Some last minute tips for enjoying the July 4 holiday
The upcoming three-day holiday weekend is the biggest of all the weekends of the year for tens of thousands of folks venturing into the Great Outdoors to have fun.
In fact, I bet that a good number of people will not even be reading this column as they have already left home to get an early jump on celebrating the Fourth.
This weekend, I guarantee that no matter where you go or what you plan to do, you are going to encounter big crowds of people everywhere.
Do you like to bait fish, spincast, fly fish, fish from a float tube or a boat or a canoe or a raft, hike, camp, backpack, four-wheel drive, ride an ATV, go horseback riding, water ski, jet ski, canoe, row a boat, swim, climb mountains or photograph outdoor scenery or wildlife?
Well, if you do and if you do it this weekend, you’ll have company! And, plenty of it.
Be advised that with all types of activities to attract people to the outdoors, you can expect anywhere you go to be crowded.
Those holiday crowds will be enjoying a multitude of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing, biking, boating, sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, four-wheeling, etc.
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).
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 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 holiday fireworks.
However, if you are one of those thousands of folks who plan to be in the outdoors, here are some Don Q tips:
Stay on established roads:
Our backcountry is tinder dry and just waiting for one spark or one flame to burst into fire. The current dense smoke in our skies should be a reminder of that fact.
This is an extremely dangerous time in the outdoors, so please be extremely careful.
If you must travel on backcountry roads, be sure to carry, at a bare minimum, a shovel and a 5-gallon container of water.
You just might need them to put out a fire that you caused.
There is a high level of danger of a spark from a rock or the hot muffler on your vehicle or a discarded cigarette starting a fire.
Be sure that you do so either inside your vehicle or at a campground firepit.
While driving, keep that cigarette or cigar butt inside an ashtray in the vehicle.
Don’t throw it out the window.
Don’t be that careless individual who ruins our fragile scenery.
Be extremely careful with camp fires.
It only requires one moment of carelessness for a major forest fire to erupt.
I’m not sure why someone would need a fire in this stifling heat, but if you must have one, when you leave your camp, douse that campfire very carefully with lots and lots of water, while stirring the ashes.
Do it a second time, to be doubly sure. Then, do it one more time for good measure.
You’ll be glad you did, I’ll be glad and so will Smoky Bear!
Just remember that many disastrous forest fires are caused by an abandoned campfire left by some careless individual.
Don’t drink and drive:
It goes without saying to save the drinking and partying for when you get to your destination.
Help make it a happy and safe holiday for everyone.
Don’t become a embarrassed DUI whom we all read about in the newspaper.
Worse yet, don’t become a holiday fatality statistic.
When camping overnight, please be considerate of other campers around you.
They certainly did not plan to spend the night next to a group of rowdy people staying up into the wee hours of the morning, loudly partying, talking, laughing and playing music.
Be a good neighbor!
Don’t wait until you are at the boat ramp to load things into your boat. That is the wrong time to load your 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 (and everyone else) discover that it won’t start.
Have your boat completely ready to be quickly launched, when it’s your turn.
Most importantly, be patient while you’re waiting for those ahead of you to launch or retrieve their boat. It’s a holiday, so relax!
I hope you follow the above tips. If you do, you and everyone else should have an enjoyable and memorable holiday weekend, without stress.
Have a Happy Fourth of July and a great weekend.
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you what Elaine and I will be doing over the long, three-day holiday weekend.
If he grins and says, “They plan to just kick back and relax at their cabin near Davis Lake, Calif., and to enjoy the spectacular view, watch the deer walk by in the mornings and evenings and barbecue some steaks with members of their immediate family.” he has probably been a guest at that location.
• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal