Jan 29 2012

Meet Betty

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I really am a simple gal. I don’t need or want much. Shoes, purses, jewelry, “things” … Meh. I’m okay with the essentials (which includes a stack of books, of course). Except there is this one thing that I’ve been coveting for more than a decade …

I confess to an obsession with Jeep Wranglers. Not just any Wrangler, though. I’ve always dreamed of a Jeep with personality, with scars, with stories. I never wanted a shiny new Jeep, because I hoped to run this dream vehicle through the desert landscape without worrying about scratching it. You know … if I happened to scrape it across the wall of a canyon or pin-stripe it with the thorns of a palo verde tree, it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Well, meet my dream come true. Her name’s Betty. She’s an old girl. With some scars. Some faded paint. A cracked windshield. Crazy camo interior. Probably the keeper of lots of stories. (And let’s just say Betty – born in 1992 – sports a more attractive price than her shiny new cousin).

When Betty arrived and made her way up through the desert wash on our property, you can imagine the schoolgirl smile on my face. Click to enlarge.

Why Betty, you wonder (and who names her vehicles anyway)? She’s named after Betty White, that spunky, now-90-but-looks-70-years-old comedian. Betty White’s a tough old gal. She has scars, stories, spirit. I love her. Her last name is White. My ‘new’ Jeep is white. Need I say more?

Hubby and previous Betty owner, Karl, taking her for a spin when she first arrives at the ranch on Jan. 20. Lovely sunset behind train trestle in the background. Click to enlarge.

My dear husband spent the weekend ‘accessorizing’ Betty, ironically – with the things I don’t generally give two hoots about, myself: hats, shoes. Okay, not really. She did get a new soft top and door kit, though, since Betty was doorless and back-windowless upon arrival (see first photo).

Before the new top was installed, hubby gutted the inside of the Jeep for cleaning and an electrical tune-up (plus new speakers). He discovered some fun things: like a melted fuse panel and leaking rear output seal that he repaired. I love my handy man! Click to enlarge.

And Betty did get new ‘shoes’ – pedal covers for the clutch and brakes.

Slippery, uncovered, mismatched foot pedals. Click to enlarge.

Betty's boots: New, fancy non-slip shoes. Click to enlarge.

I am chomping at the bit to travel with Betty to places that have never before been accessible to me. So if you sense any badass bravado on my part – you know, tough girl venturing out on her own under the harsh desert sun in her lifted, four-wheel-drive Jeep that also sports a monster winch – well, that may come later … after I get some miles under my belt and some offroad experience. (I’m not sure my childhood tractor training and quad driving days count.)

I hope you’ll join me on my upcoming desert adventures with Betty. I’m sure the places she takes me will inspire not only my creative muse and offer up writing lessons, but also re-awaken my wonder of nature. We’d love to have you along for the ride.

Betty's Bonnet: now decked out in her new attire -- including vinyl doors with zippered windows. We’re ready for our first adventure. Stay tuned! Click to enlarge.

For Writers, Readers: What awakens your creative muse? Writers, how do you accessorize your plot to reap the greatest rewards?


45 Responses to “Meet Betty”

  • avatar Julia Munroe Martin Says:

    I’ll be the first to admit: I’m jealous! Betty White is awesome — what a wonderful muse. I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures together! Congrats on finally getting the car of your dreams! 🙂

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    Melissa Reply:

    No need to be jealous … you just need to come visit, and you can come for a ride with us!

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  • avatar StoriesAndSweetPotatoes Says:

    Love her! I can only imagine where you will take that thing 🙂

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  • avatar Terri Says:

    LOVE BETTY!
    The AWESOME Dr Seuss book, “Oh The Places You’ll Go!!” comes streaming into my mind when I read this! Here is the text if you don’t already have the book!!!
    http://homepages.ius.edu/harrisla/places.htm
    YOU GO GIRL!!!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Oh, Terri … you are SO right. And I love Dr. Seuss, too. Perfect book to represent my travels with Betty!

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  • avatar Terri Says:

    I just LOVE your blog and this story Melissa! Your writing and experiences speak to me deeply. I am still thinking of all the places you and Betty will go! Life is GOOD!

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  • avatar Laura S Says:

    Oh, this must run in the family. I have coveted a soft-top Jeep Wrangler with a manual transmission since high school. Never mind that I don’t know how to drive a stick…I’d learn. Enjoy her for me… 🙂

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    Melissa Reply:

    Or better yet … get your butt out to Arizona and go for a ride with me, cousin! I’ll teach you how to drive a stick ;-).

