Wake up call

Recently, I had a rude reminder of why I don't like those O Early 30 take-offs.

I Pulled into Oneida Shores Campground on Friday evening for the last of the regular season Elite Series events on Oneida Lake. The plan was to sleep in a little on Saturday a.m., then head down to Onondaga Lake for a friendly little 4-hour jackpot derby on Saturday p.m.

Don Barone has chronicled that here. Best laid plans and all that. There was no sleeping in, as we showed up just in time for a local derby on Saturday. I forgot what it sounds like at 4:30 a.m. as 200 people get ready for a derby.

We pulled into the overflow section of the campground for Friday and Saturday night while waiting for our space in the regular campground to open up on Sunday.

Overflow at Oneida Shores is not bad. Miss Judy and the park staff at Oneida Shores really go all out for us when we roll into town and we truly appreciate that. They corral off a small section of the parking lot (gravel parking lot – remember that for later) with white fencing.

Then they run water hoses and drop a couple of gi-normous generators on the lot (very quiet generators, too) for us to have power. Very nice. Overflow camping at Oneida Shores — at least when the Elite Series is in town — is not second rate.

Friday evening in Upstate New York was a very pleasant evening. A big full moon coming up over Oneida Lake with a little nip in the air after the sun went down. The quiet hum of the generator for background noise and just cool enough at night to close the windows and reach for a blanket. Very pleasant until, oh I'd say around 0400 when the first camper door slammed.

Across from us in the overflow lot were four campsites. One of the four was occupied by the camp host and another was taken by the Howells. The remaining two had either five or six campers set up on them, which is not a problem, as the sites are huge. So just exactly what does your regular, non-derby fishing weekend campground occupant hear at 4 in the a.m. on derby day?

Note: Don't get your panties in a wad if you read further and you've done one/some/all of following at O Early 30 in the a.m. None of us are without sin. Lest you think I'm picking on anyone in particular or campers in specific, I'm not. I'm sure the following sounds were heard at the local motels and hotels, too.

Camper doors
Camper doors slamming shut, which can be hard to close, I'll admit. I'm still trying to figure out where the door was on that big tent across the way, though.

Truck doors
I counted one truck that had 23 doors on it. Someone opened and closed every single one of them several times. I'm still looking for that one, too. We're not just closing the doors here, either. These puppies are closing, whether they want to or not.

Squeaky boat trailer springs
Ooh, I had several of those and I was embarrassed to drag them around the parking lot at times. With the leaf spring and shackles we used to have, most had bushings between the bolts and the springs that would keep the squeak down — when they were new. Drag a trailer down the road about 15,000 miles and bushings wear down to where there are metal bolts rubbing on metal springs. Sounds like this in the morning; squeaky, squeaky, squeaky, squeak, squeak squeak.

Talking smack
Smack talking across the parking lot. I'm not talking about talking in a normal, hushed, 4:30 a.m. tone of voice. I'm talking about talking — better yet, yelling — 50 yards across the parking to Joe that he's gonna "take a pounding today come weigh-in time, baby." Not just any smack either, but Yankee smack. You'se guys. Yep.

Horn honks
The sounds a truck makes when you push the "Lock" button on the remote several times. Beep, beep or chirp, chirp. Then there's the sound a truck make when you push the red "Danger" button on the remote; honk, honk, honk, honk.

Not something you hear, naturally, but something you see at 4:30 a.m., even on a full moon night. Nothing is quite like headlights in the bedroom window for some nice sleeping ambiance.

Gravel crunching
Ah yes, the melodious, soothing sounds of crunching gravel under rubber. So there were 4, maybe 5 boats parked across from us last night in the overflow corral (which is a dead end, one way in and out affair) yet 10 rigs wheeled through the corral this morning. Lost? Cruising the lot? Don't know.

After being on the receiving end, I think I might try to be more cognizant of the noises I make at 4:30 in the morning this week. Although there aren't that many non-anglers in the campground this week at Oneida Shores, since we pretty much fill the place up, I plan on being a little more courteous in the a.m..

For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his Web site at www.kfshort.com.