I've been out of the dating scene for a long time now. However, one thing that I would do, were I to jump back into that particular pool, would be to stress less about asking someone out.
Think about it: you're not asking for lifetime commitment- you're just asking for them to spend some time with you. They can either approve or deny your request and how you stay in relationship to each other is up to you.
Rather than overthinking things and hoping, the first step is to accept that there are one of 3 possible outcomes: she will say "no", she will say "yes" and you'll discover that it wasn't that enjoyable for one or two of you, she will say "yes" and you both enjoy the time.
So. Now that we've simplified the possible outcomes, let's look at how to get to the one you hope for. If it were me, now, asking a girl out, I'd first select something that I enjoy and something that I think she will enjoy. Then it's a matter of saying "Hey, I'm going to the home and boat show this weekend. Wanna come with?" "I was going to go the range and do a little target practice.
Interested?" "A couple buddies are playing 'Campaign for North Africa'. Feel like commanding an army?" "I was going to go to the State Park and hike out to the beaver dam. Feel like being outside for a couple hours?" Now you're inviting her to do something you were going to do anyway and the pressure's off. Even if she doesn't enjoy it, you will, so you can get to 2 of 3 possible outcomes.
Sure, you're direct, but you're direct about inviting her along to something you already had planned. If she says "no", you're still going to do something fun and you're not as invested emotionally. And she can say, "sorry, I'm not interested in boats/shooting/games that last 1500 hours/large rodents" and she's turning down the activity and not YOU.