Bette drove a turquoise 1957 Nash Metropolitan in high school. With three girls in the front, hip bone to hip bone, and two friends packed like sardines in the back, we crisscrossed southeast Houston fulfilling our duties as members of the Milby High School Girls Booster Club. Fearless, as only 16-year-olds can be and usually penniless, we drove the roads seeking adventure and friends. Sometimes we pushed the Nash.
Back then, Bette dreamed of owning a ‘67 Corvette. In 1967, our Senior year, a new Corvette cost $4,240, a small fortune in those days. A basic Corvette today starts at $55,000. Yikes! The 427 cubic-inch engine was introduced in 1966 and, of course, Bette knew all about it. We listened, but honestly, stuff like that went in one ear and out the other. We encouraged her because the Nash was getting cranky.
Bette & Ray
Bette & Ray have been married for over 20 years, travel and adventure have been their passion and calling. There are 60 national parks in American, Bette & Ray have been to 48 of them and hundreds of state parks. They stay on the road for months at a time and sometimes an entire season renting a home as their base. I recently stayed with them in a fantastic home backing up to Bell Rock in the Village of Oak Creek south of Sedona. Amazing place.
After retiring in 2012 the time had arrived for Bette’s Corvette and another dream they both shared; to drive Route 66 aka The Mother Road. With Ray’s encouragement, Bette purchased a blue 2005 Corvette C6 Series with only 20,000 miles. Following our 50th high school reunion, they drove to Santa Monica, the west end of Route 66, and began the 2,448-mile drive to the north end in Chicago (photo). It really is a collaboration, one driving the other navigating and following road signs. I didn’t ask about arguments, but there had to be some.
“We piddled along the way, took a month and had a good time,” Bette told me. “Missouri was beautiful with the farms and rolling hills, we’d like to drive that part again. Route 66 took some maneuvering it’s not a straight shot by any means.”
As planned, Bette & Ray sold the Corvette in 2017 and purchased a Honda Pilot, appropriate choice considering their travel plans. Back from Sedona, they will soon head to Alabama, Ray’s home state. They plan to end the year in Sedona, Ray’s favorite place on earth.
Bette & Ray didn’t inherit money, sell the family ranch, invent a new Barbie, discover oil, or work 24/7 in high tech. They worked hard and saved a set amount from every paycheck for 20 years. Today, they live modestly, have everything they need, and enjoy life wherever they may be. Bette & Ray are my heroes.
Happy Trails, my friends.