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  • avatar shary Says:

    A few years ago, I read a The Culture Code by Clotaire Rapaille about the psychology of marketing. (I don’t usually read about business, but enjoyed the psychology angle.) What sticks in my head are the passages about Jeep. Rapaille says that Jeep = Horse and I love the association. It’s easy to imagine you and Betty, off road exploring places that most people don’t get to see. I’m so happy you found her and can’t wait to read about the adventures you’ll have together.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I LOVE it. Jeep = Horse. Yes! And Betty proved her equine sensibilities today, as she bucked around, up and down some shale-covered mountains. I am already smitten.

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  • avatar K Says:

    Finally, driving Miss Betty! You have shared your desire to have a tool to get out to those special places here in our desert. I am so happy that you and hubby found such a nice looking and able vehicle that fit. January of 2012 is very happy month.

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  • avatar Country Wife Says:

    sweet new ride! should be loads of fun trailing the AZ desert. isn’t it funny how certain things call your name, inspiring you? it’s good to listen to what’s calling you! they certainly make for enjoyable reads.

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  • avatar Liz @ Creative Liberty Says:

    I used to fantasize about Jeep Wranglers as a kid. And I did own a Jeep Liberty (non 4×4) for about 10 years, only ending this past April when it unceremoniously died without my permission!

    Have fun! Be safe! Take pictures and share with us!

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  • avatar Annie Neugebauer Says:

    Yay! My husband felt the same way about getting his Subaru Forrester, Sheila. He uses it for all of his outdoor trip type stuff as well as around town. I remember the first damage she got: a nice gash in the top of the leather console from piece of plywood at Home Depot. I think he almost cried, and I just kept saying, “It adds character; that’s what you wanted!” =) I wish you and Betty many adventures.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I love it that you’ve got Sheila the Subaru! 😉 Ahh… the gashes. Betty did well today in her inaugural adventure. Looking forward to so many more!

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  • avatar Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Betty is a beaut! I drive a truck named Poppy!

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  • avatar Sue Mitchell Says:

    Melissa, this post made my day, and it’s only 9:30 a.m.

    Betty is spectacular. I am so incredibly tempted to get in my own car and head down there to go on a big adventure with you! Seriously, I’ve had to strap myself to my chair! I am over the moon with excitement for you. This is such a fun turn of events.

    Okay…pulled myself together. I’m just glad you’ll be sharing your adventures with us through your wonderful photos and blog posts.

    Drool and sigh…

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    Melissa Reply:

    What fun we would have if you came out for a visit. Glad I could make your day. My first ride with Betty today was spectacular. Can’t wait to share photos and stories ;-).

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  • avatar Erika Marks Says:

    Oh Melissa, she’s a dream. I am so, so jealous. Like your love for Jeeps, I ALWAYS wanted a pick-up truck so I bought one way back when, even though I had no business having one, but Olive and I had so many adventures in it and I’m so glad I did it.

    Can’t wait to see where Betty takes you–and where you take her! Congratulations, my dear!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Pickups are great, also (we have one). And yours is all the more sweet for having Olive in it — and those dear memories you will have for a lifetime. I’m so glad you followed the dream of owning that pickup.

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  • avatar Cynthia Robertson Says:

    Betty is GORGEOUS Melissa! I can hardly wait for the virtual trips and desert landscapes you will share with us. What fun!

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  • avatar Jolina Petersheim Says:

    Looove the name! We just got a “new” Subaru ourselves, which Randy named Goldie Locks. I have never had a vehicle this nice (which means that it is less than 10 years old!), so I am always a little nervous gunning down our dirt road…of course, my husband doesn’t share my fears! 😉 Can’t wait to hear all about you and Betty’s adventures under the AZ sun!

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  • avatar Mahesh Raj Mohan Says:

    Betty White looks awesome! I’ll bet you’ll have a lot of fun adventures with her, 🙂 I’m like you (and Steven Spielberg, too), I get inspired when I can drive around aimlessly. Driving is such a right-brain and instinctive activity that it’s no surprise we get a lot of good creative moments while we’re in that zone.

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    Melissa Reply:

    What a GREAT point about right-brained activities feeding into our creative minds. Never thought about driving that way, but SO true. And if Spielberg does it, it can’t be wrong. Right?

