All Quiet on the Eastern Coast

Quiet CampAfter a surprisingly crowded, noisy July Fourth weekend, we’re finally able to enjoy some peace and quiet along the eastern shore of Joe Pool Lake at Cedar Hill State Park. When we arrived on Thursday afternoon, we had no idea what was in store.

Campsites were limited to only a few, so Cliff arrived early to stake our claim. Unfortunately, the neighbors turned out to be less than neighborly.

They welcomed a constant stream of rowdy visitors who arrived with an array of toys and equipment, including jet skis, boats, a grill, a lawnmower and even a weed whacker–all being hauled in enormous vehicles that would have been more at home at a truck stop than a state park.

Whenever Garrison Keillor shares the news from Lake Wobegon, he refers to the fictional town as a place where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” If Keillor had to describe the family that hosted the festivities across the road from us, and their various guests, he would likely say “all the women are tattooed, all the men are toothless, and all the children are terrorized.”

Of all the unfortunate things we had to endure, the worst was the constant, loud, pounding music…an odd mix of contemporary Country and rap. It was as if we were camped next to a redneck dance club.

Never mind the many menacing glances and verbal insults (which we tried to ignore, mostly out of fear of violence or vandalism). By Sunday morning we found ourselves spending most of our time inside so as to avoid any encounter entirely. Thankfully, the whole lot of them broke camp around noon and we finally had a blissfully quiet campsite to ourselves.

We know that people the world over have to live next to unpleasant neighbors. And we’re grateful that one advantage to camping is that the arrangement is strictly temporary. It will eventually end when one or the other party packs up and moves on.