It was the best of times; it was the sweatiest of times. Summer is here! Essentially summer is here. I know officially we’re still in spring almost a month away from the REAL summer start date, but temperatures are high, winds are less chaotic than peak spring frenzy, and school is out for local students (or almost out), so let’s call it the season it already is in my heart: summer.

I have broken out my summer playlist, which features such summer classics as Summertime as sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. (If you have any summer song suggestions, or really any great song suggestions, please send them my way. I am looking for new music to bump obnoxiously loud in my car, or songs to fall in love to, or new music to dance around my kitchen to, please and thank you).

Summer for me means summer road trips. But I find myself in a conundrum this year as the prices at the pump have doubled. What used to be a cheapish vacation, the quintessential American pass time, subject of many a coming of age movie, the road trip, is, uh, well more expensive than I want it to be.

The road trip is both romantic and mundane.

You can go anywhere with a highway exit! You can make spontaneous stops or side quests. See a sign for a tiny train museum in the next town? Why not stop. Find a glorious vista next to the highway? Pull over and snap a picture. Breath it in: the adventure, the vistas, the cheap postcards, the friendly people in local diners with excellent burritos. Road trips are freedom and frivolous and full of opportunities for danger and joy.

The road trip is also the site of much of my childhood boredom. Miles and miles of road. McDonald’s next to gas stations off highways in different small towns that all start to blur together. Car games designed to prevent children from asking, Are we there yet? How many slugbugs? I spy with highway billboards and counting up how many license plates from different states you can spot as you cruise. But the mundanity of it is part of the beauty of a good road trip. There’s nothing like gas station snacks and being trapped in a car together for six hours to bring people together. You talk and talk and talk until you run out of things to say and then slip into that meditative silence, watching canyons slip past out the window.

The problem is, it takes twice as much money to fill my tank as it did this time last year. So, I have a request. I am looking for road trip destinations in Socorro County. Where do you go on the cheap when you want to get away? What secret gem do you travel to when you’ve got half a day and half a tank of gas? What is the hot stop locally? What tour do I absolutely need to take? What vista do I need to visit?

Please send me your suggestions for both road trip destinations and songs to add to the road trip playlist.

Who knows, maybe your destination will be part of a close-to-home travel series we run this summer…