Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Delighting in the Sunday afternoon drive June 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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The countryside spreads out before us as we begin our drive.

The countryside spreads out before us as we begin our Sunday afternoon drive.

MINNESOTA ATLAS SANDWICHED between us on the van floor, my husband and I head southeast of Faribault for our first Sunday afternoon drive of the season. The directional guide is primarily for my benefit as I occasionally have this urge to know “where we are.” We own neither smart phone nor GPS.

We prefer gravel roads over paved for the slower pace.

We prefer gravel roads over paved for the slower pace.

We have no specific destination, only aiming to follow back country roads to see what we can see.

We miss nothing, including the dog bounding out of the ditch.

We miss nothing, including the dog bounding out of the ditch.

As simple as that.

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Barrels and a John Deere bring back farm memories of the burning barrel and the putt-putt-putt of the tractor.

We are those kind of folks, former farm kids who grew up understanding the value in a Sunday afternoon drive.

Emerging corn.

Emerging corn.

Check out the crops.

Of all the country smells, I think my favorite is that of freshly-cut alfalfa.

Of all the country smells, my favorite is that of freshly-cut alfalfa.

Breathe in the indescribably intoxicating smell of freshly-mown alfalfa.

So many old barns and the sweet surprise of this old corn crib.

So many old barns and the sweet surprise of this old corn crib.

Wind along gravel roads past time-worn barns and vintage farm machinery, curve this way and that, windows rolled down, tires crunching, taking it all in.

From old farmhouses to new home hobby farms, we see them all.

From old farmhouses to new home hobby farms, we see them all.

Glorious countryside, oh, glorious countryside.

Lovely wild roses in the ditch.

Lovely wild roses in the ditch.

And then, an abrupt stop to smell the roses. Literally. Beautiful wild roses that filled the ditches of my youth spotted once again. I inhale their heady perfumed fragrance as I wade into tall ditch grass.

We even notice the rock piles and recall our days of picking rock.

We even notice the rock piles and recall our days of picking rock.

For an hour or so on this Sunday afternoon, the worries in my life cease. I am with the man I love, checking out the crops, smelling the roses, taking in every detail of the rural world that embraces us.

Even signage does not go unnoticed.

Even signage does not go unnoticed.

Life is good. In this moment. On this Sunday afternoon drive.

(Please check back for more photos from this Sunday afternoon drive just southeast of Faribault.)

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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18 Responses to “Delighting in the Sunday afternoon drive”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Thanks for the Sunday afternoon leisurely drive on Tuesday morning!!! 🙂

  2. Brett Says:

    I second that thank you, I found myself traveling right alongside you on your journey as well as be transported back in time. I think if I take a deep enough breath I too could smell the fresh cut hay.

  3. westerner54 Says:

    The Sunday afternoon drive is such a great farming tradition. My father-in-law so looked forward to his weekly drive to check out his neighbor’s crops; even when he was too ill to drive himself we’d drive him around the gravel roads on Sunday afternoons. Thanks for bringing back those nice memories.

    • You are welcome. And how kind that you drove your father-in-law around to look at crops on a Sunday afternoon. My dad drove our family around on Sundays to look at crops and then sometimes we would visit a park. Wonderful memories.

  4. Nothing Better than a Sunday Drive unless it is on a Bicycle – love that too 🙂 Beautiful Captures – makes me want to stay a while and hang out with the dog and the green and the blue sky. That is one thing I truly miss is the GREEN – it is BROWN, Brown and Brown here. Happy Tuesday!

  5. Jackie Says:

    I could almost smell the country, and hear the crunching of gravel under your tires. I think you and I could share similar stories forever, thanks for sharing, I love hearing about your drives and seeing the photos you take….lovely. We always went for “Sunday drives” when I was growing up. We usually ended up at the farms of friends in Chatfield, so many good memories 🙂

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    I grew up being taken on a Sunday afternoon drive, too. Cheap entertainment! I love the image of the gravel road and it certainly looks like summer has finally arrived xx

  7. ryanware Says:

    I have a smart phone with gps and gps in my truck. I do use the gps in my truck, but I always take maps as well. Maps cannot be beaten, especially by online maps such as google maps or bing maps. The reason is the zooming. The scale changes. While that is nice, by the time I’m at the level of detail I want, I no longer have a frame of reference to where a town is in relation to another town. Paper maps on the other hand are limited to one scale so much show everything. I can see the largest city and the smallest cow town on the same map and that’s helpful for plotting routes.

    The GPS I use more to keep me on track. I’ll pick a town as a point I want to get to (eventually) and then just drive cross country paying attention to the gps occasionally to make sure I don’t get to far side tracked. Though in most of prairie land with our square of roads one can’t get too far off track.

    I set out to find the sun today. Yesterday, the sun was supposed to be just south of the Minnesota/Iowa border so I thought I’d head there today and get a nice mix of clouds and sun. Of course the forecasters with the latest clusters of super computers were wrong and clouds bloomed about 100 miles further into Iowa making it not so feasible considering I didn’t get out of Chaska until 1pm. I did find some decent photos anyway and had a nice drive. Just wrapped up a quarter of school so was super ready for a photo break. I’m taking the summer off so will have more adventures.

    Like the alfalfa and I noticed the farm house. Well done!

    • Sounds like you had a semi successful day of adventuring and photographing. No outdoors activities for us yesterday, unless you count the farmers’ market and a few garage sales before noon and before the rain.


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