Ok gang, listen up, this is your substitute mom talking to you

With the Fourth of July falling on a Monday this year, millions of people are going to be enjoying a fun-filled, three-day (or longer!) holiday, this coming weekend.

And, you can bet the ranch, that a huge number of folks in this general area are planning to be somewhere outdoors, celebrating that summer holiday.

You can also bet that every campground, hotel, motel, lodge, resort, RV park, vacation cabin, camping spot, marina, etc. in this entire area is going to be jam-packed (or is already!).

If you are not a crowd-type person, the Fourth of July weekend is definitely not a good time to be in the Outdoors, seeking solitude.

There will be tons of people everywhere, doing everything: Hiking, backpacking, camping, horseback riding, bicycling, mountain climbing, boating, para-sailing, hand gliding, fishing, swimming, photographing scenery, sightseeing, joy riding, and on and on.

Most generally, on the Fourth of July, almost everyone falls into one of two categories:

Those who stay home to enjoy a leisurely backyard barbecue or those who are away from home, somewhere in the outdoors.

Elaine and I basically fall into both of those categories, because we will be away from home and enjoying a leisurely barbecue on the deck of our cabin in the mountains of Northern California.

So, if you are one of those folks who stay at home, then plan to have a nice, quiet outdoor barbecue in your backyard, complete with your choice of hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, steak or chicken.

And, then as a bonus, when it gets dark, kick back, relax and enjoy the fireworks display.

However, if you are one of those folks who plan to be in the outdoors, once again, as I did several years ago, I'm going to act as your substitute Mom and remind you of some important Fourth of July tips. So, listen up:

1. Don't drive off established roads:

There is way too much danger of a spark from a rock or the hot muffler on your vehicle or a discarded cigarette starting a nasty fire.

If you must travel on backcountry roads, be sure to carry, at a very minimum, a shovel and a 5-gallon container (or more!) of water.

2. If you smoke:

Please be sure that you do so, INSIDE your vehicle.

Keep that cigarette or cigar butt inside the vehicle's ashtray. Don't throw it out the window!

3. If you need a campfire:

Be sure that you douse it very carefully with lots of water, while carefully stirring the ashes.

Do it again, to be doubly sure the fire is out. Then, do it one more time for good measure.

Just remember that the disastrous Waterfall Fire, last year, was caused by an abandoned campfire left by some careless fool.

4. Don't drink and drive:

Save the drinking for when you get to your destination.

Don't become a embarrassed DUI whom we read about in the newspaper. Worse yet, don't become a holiday statistic.

5. Don't be obnoxious:

When camping overnight, be considerate of those other campers who around you.

They did not plan to spend the night next to a group of rowdy people who stay up into the wee hours of the morning, loudly partying, while talking, laughing and playing music. Be a good neighbor!

6. Don't wait until you are at a boat ramp:

To load or unload your boat.

That is the wrong time and place to load or unload water skiing equipment, fishing equipment, armloads of clothing, lunches, cameras, coolers, etc.

And, don't wait until you are tying up that ramp before you try to start your motor for the first time this year. That's the last place to be when you discover to your horror that it won't start.

7. If you fish:

Whenever possible, practice "Catch and Release" fishing.

If you are one of those folks (like me) who like to fish but don't particularly care for the taste of fish, turn your catch loose to live for another day.

That makes more sense than killing everything that you catch.


As your substitute Mom, I hope you follow the above tips.

If you don't, I'll be upset!

If you do, you and everyone else should have an enjoyable and memorable holiday.

Have a Happy Fourth of July!

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what we are going to barbecue for dinner on the Fourth.

If he grins and says, "Baby Back Ribs," he wins this bet.

• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.


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