Commentary: The Bucket List Revisted

I am at the age where bucket lists seem to be almost appropriate.

Not that I'm dying or preparing to do so. I am actually enjoying living, even if I am a half-step slower than I was a year or so ago. Still, I always believe in dreaming and attempting to fulfill my dreams.

There was once a bucket list. Now, I have rewritten it. So many things have happened since the last bucket list. Yet, it was time to alter some line items, make some new ones, and see what is actually possible in the next several years.

Here's to making lists and checking them…periodically.

A VERY GOOD AND SUBSTANTIAL ROAD TRIP: This keeps popping up in a lot of my articles over the years here. This almost happened, but the logistics did not work. However, that is not to say that it could happen sometime between now and my final breath. If it has to be a “very good and substantial” road trip, it has to be meaningful, with purpose, and with interests in mind. One idea will take a week – or less. The Northeast is one idea that seems doable, except it will take breaking up the long drive from the Twin Cities to Upstate New York, New England, or the D.C. Area. Ohio (or the Detroit area) seems like a logical stop to break up the crossing. Places I would definitely stop at would be Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame, down to D.C. where I used to live in the late 1990s, and see friends within reach of these locations – old and new ones. Since it is a road trip, perhaps I should choose a car. Actually, I would leave that open, but it has to be one appropriate for the time of year. In winter, it should be a SUV with all-wheel drive and, hopefully, winter tires. The rest of the year should be something normal – a midsized sedan that returns good fuel economy.

THE NEW YORK AUTO SHOW: On the surface, this seems doable. It is a big show that ends the major auto show circuit in North America. However, it is also the most expensive one to budget for a journalist. The biggest cost is accommodation, since it is preferable to stay in Manhattan within proximity to the Jacob Javits Center. Subways are the way to go, so transportation costs is under control. Getting there should also nto be a problem, thanks to the choice of airlines and airports to go in and out of. If one does this right, it would be a 3-4 night stay with space to do the Seder (a tradition among Jewish automotive media and industry people to gather for Passover), all of the pre-events and the 1-1/2 days inside Javits Center for the media opportunities.

TWO MORE BRANDS I STILL WANT TO DRIVE: It's true, I have driven almost everything. I have the chance to sample some wonderful and exclusive vehicles from Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Maserati, and McLaren. So, what's left? There's Ferrari and Aston Martin. The question for both of these famed marques is not when, but how. Opportunity has a way to pop up when it is presented. Some opportunities are elusive, which makes the hope of driving a Ferrari or Asron Martin for the first time a career mark. The good thing is that both brands offer superb automobiles that are easy for me to operate – despite some quirks and complications. The key for this to happen is patience and calm. Be patient for the time will come and stay calm while doing so.

A VOID CALLED SAN FRANCISCO: It was my first city I recall visiting as a child. It is place I called home for nine years. Yet, I have never been back. Since 1996, I had a love-hate relationship with San Francisco and the Bay Area. My roots are there, on my father's side. Not to get into detail, but that is part of the reason I have never returned. There are many other reasons, which makes me not want to return to the city that facilitated adulthood and change in my life. How would I arrive? As a ghost? A figment of the imagination of old friends who have remianed there or since moved after my departure? If I do return to San Francisco, it has to be done right. New places that since popped up over the 22 years of my departure should be explored. It will be tough, since I will recall what used ot be at the same spot. If a vehicle is involved, perhaps I need to journey through Marin County (where I spent six of those nine years in the Bay Area), the Sonoma, and Napa Valleys. This could get very emotional, though.

IF NOT SAN FRANCISCO… You probably see a pattern here – it's about filling the void of travel. If that is the case, there is a long list of places I would like to visit either for the first time or to return to. That list includes Kansas City, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles (my birthplace, of course), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Orlando-Jacksonville (all in one fell swoop), Nashville, Cincinnati…and so forth. These trips could be for business or for vacation. It's just a matter of budgeting and executing.

ATTEND A MAJOR MOTORSPORTS EVENT: A few attempts later, still nothing. It's not frustrating, but this is truly classified under "would it be great if I did that." Better planning always helps. Better budgeting, too. Still, there are IndyCar races in Iowa Speedway and Road America. There are IMSA races in Road America. And, so on. If it doesn't mean working as media, it could as a spectator. Maybe, someday…

Photo by Randy Stern

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