SOMETIMES, YOU FEEL like a road trip; sometimes, you don’t.

My lovely wife and I have been taking a lot of road trips this summer, mostly Sunday afternoons, more often than not to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Lake Superior.

Our trip last Sunday was much shorter. It was all of somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 miles. The destination was a smallish lake that contains a lot of biggish bass, largemouth and smallmouth, along with a generous supply of hand-sized bluegills.

As she is wont to do, my wife enjoyed sitting near the water at the rustic boat landing, alternating throwing dummies for Gordie and Molly with time spent reading a good book.

I slid my fishing kayak into the water and paddled from one end of the lake to the other. It is a lake of two main basins, separated by a narrows, each of them containing at least a couple of minor bays within their confines.

A loon greeted me as I paddle-trolled a gold and black wooden plug toward the most distant basin. Going through the narrows, I thought I had my first big bass of the day grab hold, but the big curve in my rod tip was only the doing of a stout weed reluctant to be pulled free.

Where the far basin slips to depths approaching 50 feet and along a piece of shoreline that pitches steeply upward to the crest of a high ridge, I found my first bass. I had switched to casting a plastic minnow rig, one of my favorite bass catchers, and as a cast plopped down next to a downed log, a bass ripped into it almost before it hit the water.

It was a scrapper all right, but it also was merely a 12-inch largemouth that fought bigger than he was. Back in the lake he went. Casting my way along the shore I found more bass that took a liking to what I was offering.

I have no idea how many strikes the plastic minnow might have taken because about two casts after landing the first fish, I momentarily caught something else. Forgetting that I had a second rod standing up in its rod holder behind me, I went to pitch a long cast toward another downed log. “Whap” went the minnow into the second rod, snap went the line and “whoosh” went the minnow, sinking into the depths like a wounded submarine.

Since it was the only one of its kind in my tackle box, it was time to find some other magic lure. A Countdown Rapala, gold and black, did the trick. In short order, I had several other fish on the line. Some were landed, but the biggest of the bunch came out of the water in a flying leap next to the boat and shook free of the one treble that had it by the jaw. Isn’t that always the way it is? I could lie and say it was a 6 pounder, but it wasn’t. It was a good 3 I would say, all of 18 or 19 inches of tan dynamite otherwise known as a smallmouth.

Three hours slid by far too fast. I had the lake all to myself in the far basin. A brisk breeze brought relief to heat and humidity. The loon was my only company. It was about as perfect a three hours as one could ask for.

As I fished, I reflected on how important small lakes are for someone like me. They give me, and have given me all my life the solitude and comfort I can only find in such a place.

Shorelines crowded with a mixture of old-growth hardwoods, mixed here and there with a swath of dark green balsam, make for a mighty pretty picture. Deadheads of long-fallen trees reaching out from the shallows provide a place for small fish to grow into big ones.

What I crave and appreciate most is not having to share the place with any other humans. I can loaf my way along, fishing as hard as I wish or not fishing at all for short stretches while I just sit back, let the waves rock me gently and be thankful that in a world that has gone haywire there are places like this that not even a pandemic can harm.

As I drifted, I whispered thanks to the creator for making such a place and thought of many such other places, different in many ways, but all just waiting for someone like myself to come along.

For me, such a place might be a piece of North Dakota prairie country with a cattail-ringed slough playing host to a small raft of mallards. It might be a high New Mexico meadow where a wide-racked trophy mule deer buck can stand 20 yards from me in perfect safety, maybe somehow knowing that the only tag I have in my pocket is one for a bull elk.

It could be a rollicking stretch of trout stream, small like the Plum Creek I grew up with or powerful like the magnificent Bois Brule of northwest Wisconsin where trout like “Old Mule” played hob with the likes of Mr. President of the Old Duck Hunters Association Inc.

It could be a small white pine just outside the backyard of a north Wisconsin home where a 9-year-old boy uses a 2-by-8 piece of board for a seat across two sturdy branches 20 feet above the ground from which he can survey the world he loves all around him.

Such are the values of personal places of solitude and peace for those who crave such places.

I visited one of them last Sunday. I was the better for it.