Therapy on the trailer and pulled into the parking lot I noticed a man and wife team cleaning up their 24' Tom Cat. When they saw Therapy the mistook her for a C-Dory which made me smile a little to myself since that was the look I was trying to capture when I built her (C-Dory and the Tom Cat are made by the same company). I explained the same to them and we chatted for a while about our boats and different boating areas. They were from The Lexington, KY area and cruised the Kentucky often. I ask about the upper Kentucky and they told me at least to be sure to see pools #6 and #7. They said they were well worth the drive.
The ramp for pool #5 was about 20 miles away (shown in photo). Like many of the ramps allowing access to the upper pools it was privately owned. Fees for these ramps where handled by placing $4.00 or $5.00 in a drop box. All of the ramps I used were hard surface but rather narrow. If doing a two person launch where the boat could be backed off and then the partner pulls the trailer forward making room for the boat to run up on the ramp, this would be no problem. But I was alone. Often I had to really work to get the trailer to the very edge of the ramp trying to leave enough space to nose Therapy in along side. Naturally, the current or wind would then try to swing her around into the trailer or shore. Made things interesting.
The next stop on Pool #7 was 25-mile drive to the ramp at High Bridge (shown in photo). The brochure explained the name was derived from a railroad bridge constructed there in 1876.
At the time of construction it was the highest bridge in the United States and although it as been refurbished to handle the weight on modern traffic it still towers over the river.
I explored one more pool of the Kentucky River. Pool #9 didn't offer the extraordinary landscape like #6 and #7 but still a great run. One point of interest was at the 158-mile marker where the Valley View Ferry is located (photo). It is the oldest operating ferry west of the Appalachian Mountains and the oldest continuous operating business in the State of Kentucky. It also operated in a different fashion than other ferries I have seen. Propulsion is provided by a small paddlewheel tow attached to the side of the ferry but it does not pivot at the bow to push the ferry from shore to shore. Instead the paddlewheel is just placed in forward or reverse. It provides the power but does little or no steering. Directional control is mostly maintained by attachment to cables strung from one bank to the other. Time has proven this method as it has been working in this basic form since 1785.