Fun, sun, freedom and the 4th of July: Cooling off with a day off greets holiday revelers |

Fun, sun, freedom and the 4th of July: Cooling off with a day off greets holiday revelers

William Ferchland
Photos by Tracy Peterson / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Tuesday saw a busy Fourth of July at El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe.

The lines were long, but not that long. The Rum Runner sales reached a new high and one teenager was dismayed to be leaving Lake Tahoe before the fireworks.

Throughout the South Shore, visitors and locals basked in relatively cool weather on a day when most were free from work to celebrate the nation’s birthday.

In the morning, the Fourth of July started with coffee. More than three hours after the 7 a.m. rush began at Starbucks at the “Y,” the line hadn’t subsided.

“We keep brewing coffee,” employee Michelle Flury said. “Every 15 minutes we have to brew another batch.”

At Bert’s Cafe, 50 to 60 dozen eggs and 30 pounds of bacon were anticipated to be used, said owner Bueno Ketelsen. Across the street at Ernie’s, owner Paul Bruso expected to go through 1,600 to 1,800 eggs.

“They love the bacon and eggs,” Ketelsen said. “It’s a nice fuel for a long day.”

While 100 people outside would indicate a truly busy day, the wait at Ernie’s was about 15 minutes. Taking the advantage of the extra time, the Clauser, Hess and Spangler families grouped together and had their picture taken.

“It’s all about family, barbecue and all our friends,” said Stephanie Hess about the day.

A few miles away, Phillip Manning stood on a sand bank on the Upper Truckee River with Gypsy the Rottweiler by his side, watching friends cross the river. His family owned a nearby U.S. Forest Service cabin but was leaving sometime around noon to head back to San Francisco.

Manning, 13, didn’t think he’d be seeing fireworks.

“I’m bummed,” he said.

His friend shouted.

“This river is cold as hell,” said Tim Morris, 14.

At Tahoe Paradise Golf Course, the busy day was Monday, said David Gilpin, who guessed the golfers would disperse by 2 p.m. to get ready for fireworks.

Before noon, four golfers – Bill Fisher, Chris Muse-Fisher, Philip Peacock and Casey Peacock from El Dorado Hills loaded into golf carts.

“It’s the dads against the lads,” said dad Bill Fisher. “They’ll probably kick our butts.”

Down from the golfers on Highway 50 were the rafters. At Elks Point Drive the cars lined up with people inflating rafts for a leisurely, but chilly, ride down the Upper Truckee.

“It’s going to be like that all day,” said Susan Grant. “I don’t mind seeing people. That’s the fun of it.”

Jeff Streck didn’t seem to mind the cold water.

“Two more cocktails and it will feel like bath water,” he said, grinning, then repeating the line.

At Camp Richardson, sales of cold Rum Runners, for adults, and ice cream, for everyone, ballooned.

On Sunday, Beacon Restaurant, famous for its frozen concoction dubbed the Rum Runner, had sales of the drink that exceeded $40,000, a new record, according to bar manager Chris Arnold.

Across the street at Richardson’s Ice Cream Parlor, cones ran out Monday with more supplied Tuesday morning while butter almond and Kona coffee ice cream flavors were still empty on the Fourth of July, said employee Allie Litton.

But a cookies and cream in a waffle cone was still available. And delicious.

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