SEOPA Bound and Backyard Trout

Traveling to East Tennessee later this week for the annual Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) conference. It will be a renewal of good times with friends and colleagues sprinkled with meeting and seminars and scattered with rods and guns and tents and boats and other assorted gear and goodies. Some work will get done but no one will be breaking their back about it.

The host community is Johnson City, Tenn., which will mean cool mountain mornings and ample trout fishing opportunities.

Conference gatherings are generally not my favorite venues but I anticipate the SEOPA meeting gladly, especially when it is held amid prime fishing waters.

Some pre-meeting research last month revealed a small, apparently out-of-the-way inn a few miles from the Holiday Inn conference site but on the banks of the Watauga River. I called immediately to reserve a room.

I phoned yesterday to confirm my reservation, having received no confirmation by e-mail or postal mail. I’d also not been asked for a “method of payment.”

“Yep. I have you down,” the proprietor said brightly, apparently unconcerned about needing a credit card to hold the room or the need to confirm that room has been held. I figured if you weren’t coming you’d call.”

I confirmed that I was coming.

“Bring you fishing pole,” she added. “I got trout in my backyard.”