Let me explain. I first began thinking about this a few months back - I've always wanted to drive the Desert Road but the first time we were down that way, it was "just that bit further" in the opposite direction, so we didn't do it. The occasion was my 40th birthday, so you'd thing I would have made the effort...but I didn't and it haunted me ever after. So a couple off months back we were down Ruapehu way again and I decided it had to be done. Having spent a sobering few hours at the Waioru Army Museum, I managed to convince the rest of the family that the Desert Road would be a fitting end to the day.
So we set off.
It was beautiful, don't get me wrong, rolling hills, lush pastures and a really pleasant drive...but I just wasn't getting the experience. Where was the vastness? Why did the weather have such a reputation, why do drivers get stranded? Why does it close so often? Basically, what's the big deal?
We got to Taihape - Gumboot capital of the World - and I figured that the vastness was going to be too far away to keep the family onside with my little adventure.
So we turned back.
I'm generally not one for travelling the same route twice so, having got back to Waioru, I decided we would head straight on to Rangipo instead of going back the same way through Ohakune.
It was at that point that the Glory of God shone upon me and illuminated the sign saying "Desert Road"!!
If only he'd appeared an hour earlier and said in a booming voice "Read the bloody map you clown!"
So that's what started it - I drove the Desert Road (twice in fact over that weekend) and that was my first tick off the Bucket List...and what a tick! What an amazing experience for free, or the price of a few litres of petrol anyway.
So,another thing on what has now become my Bucket List is to drive a Mustang. I didn't really care if it was a '67, a Fastback, a Mach 1 or any other model really - well I did a bit, I wanted the grunty muscle version, not the slightly more refined 60s models. So, how do you go about driving a Mustang? Simple really, you ask if you can have a go.
And that's what I did a few weekend ago. We went to buy my good a lady a new car and there was a 2002 Mustang Cobra convertible on the yard. Being a bit cheeky, when the salesman asked me if there was anything else he could help us with I said "Well, you could let me have a go in that Mustang"...and he did...for a whole hour...with the roof down.
If I'm honest, the drive was terrible - it was a bit like driving a Sherpa van, heavy, sluggish and just not nearly as exciting as driving my 2008 Ford Falcon XR6. But the whole point was that I did what I'd always wanted to do, just by asking. I had a grin on my face all weekend after that.
And the moral of the story? If you don't ask, you don't get...and you might always wonder "what if?"