NOW'S THE TIME: The longtime, much-in-need-of-retirement television trope of Dad being out of the loop is one we're all pretty familiar with. The TV kids get into some high jinks, or a dinner party goes awry, and Dad is the last to know or be consulted. We're always full of hope that this isn't how it plays out in real life, though. Why shouldn't fathers be in the loop, and why shouldn't their special day -- that third day in Sunday, of course -- be tailored to their interests rather than what we're told their interests should be? This sounds downright soap-box-y, we know, but we think Father's Day -- and Mother's Day, too -- are the ideal days to create an outing built specifically for that parent. So rather than take Dad to lunch and then bid him goodbye after slipping a greeting card in his hand, perhaps think bigger. A day of fishing, a day at the art museum, or, if your father loves California history, railroad history, or all of the above, a road trip to Old Sacramento. Why? Because the California State Railroad Museum is planning a whole weekend called "Diesels & Dads," which may indeed have something to do with trains and fathers.
DATES AND DETAILS: That weekend is Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16. (Oh, we do like it when the parental holidays fill up an entire two days -- seems more fair to us.) Two "brightly painted" diesels will be running in Sactown -- the Western Pacific No. 913 and the Southern Pacific Daylight No. 6051 -- on excursion rides. Honest. You want to be on one of those rides with your pop and maybe grandpop, too. Pictures! Together time! Pointing at interesting flora and fauna near the tracks! It's a true Father's Day outing, with built-in memories attached, not just the rote, "we gotta do something for Dad on his day" (that's not you, is it? Excellent.)
IF YOU CAN'T MAKE IT... The California State Railroad Museum is open every day but a few holidays. It's really worth road-trip-ing with your main train-loving guy or gal. Plus, those Underground Tours of Old Sactown are going on now, too. Call it a double-decker day, above ground and below.