The summer solstice is coming up Tuesday – at 3:13 a.m. to be exact – heralding the first day of the summer season. I hope everyone celebrates in some shape, form or fashion, but I don’t know what that would be. Something solar-related, I suppose.

On the other hand, I’m thinking road trips. Now there, you have options. Options galore.

I read Cathy Cook’s column in last week’s Chieftain, where she talked about her visit to Inscription Rock up there at Ramah. That’s a place I have yet to see, so I’ll have to put that down on my New Mexico bucket list.

Being more or less in the center of the state, adventures await in every direction.

All you need is a day or so of free time, a cooler of soft drinks, some sandwiches and deviled eggs, Creedence on a mixtape and …  well, money for gas. Yeah, there’s that, I know.

But it’s good to get away, regardless, and you can always make good time on our endless highways.

I may sound like a broken record, but I’ve written before about how people have it alright living in New Mexico, and in fact, I’ve reason to believe we’re the envy of some of those who don’t.

But of course, everything is not lollipops and roses. I’ve heard some call the Land of Enchantment “The Land of Entrapment,” although I’m not really sure exactly what that means.

I do know one thing: There are people out there in the far reaches of our United States of America who either don’t know or aren’t sure that New Mexico is one of those aforementioned “States” of America.

And yet, there are lots who think of New Mexico as one of, if not the, most exotic places in the lower 48. The tourist mecca of Santa Fe is one of the reasons for that, and it gets all the press in the travel magazines.

I’ll admit it’s not a bad place to live. If you have two jobs or take in a boarder.

Other than the state capital, people who have actually visited and spent vacations in our state go back home raving about the sky and mountains and desert and how friendly the people are, the legacy handed down by the Piros at Pilabo when the first European contingent came up from the south.

This brings us to our history – before Billy the Kid and Geronimo – which predates those émigrés from England (that bunch who settled Jamestown) by a good nine years. Well, maybe the Vikings came over well before that, but if so, the local natives must’ve kicked them out for being blustery and obnoxious, before they could put up their longhouses. Who can say?

Point being that there are places to go, people to see and things to do wherever the compass points you.

I’ve been thinking about my father these past few days, here on the verge of Father’s Day.

Like a lot of guys, I’ve experienced fatherhood both ways: being a father and having a father. And then you get into the subset “grandfather,” which is the ultimate payoff for being a father. I figure a grandfather’s job is to teach his grandson how to get into mischief he hasn’t thought of yet. (Don’t tell my son I said that.)

Our dad shuffled off this mortal coil after suffering a heart attack in 1995 at the age of 79, and I still miss him.

Speaking of road trips – and my dad – I was reading an article about the types of fun, on a scale of one to three:

Type 1 fun is an activity you’re sure you’ll enjoy, such as a great dinner out, going to a concert or just loafing with friends.

Type 2 fun is the best, they say. Something that challenges you without putting your life in danger. Kind of uncomfortable but still fun.

Type 3 fun is not actually fun at all, the article says. It would be getting dangerously lost in the forest or trying to swim the English Channel. Death-defying and more harrowing than anything.

Road trips with my father? I’m wanting to say a Type 3, but probably a Type 2, only because we never had to call search and rescue.

Okay, I’m exaggerating somewhat, but picture two parents and six kids packed in a 1950s Ford station wagon with no radio because that would cost extra, maneuvering down 1950s Tennessee country backroads. Throw into that my older sister Diane’s entreaties of, “Daddy, slow down,” and my mother’s occasional, “Merciful heavens!” It was always about making “good time,” you see.

But you know what? Taking that four-hour trip three times a year, we always made it to grandma’s house in one piece and no worse for the wear.

And in good time.

Happy Father’s Day!