Hey Everyone! I hope everyone is healthy and safe today. Today I want to talk about an old friend of mine, Betsy. Ole Betsy has been a friend of mine for more than 20 years. She has taken me to places I have never been to before. She has hauled things, towed trailers, and moved children from place to place. She has helped clean my yard, and she doesn't leak or leave stains on the carport. What? Yep, Ole Betsy is my 1999 Ford F150 truck! Now, you're saying how does your truck pertain to photography or hiking? Well, without this old faithful friend, I wouldn't have made it to all of those places to hike or to photograph. She has been my transportation to get me to all of those places. I trust Ole Betsy to take me anywhere I want to go.
Ole Betsy isn't the most sporty on the block. She's not the most powerful, but the most important thing is that she, like any good friend, is dependable. She has some nicks and dings that give her character just like anyone else. She has quirks and things that she does differently than others. Unfortunately, she has been neglected from time to time. But here lately I have been giving her a lot of attention. I try to do maintenance things that I can do, like when I changed the front bearings and brake pads. I have found a mechanic I can trust to do the things that I don't want to tackle myself to keep her running smoothly. And I can say honestly that she runs better now than she ever did when I first got her. She's a 21-year-old truck, and there are going to be some wear-and-tear things that happen. But I'm very pleased with how she runs now and would trust her to drive across the US at a moment's notice. I am starting to do some upgrades and modifications to her to bring her up to date.
Betsy is an extended-cab, short-bed truck. For many years, I drove her with just a tool box on the back that would hold my tools and such, and I could easily haul things I needed to work on my house. A couple of years ago, I got a camper shell to go over the back that would allow me to put stuff inside and have it protected from the weather. I recently modified the camper shell to have a bed platform inside with a pull drawer and some storage containers underneath so I could use the truck to sleep in if I had to. And I have. Maybe not my first choice because it's a small fit and I'm a large guy, but after getting in place I really slept well. I have room for all of my camping gear, and I always carry a hammock, tent, stove, and all of the accessories, including a battery to charge and run things like lights. So she has become a camping vehicle. She can easily tow our teardrop camper and was my primary tow vehicle until my wife got her new Honda Pilot a year ago. A new and fancy (to me) touch screen blue tooth stereo with a backup camera that can hook up to my iPhone for Google Maps on the screen has been a great upgrade. I'm planning to put a roof rack on the top of the camper to haul extra things and maybe an awning to make a good quick campsite with shelter. And I'm sure more will come.
Is Betsy my dream vehicle? Well, no. But a dream vehicle is just that, a dream, something that I can't afford and never will (unless I win the lottery) LOL. But even if I won the lottery and could get my dream vehicle, I wouldn't get rid of Ole Betsy. She has become a part of the family. Ole Betsy still gets 19mpg on the highway (flat land) and 16 or so in the mountains. That's pretty good for a 21-year-old 8-cylinder engine, full-size truck. I'm sure with some tender loving care that she will last many more years to come. She is a very clean truck and stays under the carport most of the time, and I only drive her on the weekends. I'm a sticker guy, and the stickers of the places I have been scatter the back windshield and the camper topper windows. The other day when I was in the mountains, I caught a guy looking at all of the stickers and places that Betsy and I have been. So she's not my dream vehicle, but she is a dream to own and drive. Without her dependability and longevity, I would have had to buy another vehicle and would not have the money to do the things I do, like investing in photo gear and traveling to different places.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I'm sure you've seen Ole Betsy in the background at a campsite, and I'm sure you'll see more of her in the future. So until next week, please stay healthy and safe, and get outside and shoot!