Many vacation destinations within reach

A mong the affordable, and accessible, places where one can go this summer, Santa Fe probably heads the list. We were privileged to make a family excursion, due to a graduation party, and found the same sense of another vision that we usually do.

Affordable and accessible, of course, has to do with the fact that, at least in my Camry, it only takes one tank of gas for the entire journey, not including the driving around while in the "City Different." Relatedly, I have made the trip in less than three hours, not including the amount of time it takes to get to one's destination, once one has arrived at the state capital.

Highlights for me, at least, included the chance to explore the area around Nambe and Pojaque — this being the actual site of the celebration — and to watch Mikayla meet cousins whom she did not know she had. Of course, there was also the obligatory, for me, hike in Santa Fe National Forest.

Sunday afternoon brought a welcome change, for Santa Feans as well as for us. We were in the plaza with my wife's cousin and her boyfriend, having a great time, when a thunderstorm erupted, the first rain or relief from heat the town had experienced in weeks. We know that feeling, don't we?

The great thing about Santa Fe, going back to my context of affordable, is that one need not spend money to have fun. We treated ourselves to Sunday lunch at a great newly revised restaurant, and paid too much for a cup of coffee at a French bakery, served by a waitress who acted as if she were doing us a favor by waiting on us. (Yes, as usual when the service is that poor, the gratuity was already included in the bill.)

But the state forest, the plaza itself, the window shopping in Mama's Minerals and the world's greatest toy store, the name of which I cannot remember- these were all without cost.More important than all of that, there is no price tag that can be attached to family connections.

I do know a few people who, this summer, will be making their way to exotic destinations. It would be a falsehood to say I don't wish I could, too. But it would be stretching the truth to say that I envy them. That would imply that I wish I had their lives, and in no case, is that true.

Summer's just past the midpoint, at least for kids going back to school.

(For teachers, let's be real; those in service days will be here before we know it!) We personally have had the privilege of several weddings, with another to come, also in Santa Fe,a graduation party, and great holidays with people who matter to us. High points continue as my grandson arrived last night for his half of the summer.

That doesn't mean there are not places I'd like to see before the winter. However, picking up a copy of the Santa Fe Reporter's tourist guide, last weekend, reminded me how much is located in or near the northern part of our state, including many places I wasn't even aware of. A long day trip, or a weekend if you can afford it, will get you there. In other words, a lot of those places are within reach.

Maybe you are among the fortunate who will make an exotic excursion this summer. On the other hand, if you have a few bucks and a few free days, there is much you can do close to home.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at:

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