The Jones clan in Paris (Tenn.)

Today is packing day, and over the last several days I've had to consolidate my gear into the Sequoia. As I mentioned before, the motor home is in the shop for major repairs, so it's our only option. It won't be that big of a deal, though; we'll be minus two kids this trip.

My daughter Jamie is at camp, and Little Alton starts summer school at a community college and has a tournament June 12, so he'll be home for that. He's trying to complete the required amount of hours to transfer to Baylor University in the fall, so we'll let him be. My daughter Kristen will be the only one joining us.

The organizing and packing turned into a spring cleaning for the garage, I dug up some cool stuff I'd forgotten I even had! I must say, though, the coolest thing I found was the Porsche under the cover. I took it out for a spin, which is the first time I'd done so in several weeks. Besides that, I found some custom-poured Yum Wooly Hawg Tails I had made up several years ago. I will be taking them to Kentucky Lake. I opened boxes on the shelves in the garage I hadn't opened in seven or eight years.

Of course, Little Alton was there with his hand out the whole time. "Hey, Dad, that's a cool color!" or, "Wow, I haven't seen any of those before!" Somehow, he got his share. What happens is at the end of each year, when I'm getting ready to sell my boat, I take all the tackle out and put it on a shelf. Sometimes when I get a new boat, a few things don't make it back in, so they get left for me to find another time. It's like treasure hunting.

I found old Skeeter Team hats from the 90s, brand new. Once we finally got the Sequoia loaded up, it was quite a sight to behold. I had no idea you could cram that much stuff into an SUV. I don't think I'll be able to use the rearview mirror for the tackle packed in there. To say I'm loaded to the gills is an understatement. We're ready, though. The boat's covered and the alarm's set for 3:30 tomorrow morning; then we're off to Paris, Tenn.

Yesterday evening I got to do something I hadn't done in a long time. I went out and fished with some club guys on Lake Waco. It's been about three years since I've gotten to do it, and I absolutely loved it. It's more than fishing a tournament (me and my partner and best friend Robert didn't even place), it's about catching up with some folks I hadn't gotten to see in a while.

We had a great time until we got run off the lake by a severe thunder storm and 50-mile-per-hour winds and rain. The fish are starting to get deep out there, and it's good practice running around using your electronics and finding those places bass like to hide deep. Other than that, it's been a relaxing week. I've paced myself on this organization and cleaning so it's been a pretty relaxed few weeks until tomorrow. I'm going to take these last two events one at a time. Don't get me wrong, I've got maps and all the stuff I'll need for the Arkansas River loaded up, but I'm focusing only on Kentucky. Trying to take on both at the same time will only distract me from this first one.

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