The United States celebrates 234 years of independence this weekend. Happy 4th of July!
Clif Bar suggests ways to stay “eco friendly” on this 4th of July. Their tips in a nutshell: Grill smart by using clean natural gas instead of charcoal. If you insist on charcoal, at least hardwood lump charcoal instead of briquettes. Instead of charcoal lighter fluid, use an electric starter or a chimney. Use biodegradable disposables or — better yet — wash your dishes. Purchase carbon offsets for your vacation travel. If you rent a car, rent a hybrid.
I add: Ride your bike, walk, or (if available) ride public transportation to watch the fireworks Sunday night. This is easy for me — the town fireworks are only a couple of miles from my home, so my family and I will walk like we always do.
Since my town puts on the only official fireworks show in Santa Cruz County, thousands of county residents and visitors will flock into Scotts Valley for the festivities. Getting there won’t be difficult because arrival time is spread out over half the day, but everybody will hop in their cars and go the minute the fireworks stop at 9:45 PM. This means gridlock.
If you’d like to avoid it, here are my Scotts Valley fireworks alternative transportation directions from last year. A couple of changes from last year: (1) the Roaring Camp Railroad route from Santa Cruz to Felton is no longer a legal option because of problems at “Heroin Hill”; and (2) Roaring Camp is hosting a big festival this weekend and everybody passing through — including walkers and cyclists — must pay.
Another option is to watch the illegal fireworks along the Santa Cruz beaches. Like they do every year, local law enforcement promise a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards fireworks, and like every year you can probably count on seeing some pretty spectacular unsanctioned shows along the beach. Bring your bike or your walking shoes, though: Santa Cruz closes many roads on July 4, and parking will be restricted at many beach areas.