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    Mahesh Raj Mohan Reply:

    *high five*

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  • avatar Leah Says:

    Congrats on your Betty! How exciting. Think about the great photos and inspiration you’ll get from driving her around the desert!

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  • avatar Hallie Sawyer Says:

    Totally awesome! I have coveted a pickup truck for many years so I know how excited you must be! And you are lucky to have such a handy husband.

    As far as writing goes, I accessorize my plot with humor–I want to have some fun, too!

    Enjoy riding with Betty and can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

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    Melissa Reply:

    Oh yes, handy hubby is a godsend living out here in the boonies. And besides, I like him a little bit too :-). Ha ha. It’s no surprise that you accessorize your writing with humor (would be a shame if you didn’t; you are so damn good at it!)

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  • avatar Natalia Sylvester Says:

    THAT is awesome. Congratulations! I can’t wait to see what adventures you go on with Betty. And to be very honest, I prefer the earlier model Jeeps to the newer ones. I like the rougher looking ones, especially since it’s supposed to be this off-terrain, trekking to all sort of places, vehicle. If I got a Jeep I’d want one just like Betty.

    ps. I name my car, too. I drive a navy blue/grey roofed Mini Cooper named Alfred.

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  • avatar mary myers Says:

    Betty looks like the perfect breed of horse for you! Pet her, love her, feed her, and she’ll carry you anywhere. Enjoy

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  • avatar Patrick Ross Says:

    I’m jealous! Betty looks great. I had many adventures in the Arizona wilderness in my dad’s Jeep Cherokee, a truck they don’t make anymore (just the fancy Grand Cherokee, which only a crazy person would take off-road). I look forward to the photos and posts this vehicle guides you to.

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    Melissa Reply:

    I’ve already had my first adventure. I might be in trouble. Will Betty be muse, or distractor? Hmm… Had a blast taking her out the first time.

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  • avatar Nina B Says:

    A beauty! I’m so impressed with you and really excited to see where you take her and where she takes you.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Already took our first trip up into the mountains near our house. FAB-U-LOUS. Captured some great shots on my camera and felt this exhilarating rush driving ol’ Betty.

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  • avatar Beth Hoffman Says:

    I adore Betty! The two of you will have a blast together!!!

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  • avatar Linda Anselmi Says:

    Looks like you and Betty are primed for adventure! Glad you are taking us readers along for the ride. Can’t wait to read about what you see!!!

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  • avatar Christi Craig Says:

    Oh, I love jeeps. Yes, scarred and worn and well-loved jeeps. That’s my dream car, and I love that you have one. I shall live vicariously through you until I find my own “Betty.”

    And I love what Mahesh says above. No wonder road trips show up in so much of our literature.

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  • avatar Stephanie Alexander Says:

    So fun! I had me a Jeep in the pre-kids days…sigh…

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  • avatar Abi Burlingham Says:

    Oh, I love Betty! I love the fact that you have places to go in Betty even more. Can’t wait to hear about your travels. If I had a Betty round here the neighbours would think I was a little bit crazy! I’ve always dreamt of a little 2 seater sports car… dark grey or racing green… one day Melissa, one day!

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    Melissa Reply:

    I think you should go for that two-seater sports car; you never know how inspired you may become!

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  • avatar Tracy Mangold Says:

    All I can say is, JEALOUS! So with you on this! I love the Ford F-150 not the zoomed up ones – all fancy and such – but just a good old 4×4 pickups from the 80’s early 90’s.

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    Melissa Reply:

    Oh YES… I love me a good pickup, too. In fact, we have one!

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  • avatar Amber Says:

    I love her! So much personality. Looks like she got a proper makeover, too. Congrats!

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  • avatar Suzie Ivy Says:

    You make me miss my “BookBug” license plate on my 1999 VW Bug. She was shiny black with inside pink accents and got me to work (bookstore) using little gas. Loved that car.

    I will have to say my muse is music. Depending on what I am writing my playlists are in the background. I don’t think I could write without toons. Today, Scottish bagpipes and flute. Your wonderful photography will help descriptions.

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  • avatar Milli Thornton Says:

    Betty White is absolutely marvelous. I have been wondering how she got her name – I adore your choice of who to name her after. I bet your hubby had a great time spiffing her up. Brian loves to spend time on BJ as well – and new shoes was one of the improvements. I loved seeing your Before & After pics of Betty’s. And, I agree, a Wrangler with some scars and prior seasoning is the best!

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