It’s been nearly a year since our production vehicle Betty joined the 12FPS crew. Back then, she had an orange-and-white paint job and a bum engine. Fixing her up felt like a passion project, but once she was up and running, it didn’t take long to realize that Betty means (serious) business.
We are classical storytellers for the digital age, and our sunny yellow van has an old-fashioned look that’s fused with timely technology—a 2016 archetype of romantic road-tripping. She rocks her own Instagram account and hashtag, complete with an ongoing journal where you can experience compelling stories of travels to remote locations, like the desolate wilderness of Northern New Mexico. An excerpt from Betty’s field log:
From the flatlands of the Four Corners, the Shiprock formation is visible up to 100 miles away. In the dark hours of this chilly October morning, it could be hidden just beyond the glare of Betty’s headlights. We’re lost in the darkness among bumpy dirt trails, and the gritty realities of road tripping are setting in.
Shiprock first occurs to us as a vast emptiness blotting out the stars. The jagged seam between firmament and void ominously creeps upward as we bounce along. Periodically, we stop, pull out the tripod and fire off a long exposure to gauge just how close we are. Each time, we return to the van with shoes full of cactus needles from stumbling in the shadows.
Betty’s lanterns finally glance against Shiprock’s face and we skid to a stop. The outcropping rises before us like a regal vessel, ready to hoist its sails and catch the current of the Milky Way. Driving through the night had us on the brink of insanity, but our long exposure photographs of the monolith are an exquisite reward.
Betty has had a quiet winter, but all it takes is the turn of a key to unleash her roar. It’s enough to make us pull out our road maps and pushpins. We’re planning so many adventures for summer and fall of 2016.
In the meantime, follow @bettyventure as she honors the National Park Service Centennial and check out our new video of Betty’s epic trip from Santa Fe to San Francisco last fall. Believe us, the hunt for Shiprock was just the beginning.