- WORDS AND PHO­TOS BY MERCEDES LILIENTHAL California · Montana · Bozeman · Facebook · Arizona · Flagstaff · Toyota Tacoma · Fun (band) · Mitsubishi Pajero · Instagram · TomTom · Gallatin Gateway, Montana · Sundre · Flagstaff

We live in an age where tech­nol­ogy is king, get­ting some­where fast is best, and do­ing things eas­ily is paramount. Mod­ern times call for mod­ern ameni­ties; those high-tech prod­ucts that as­sist you in your daily rou­tine. They get you where you need to go, both ef­fec­tively and ef­fi­ciently.

What hap­pens if the se­cu­rity blan­ket known as your smart phone is stripped away from you? Your lap­top and GPS are taken? You’re de­nied your right to carry a Wi-Fi en­abled DSLR or the abil­ity to con­nect with your 21st cen­tury ve­hi­cle?

It would be a re­turn to a time when ex­plor­ers nav­i­gated with map and com­pass, with­out a TomTom to tell them where to turn. The 21st cen­tury com­pe­ti­tion is called the Rebelle Rally. An all-women’s nav­i­ga­tional com­pe­ti­tion held in the Ne­vada and Cal­i­for­nia desert ev­ery Oc­to­ber.

The Rebelle Rally isn’t a race for speed, but a unique and chal­leng­ing ve­hic­u­lar event based on nav­i­ga­tion skills, driv­ing suc­cess­fully in var­i­ous desert and sand ter­rain, with hid­den checkpoint­s that need to be crossed at the right time, in the right dis­tance, us­ing only maps, com­pass, and a road book.

The Rebelle Rally was started in 2016. Emily Miller, its founder, wanted to cre­ate an event that was de­signed as a se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion - an ul­ti­mate road (and off-road) ad­ven­ture for women from all around the world. There is no pre-req­ui­site for the Rebelle Rally, other than to be a woman, have a 4x4 or cross­over rig to bor­row, rent, or own, and have at least $12,000 to pay for en­try fees, equip­ment, etc. Regis­tra­tion for the com­pe­ti­tion closes on Septem­ber 10th, 2018 or when all team slots are filled up.

My Rebelle Rally part­ner for 2018 is Elise Bent. She lives in Boze­man, Mon­tana but orig­i­nally hails from Sun­dre, Al­berta. We’re not ex­actly sure what to ex­pect, other than an epic ad­ven­ture.

I’ve known Elise through my at­ten­dance at the over­land ral­lies and events. She and her hus­band, Josh, own Bomber Prod­ucts, a com­pany that sells prod­ucts to help folks ad­ven­ture with their ve­hi­cles, as well as a line of their own gear to mount im­por­tant items to roof racks or spare tires. Dur­ing the last few years we’ve be­come friends and hoped some­day we’d com­pete in the Rebelle Rally to­gether. This year, the dream will be­come a re­al­ity. We were for­tu­nate to at­tend a two-day Rebelle train­ing ses­sion a few weeks ago. The event was posted via Face­book, was first come first serve (less than 10 teams par­tic­i­pated), and was held in the Cin­der Hills OHV area near Flagstaff, Ari­zona. It was the first time Elise and I part­nered off-road; we learned a lot about each other, how to use re­cov­ery equip­ment cor­rectly, drive in var­i­ous tricky ter­rain, and about the Rebelle Rally in gen­eral.

The com­pe­ti­tion takes pre­ci­sion, pa­tience, de­ter­mi­na­tion, and know-how. Elise will be my nav­i­ga­tor. She has a GIS back­ground and a hus­band who knows how to tra­di­tion­ally nav­i­gate. She’ll be the one plot­ting cour­ses on topo maps, guid­ing me to each check­point (us­ing lat­i­tude and lon­gi­tude co­or­di­nates), and be my sec­ond set of eyes. She al­ready has a good com­pass, and sev­eral dif­fer­ently scaled rulers (we’ll be given a few dif­fer­ently scaled topo maps to use dur­ing the Rebelle). Elise’s ex­per­tise is a great foun­da­tion for us to build on.

I’ll be the driver of Elise and Josh’s 2012 Toy­ota Ta­coma truck. I’ve spent the last sev­eral years with my hus­band, Andy, travers­ing off-road trails all around the Pa­cific North­west (us­ing tech­nol­ogy mind you). Andy man­ages a lot of of­froad events for his com­pany and I’m lucky enough to at­tend many of them so I can gain ex­pe­ri­ence and join in on the chal­leng­ing fun. Usu­ally I sit shot­gun as the pas­sen­ger/nav­i­ga­tor but lately I’ve been tak­ing the helm when we’re out on our own. I’m ex­cited to put years of of­froad ve­hi­cle ob­ser­va­tion and learn­ing to the test. I plan to prac­tice ex­ten­sively in var­i­ous desert and sand dune ter­rain, as well as be­come more con­fi­dent be­hind the wheel. Since the ve­hi­cle I’ll be driv­ing is in Mon­tana, I’ll use our right-hand-drive turbo-diesel-pow­ered Mit­subishi Pa­jero as a prac­tice ve­hi­cle.

The Rebelle Rally will be a mul­ti­fac­eted un­der­tak­ing re­quir­ing us to im­prove our driv­ing ex­per­tise, hone tra­di­tional nav­i­ga­tion skills, raise funds to cover the en­trance fee and com­pe­ti­tion costs, drum up a team logo, and write about our jour­ney to­gether. As an ea­ger team of two, we’re full of en­ergy, de­ter­mi­na­tion, and the will to con­quer eight days of fierce com­pe­ti­tion this Oc­to­ber.

Be sure to fol­low Team Free Range Dames on our jour­ney!

In­sta­gram: team­freeranged­ames, elise.bent, mer­cedes_lilien­thal Face­book: team­freeranged­ames www.team­freeranged­ames.com

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Driv­ing up soft ter­rain.
Driv­ing up soft ter­rain.
 ??  ?? Check­ing your bear­ing.
Check­ing your bear­ing.
 ??  ?? Driv­ing up steep grade.
Driv­ing up steep grade.
 ??  ?? Mea­sur­ing topo map.
Mea­sur­ing topo map.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Ter­rain train­ing.
Ter­rain train­ing.
 ??  ?? Learn­ing to use a com­pass.
Learn­ing to use a com­pass.
 ??  ?? Max­trax train­ing.
Max­trax train­ing.
 ??  ?? Hi-lift jack train­ing. .
Hi-lift jack train­ing. .
 ??  ?? Winch train­ing. .
Winch train­ing. .

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