GPS Gone Wild

Beautiful New Zealand, Credit- Gunner

Beautiful New Zealand, Credit- Gunner

My husband and I were visiting New Zealand. We decided to rent a car and go on a road trip to see the center of the island. God bless the Kiwis; they are nothing if not budget-minded. We were given a 15-year-old car and a five-year-old GPS for a large discount; when you are traveling on a budget you are willing to skip a few modern comforts for the sake of a buck. The car was clean but a little rough. Although we knew it was “safe” there was a piece of you that felt it had seen better days. The GPS had a few little burps in it, such as being  set for Australia, so we had to use a bypass button that would get us to the North Island. We would have felt safer if it had at least been called New Zealand. The young man at the counter was kind and set the GPS for us, and before we knew it we were on our way.

The trip out was uneventful, in just nine short hours we had made it safely to our destination. We enjoyed a fun and relaxing time in the middle of the island, time well spent. When we had finished packing the car we jumped into our seats and pulled out the GPS. As soon as we turned it on we realized we had no idea how to use it. Putting our two heads together we fumbled our way through and finally got the antique machine to give us directions home and headed on our way.

About six hours into our drive all seemed well, then the GPS told us to pull off the main road and take a left turning onto a much smaller  road.  Putting all our faith and lives into our trusty GPS we took the small road thinking it must be a small detour onto a much bigger road. Quickly the tiny road became even smaller,  just about one lane with a large mountain on one side and a steep embankment on the other. Things got worse;  the road not only became dirt but became steep. We continued to try and find a place to turn around but there wasn’t one.  As we kept driving we felt as if we were getting father away from civilization; there was not a house or anything else that signaled people lived here or had even been here. The road continued to get worse;  it was so rough at times it felt like the old car we were driving was going to fall apart.

At one point we had to stop because there was a huge herd of sheep in the middle of the road. We sat not being able to move for nearly 15 minutes when suddenly we heard a dog barking, then there was the sound of dogs nails running on the roof of the car. The dog seemed to be talking to the sheep and soon he had them moving off the road, allowing us to pass. Later on the drive we were blocked by ten very unhappy cows, but after a few long honks on the horn the cows moved,  allowing us to pass. As we edged up to what seemed the top of the mountain there was a tree in the middle of the road. Fortunately, there was just a very small section of broken branches, so we were able to drive the car over the broken limbs and make it safely to the other side where we started to head down the mountain.  The sky was getting dark and my husband was feeling eager to get off the road. With all his courage he pushed the gas a little more and speeded our little car down the mountain.

We saw the end of the road and to our excitement there was a large main road ahead of us. Before getting on the main road we stopped for a moment to gather our nerves; we both felt happy to be alive as that drive was one of the longest  of our lives.  As we took a left and headed onto the main road we quickly realized it was the same road we had just left. We could have stayed on the same road the whole time. Both of us felt the GPS was laughing at us and the drive it had sent us on… and how funny it was to make  tourists take one of the scariest drives in New Zealand.

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