PREPARING FOR THE REBELLE RALLY
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!
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