It’s amazing how a drive in the country can clear your head.
My wife and I found that out when we decided to take to the backroads Sunday afternoon.
We didn’t have a special destination in mind, nothing planned; we just knew we needed some couple time after a hectic week.
We wanted a change of routine, a chance to breathe.
So, starting from Belton, where we had stopped for lunch, we headed east on Farm-to-Market 436.
Before long we were in the country, surrounded by rolling pastures, large stands of shade trees, and grazing cattle and horses.
After passing through the town of Little River, we headed south on State Highway 95. As we crested hills and rounded curves, we could feel the daily stresses and cares melting away. Just being able to head out on the open road was its own reward.
We drove through the small town of Holland, then on toward Bartlett — a community that straddles the Bell-Williamson county line. Before we got to Bartlett, however, we pulled into the parking lot of a picturesque, red-brick Lutheran church that was probably built in the 1920s.
When my wife and I were first engaged, we had briefly considered it as a possible wedding venue. The little church had a certain quality we liked — a combination of tradition and charm. Now, more than six years later, it again drew our attention as we drove by.
In Bartlett, we drove around the downtown area, looking at the century-old storefronts. NBC has been filming the show “Revolution” there for the past month or so, and it was interesting to see the set the film crew built on a lot off the main drag. But on this Sunday afternoon, there was absolutely nothing going on in this sleepy little town.
So we kept heading south on SH 95, until we decided to turn west on SH 29, Almost immediately, we were greeted by gently sloping hills and thick pockets of trees as the road curved one way, then the other.
After about 20 minutes, we pulled into Georgetown, where the postcard-worthy campus of Southwestern University stood in review.
We paid an enjoyable visit to an eclectic artists’ shop just off the downtown square. It was an unexpected find, with a variety of paintings, sculpture and jewelry — all made by local artists. It was a welcome departure from all the commercial art usually available for sale.
After a stop at one of our often-visited antique stores, we dropped in on one of our favorite restaurants, the Monument Cafe, for some tasty desserts and iced tea.
It wasn’t until we started home on I-35 that the spell was broken. An assortment of speeders, tailgaters, lane-changers and 18-wheelers had us wishing we were back on a quiet two-lane blacktop again.
Still, it was an enjoyable afternoon, made more so by the fact that it was unplanned.
Sometimes, it’s the small adventures — like an impromptu day trip or a spur-of-the-moment detour — that can be the most rewarding. The joy of experiencing something new, and the comfort of familiar places, can offer a pleasant respite.
Even a short break from the monotony of daily life can make us more fully appreciate what we have.
And that sounds like a great reason for a drive.
Dave Miller is deputy managing editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at email@example.com or 254-501-7543.