Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays because it’s a perfect time of year to take my RV out and enjoy a few days with my family. But let’s not forget what exactly it is we’re celebrating. First, here’s your history lesson.
On July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress decided to legally separate the thirteen colonies from England. In order to explain that decision to the citizens of the thirteen colonies as well as justify their action to the crown, a Declaration Of Independence needed to be written. Five men were chosen to draft the declaration: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. They wrote an amazingly detailed list of grievances as well as the very definition of “A Free Man” which is duplicated below:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Now here are a few other things to consider during the July 4th holiday:
- Safety First – The 4th of July is famous for campouts, boating, fireworks and fun and, with all of these events, there is a tendency to have a few drinks. Keep in mind that the heat can play tricks on your body when combined with alcohol. Take time to drink water in between the beers, wine and cocktails. You have to keep yourself hydrated. This is easier to do when you keep alcohol consumption to a moderate amount.
- Fireworks – Fireworks are fun, but it’s probably best to leave the fireworks shows to the professionals. In fact, most RV parks don’t allow fireworks on their grounds. Check with the RV park, county and city to make sure fireworks are legal. Even innocent sparklers can cause a fire, so be very careful.
- Fire Marshal – Appoint a designated fire marshal in your group. This needs to be the person most likely to be sober and responsible for an emergency. Keep in mind that it may not be a problem with the guests in your group, but this designated fire marshal needs to pay attention to all the surroundings. We once had a couple light a dozen Tiki torches all around their campsite. Needless to say, that wasn’t the safest of things to do.
- First Aid – Make sure you have a complete first aid kit with you and hope you never need to use it. It’s so much better to be prepared and uninjured than be injured and unprepared.
- Dogs Need Comfort – Help your dog stay calm around the fireworks, too. Our miniature beagle hated the sound of fireworks, so we would put her in the bathroom of the RV with the back AC running full blast and a radio playing our favorite songs to help muffle the sounds of the fireworks in the area. It might not be enough to calm your pooch, but it worked for us every year! I knew she appreciated it.
- Boat Safety – If you have your boat docked near the RV site, make sure the keys are locked in your RV. The last thing you want is to have one of your fun friends decide to hop in and take a late night boat ride after a few too many drinks. Aside from being extremely dangerous, you can also get in serious trouble with the law. Boating while impaired (BWI) carries the same stiff penalties as a DWI. You can’t afford to be careless.
- Campfires – Campfires and S’mores are so much fun for the fourth and pretty much every camping trip. Make sure small kids are supervised when they are close to the fire. Fire marshal, that’s your job!
OK, enough of the lecture, that’s the Nana coming out. What about the fun stuff? Not surprisingly, water activities are immensely popular!
- Kids, young and old, like getting wet…even when they won’t admit they do. Think of games to play that have water involved plan to get wet and cool off.
- Water balloon toss. Just make sure you clean up your mess. The park workers have more important things to do than pick up hundreds of broken balloons.
- Water guns are always fun and it’s also fun to catch people off guard. Be careful that Aunt Martha doesn’t get her fancy hairdo all wet!
- Have a water sponge fight – Fill two large buckets with wet sponges and have fun. Of course you can come up with your own version of the ice water dunk.
- If the kids are a little bored, play the water bucket relay game. Give each child a cup filled with water. Place two empty buckets about 12 feet away from the start line and see which team can fill their bucket first. The secret is that they have to balance the cup on their head while they walk to the bucket. I think this could even be fun for adults…watch out for Aunt Martha’s hairdo!!! Note, if you only have one, or two kids with you, just change the game to a timed event. Have fun and keep cool.
- Play the water balloon piñata game. Trade out a piñata for hanging filled balloons. Blindfold, give your kids a plastic bat and “go to town”! Again, clean up your messes! That’s just good park etiquette.
One final thought. As with any holiday, you can expect there to be plenty of holiday vacationers out and about. I can guarantee your normal RV camp will be packed with families looking to get away for the long weekend. Since you know that there’s going to be a glut of RVers, you should take that into consideration when traveling and shopping for your trip.
It’s a lot to remember, but try to keep all of this in mind over the holiday, especially the reason for the celebration. So, have fun, fly your American flag high and enjoy your July 4th weekend!